Setting up a blog is anything but easy. The good news is that it can be broken down into bite-sized pieces that you can tackle individually. Follow our step-by-step Launch Your Blog Checklist and ensure your blog is set up for success.
Blogging is a potentially lucrative endeavor, but putting a blog together can be overwhelming and confusing, with the sheer number of steps in the process, as well as considerations to make before one can even start.
We’ve covered the details of how to build a blog and how to monetize it, but a bird’s-eye view of the whole process from beginning to end can be very helpful.
Let me introduce the Launch Your Blog Checklist.
This is a simplified, step-by-step checklist you can follow while you’re creating your blog. Whether you’re setting up your first blog or your 42nd blog, you’re probably going to forget 2 or 3 steps that would turn out to be important, so a checklist you can refer to can be an invaluable tool.
I’ve linked to various resources and references should you need details, but I’ve done my best to divide the steps into phases and keep them simple enough so you can see the overall process.
Before you even think about setting up a blog, you should have an idea why you want to start one, who are supposed to read your blog, and what topic your blog will focus on.
1. Start with your mindset. Blogging is a long-term undertaking that will require a solid commitment from you for at least a year to 24 months and beyond. If you can’t commit, it’s best to walk away now.
2. List down the topics you can actually write about. Jot down the things you like doing, things you’re interested in, and things you know a lot about (or at least don’t mind researching for hours).
3. Research your ideas and see which ones have potential to generate sustainable income: plenty of potential readers, just enough competition, and topics that have enough subtopics that you can write about for months or years. Narrow them down to 2 or 3 topics.
4. Explore other blogs in your niche so you know their strengths, weaknesses, and whether you can offer something new and unique to readers in the niche.
5. Narrow it down to a single blog niche. This is what you’re going to write about from this point on.
How To Find Your Blog Niche
Once you know what niche you’re going to be writing in, it’s time to lay the technical groundwork for your blog.
6. Choose your blogging platform. There are a number of blogging platforms out there, but we highly recommend using self-hosted WordPress as a blogging platform for several reasons.
7. Set up your blog hosting. Similarly, there are numerous hosting providers out there depending on your budget and your preferences. We recommend Bluehost (affiliate link) because it’s easy to set up, the price is reasonable, and their customer service is commendable.
8. Select your domain name. If possible, include a keyword that your audience will likely be searching for to find your blog. Shorter is better because you want something memorable and brandable.
9. Check to see if the domain name is available and buy it. A “.com” extension is best. If you can afford it, buy the “.net” and other popular extensions for good measure. We recommend NameCheap (affiliate link) as a domain registrar because it’s the least expensive option in the long run.
Note: If the domain name you want isn’t available, repeat the previous step until you find one that is.
10. Connect your domain name to your web host. Refer to this section for a detailed explanation of what this means.
11. Install your blogging platform on your website. If you’re using WordPress, you can refer to this section for detailed instructions.
12. Use a simple, responsive theme to start with. You can always change this later according to your and your readers’ preferences, but keep it simple at first, and more importantly, mobile-responsive (that is, easy to read on smartphones).
13. Beef up security on your site. WordPress is fairly secure, but you can do even more. Install security plugins on your site (we recommend Easy Updates Manager and Wordfence), set up a username and password combination that’s hard to crack, and make sure to use HTTPS for your site.
14. Choose your color theme. It’s best to use a 3-color palette: 2 colors that go well together, then a third color for accent. No idea where to start? Online tools like Adobe Color CC and Paletton can help.
16. Set up analytics software for your site. Analytics software gives you information on your traffic so you’ll know whether you do have an audience or not and whether your efforts to pull traffic to your site is working.
The leader, of course, is Google Analytics, but there are plenty of other alternatives depending on your needs and technical knowledge.
After you’ve done the grueling technical groundwork for your blog, it’s time for you to create the content for your blog.
17. Do keyword research. Great content starts with excellent keyword research. There are plenty of keyword research tools, free and paid, but the classic tool to start with is Google Keyword Planner.
18. Write a blog post around that keyword. Once you’ve found a high-quality keyword, write a blog post around that keyword. Research on the topic extensively. Make sure it’s targeted to your readers and that it’s useful, fact-based, relevant, and unique. Do your best to include the keyword in your blog post as much as possible without seeming too forced.
19. Compose a compelling headline. A splendid blog post doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t get read. Having a persuasive headline increases the chances that your blog post gets read.
20. Use headings and subheadings. Breaking your content down into bite-sized chunks makes your content become more readable and encourages your reader to read on. This works especially well with subjects that are too long or complicated.
21. Have shorter paragraphs. Encountering a huge wall of text is likely to be intimidating to the average reader, no matter how much they love to read. Make it easier for them to consume your content by composing concise paragraphs.
22. Insert relevant images. Another way of creating irresistible content is to insert relevant images. They add visual appeal, cut through tedium, and serve as visual aids for hard-to-explain concepts.
23. Include internal and external links. Adding links to reputable external sources increases your credibility and provides more information to your readers. Relevant internal links to your other blog posts showcase your other content and lengthen the time your reader spends on your website.
24. Have at least one call to action. After reading your blog post, you don’t want your reader to think, “Now what?” Be clear about what you want them to do next. For example, you can invite them to join your mailing list so they can receive updates, or invite them to follow you on social media.
25. Invite readers to post a comment. This can be one of your calls to action in your blog post. Have clear commenting guidelines; you want to spark discussion about your blog post, not an argument or a free-for-all for haters.
26. Optimize your content for search engines. You want your content to be read by as many of your target audience as possible, so learn basic search engine optimization (SEO) to ensure that your content can be found by search engine bots.
We recommend Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress to help you improve your content and page elements to increase the chances of search engine bots indexing and serving up your blog posts to your audience.
27. Proofread your work before you post it. Posting articles that are rife with spelling and grammar errors give the impression that you just couldn’t care less about your content, which is the wrong kind of impression you’re going for when you’re trying to impress new readers.
Always take time to proofread and edit your blog post before you publish it.
28. Post new content regularly. This may vary depending on your niche, blog post length, and other factors, but the ideal frequency for new blogs is 2 to 3 times a week.
Posting high-quality content is far from enough. You need to let your target audience know that your blog exists and convince them to read it.
29. Improve blog traffic with your content. Start with the basics. Your content is why your readers visit your blog. If your content is weak, no amount of promotion can save you. Create first-class content consistently (say that 3 times really quickly just for fun).
30. Apply on-page and off-page SEO techniques. Having a complete SEO strategy increases the chances of your content being found, indexed, and displayed to your audience by search engine bots.
31. Develop a blogger outreach strategy. Blogger outreach is building relationships with other influential bloggers in your niche. You’d be surprised how much these relationships will help you get traffic to your site.
32. Build an email list. An email list is a database of names and email addresses that you have been granted permission to send communications and promotions. Assembling this database facilitates traffic back to your blog and is crucial when you decide to monetize your blog later.
33. Utilize social media. Social media is free, targeted, and promotes community. Thus, it’s vital to building your audience. However, you don’t need to be on all of them. Pick and choose your social media platforms wisely.
34. Leverage video marketing. Being on YouTube can help you get ahead in terms of traffic, especially when you’re in a high-competition niche. You can supplement your written content with video to boost your chances of being found by the right audience.
35. Rally your readers. Asking your readers to share your blog post in their social media can also have an impact on your traffic. Plus, it gets them invested in your blog’s success, turning your regular readers into fans.
60 Ways To Promote Your Blog
Surprising Ways To Increase Blog Traffic With Content
7 Proven Ideas To Improve On-Page SEO
Learn Off-Page SEO Basics
Planning An Effective Blogger Outreach Strategy
How To Build An Email List For Marketing
Ways To Increase Blog Traffic With Pinterest
How To Get Traffic From Quora
How To Make A Facebook Group To Increase Traffic To Your Blog
Launching your blog doesn’t need to be a mess. Yes, it’s going to be hard work, and yes, it’s going to take time for everything to feel like they’re working together. But having a checklist can get you focused on the essentials and help you get your bearings when it gets chaotic.
Here’s the simplified checklist:
Find Your Blog Niche
1. Commit to blogging for at least 12 months.
2. List down the topics you can actually write about.
3. Do some research on these topics you listed down.
4. Explore other blogs in your niche and see if you can offer something new.
5. Narrow it down to a single blog niche.
Build Your Blog
6. Choose your blogging platform.
7. Set up your blog hosting.
8. Select your domain name.
9. Check to see if the domain name is available and buy it.
10. Connect your domain name to your web host.
11. Install your blogging platform on your website.
12. Use a simple, responsive theme to start with.
13. Beef up security on your site.
14. Choose your color theme.
15. Create your site’s core pages.
16. Set up analytics software for your site.
17. Do keyword research.
18. Write a blog post around that keyword.
19. Compose a compelling headline.
20. Use headings and subheadings.
21. Have shorter paragraphs.
22. Insert relevant images.
23. Include internal and external links.
24. Have at least one call to action.
25. Invite readers to post a comment.
26. Optimize your content for search engines.
27. Proofread your work before you post it.
28. Post new content regularly.
Promote Your Blog
29. Improve blog traffic with your content.
30. Apply on-page and off-page SEO techniques.
31. Develop a blogger outreach strategy.
32. Build an email list.
33. Utilize social media.
34. Leverage video marketing.
35. Rally your readers.
Was this checklist helpful? Did I miss an important step? Let me know in the comments.
JoAnne is your average, everyday, sane stay-at-home mom who believes in the power of the internet to make dreams come true. She has an insatiable appetite for chocolate, as well as all things internet marketing. She keeps up with the latest trends in blogging, affiliate marketing, e-commerce, and more.