Too many people believe that looking into a checklist for starting a blog is completely redundant.
If you ask me, those people are living in a denial.
Especially if they're on the verge of building a website for the very first time.
How do I know that?
It's simple - I used to be one of those people not that long ago.
In case you don't want to become one of them too, you should read this article to its very end.
Today, we'll talk about 15 important steps you must take before and after starting your blog.
Let me tell you, some of them are sneaky, twisted, and easy to be over-looked!
This post contains affiliate links, you are welcome to read my disclosure.
Why Do You Need A Checklist For Starting A Blog?
For starters, let's imagine that you still refuse to see the benefits of such a checklist. That will automatically place you in the above-mentioned category of "people in denial", correct?
Hopefully, I haven't offended anyone when making this statement.
But if I have, allow me to make it up to you by explaining where my belief in it is coming from:
So, you've decided that today is day to learn how to start a blogging business.
Chances are, you've already read tons of information about how to start a blog and how to start a blog WordPress, right?
Maybe you have Social Media in mind?
Then you must have researched topics like how to start a blog on Instagram or how to start a blog on Facebook.
Up until now, you haven't done anything wrong.
On the contrary, doing research is always a smart move no matter what you're trying to achieve.
Be that as it may, learning about the technical part of building a website is nowhere near enough.
Assuming that you need your blog to be a profitable business and not just a hobby, knowing how to install WordPress is just a part of your journey, not the finish line.
What about a strategic plan that will keep your day-to-day blogging activities in check?
Or setting tough, yet achievable short-term and long term goals?
Shall I even ask who your target audience is and where you'll find it?
Make no mistake, you need to ask yourselves the right questions and find their answers sooner rather than later if you want your blog to succeed.
And that's where the good old blog checklist will come in handy!
Do You Need To Know How To Start A Blog And Make Money? Read The Step-By-Step Tutorial To Creating A Website
Checklist For Starting A Blog - 15 Things You Should Do Before And After Launching Your Business
First thing first, no two blogs are exactly the same - you know that right?
While you were doing your research, probably you've looked into the most popular blogs working in the niche you're interested in.
Maybe you've even read about the most successful blogs in the world?
In my opinion, it's not a bad idea to keep them in mind as blog examples that inspire you.
Still, you need to focus on building your business that will reflect your personality and your take on the topics you're going to blog about.
With that being said, here is a simple blueprint of 15 steps that will help you find your blogging voice and make sure that you're starting on the right foot:
1) Imagine What Your Blog Will Be About
Just so we're clear, don't make any final decision yet.
Instead, let your imagination run free and don't limit yourself while thinking about your future blog.
This first step is all about doing some serious self-exploring.
Why is that important?
Well, I'll answer this question with another question:
Do you want to spend months working on a website just to realize one day that your own blog bores you to death? That producing content for it is a unique form of torture you push yourself to go through every day?
Even worse, you're not enjoying yourself and you're wondering why the hell did you start that blog in the first place?
Yeah, didn't think so!
To avoid any of this happening, the smartest thing you can do is to stop rushing yourself.
Take your time and make sure that the niche you'll go for is something you're really passionate about.
The joy you'll experience while writing about it is what will get you through when things get tough and you're thinking about giving up!
2) Decide On A Niche
I know, spending a lot of time daydreaming is something we all do.
Unfortunately, it can't go on forever.
Sooner or later, you'll have to make the first very important decision regarding your blog - its niche.
Since you already know that being passionate about your niche is essential, let's talk about the other huge factor that matters - profitability.
After all, you'll be building a business, so let's be sure that the odds to make it lucrative are on your side!
Nowadays, almost every niche imaginable is capable of delivering a full-time income.
Then again, it's a fact that some niches are more profitable than others.
For instance, personal finance, lifestyle, fashion, health/wellness, weight loss, yoga...
All of them are a good choice that will allow you to make a lot of money blogging!
3) Set Up Your Blogging Goals
Basically, setting up goals is one of the most important steps in this checklist for starting a blog.
You need to have a clear vision of what your game plan is going to be.
Otherwise, you're reducing your chances to turn into a full-time blogger completely on your own.
There is an old saying that perfectly fits the narrative here:
"If you don't know where you're going, you'll end up somewhere else".
Considering your business will hopefully bring you income for life, you can't afford for that business to just "end up somewhere else".
To avoid that, write down your goals - a good place to start is knowing what you want to achieve in your first blogging year.
For example, how much traffic do you wish your blog to be getting before the year is over?
How many email subscribers would you like to see on your email list?
Or how much money your content has to deliver?
Once you have all that figured out, it's time for the next step:
4) Create A Blogging Schedule
Generally, too many people jump into the world of blogging with both feet without slowing down for a second.
They want it all, they want it now, and they work tirelessly to get it for an impressive amount of time.
While I admire their enthusiasm, I don't think that you should follow their example.
Simply because the way they approach the business happens to be the fastest way to burn out completely.
Trying to do everything all at once is too much no matter how good at multitasking you might be.
It will overwhelm you to the point where you won't be able to think clearly, trust me on that!
Above all, blogging is a marathon, not a sprint.
Do yourself a favor and come up with a schedule that will allow you to keep up with your daily blogging activities without losing your mind.
Personally, I think breaking down the working process into small, achievable steps is the smartest thing you can do in your early blogging days.
5) Find Out Who Is Your Target Audience
Believe it or not, that's one of the most over-looked steps and I strongly feel that it should be on every checklist for starting a blog.
Explained in the most simple terms, you can't sell anything to anyone unless you know who you're selling to.
And if you're hoping to monetize your content big time, your future customers have to be your readers first.
Let's say that you would like to start a mommy blog. Naturally, you might think that every woman who has a child will become a reader.
Well, that's not exactly true!
I mean, what type of mothers your articles are going to serve?
Is it the ones who haven't given birth yet? Or the ones whose children are home-schooled?
Maybe you want to write for mothers who have issues connecting with their teenage daughters?
Do you see how the type of content you'll be putting out there is changing depending on the kid's age?
Again, focusing on a specific audience to target is really important and it's a step you shouldn't be ignoring!
6) Choose A Name For Your Blog
Alright, we're done with the big and tough decisions you have to make before creating a blog!
From now on, things are going to get easier!
Starting with your blog's name - choosing it could be super-fun, right?
Here is my take on what to keep in mind when deciding on a name for your blog:
Make it short, keep it simple, and try to get a .com in its end.
Also, don't forget to do research first and make sure that there isn't another brand with a similar name already - you don't want the confusion!
Or you can go in an entirely different direction:
Amazon doesn't have anything to do with the river, but is there a person in the world who is not aware of what that company is and what it does?
7) Choose A Reliable Hosting Provider
A quick heads-up:
Some web hosting services like BlueHost will provide you with a domain name for free.
So, don't rush to buy the name before you've decided on a hosting site.
With that being said, choose wisely:
The quality of hosting will affect the quality of your business.
You don't want a hosting that will make your site slow or with horrible customer support that couldn't care less.
If you need help when making that decisions, read my article about the best hosting services nowadays.
By the way, the same article will reveal to you how I'm having a professional hosting for free and how to grab the same deal!
8) Install A Premium Website Theme
OK, I'm pretty sure I can guess the thoughts crossing your mind right now:
"But what about the blogging budget? Shouldn't I wait until my site is making money before I invest some of mine?"
Well, you might not like it, but the correct answer here is no, you shouldn't wait.
There are many blogging tools and resources that you probably don't need straight away, but a premium theme is definitely not one of them.
Call me crazy, but what's the point of losing time doing your best to customize a free theme that could never satisfy fully your needs as a business owner?
After all, isn't time your most precious asset, especially if you're newbie blogger who has hundreds of blogging tasks to take care of?
Personally, purchasing a premium theme sooner rather than later is one of the best decisions I've ever made for my blog.
On that note, if you're thinking about investing in a professional theme, I would suggest you check Elegant Themes and Thrive Themes.
Elegant Themes are offering highly-customizable themes that look awesome and will allow you to do quite a lot with your blog.
And Thrive Themes (powering this website) are all about high conversion rates and building your email list super-fast.
9) Get Your New Website Ready For Work
Don't freak out, you're not starting to write your first blog post just yet.
No, getting your website ready for work is actually one of the most simple steps in this checklist for starting a blog.
The tasks I'm talking about are easy to complete.
Here is what I have in mind:
- Delete the dummy content - "Hello, world" and "Just another WordPress website" need to go.
- Set "Post Name" as a default of your permalink structure - you don't want to skip this step. As you probably already know, permalinks affect SEO. Therefore, make sure that yours are set to "post name".
- Adjust your font size to at least 16 pixels - that will make your content easy to read.
See, I told you - nothing that it can't be done in a couple of minutes!
10) Get A Professional Email Address
Once you're the owner of an online business, you're also the owner of a brand.
Likewise, you may want to use an email address that represents that brand.
I mean, do you think communicating with your audience, fellow bloggers, and companies you may work with from your personal email is a good idea?
Something on Yahoo or Gmail, maybe?
Honestly, don't do that - not if you want to be taken seriously.
A lot of the web hosting services will provide you with a professional email address for free.
So, you don't even have to pay for it, you just need to use it!
11) Install Helpful Plugins
Generally, having too many plugins installed can slow down your website.
While it's recommended to keep the number of your plugins down, you'll still need at least a couple of them to do your job properly.
If you ask me, you won't regret using these 3:
- Yoast SEO - it may not be perfect and you should take its suggestions with a grain of salt, but Yoast will give you a good enough idea about how your SEO is doing.
- Kraken - that's what I'm using for compressing and optimizing my images. Again, it's all about your site's speed.
- Social Pug - currently, that's my Social Sharing plugin that helps me quite a lot with my Pinterest traffic.
11) Add a Tagline
Quite frankly, having a tagline is not the most essential step in this checklist for starting a blog.
As you can see, mine is not always visible either.
Still, it's not the worst thing in the world to place a tagline on your website.
Firstly, because it will help your readers to get a sense of what your business is about immediately.
Secondly, because it certainly adds a touch of personality.
That being said, you can consider the tagline optional.
Overall, the lack of it is not going to destroy your business, nor will silence the message your articles are trying to convey.
13) Create Your Important Pages
In comparison to the previous paragraph, this one matters so much more!
To clarify, when you're building an online business, you have to make sure that you're blogging legally.
Meaning, you'll need to create a couple of blog pages that will take care of that for you.
- Disclaimer - a disclaimer will limit your liability for the outcome of using your blog. For example, if some of your content turns out to be inaccurate, a disclaimer will protect you against legal actions.
- Affiliate Disclosure - that one is a MUST if you're monetizing your content using the affiliate marketing business model. Don't forget, you have to let your readers know that some of your links are affiliate links in every article you're placing them.
So, save yourselves a lot of headaches and unpleasant experience and make the time to create those pages!
14) Create And Place Opt-In Forms On Your Website
Chance are, you might be wondering why I'm giving this step a spot on my checklist for starting a blog.
Well, the answer is kind of simple actually:
Above all, you absolutely have to start building your email list from day one.
Even if think that can wait, even if you feel like it's too early and you don't have anything valuable to offer yet!
Trust me, I learned this lesson the hard way.
Email marketing is still one of the most powerful ways to market your content and to have a direct connection with your audience.
With that being said, you'll need an email autoresponder service to help you with your email marketing campaigns.
The only one I trust and love is ConvertKit - it's a paid service, but it offers a pretty long free trial!
15) Write Your First Blog Post
As if the last step was going to be anything else...
Up until now, you've done so much to get your blog up and running.
Isn't it time to let your expertise and creativity shine?
I think that it is!
But what your first article should be about?
Honestly, I can't answer that for you - it depends on too many factors like your niche, the type of content you would like to publish, etc.
What I can do, though, is show you how to make the best of your first blog post with this related read:
Hopefully, my checklist for starting a blog will be of great help to you.
At the end of the day, to build a whole online business is not the easiest thing in the world.
So, there is nothing wrong with getting a bit of extra help, is there?
Anything missing from that list?
I'll be happy to read your suggestions!