The bloggers-checklist


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The bloggers-checklist

  1. 1. The Blogger’s Check List By Linda Fulkerson of On Blogging Well 1
  2. 2. Copyright & Disclaimer ©2009 by Linda Fulkerson All rights reserved. The information in this ebook is provided “as is,” with no implied warranties or guarantees. What Can You Do With This Report? This is a FREE report. You are welcome to share this report with anyone, reprint portions of it on your blog or website, offer it as a free bonus, and basically do anything, except sell it for profit. If you do reprint content from this report I’d appreciate an attribution link to On Blogging Well is a subdivision of Linda Fulkerson’s parent company: Community Website Solutions LLC PO Box 848 Morrilton, AR 72110 2
  3. 3. Blogger’s Checklist by Linda Fulkerson of OnBloggingWell.comIntroductionWelcome!A lot of behind-the-scenes work goes into blogging. While this list may appear overwhelming atfirst, please realize that many of the items are one-time tasks. Once you’ve placed a check mark nextto such tasks, you’re done and won’t have to repeat them.This list is merely an overview.The purpose of this document is to share with you the “what” behind setting up and maintaining ablog. For more in-depth instruction (i.e. the “how?”), visit or purchase mysoon-to-be-released eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Blogging Well, which will teach specifics foreach item on this list and provide detailed information about launching and maintaining your blog.No blogger’s checklist list is “complete.”While I’ve done my best to cover everything you’ll need to do to plan, launch, and maintain asuccessful blog, this list is by no means the end-all checklist to blogging. Due to the very nature ofthe ever-changing Internet, such a list would be impossible to develop. However, this list will helpyou create a top blog in your chosen subject, and I encourage you to continue your study of blogging. © 2 0 0 9 L i n d a L F u l k e r s o n • P O B o x 8 4 8 , M o r r i l t o n , A R 7 2 11 0 • w w w. o n b l o g g i n g w e l l . c o m
  4. 4. Positioning Your Blog Seven things your blog needs to be successful ❑ Your Interest If you aren’t interested in your blog’s topic, no one else will be either. Choose a subject you care about -- one that you’ll want to share with others ❑ Your Expertise The old adage “write what you know” applies to bloggers as well. By being knowledgeable about your topic, you’ll know who to interview, what resources are available, and what questions newcomers to your niche will want answered. ❑ Your Audience Blogging is about building relationships. The better you know your audience, the more you can serve them, which will help your blog prosper. ❑ Your Topic Not just any topic, but a well-focused topic. Think of a common subject and come up with an uncommon approach to it and you’ll have a winning blog. One example is Julie & Julia. Cooking is common, but blogging your way through a cookbook -- very unique. ❑ Your Marketing Plan It takes more than compelling content to tip the scales toward success -- effective marketing is vital. ❑ Your Time Blogging takes time, yet it can be one of the most gratifying experiences you will have. ❑ Your Control This is my number one reason for insisting those who are serious about blogging need a self-hosted blog. If you’re on a free host, you don’t control your blog. For more information about the items in this section, please visit 4
  5. 5. Planning Your Blog Picking everything from purpose to platform  ❑ Purpose The first decision you need to make before starting a blog is defining your blog’s purpose. ❑ Subject Knowing your purpose for blogging will likely help steer you toward choosing a topic for your blog. ❑ Niche While not as important for personal blogs, a niche within your subject is vital for a business blog. What unique slant or “take” will you spin on your selected subject? What does this audience want to learn? ❑ Name Selecting a name for your blog is exciting. It’s a good idea to have several choices in case one or more domain names are not available. Simply go to a domain registrar and type in the name you want. ❑ Platform There are many to choose from but I highly recommend WordPress. ❑ Hosting Free hosting is an option picked by many beginning bloggers, but I would encourage you to start off, even from day one, to purchase a hosting plan and “own” your blog rather than have a free service have control. Most blog hosting packages are less than $10/month. ❑ Design Your design choice will likely stem from your blog’s topic. Look for a clean design that doesn’t distract from your content or images. Cleaner themes also load faster and are easier to optimize for search. For more information about the items in this section, please visit 5
  6. 6. Preparing Your Blog Your pre-launch sequence ❑ First Posts Before announcing your blog to the world, write five “pillar” posts -- these are posts that are timeless and will begin the buzz about your new blog. ❑ Content You’ve probably heard the Internet adage, “Content is King.” If you don’t have compelling content, all your promotion and optimization efforts will have been in vain. Online readers enjoy short, engaging, value- packed posts. Read each post out loud before publishing it. ❑ Headlines If content is king, then a great headline is the crown. Great headlines are a blogger’s best tool for converting casual guests to regular readers. Blogging experts suggest writing up to 10 headlines per post and choosing the best one. ❑ Technical Stuff Before the big launch, check things such as the speed in which your theme loads and if it displays correctly in the main browsers (Explorer, FireFox, Safari, Chrome, etc.). Also check for broken links. ❑ Polish the PUGS Do a final check on each post for Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling before clicking the publish button. ❑ Preview Use the Preview Post feature. Save your draft, then click on the Preview button to make sure your image looks good and the post is pleasing to the eye. White space, bold sub-headings, bullets, etc., make it easier to read. For more information about the items in this section, please visit 6
  7. 7. Launching Your Blog Countdown to a successful launch ❑ Fuel it for the launch Write an schedule at least five pillar posts. Include both external and internal relative links. ❑ Prepare your pages Create an “About” page, and “Archives” page, and a “Contact” page in addition to the “Home” page, plus any other unique pages your blog will need. ❑ Employ Easy Access Set up an RSS feed via Feedburner and create an email newsletter subscription form. Offer a free gift (like this report) for those who sign up for the newsletter. ❑ Build Relationships Leave insightful comments on other niche blogs. Invite guests to post and request to post on other niche blogs. Include competitor links on your blogroll. ❑ Easy Advertising Include your blog’s URL in your email addy, forum sig lines. Create a Twitter account & Facebook Fan Page. ❑ Foil the Spammers & Invite the Spiders Install & activate Akismet, then submit your site to ping update services. ❑ Bookmark Your Site Set up accounts with Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, Technorati, free blog directories, and install a plugin that allows guests to bookmark your posts. ❑ Make friends with Google Upload the Ultimate Google Analytics plugin and set up your blog with Google Analytics. ❑ Blast Off ! For more information about the items in this section, please visit 7
  8. 8. Writing Your Blog Penning your first posts and beyond ❑ Pillar Posts Pillar posts stand tall and support your blog. They create buzz and bring in new readers. They are timeless, directed at your niche audience, and are always relevant and popular. The following items in this section are examples of pillar posts. ❑ The How-To Article When in doubt, teach. How-to articles are meaty and readers often refer to them over and over again. Use how-to articles to answer the questions your niche audience frequently asks. ❑ The Definition Article Definition articles, (Think: Glossary), are helpful to readers who are new to your field of expertise. Each niche has its own nomenclature, and explaining terms that are unique to your topic will benefit newbies by answering questions they may be too afraid to ask. ❑ The List Article List articles remain some of the most popular among blog readers of all niches. Use dot-point bullets or numbers, keep the post between 300-700 words, and include compelling headlines. ❑ The Technical Blueprint Article Technical blueprint articles are an expansion of the how-to article and may include graphs, images, screenshots, or video to support the article’s text. ❑ The Argument Article Bloggers who pose a unique thought or theory that is in direct opposition to popular mindset of their niche audience often create instant buzz and garner a lot of comments. Many argument articles go viral. For more information about the items in this section, please visit 8
  9. 9. Enhancing Your Blog Moving beyond the basics ❑ Plugins WordPress offers a variety of plugins to enhance the appearance and functionality of your blog. Most can be found, installed, and activated through the WordPress Dashboard. ❑ Widgets In addition to plugins, including a widgetized sidebar opens the door to countless options for your blog. WordPress includes many prepared widgets. You can also create custom widgets for your sidebar. ❑ Images Second only to the headline, an eye-catching image is what attracts the attention of guests and encourages them to read your posts. Protect yourself by checking the license agreement on any images you use that you don’t personally own. (Note: Images included in this report and at were purchased from iStockPhoto but there are many free sources.) ❑ Video Video is currently the fastest growing content delivery method on the Internet. Traffic Geyser is an easy-to- use video blast service that also provides dozens of training videos on using video to increase your traffic. ❑ Podcasts Creating periodic podcasts will allow your audience to take your blog with them via an mp3 player. Podcasts also enhance your bond with your audience because as they hear your voice, they feel more connected to you. Placing your podcasts on iTunes helps drive traffic. ❑ Forums A community forum is a great way to build relationships between you and your readers. For more information about the items in this section, please visit 9
  10. 10. Promoting Your Blog Online & offline tactics to drive traffic to your site ❑ Friends & Family Don’t get discouraged if your friends & family members don’t read your blog. Unless they’re part of your niche audience, they may not be interested. It’s okay. Trust me. ❑ Brand Your Blog Your brand seals everything together in one tight, neat package. Every post, Tweet, product, or even casual mention of your blog should relate to your blog’s purpose & subject. ❑ Traffic Streams Set up streams that lead traffic to your blog using social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.), social bookmarking (Digg, Delicious, etc.), articles, guest posts on niche blogs, submissions to blog directories, and offline word of mouth. ❑ Interact Exchange blogroll links with blogs in your niche. Leave insightful comments on other blogs. Invite bloggers within your niche to guest post and offer to submit a guest post on other blogs. ❑ Advertising Enter the advertising realm with caution, as many new bloggers have gone crazy with AdWords campaigns before they knew how or when to do it. Start slow and learn how to properly launch and run an ad campaign before you break your bank. ❑ Pings Automatic pinging services alert the web crawlers whenever your blog has updates. Also, ask Google to index your site when you’re ready to launch it. For more information about the items in this section, please visit 10
  11. 11. Optimizing Your Blog Making your blog easy to find ❑ Keyword Research Tools such as Google AdWords Tool and WordTracker can help you discover effective keywords and phrases. ❑ Links & Permalinks Customize your permalink structure to make it easy for both humans and search engines to understand. Include “deep links” within your blog posts and external links to relevant sources. ❑ Anchor Text A very easy way to optimize your site is to carefully choose your anchor text. Because the search engines "see" the linked text, this is their only clue as to what the link, and therefore, the site, is about. Use long tail keyword phrases when writing anchor text. ❑ Choose the right platform Search bots look for relevant text to properly index blogs. If the code is cluttered, it’s hard for the bots to distinguish code from content. WordPress has the cleanest code and therefore, the lowest code to content ratio, making it easier to be “read” by bots. ❑ Choose the right theme All themes are not created equal. Back to the code issues mentioned above -- cutesy, flashy, scripty sites confuse bots and while some of those sites may look cool, they are penalized in the search results because of their code-overload. Plus, they often take longer to load, which can irritate your human readers. ❑ SEO is a process, not an event Use a plugin such as All-in-One SEO for WordPress and optimize every post and image in your blog. SEO is something you’ll continue throughout the life of your blog. Luckily, most of it is quick and easy. For more information about the items in this section, please visit 11
  12. 12. Protecting Your Blog Security measures for every blog ❑ Prevent Spam Comments The very first plugin all blogs should activate is Akismet. It comes pre-installed on all WordPress blogs and is hands-down the best comment spam catcher in the blogosphere. ❑ Guard Your Directories Few bloggers are aware of just how easily their directories (especially themes and plugins) can be accessed -- without even having your site hacked into. You can prevent this by placing an empty “Index.html” file within these folders. ❑ Backup Your Blog Regularly Fortunately, this can be done automatically with the WordPress Database Backup plugin. The plugin will email you a copy of your backup at whichever time interval you choose -- daily, weekly, or monthly. ❑ Always Update Your Blog The WordPress development team must never sleep, because updates are frequently released. Before performing any updates to either plugins or WordPress, though, make a manual backup. ❑ Limit Access to Hackers Using your FTP program (such as FileZilla or Fetch), download the .htaccess file from your server’s root folder. Upload this file into your wp-admin folder. ❑ Remove the “Version String” from your blog In your WordPress dashboard, go to edit themes > header.php. Find and remove bloginfo(‘version’). Save your changes. This makes it harder to hack your blog. ❑ Install WP-Security Scan This plugin monitors many security aspects and notifies you when something needs your attention. For more information about the items in this section, please visit 12
  13. 13. Monetizing Your Blog Using your blog to develop income streams ❑ The Money’s in the List That simple statement is the foundation of nearly all marketing efforts. You must actively seek leads to convert into list subscribers. I recommend using a respected, professional service such as Aweber. ❑ Maintain a Relationship Once people subscribe to your list, continue to feed them great information that will build you up as an authority in your niche as well as help them bond with you. Online marketing is first and foremost about building a trust relationship with your readers. ❑ List Building Tactics Create a free report to give in exchange for your prospect’s contact information. “Give away your best stuff for free.” Seriously. This gets them into your “marketing funnel.” ❑ Don’t Give It All Away! Follow up your freebie with a more in-depth ebook that supplements the information in your free report. Promote your ebook to your list members. You can then follow with a more in-depth, upscale product such as a video ecourse or membership site. ❑ Advertising Pay-per-click (PPC) is a great way to make money if you know how to do it. If you don’t, it’s a great way to spend money. You can also sell ads on your site once your traffic is flowing pretty well. ❑ Affiliates & Joint Ventures No product? No problem. Start making money by helping others in your niche sell their products. This builds relationships that can convert to joint ventures. For more information about the items in this section, please visit 13
  14. 14. Monitoring Your Blog Tips and tools to ensure your blog runs efficiently ❑ Feedburner Feedburner is a great email or RSS feed broadcasting tool for your blog and provides good analytical data about your readers, such as which posts are getting read the most. Data like this allows you to write more of what people want to read. ❑ Webalizer Webalizer (available on your cPanel) provides stats for Total Hits, Total Files, Total Pages, Total Visits, and other useful information, such as search strings, etc. ❑ Google Analytics Google gives even more information, such as your bounce rate, how long individual guests stayed on your site, and more. ❑ Change Alerts Automatic alert services, such as the free service, can alert you via email whenever a change has been made to your blog. ❑ Comment Alerts When you set up WordPress, the email address you supply can be notified whenever a comment is being held for moderation and/or a new comment has been posted. These notifications enable you to interact quickly with your blog’s readers. ❑ Heat Maps A heat map tells you where the “hot spots” on your blog are located. This is helpful when choosing where to place key items such as a lead capture form or advertising. For more information about the items in this section, please visit 14
  15. 15. Maintaining Your Blog Setting up a stress-free system ❑ Design a System to Your Needs Include an editorial calendar, a time for research, a time to write and schedule posts, search engine optimization, and other elements you choose. ❑ Google Webmaster Tools Webmaster tools allow you to monitor the performance of your of your site in a variety of ways, such as page load times, diagnosing potential problems within your site, sitemap creation, checking to see if your site has been hacked, suggestions for improvements to make to your site, and more. ❑ Promotion: A Never-ending Story In addition to your blogging system, a consistent promotion plan is vital to the success of your blog. A good rule of thumb is to do at least 5 things every day to promote your blog. ❑ Conduct Periodic Tech Checks Check for broken links, repair redirects, and perform routine maintenance on other technical issues to keep your blog healthy. A monthly check is probably sufficient, but you can do it more or less frequently, depending upon your blog and your available time. ❑ Maintain Your Relationships Some bloggers begin without understanding the social aspect of blogging. Interactions with readers and relationship-building are the fuel that feeds your blog. Without relationships, a blog will wither and starve. ❑ Stay Informed Continue your blogging information with my soon-to- be released eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Blogging Well. An announcement will be sent to the email newsletter list when the book is ready to purchase. For more information about the items in this section, please visit 15