The Only Checklist you ever need beforeLaunching a Blog by Vivek R, wpstuffs.com December 3rd 2012Launching a new blog has been always a fascinating experience for meMost of the bloggers take much care about setting up a beautiful themesand marketing strategies, Which is really awesome things to do but theyoften fail to realize the importance of minor tweaks which can bring themenormous result.
When I launched WPStuffs I haven’t completely tweaked it, So I made alist and slowly started to fix the things one by one.In this article I am presenting you the list I made,Make sure that you fixall these things before you press Launch button.Note that I assumed you are using WordPress, which is the most usedplatform by bloggers.(some of the fixes still applies to non WordPressblogs also)Essential TweaksI start with some basic configuration of Wordpress.Setup PermalinksPermalinks are Human readable URL’s assigned to your blog posts.Actually WordPress make this process pretty simple. Just go toDashboard >> Settings >> PermalinksYou can see some five different types of URL patterns based on date,category etc. Select the one you wish to have as default.I normally choose URL with post title in it.
You can check this post URL which is an example of above mentionedURL Pattern. Nevertheless you can also choose custom URL for each postand pages. Best guide for Configuring WP PermalinksDomain Redirection – non WWW to WWWImplementing This step completely depends on you.By default your blog URL will be on naked domain address that iswithout www. in front of the URL.I usually change this to www but there is no good reason to do this, Somepeople say it has a SEO advantage but it is not yet proved.To make this little change go to Dashboard >> Settings >> General
You can see field called WordPress Address (URL), just add www. afterhttp://.Similarly you have to change the Site Address (URL) also.Adding Ping ServicesThis is another minor Tweak to score high on SEO.Whenever you publish a content or change the content, the change will bereflected to various Search Engines like Google,Bing etc.So after you publish a post search engine bots will be crawling your newcontent.To add some ping services go to Dashboard >> Settings >> WritingAt the bottom of the page you can see the field for adding ping URL’s.You can get the list of essential ping URL’s on WordPress official website.Configure Akismet PluginYou are likely to get tons of spam comments,If you didnd secure your
WordPress properly.Akismet is pre bundled WordPress plugin which can effectively fight thespam comments.For further reading you can refer my previous article in which I gave thelist of plugins and methods to secure your blog from Web Spam.Content and Design TweaksBefore even thinking about launching your blog you must have somequality articles ready to post because when people visit your blog they arelikely to look for other articles if they like what they read and If you don’thave enough articles then you’re in danger of loosing your preciousreader.Also you must have some other contents ready before launching yourblog, such asAbout PageThis is the gateway of transforming your first time readers to loyalreaders.About page in any blog is the most likely page to be visited by a user afterreading your awesome content.So It is essential for you to prepare a nice pitch about your blog andyourself.
Contact UsContact page is the excellent bridge between you and your readers. Also Itis the best method for your potential advertisers to connect with you.It is most advisable to prepare a Contact page before going live.Setup WordPress MenuWith the advent of new WordPress 3 menu, adding menu items has beenmade simple by drag and drop interface. So it won’t take much time andwork to setup a perfect menu for your blog.Make sure that you link your main categories and other important staticpages like About, Contact and Archives page.Install Rich Text EditorI am not a big fan of WordPress default text editor because it give onlyvery few options to makeup your text.In most of my blogs I use TinyMCE Advanced editor,It gives bunch oftools and options to modify your editor itself.You can also consider some other popular plugins like Ultimate TinyMCEand CKEditor.Add a FaviconI often forget to make this little change every time I launch a new blog.
It is very essential to add your own favicon to make your brand visible. Itmay sound strange but your readers will be taking note of even smalldetails like favicon.Most of the themes now come with option to add favicon. Ifyou didn’t have the option then you can edit your theme’s CSS file orinstall a plugin like WordPress Total hacks.Social Media Tweaks and RSS syndicationSignup for Popular Social Media channelsSocial media channels are a wonderful tool available to modern bloggers.It’s a best and cheap method to get their blog to larger audience base.Creating a social media channels will also useful to secure your brand.It is entirely upto you to choose your favorite social media channels tostart with. Most bloggers use social media channels likePlace Social Sharing ButtonsPeople using social media are generally too lazy, So it becomes your dutyto place social sharing Icons in front of their eyes to get your contentshared.There are several Plugin available to accomplish this task. I personallyuse Digg Digg and Twitter Facebook Social Share buttons. Either pluginhas floating options and integrated with most popular social platforms.
Create Feedburner AccountIt is a wise thing to setup your Feeds on Feedburner. Feedburner offersvarious options to optimize your feed and even you can monetize yourfeed with Feedburner.Here is a step by step Guide to setup a Feedburner on WordPress.Redirect default feeds to FeedburnerMost of the readers are likely to get confused with your native XML RSSfeed and Feedburner feed. So what you can do is, redirect the native XMLfeed to your Feedburner URL.This can be achieved by using some plugins like FD Feedburner Plugin orby adding some codes.I use Genesis theme hence I have a default optionin Theme settings to redirect Feeds.Auto post to your social media accountsIt is possible to auto post blog updates to your social media accountsthrough Feedburner. Here is a post about configuring auto post options.Alternatively you can also use Publicize feature which is integrated withJetpack Plugin.I will be talking about Jetpack plugin later in this post.If you have some money to spend then go with the plugin calledNextscript Social Network Auto poster, by using this plugin you can autopost to some other social media channels like Google Plus and PinterestPages.
Signup for Email Service and Setup Optin FormsMost of the successful bloggers out there built their tremendous readersbase though Email list only. There are several advantages of using Emaillist over social media channels.Aweber and Mailchimp are two most trusted brands in Email services. Iam using Mailchimp for my blogs. If you are not willing to pay for Emailservice, then go with Mailchimp. You can get a Free account in which youcan add up to 2000 subscribers.Next big thing after signing up for this service is to setup eye catchingOptin form throughout your blog.As you can see, I have optin form in my blog’s right sidebar and belowthis article. You can use some premium plugins like Popup Dominationand Optin skin by viper chill.(Here I have designed my own stuff)Search Engine OptimizationInstall WordPress SEO pluginThere are many SEO plugins out there for wordpress,I always preferWordPress SEO by Yoast Plugin. It is the by far best plugin which canmanage more than just SEO.Also,With this plugin you can easily setup Google Authorship and XMLsitemaps.Another great feature is:you can import SEO settings from other pluginssuch as All in One SEO pack and SEO Ultimate.
Signup for Google Webmasters Tool and BingWebmaster ToolsYou may aware that Google and Bing has their own set of tools to providegreater insights about your blog SEO.Just signup for both and submit your blog’s XML sitemap there.SEO by Yoast plugin comes with built in XML generator, so you cansubmit that. Otherwise you can choose from plenty of other pluginsavailable like Google XML sitemap generator.Other TweaksInstall Jetpack PluginJetpack plugin is one of my favorite, It comes with plenty of features in asingle plugin. Some features like Site stats, Publicize, EnhancedComments and Photos will be very useful to you.Signup for Google Analytics or other visitors trackingservicesThe stats provided by Jetpack plugin will not be enough to analyze ourblog traffic pattern, So It is essential to signup for some professionaltracking services such as Google Analytics, Statscounter or Get clicky.Control Post RevisionsEvery time you make a change to your blog post, the copies get stacked
one after another in database. Initially it may not harm your blog buteventually when your blog grows it will get your blog very slow andunresponsive.So it is wise to control post revisions .You can edit some code in wp-config.php to make this possible, If you are too lazy like me then useplugins like WPTotal Hacks and Revision control.Install Caching PluginCaching plugin transforms your blog as a set of HTML pages which canboost up your blog speed. Note that your blog’s speed indirectlycontributes to your SEO score and bounce rate.When your article goes viral then this plugin helps to withstand a suddenTraffic spikes.If your blog is hosted on shared Host like Hostgator,Bluehost then youcan go with WPSupercache plugin and If you opted for a VPS ordedicated host then you can go with WPTotal cache plugin.Both theplugins has its own advantages in certain platforms, Especially WPTotalcache is very powerful plugin but your server should be properlyconfigured for that, otherwise you can’t expect any good results.You can compare your blog speed using some online tools like PingdomTool,GTMetrix and Google Pagespeed.That’s already a Huge List isn’t it ? I am not going to engage you further.Just go ahead and launch your awesome blog keeping above thingsticked.