One thing a lot of people say to me is ‘I want to start a blog but I have no idea how to go about it or what I need to do.’ And that’s completely understandable because there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to starting and running a blog. Especially if you’re launching your first blog.
Blogging can be a fun and rewarding way to share your thoughts, experiences, and knowledge with the world. But before you launch your blog into the stratosphere, there are a few things you should do to ensure that it’s successful.
If you’ve already thought about starting, you’ve probably been living in a state of perpetual blog-preparation for the last few months.
Between researching host platforms, designing perfect social media banners, and drafting up alliterative headlines, it feels like there’s nothing left to do but actually hit publish.
But before you take that final step, there are a few crucial things to keep in mind. These Dos and Don’ts that will help set your blog up for success from the get-go!
So in this post, I’m going to give you a quick rundown of what to do before launching a blog – and if you stick around until the end, you’ll also get a free Blog Launch Checklist of your own!
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- 100 Creative Valentine’s Day Blog Post Ideas to Love This Year
- Overcoming Blogger Burnout: 11 Effective Solutions for Content Creators
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Full disclosure! See those links below? If you happen to click on one of these and purchase something I recommend, I’ll get a small commission (wohoo). Don’t worry, this is at no extra cost to you (in fact, often I’ll have some discounts you can enjoy!). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying sales. You can read my full disclaimer here.
Blog launch checklist
1. Find your niche
Before you start cranking out content, there’s one important task you need to take care of: finding your niche.
Why is this so important? Because in today’s crowded online landscape, it’s more important than ever to focus on a specific topic or niche. Not only will this make it easier to attract readers who are interested in what you have to say, but it will also make it easier to generate ideas for content and monetise your blog down the line.
There are a few different ways to go about finding your niche. First, think about topics that you’re passionate about and that you have some expertise in. These are always a good place to start because it’s easier to write about something when you’re genuinely interested in it.
You can also take a look at what’s already out there and try to find a gap in the market. This is a bit more difficult, but if you can find a niche that isn’t being served by anyone else, you’ll be in a good position to attract attention and grow your blog quickly.
Some popular niche and sub-niche ideas are:
- Travel > Solo Travel / Solo Female Travel / Group Travel
- Food > Vegan / Gluten Free / Family Dinners
- Parenting > Raising Twins / Parenting Adopted Kids / Toddlers
- Fitness > Yoga / Exercising with Pets
- Fashion > Shoes / Lingerie / Accessories
- Personal Finance > Credit Cards / Budgeting / Family Finance
- Lifestyle > Health / Beauty / Fashion
2. Write a list of 50 blog post ideas
To make sure you have enough ideas and can keep your blog going for the long haul, it’s a good idea to write a list of 50 blog post ideas before you launch.
This may seem like a lot, but it’s really not that difficult once you get started. And it’s important to have this buffer of ideas because when you first start out, it can be tough to come up with new topics on a regular basis.
There are a few different ways to generate ideas for your blog posts. One is to look at popular blogs in your niche and see what kinds of content they’re putting out.
You can also look through Pinterest for ideas.
Whatever way you choose to come up with ideas for blog posts, you’ll want to make sure that they’re ideas that can rank on Google and that people will actually want to read.
3. Choose a name
No matter what you want to blog about, choosing a name for your blog is one of the most important steps in the process. A good name will help you attract readers and establish your brand. Here are a few tips to choosing a great name for your blog:
Try to keep it short and sweet. The longer it is, the harder it will be for people to remember. Also don’t have unnecessary characters in your domain name – for example the-passive-plan.com will be a lot more difficult for people to remember than thepassiveplan.com.
Make sure it’s relevant to your blog’s topic. If you’re blogging about fashion, for example, you might want to include the word “fashion” in your domain name. This will be good for SEO (search engine optimisation) and will help people find your blog more easily.
Check for availability. Before you settle on a name, make sure the domain name is available and that you can get social media accounts with the same name.
Make it unique. Choose a name that sets you apart from the millions of other blogs out there.
Before you go ahead with your blog name, make sure you write it down to see if it still looks right when all put together. Check out this list of the worst website names and you’ll understand what I mean!
4. Design your logo and branding
Your logo is one of the first things people will see when they visit your site, so it’s important to make a good impression. But where do you start?
If you’re not a designer, there are plenty of affordable services that can help you create a professional looking logo. My personal favourite is Canva, which is a free online design platform that’s super easy to use (they do have a paid version but as a beginner the free version is great).
Once you have your logo, it’s time to start thinking about branding. This includes everything from the colours and fonts you use on your website to the overall tone and voice of your content.
Your branding should be consistent across all platforms, so take some time to think about how you want people to perceive your brand.
If you have no idea how to create a logo or where to start with branding, you’re definitely not alone. But there are some ways to get around this:
- Hire someone on Fiverr to design your logo
- Purchase logo templates such as the Instant Brand Blueprint. I’ve used this for all my blogs and Etsy stores and they’re so simple to customise.
5. Set your blog goals
What do you hope to achieve from your blog? Do you want to share your personal thoughts and experiences with the world? Or maybe you want to build a platform for your business?
Whatever your goals may be, it’s important to have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish before you start writing. This will help you stay focused and on track.
Some common blog goals include:
- Get 5000 visitors within the first 6 months
- Make $100 through affiliate marketing by month 3
- Grow your email list to 500 in your first year
6. Choose a blogging platform
Now it’s time to choose a blogging platform. This is the software that you’ll use to create and manage your blog.
There are a few different options to choose from, but the most popular platforms are WordPress.org, which is self-hosted, or Wix and WordPress.com, which are hosted by their own blogging service.
The great thing about using a self-hosted platform is that you have full control and ownership of your blog. It’s also easier to monetise your blog later down the line when you go self-hosted.
7. Register your domain name
You’ve done your research, chosen your niche, and come up with a snazzy name for your blog. Now it’s time to take the next step and register your domain name.
You’ll need to choose a registrar, which is a company that manages domain names.
8. Sign up for hosting
A host is basically a company that will store your blog on their servers and make it accessible to the world wide web. Without a host, your blog will live only on your computer, and no one else will be able to read it.
So take the time to find a good host – one that offers fast loading times, reliable uptime, and great customer support.
My go to hosting provider for all my blogs is Greengeeks. They offer hosting for just $2.95 a month and an uptime of 99.9%. For anyone who’s a technophobe, like I used to be, they have great customer service and are always happy to help.
9. Install WordPress
After you’ve registered with Greengeeks, you’ll be able to install WordPress in just a few clicks.
Greengeeks will send you an email with all the instructions you need, but essentially you just need to log into your hosting account, click on “WordPress” and then follow the prompts.
If you have trouble, contact them on their online chat and they’ll install it for you in a jiffy!
10. Set up a secure username and password
Now it’s time to set up a secure username and password. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s actually one of the most important steps in protecting your blog.
Choosing a unique and secure username and password combo will help to keep your blog safe from hackers and other online threats. So how do you choose a good username and password?
Try to avoid using easily guessed words or phrases like “password” or your birthdate. And use a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters.
11. Choose a theme and design your blog
This is the fun part! Now that you have WordPress installed, it’s time to choose a theme and design your blog.
Your first option is to choose one of the thousands of free themes on WordPress. There are some really great ones to get you started.
If you want more control over the design of your blog and don’t mind spending a little bit of money, you can buy a premium theme. I love the Blossom themes and the beautiful feminine themes from 17th Avenue and Bluchic. These come with step by step instructions on how to install and set up your blog so it looks just like the demo.
Alternatively, you could go all out and hire a web designer to create your website. This can be quite costly but you’ll have a one of a kind design that perfectly reflects your brand.
12. Install an SSL Cert
This is an incredibly important step you MUST not miss on the blog launch checklist.
An SSL Cert (Secure Sockets Layer) is a digital certificate that encrypts data between your server and the visitor’s browser, making it more secure.
Without an SSL certificate, your site is vulnerable to attack by hackers who could potentially access sensitive information like passwords and credit card numbers.
You can get an SSL cert for free from your hosting provider – all you need to do is ask them to install it for you.
13. Change the permalink structure
As any seasoned blogger knows, even the most perfectly crafted post can be ruined by a messy permalink. Not only does an ugly URL deter readers, but it can also make it difficult for search engines to index your content.
Fortunately, changing your permalink structure is relatively easy and can make a big difference in the look and feel of your blog.
By default, WordPress uses a permalink structure that includes the date and time of your post. However, this can be changed to a more user-friendly structure that includes the post title.
To do this, go to the Settings and the Permalinks section of your WordPress dashboard and select the “Post name” option. This will ensure that your blog’s permalinks are SEO-friendly and easy for visitors to remember.
14. Set up a Google Analytics account
One of the most important things to do before launching a blog is to set up a Google Analytics account. This will allow you to track your traffic and see how your audience is engaging with your content.
You can use it to see how many people are visiting your site, where they’re coming from, and what pages they’re looking at. You can also use it to track the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and see which ones are driving the most traffic to your site.
Setting up a Google Analytics account is quick and easy, and it’s an essential step in ensuring that your blog is successful.
To create a Google Analytics account, simply go to the Google Analytics website and sign up for free. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to access a wealth of data about your blog’s traffic and performance.
✰⋆ Did you know, I have a free email course that will take you from completely clueless to having a published blog in 5 days? Sign up below to receive the course right to your inbox!
15. Sign up to Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free service that offers a wealth of insights into how your site is performing in search engine results pages (SERPs).
It can tell you which keywords people are using to find your site, how often your pages are being clicked on, and even alerted you to any potential issues with your site.
To sign up for Google Search Console, simply go to the Google Search Console website and sign in with your Google account. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to access the data for your site.
We’re half way through our blog launch checklist and while it may seem like a lot of work, trust me – it’ll be worth it all when your blog is up and running and you’re reaping the benefits.
16. Set up a domain email address
While it’s all well and good having a Gmail email address for your blog, a professional email address gives your blog an air of credibility and helps to build relationships with other bloggers and brands.
Something like hello[at]yourdomain[dot]com or info[at]yourdomain[dot]com shows that you’re serious about your blog and that you’re invested in building long-lasting relationships
It’s also much easier to remember than a generic Gmail address, which means people are more likely to contact you.
You’ll be able to set up your domain email address through the CPanel on your hosting account. If you’re not sure how to do this, your hosting provider will be able to help you out.
If you find it too much logging in and out of your hosting provider, you can always redirect your domain email address to a Gmail account. This YouTube video shows you exactly how to do this.
17. Install plugins
It’s now time to make sure your blog is set up for success by installing some must have plugins.
An SEO plugin
SEO, or search engine optimisation, is the process of making your site more visible to search engines like Google. And while there are a lot of complicated factors that go into SEO, there are also a few simple things you can do to give your site a boost. One of those things is installing an SEO plugin.
There are a lot of different SEO plugins out there, but I recommend Rank Math. Rank Math is a free WordPress plugin that makes it easy to optimise your site for the search engines. With Rank Math, you can easily add metadata to your posts and pages, submit your sitemap to Google, and even track your keyword rankings.
To install Rank Math, simply go to the WordPress plugin section on your dashboard and search for “Rank Math.” Once you’ve found it, click “Install” and then “Activate.”
There’s quite a bit involved in setting up Rank Math optimally and I suggest following this tutorial to get the most out of it.
A backup plugin
I learned this the hard way, a backup plugin in a necessity when it comes to running a WordPress blog.
A backup plugin creates a duplicate of your site and stores it in a safe location, so that if something goes wrong with your site, you can restore it to its former glory quickly and easily
There are a few different backup plugins to choose from, but I recommend UpdraftPlus. UpdraftPlus is a free WordPress plugin that makes it easy to create and restore backups of your site. It’s also one of the most popular plugins on WordPress, with over three million active installs.
An anti-spam plugin
Spammers are always on the lookout for new blogs to target, and they can quickly fill your comments section with unwanted junk.
Without an anti-spam plugin, your blog runs the risk of losing credibility and looking unprofessional.
An anti-spam plugin will help to keep your blog clean and protect your readers from spam. I recommend the Akismet Anti-Spam plugin. Once you’ve installed it, you can rest assured that your blog is safe from spam and unwanted comments.
18. Remove unwanted plugins
When you first install your chosen theme on WordPress, there may be a few plugins that come bundled with it. However, these plugins are not always necessary and can often be replaced with better alternatives.
Unwanted plugins can lead to a slower website which can affect your SEO ranking and frustrate your readers. I recommend removing any unwanted plugins that come bundled with your theme and only keeping the ones that you really need. This will help to keep your site running smoothly and quickly.
To remove a plugin, simply go to the “Plugins” section on your WordPress dashboard and click “Deactivate” next to the plugin you want to remove. Once the plugin has been deactivated, you can then delete it.
19. Set up legal pages
One of the most important things on the blog launch checklist is to ensure you have adequate legal pages set up for your blog.
This may not seem like the most exciting part of launching a blog, but it’s essential to protecting yourself and your business. Here’s a quick checklist of the legal pages you’ll need to create:
Disclaimer: This page informs your readers that your blog is for entertainment purposes only and that you are not responsible for the results of any actions taken based on the information contained on your site.
Terms and Conditions: This page outlines the rules and regulations for using your site. It also covers what happens if someone breaches your terms and conditions.
The only way to ensure that you are fully legally protected is to either purchase a legal template bundle or hire a lawyer (which can be extremely costly). These legal templates are simple to customise within minutes and you can use them again and again.
Read my post on how to choose the right legal pages for your blog for more insight into why you must have these pages on your blog.
20. Create a freebie
An opt-in freebie is a piece of content that you offer to readers in exchange for their email address. It can be anything from a PDF guide to a video course, as long as it’s something that your target audience will find valuable.
Creating an opt-in freebie may seem like a lot of work, but you can actually create a one page freebie with Canva or Planify in just minutes! It’s absolutely worth it as it means you’ll be getting more subscribers. Plus, once you’ve created it, you can use it over and over again.
Here are some ideas for freebies you can use for an opt-in:
- PDF guides
21. Start an email list
Having an email list is essential for any blogger who wants to build a successful blog. It’s a great way to stay in touch with your readers, promote your content, and sell products or services.
The best time to start an email list is before you launch your blog. That way, you can start building your list from day one and you’ll be in a great position to promote your blog when it goes live.
There are a few different ways to start an email list. Mailerlite is free up to 1000 subscribers and ConvertKit, while it isn’t free, it’s very affordable. I use both of these providers and they are great for new bloggers.
Once you’ve set up your email list, you can start using your opt-in freebies to encourage people to sign up. You can also promote your list on social media and on your blog.
22. Write an about me page
Why should you care about an About Me page? Well, for starters, it’ll be one of the most-visited pages on your blog. And if you want people to stick around, you need to give them a reason to.
So what goes into an About Me page? Here’s a quick checklist:
- First, introduce yourself. Who are you and what do you do? Don’t be shy – this is your chance to shine.
- Second, tell your story. How did you get to where you are today? What experiences have shaped who you are as a person and as a blogger?
- Third, share your vision. What are your goals for your blog? What kind of impact do you hope to make in the world?
- Finally, let your personality shine through. Be yourself! Your readers want to get to know the real you, not some fake persona.
23. Create a contact form
You’ve got incredible content and brands want to work with you. But how do they get in touch?
The answer is, by having a contact form on your blog. This makes it easy for brands and readers alike to get in touch with you, without having to hunt down your email address.
There are plenty of plugins that you can use to create a contact form, but my personal favorite is WPForms. It’s super easy to use and you can create forms without any coding knowledge.
24. Publish 3 blog posts
There’s a lot that goes into a successful launch, but one of the most important things is having a solid foundation of content. That’s why step 21 on our blog launch checklist is to publish three blog posts.
Well, first of all, it makes your blog look more enticing to potential readers. It also gives you a chance to experiment with different types of content and see what works best for your audience. And last but not least, it ensures that you have a steady flow of content to keep your readers coming back for more.
Of course, you can launch your blog with just one blog post and just continue to produce more and more content, but I prefer to have a few blog posts available if I’m officially launching a new blog on social media.
25 Create a content schedule
You’ve written your first post, hit publish, and promptly realise you have no idea what to write next. Sound familiar? Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Coming up with fresh content ideas on a regular basis can be a challenge, even for the most experienced writers.
Having a content schedule will help you stay organised and ensure that your blog is constantly updated with fresh, new content. Plus, it will help you avoid those dreaded writer’s block moments. So what goes into creating a content schedule?
First, you’ll need to decide how often you want to post new content. This will depend on how much time you have to dedicate to writing and promoting your blog.
Once you’ve decided on a frequency, start brainstorming ideas for topics. Planning out your topics in advance gives you a roadmap to follow, and helps to ensure that you’re always putting your best foot forward.
Next, create a content calendar. This can be as simple as a Google Calendar or a spreadsheet. The important thing is that you have a place to track all of your ideas and plan out when each piece of content will go live.
The key is to be flexible – if something comes up that you’re passionate about, don’t hesitate to switch gears and write about it instead.
26. Set up social media accounts
Social media is a powerful tool that can help you promote your blog and connect with your audience. That’s why it’s so important to create social media accounts for your blog before you launch.
The most popular platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest. But don’t feel like you need to be present on every single social media platform. Especially when you’re just starting out. Just choose one or two that make the most sense for your blog and your audience.
Once you’ve created your accounts, take some time to fill out your profiles and write a bio that accurately represents who you are and what your blog is all about. Then, start sharing your content!
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27. Make sure you have social sharing buttons
Speaking of sharing your content, it’s important to make it easy for your readers to do just that. The best way to do this is by adding social sharing buttons to your blog posts.
Social sharing buttons are those little icons that allow readers to share your content on their own social media profiles. Most themes come with social sharing buttons built-in, but if yours doesn’t, you can always install a plugin like Social Warfare.
28. Introduce your blog on your social media platforms
Now that you have social media accounts set up and your blog is looking great, it’s time to start promoting it! A great way to do this is by posting an introductory post on your social media platforms.
This is your chance to give your audience a taste of what they can expect from your blog. Share your mission statement, tell them what kind of content they can expect to find, and let them know why they should follow you.
You can also use this opportunity to run a contest or promote your freebie. This is a great way to get people engaged and encourage them to check out your blog.
29. Join blogging Facebook groups
One of the most important things on your pre-launch checklist? Joining one or more blogging Facebook groups.
When it comes to blogging, community is key. Not only will Facebook groups give you a sense of belonging and support, but they can also provide invaluable advice, feedback, and resources.
Groups can also be great places to promote your content and grow your audience. Just be sure to read the rules of each group before you start sharing your links.
One of the best ways to grow your blog is to collaborate with other bloggers in your niche and you can find these bloggers through relevant Facebook groups.
30. Start making money!
I’m going to go out on a limb and say the reason your want to start a blog is because you’d like to start earning some passive income! Now that you’ve completed the blog launch checklist, guess what…. you’re ready to start making money! There are a number of ways to make money blogging, but here are a few of the most popular:
– Affiliate marketing
– Selling digital products
– Accepting sponsored posts
– Offering consulting or coaching services
– Creating and selling online courses
Making money from your blog takes time, but it is definitely possible. Just be patient, be strategic, and be passionate about what you’re doing and you’ll see the success you deserve.
Blog launch checklist summary
There you have it! The complete blog launch checklist. By now, you should have a pretty good idea of all the things you need to do before launching your blog.
Remember, launching a successful blog takes time, dedication, and hard work. But if you’re willing to put in the effort, it is definitely possible to achieve your blogging goals.
If you’re ready to start your blog, sign up to my free 5-day email course – How to Start a Blog: The Right Way and get started today!
By following this blog launch checklist, you’re setting yourself up for blogging success! Don’t forget to bookmark this post so you can refer back to it as you’re working on launching your blog. And if you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below and I’ll be happy to help.