Now that you’ve decided to start your blog, you will want to make sure you have the most important aspects of your blog together.
Naturally, you will want to come up with a blog checklist to make sure you have the right things planned out.
Blogging is more than just putting together a bunch of random articles on the internet. A blog needs to be carefully planned and have a few important aspects if it’s going to succeed.
There are some things that you can wait to set up down the road, like extras for your blog. However, there are some vital elements every blog should have set up right at the beginning.
To help you make sure you have everything covered, we’ve put together this blogging checklist of 10 essential things you should have together.
If you have these set up right from the start, you will have a better chance of seeing your blog do well down the road.
Also, it makes things easier if you have these properly set up at the beginning. It can be more difficult and time-consuming to have to change some of these down the road. For example, if you didn’t spend enough time planning your blog name and need to change it after everything is set up it can set you back and cost you time.
Here is the checklist.
1. Blog Topic
A blog should have a main topic that it is centred around.
Rather than just having a bunch of unrelated, random posts, your blog material should all be related in some way.
Some people may already have a good idea about what they want to blog about and some may not.
To find a blog topic, there are a number of things you should do.
First, you should look at your interests and skills. If you are passionate about what you’re blogging about chances are you will enjoy doing it more. Also, if you have knowledge about your topic it will be easier to offer useful information to your readers.
Secondly, you will want to look at how popular you niche is.
Some things you should find out are:
- How many people are searching for my topic?
- How many shares are existing articles getting?
- Is there a lot of competition for my topic?
- Will my topic last or will its loose popularity?
To look at the number of searches for your topic you can use Google’s keyword planner tool.
To look at the number of social shares articles in your niche are getting you can use Buzzsumo.
For a more in-depth guide on using these tools, you can look at this guide on how to find a good topic for your blog.
You should also make sure that your blog topic is evergreen. You don’t want to spend time creating a blog only to find out that you audience is fading away.
Use Google Trends to look at the popularity of your topic over time. If your topic has been steadily popular over time, there’s a better chance it will stay like that and not drop out of demand.
2. Blog Name
You blog name is how your readers will relate to your blog.
It is important to choose a blog name that is easy to remember and tells what your blog is about.
You should strive to create a catchy name that goes well with your topic. Think of the different words that go with your topic. Try combining different keywords and you can even try to make up words in your blog name.
You blog name is important in establishing your brand. Whenever someone goes to type in the URL or click on a link to your site, they will most likely see your blog name.
You may come up with a blog name only to find out that it is already taken by somebody else. Try not to get discouraged, there are plenty of names still out there and with some creativity they aren’t impossible to find.
Check out this guide on choosing a name for your blog.
Whether or not you name is available as a domain name will also influence what name you end up choosing.
3. Domain Name
Your domain name will be how people access your blog.
Essentially, your domain name is used to identify your blog on the internet.
There are many different domain name extensions that are available. Generally, getting a .com domain is the most desirable as it is the most popular domain extension and people relate to it well.
However, if you have a name you really like and it isn’t available as a .com domain, you may want to try to find it with another extension.
Here are some others that are popular:
- .co: Stands for company, has gained popularity as a .com alternative.
- .org: Originally intended for organizational use.
- .net: Originally for networks.
- .io: Has become popular for tech start-ups as it can stand for I/O or input/output.
4. Web Host
Choosing a good web host is important for many different reasons.
The quality of your web host will affect how fast your site is, the security, and how often there is downtime for your blog.
Site speed is very important. Visitors expect a website to load quickly and will leave if it doesn’t load fast enough. There is a greater chance that visitors won’t return to a poorly performing website. Statistics say 74% of users will abandon a site after waiting 5 seconds for it to load.
You also want to make sure your site is not going to experience excessive downtime. Choosing a good host will help make sure your site stays up.
Site speed and downtime are also ranking factors that search engines take into consideration when grading your website. The better your site performs, the better chance you have of showing up in search results pages and in turn attracting more traffic.
You want to get a web host that offers quality service at a good price. We recommend Bluehost to those starting a blog. To learn on how to set up hosting, visit this tutorial on how to start a blog.
You will need a CMS (content management system) to manage your blog posts and make managing your blog a lot easier.
Unless you are an experienced coder, you need a platform to create your blog. Even if you are well-versed in programming, there is not really any need to re-invent the wheel.
When it comes to choosing a blog platform, you should go with the best one. There are many blog hosting sites out there, but we recommend WordPress.
WordPress is the most used CMS on the market.
WordPress is easy to set up and use even for a beginner.
The nice thing about WordPress is that there are literally thousands of themes you can use to customize the design of your blog.
If you need to add a new feature to your blog, WordPress plugins can take care of that for you as well.
Choosing a good CMS will help you get a head start with your blog. WordPress takes care of many things for you so you can focus on actually creating content for your blog.
As just mentioned, one of the perks of using WordPress is that you get to use WordPress themes.
Once more, unless you are familiar with programming and languages like CSS, you’re going to want to use some sort of pre-made design.
Luckily WordPress themes give you an easy way to design your site and also do much, much more. For example, Genesis is an excellent example of a great WordPress theme for blogging.
There are thousands of themes out there so you can choose what design fits your blog best. Many WordPress themes let you design your site with simple drag-and-drop to make customization easy.
The best WordPress themes also are fully mobile responsive (look good on all devices including phones, tablets, and laptops), SEO optimized, and come with updates and support.
If you choose WordPress, the design aspect of your blog is easy to get together, and there are tons of options to choose from.
When you operate a blog, you want to protect not only your information and site but also your viewers.
Unfortunately, there are malicious users out there that can try to do damage to your blog.
Hackers can try to do a number of things including steal or remove data from your site, redirect your users to malicious sites, or insert malware onto your site.
Fortunately, there are things you can and should do to help prevent such attacks.
With WordPress, there are security plugins that will help harden your site against attackers. For example, Sucuri provides a plugin that adds protection to your blog and can scan for malware.
It’s a good idea to get a security plugin for your blog. You can a list with more options on the blog tools page.
Here is a list from WordPress.org of some other things you can do to make your blog more secure.
8. Social Sharing Buttons
One of the best things you can do to increase the number of social shares your blog gets is to make it easy for your viewers to share your blog posts.
Social share buttons do just that, and no blog should be without them
There are many ways social buttons can be displayed. They can be shown as an inline sidebar, as a popup, or before or after your post. This is ultimately up to you to decide and there are many plugins that let you do this.
The Easy Social Share Buttons WordPress plugin adds simple but well-designed social share buttons to your blog.
When adding social share buttons to your WordPress blog is as easy as installing a plugin, there really is no excuse not to have them. Social buttons can increase your traffic and it’s a good idea to include them.
9. About Page and Contact Page
An about and contact page will help add a more personal touch to your blog for your readers.
An about page is one of the most important aspects of your blog and will help you tell your story.
It’s also a good idea to have a contact page where people can contact you. A big part of blogging is about connecting with others and your contact page will let anyone interest in getting in touch with you do just that.
Also, if you want to run independent ads on your blog you contact page can be a way for advertisers to contact you.
As a bonus, having a contact page with a good amount of contact information is also a Google Ranking Factor.
Great content is arguably the most important aspect of any blog.
If your content is helpful, readers will be more likely to come back to read your blog.
Also, useful, information-rich content naturally gets more shares and links. If people like something, it makes sense that they naturally will be more inclined to share it with others.
It’s a good idea to have a certain amount of content already published before you launch your blog.
Ideally, try to have 5-10 articles written and also ideas for more. Here is a great article by Darren Rowse from ProBlogger that covers how much content you should have when you launch your blog.
With proper planning and dedication, you can create a blog that can become successful.
Like many things, creating a blog that gets successful takes time. Getting traffic to your blog can take time so try not to get discouraged if you’re not seeing traffic right away.
With this blog checklist of 10 essential things you should have together, you can make sure you have the right aspects of your blog in place.
Once everything is ready, you can get ready to launch your blog.
Your next mission is creating great content. The more use your content has to readers, the more shares and links your blog can attract.
Also, don’t forget to actively promote your blog. Many beginners neglect this aspect of blogging and then wonder why they aren’t getting as much traffic.
The truth is that if no one knows about your blog, it doesn’t matter how good it is. There needs to be some way for people to find out about your awesome blog and the first way it gets out there is from your initial promotion. Of course, if you want to outsource this you can also hire someone else to do the marketing for you.
Starting a blog is fun and exciting. Set yourself up for blogging success and make sure you have the right blog ingredients together with a bit of planning.