Many people still think starting a blog is scary, but that’s not true. In fact, if you have a passion for it, it can be really interesting, and most importantly, rewarding!
If you’re considering starting a blog and don’t know where to start, here’s q quick check-list.
Having built a lot of blogs myself, I assure you that starting a blog is way easier than you think, regardless of your skillset.
When you’re starting out with a new blog, you’re prone to make a lot of beginner-level mistakes, but it shouldn’t have to be that way.
And that’s why I decided to put together a checklist of things you need to do in order to launch a blog.
I’ll keep it simple with minimal details just so you can see an overview of the whole picture.
For a detailed guide, you should check out my definitive guide on how to start a blog guide.
For easy navigation, I organized this checklist into 6 different categories.
In This Guide:
- Launching a Blog Checklist
Let us know if we missed anything!
Launching a Blog Checklist
From here on out, you’ll be going through different phases of launching a blog.
Follow this guide and start checking the list off one by one as you launch the blog. The competition is fierce and there are thousands of bloggers launching their own blogs every day in every niche.
If you really want to win the competition, you have to make sure you get started on the right foot!
This checklist will help you get the perfect start that you need. So let’s begin.
Step 1: Generate Ideas and Set Your Goals
- Pick a blog niche/topic: Pick a topic that you have an interest in and that also has a good search volume.
- Set some goals: Set up blogging goals with a deadline and a specific outcome (like reaching 1,000 email subscribers within 6 months).
- Look for more blogs in your niche: See what they are doing and how you can make your articles better than your competitors.
- Brainstorm a strategy for your blog: Keeping your end goals in mind, brainstorm some ideas on how you are going to reach the goals that you have set for yourself.
- List down possible brand names: Go for a brandable domain name rather than a generic keyword-stuffed name.
Check if your domain name is available here:
If not, keep trying different ideas. Check out our guide to choosing your blog domain name.
Step 2: Get Your New Blog Online
- Register your domain name: A domain name is something your readers will type in their browser to get to your website. You’ll need to register a domain name to get started. You can try DreamHost, CloudWays, or Kinsta for registering your domain name. Or you can get it for free with Bluehost and save $15 if you buy their hosting plan.
- Choose a blogging platform: I recommend you go for WordPress.org. It’s free and lets you have complete control over it. Interestingly, Bluehost automatically installs the WordPress.org blogging platform for you, free of charge.
- Pick a hosting provider: There are many hosting services you can choose but in my opinion Bluehost is the best. With Bluehost, you get a huge discount and a free domain (Exclusive for learn.owogram readers). It’s an officially recommended host by WordPress.org. For more information, read our ‘Best Web Hosting‘ guide.
- Install WordPress: This can be a little complicated for beginners but if you choose Bluehost as your web host, you can install WordPress with a single click. Read our “How to install WordPress” for the complete setup guide.
- Set up a complex username and password: Never keep your passwords as simple as “12345”. Use a combination of different characters and numbers. The best way to do this is by using a password generator.
Step 3: Get Your Blog Ready for Launch
- Create a coming soon page: This can help you collect email addresses before you even take your blog live. Creating a coming soon page is easy if you use Optimize Press Page Builder or Beaver Builder. You can build it with a few clicks.
- Pick a responsive theme: Pick a theme that makes your blog look more professional. The design should be simple and must be easy on the eyes. You can get a free theme from your WordPress dashboard or you can go and purchase a premium theme, like the Astra, Divi Theme, Elementor, etc. It all depends on your budget. You also need to make sure that your theme fits on all devices. Here are my best picks of WordPress themes to style your blog.
- Remove unwanted things from your theme: Like the login area in your sidebar. This can be removed from your theme’s code by going Appearance » Customize.
- Pick good typography: Make sure your theme is easy to read. You can use any font type you want, as long as it’s easy to read.
- Design your homepage: You might not want to choose a default homepage design in which it shows your most recent posts. Instead, you can show your most important pages like your pillar articles on the home page to keep your readers engaged. (More on pillar articles below.)
To get your homepage settings right, Go to Settings > Reading
It is important to note that while you choose the latest post options, you should tick the ‘Full text’ option as seen in the image above.
Since you have little or no posts, the homepage will show the full content of each post and not just a short summary preview.
Soon, when you start to have more content, you can come back to choose the summary option.
- Write an about page: Introduce yourself and your blog. Assert your authority by telling them about your experience and why they should trust your writing.
- Add content in the sidebar: You can use sidebar widgets to do a variety of things, such as displaying recent posts, popular comments, email signup boxes, and more.
- Add a contact form plugin: Adding a contact form to your blog makes it easy for your visitors to contact you. The easiest way to build a contact form on your blog is to use the WPForms plugin.
- Register for an Akismet key: This helps combat comment spam that your blog may inevitably receive.
- Add an SEO Plugin: The Yoast plugin helps you optimize your blogs for SEO. You can add titles and meta descriptions for each of your articles right within your post editor page.
- Write a tagline for your blog: To set a tagline for your blog, go to Appearance » Customize and then click on Site Identity to change the tagline. Your tag line can be few words that summarize what your blog is all about.
- Add an SSL certificate to your blog: You need this certificate to secure your website or Google will show your site as “Not Secure”. You can get the free SSL certificate if you host with Bluehost. Go to My Sites » Manage Site and then click on the Security tab and enable the Free SSL Certificate.
- Add Google Analytics: Google Analytics helps you track your visitors and see on what page they enter and how they behave once they are on your blog. MonsterInsights can help you easily integrate your Google Analytics account with your blog with a click of a button. Just download, install, and activate.
- Sign up for Google Search Console: This will show your blog’s overall health and notify you if Google finds any errors on your blog. To sign up, go to Google Search Console.
- Add links to your social networking profiles: This will help your readers to follow you on social media where they can get updates about your blog.
- Change your permalink structure: It’s in your best interest to keep your permalinks easier to remember. Make sure to change your permalinks to Post name by navigating to Settings » Permalinks in your WordPress dashboard.
Step 4: Define and Build Your Brand
Get a personalized business email account: Set up your personalized business email account like “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
Once you log in to your Bluehost account dashboard, click on the ‘Advanced’ menu from the left column and then click on the ‘Email Accounts’ icon under the Email section.
This is here you’ll create your customized email.
- Create a Gravatar: By associating your email address with a Gravatar account, you can show your picture in your author profile and comments.
- Create a logo: Hire a freelance designer to get your logo designed and add it to your blog.
- Create a Favicon: Favicon is a tiny version of your logo that appears next to your website’s title on your browser. To create your favicon, resize your logo to exactly 512×512 pixels. Once you’re done go to Appearance » Customize and click on the Site Identity tab and upload your favicon (site icon).
- Define your audience: Research the likes and dislikes of your audience. Create personas and write articles for them. You can get more information about the general audience if you analyze your competitors.
Step 5: Create Awesome Content
- Brainstorm and come up with topic ideas for your Pillar Posts: Pillar articles are evergreen articles on your blog that bring in a lot of traffic even after months if not years of creating them. You can analyze your competitor’s content for more ideas for your pillar posts.
- Generate more blog post ideas: Use this list of blog post ideas you can steal, and check out these types of blog posts that work for any niche.
- Follow the 10x rule: The 10x rule is to aim ten times higher than your competitors. You can stand out from a crowded niche by making sure your site is more valuable than others.
- Add quality images: Use sites like Dreamstime or Pexels to find beautiful images to add interest to your content. Here are more sites to get quality photos for your blog.
- Consider adding more media: Throw some videos into the mix along with images.
- Add relevant internal links: Strategically link to your other blogs in your content. This will make the readers stay longer on your online properties.
Step 6: Optimize and Market Your Blog
- Create a sitemap file: Create a sitemap with the plugin XML Sitemaps so that Google can see how your site is structured and updated.
- Add meta descriptions to your posts. Before publishing your posts, add meta descriptions. That way you can show a helpful snippet beside your search result, which can help improve your Click Through Rate (CTR). You can easily add meta descriptions if you have Yoast installed on your site.
- Optimize your blog posts for keywords: Use Google Keyword Planner to do your keyword research and once you have the list use them in your blog posts wherever it makes sense.
- Create an email list: Add a newsletter subscription box to your blog and start building an email list.
- Get an optin form plugin. Create stunning highly converting opt-in forms on your site with the best optin form builder in the world, OptinMonster. That’s what I use.
- Create your blog’s social media accounts: Spread the word out through popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
- Make a list of influencers in your niche and connect with them: For this, you’ll need Ahrefs or Buzzsumo. This will give you a list of relevant influencers to follow and build relationships with. Once you have interacted with them, ask them if they could share or retweet your posts with their followers.
- Ask for links back to your blog: To help more people find your blog and also boost your search engine rankings.
I hope this guide helped you through the blog launch process! Whether you’re an absolute beginner or a seasoned pro in need of a cheat sheet, you’ll find this checklist useful.
If you need a detailed definitive guide, check out how to start a blog.
Let us know what you think about our list in the comments below!