Why Prepare For A New Blog Launch
Preparing for a new blog launch is very important to the success of every blog. After starting a blog (after you set up your WordPress blog), there are a lot of things to prepare before officially launching your new blog, such as: changing base settings, installing necessary plugins, tweaking the blog design, etc.
For example, after initially installing WordPress and setting up this blog, two weeks went by without me actually launching the blog because I wanted to carefully take the time to set up everything that was necessary for a successful blog launch, and that would allow me to attract traffic to this blog. In addition to that, I also had to prepare some things that would help attract the visitors of this blog to become subscribers.
What I am going to share with you today is exactly what I did after setting up this (great :-D) blog so you can learn the important things to do and implement them in your current blog or your next blog launch.
Update: If you have already read my post about “Buying a Website” and if you decided to do just that – buy a website or blog that was already set up – then you would already have a site that is launched.
Still, it would be of great benefit for you to go through this post and see if there's anything else you need top make sure is done for your bought website.
Why? Because depending on when that website you bought was set up and who set it up, it may not have implemented these important things.
How To Use The Information In This Post
If you're new to all this and have just completed setting up your new blog, the best way to use all this great information would be to do each step as you read along. There's a lot of information here because I wanted to give you EVERYTHING to get you set up right the first time and although doing each step as you read along would take a bit more time, it will ensure that you cover all the steps laid out and leave out nothing! You can use this information anyway you want, but I would suggest you accomplish each step as you go along.
Here's a little side note before you begin getting this useful information. I won't be elaborating much on each item or what specific terms mean or do. If I did that, this post would go on and on, and never end :-D.
I will in time, probably create more posts that will explain more clearly what each thing is and does, but for now, if you don't yet understand what something means (for example “gravatar”) feel free to google it and get the clarification you need. That should be easy enough. The once you have googled it, you can come back to this post and keep reading…
WordPress Basics For A New Blog Launch
Step 1: Add An About Page
An “About” page is the most important page and every blog must have one. An “About” page is always a page that attracts a lot of visitors arriving at your blog for the first time and wanting to first of all, read about you and your blog. Since that's the case, the wise thing to do, so that you can entice your first-time visitors to become subscribers, is by having a “subscribe” or “opt in” form displayed on the “About” page. Make sense? Check out my About Page.
Step 2: Add A Contact Page
I'm sure you already realize and get this now, that visitors feel more secure when there is some kind of contact information or contact form displayed on your website or blog. Why? Because, they will naturally and even unconsciously feel there is some kind of support available should they need it, before or after they have subscribed. In addition, interacting with readers is the key to building a large audience. So a contact page is very helpful and essential. To make the contact page look more professional, I personally use the Gravity Form Plugin for WordPress.
Step 3: Replace the Default Post “Hello World” With A New One
Delete that automatically generated “Hello World” post and create a new post with a welcome message for example.
Step 4: Write 3 to 4 “Pillar” Posts
You need to have at least 3 high quality posts before starting to launch or promote your blog. These posts must be very valuable, have valuable (evergreen content preferably) content and have an attractive title. If your posts are remarkably helpful and can engage the attention of your new blog visitors, there's a huge possibility that new visitors will subscribe to your blog and come back frequently (which is the whole point of the blog).
Step 5: Sign Up To Google FeedBurner
Google Feedburner is better than the default RSS made by WordPress so you would want to create a feedburner account and use it.
Step 6: Sign Up To Google Analytics And Google Webmaster Tools
Google Analytics is the service that helps you track the traffic and other metrics of your blog. It is necessary to track the performance of your site in order to know what works and what doesn't, what is effective and what is not, and therefore be able to improve how well your blog attracts visitors. Google Webmaster Tools is another great resource that provides you with detailed reports about your pages visibility on Google.
Step 7: Get A Gravatar
An Avatar is necessary to build a brand. So you would need to get a gravatar or if you already have one, then update your gravatar.
WordPress Settings For A New Blog Launch
Step 8: Decide To Use The WWW or Non-WWW Prefix For Your Blog URL
An example of this blog address without the “www” would look like this: http://passiveincomediary.com.
With the “www”, it would look like this (well, you already figured that one out, yes?): http://www.passiveincomediary.com
Why is this important?
Because if you don't choose one and make sure that all searches for your website goes to one, and only one of those URLs, search engines will index both of them. That “double” indexing of your blog will result in some dilution of your blog ranking. Besides that reason, it's also great to be consistent in the eyes of your readers and visitors!
I prefer the format with “www”. To set that up, enter your WordPress admin dashboard, go to “Settings >> General” and fill your new chosen format in both the “WordPress address (URL)” and the “Site address (URL)” fields.
Step 9: Update Ping Services
In the WordPress admin, go to “Settings >> Writing” and fill these services in the “Update Services” field.
See the full list of ping services (250 Ping services) below by clicking on the “Share to get” button. Once you click on the button, either use your Twitter account or Facebook account to “Tweet” or “Like” it.
As soon as you've done that, you will be directed to the webpage where you can copy the full blog ping server list and paste it into your WordPress admin “writing” settings.
Since it took a lot of time to compile this whole list that you're getting absolutely FREE all I ask is that you Tweet or Like it so that other people who also want to earn passive income from blogging and internet marketing can find this blog! 😀 And at the same time, right now, you are learning how to use “Social Bookmarking and Sharing” strategies to get your own blog more “visibility”.
Step 10: Tweak The Permalink Structure
Permalinks are the URLs of your blog posts and pages. By default, your URLs are setup like this: http://www.passiveincomediary.com/p=1
That isn't SEO (search engine optimization) friendly and it certainly does not display what the page is about. So here's what you can do instead which is a better option.
In “Settings >> Permalinks”, use the “Custom Structure” and type: /%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%/.
That means that your URLs will be something like: http://www.passiveincomediary.com/2011/07/welcome-to-my-blog/
You can see how that is much more visually appealing, makes sense and is informative.
You also can use: /%postname%/
That will create your URL to be like: http://www.passiveincomediary.com/welcome-to-my-blog/.
Or alternatively, you can also use: /%category%/%postname%/
That will make your blog posts show up as: http://www.passiveincomediary.com/general/welcome-to-my-blog/.
The “general” you see in the URL represents the category that you select for the post. You can create whatever categories you want to categorize and make your blog posts even more SEO friendly from the “Posts >>Categories” section.
The type of permalinks you use will be dependent upon how you which to categorize and sub-categorize the content on your blog. Do you want visitors to be able to search for you blog content by date and time, or by category, or by tag, or something else. The options are endless. So before you do this step and choose one permalink structure, make sure you have decided on how you want you blog content to be accessible and searched for.
This is very important because once you set it and begin creating posts and pages, if you decide later on (tens, hundreds or thousands of posts later) to change the permalink structure, you will get a really BIG HEADACHE because all the old URL links to your posts may lead to “Page not found” errors.
I find that having a specific time in the URL is better.
Step 11: Turn Off The Comment Notification
If you’re new to blogging it can be exciting or useful to find out when your blog gets a new comment. I prefer to turn this off in “Settings >> Discussion” and simply find out about new comments from my WordPress admin dashboard.
WordPress Plugins For A New Blog Launch
Step 12: Set Up Akismet Anti Spam Comment Protection
Akismet comes with your WordPress installation and is used to combat blog comment spam. Just grab an API key from here: Akismet and you're safe.
Note that, you will still get some spam comments but it will be nowhere near the amount you will definitely get if you don't use Akismet!
Step 13: Install GrowMap Anti Spambot Plugin
This is another spam filter plugin for WordPress which can be installed by searching for it within theWordpress plugins section. You will want to get and use, both Akismet and Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin to completely protect your blog from spam comments.
Step 14: Align RSS Images
This plugin aligns images in your RSS feed so they are perfectly aligned on your blog as well as in your RSS feed.
Step 15: Install And Set Up “Subscribe To Comments Plugin”
Subscribe to Comments is a robust plugin that enables a post commenter to sign up for e-mail notifications of all subsequent comment entries placed on the posts they have already commented on. This obviously increases the “return rate” of past visitors since they may want to keep responding to comments placed by other readers. The plugin includes a full-featured subscription manager that the commenter can use to unsubscribe to certain posts, block all notifications, or even change their notification e-mail address. Very useful!
Step 16: Install And Set Up “Google XML Sitemap Plugin”
The Google Sitemap plugin is a plugin made to create a sitemap of your blog and then to keep automatically updating your blog sitemap whenever a post is published. Website and blog sitemaps are essential for search engines to recognize very quickly what content is present on your blog. The easier it is for search engine robots to do that, the faster they will index your blog content and therefore the better your ranking tends to be.
Step 17: Install And Set Up “SEO Friendly Images Plugin”
SEO Friendly Images plugin automatically adds “alt” and “title” attributes to all your images. This improves traffic from search engines and makes the image tags W3C Compliant!
Step 18: Install And Set Up “ReplyMe” Plugin
This plugin sends an email to a post commenter automatically when someone else replies to his/her comment. Although this may sound like the same thing as the “Subscribe To Comments” plugin, it is not. The difference with this plugin is that the commenter receives ONLY replies to his/her specific comments, not all the comments placed.
Step 19: Install And Set Up The “WP-DBManager Plugin”
Add this plugin and get scheduled backups of your WordPress database to be created everyday. Very handy, just in case one day your blog database gets corrupted or you make big mistake while make some big changes!
Step 20: Install And Set Up “WordPress.com Stats Plugin”
Simple, concise stats with no additional load on your server. Installing this stats plugin is easy but much like installing Akismet, you will need an API key. All you need is to put in your API Key and the rest is automatic.
WordPress Design For A New Blog Launch
Step 21: Choose And Set Up Your Blog Theme And Design
We're almost done here! And here is one of the parts I find most interesting – the blog designing part!
Yes, yes, I know what you may be thinking especially if you like, don't have any coding, programming nor graphic design skills…
But I assure you, it's really not as complicated as it may seem at first. Remember, to be a success at anything and even looking like a pro is all about knowing what the “right strategies are for the right moment”.
The really great thing about WordPress blogs in particular is that you don’t really need to know any complicated coding (HTML, CSS, PHP and all that jazz) to create a really awesome looking blog, and you don’t have to be proficient in software like Photoshop either. Everything can either be outsourced and purchased for very a reasonable fee these days, or can be found on the web for free.
Having said that, here are a handful of really great, simple and easy-to-use WordPress themes that are available and can get now. I have personally purchased and still use all these themes for my blogs and websites – different themes for different sites.
Check em' out. You won't be disappointed and in fact you will be pleasantly surprised at how easy, great and fun they are to use, ESPECIALLY if you are new and don't know any complicated coding (just like me! :-D)
Recommended Blog Themes:
Step 22: Get Your Own Logo
It will be an asset and very good if you possess graphic design skills and can make your own logo, but if you don't, just hire a freelancer or get free PSD files of logos at this site: Shaboopie, then edit them in size to fit your blog. You really don't have to know much about graphic design to edit things like that.
In fact, I am purely self-taught when it comes to anything graphic or design related. I just got my hands on Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Fireworks and began to experiment and learn as I went along.
Sometimes I had to google and find posts of how to do certain things but mostly, I just learned by trying out stuff. In no time at all, I found myself naturally and easily adjusting stuff and even creating simple things that I needed quickly!
But, if you think you would like to or want to hire a professional to do you logo and design modifications for a very reasonable price, you can use one of the most established freelance websites around: Elance!
Step 23: Upload Your Own Website Favicon
Use Favicon Generator to create one and upload it to your blog. Then put the code into header of your theme.
Over To You Now…
Go begin setting up your blog and getting it ready for your spanking brand new blog launch!
If you have any recommendations or suggestions on things to add here, feel free to let me know or leave a comment. I'll get back to you and see what I can do.
Or, what other things do you do before a new blog launch? I would love to hear about them!