We were recently talking about setting up your own blogs. I shared my favorite resources. I let you know where I find my WordPress themes. And then I let you know how to install WordPress, and how to install themes. I’m currently in the process of setting up two new blogs (eventually going up at AllBookWriting.com and JennSays.com), so today I’m going to share a basic rundown of my full blog launch process. While I don’t follow it exactly for every blog, it’s pretty close, and may help you get through the blog launch process if you’re new to it.
Blog Launch Checklist
___ Decide on a niche / topic / theme.
___ Jot down some preliminary post ideas (make sure you can think of enough topics to keep the blog going, and it will help you set up your category structure).
___ Choose and register a domain name.
___ Set up a Web hosting account (I usually use Hostgator – I have a few accounts in different places to install new blogs on, so I don’t need to do this each time. If you plan to launch multiple blogs, you may want to find a host that allows you to host them together.)
___ Set up an email address (I generally set up an email account for each domain I have. If you want to do this, you should be able to through your host.)
___ Install the blog platform (in my case that’s always WordPress).
___ Find and install a theme (the blog design template).
___ Customize the theme if you plan to, and add your own graphics (including your logo).
___ Set up your category structure.
___ Add your blogroll or links list if you plan to include one.
___ Go to Feedburner and burn your feed to be able to track your RSS feed stats.
___ Install and activate any plugins. (I usually activate Akismet to control comment spam. I also usually install the Add Meta Tags plugin whether or not I plan to use it for each post, and the Feedburner Feedsmith plugin which converts your feed links to your Feedburner address.)
___ Change your permalink structure in the options if you plan to (I usually make this show the category and post name instead of just a post number).
___ Set up your ads or any widgets (such as if you want to add a MyBlogLog widget or something). Some people prefer to not put ads in until they build an audience. I’ve always considered that dishonest – leading readers to believe it will remain that way. So I include them immediately. It also helps you solidify your long-term layout.
___ Set up an email subscription form if you plan to have this feature. I prefer using Feedblitz for this.
___ Create initial posts / content to cover at least the first week.
___ Start announcing your blog (on other sites of yours, in forum sigs, etc.).