Blog Launch Checklist

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 and, 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 any necessary "pages." These would be things like your About page. Remember, if you plan to use Google Adsense on your blog now, you're required to have a privacy policy in place, so it's a good time to add one.

___ 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.).

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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10 thoughts on “Blog Launch Checklist”

  1. This post really emphasizes how much I still need to learn about blogging. Even though I have just started my third blog, I don’t even know how to do many of the things on this list. Guess it’s time to do some more research. 🙂

  2. lol We all have to figure it out the first time – I remember when a lot of this stuff was still Greek to me. Burn my what now? lol

    If you have a question about something specific, feel free to ask, and I’ll try to help if I can. 🙂

  3. I am so lost. 🙁 I just purchased a domain through Blogger for my newest blog. I am lost on what I am doing now. I am not sure if the email is actually active or even how to access it.

    The publish page on Blogger says my domain must be properly registered. Isn’t that what I did when I bought it? When I go to the site that the domain is purchased from I have no idea how to log in to “register”.

    This all will be very time consuming. I can’t really ask for help because I don’t really know what I am asking. Once I get it figured out, it will be a good move I am sure. Just right now I am lost. 🙁

  4. They say you should get an email with that login info from Google Apps –

    Although in the future, I’d suggest registering your own. $10 is actually on the high end for registration these days (especially since they’re just reselling it essentially through eNom or Godaddy), and by doing it yourself you ensure that you have full control.

    It looks like registering it with them also means you’re still using their free hosting. I’d strongly suggest not doing that if it’s a new blog (might be your best option if the blog’s already on blogspot, and you want a real domain though). The problem is that they have control over the content, and if you choose to move it elsewhere later, you won’t have the ability to redirect all old pages to the new ones like you would if you host it yourself (that means you’ll lose all backlinks, search engine rankings, and most of your existing traffic).

  5. So if I start a new blog I should purchase the domain elsewhere, but for my existing blogs it’s okay to purchase through Blogger (eNom)? I am not sure how I’d move an existing blog otherwise.

    Also, will his affect my feeds in any way? I already have feeds for all my blogs through Feedburner. Happily, I am surprised to see as many subscribers to the feed of my newest blog as to the one I have had for many months–and I have only had the newest one for a less than a week!

  6. You can still purchase through eNom, but you can do it yourself instead of through Blogger. I usually use Godaddy or Netfirms for domain registrations these days (Netfirms is the cheaper one – $5.95, and it has free privacy if that’s important to you).

    Ideally, I’d move all existing blogs too before they get any larger, but I say it might be already, only because I know realistically most people aren’t going to move away from Blogger’s free hosting. If they never want more freedom over designs, scripts, what they can post, etc., they may never move it, and it’ll be fine. But if you decide you want that later through your own hosting, the larger the blog is, the more backlinks and traffic you’ll likely be at risk of losing b/c you can’t do 301 redirects (to automatically move someone following a link to a post on the old blog to the corresponding post on the new blog).

    If you’re using Feedburner, that was a smart move. 🙂 Even if you choose to leave Blogger’s hosting, you should be able to keep your subscribers. How? Go into your feed details area in Feedburner. There you can change the “original feed” to the feed address on the new self-hosted blog. If people signed up through your feedburner URL (which you shouldn’t change), they’ll still get the updates. 🙂

  7. Great! Clear as mud. lol I think I will likely stay on Blogger because it is free, as you mentioned, and also because I don’t really see me wanting to change the design, etc.

    I did tweak my Chronic Pain blog to make it look better and it worked well. I’m not a real tech expert though and am fairly satisfied with what Blogger offers in the way of format and design. I’d never be able to figure out how to move them anyhow. 🙁

    For my other blogs I may do the domain myself instead of through Blogger. My only worry is that there is more to figure out. Did I mention that I am technologically challenged? 😉

    So now I need to see what needs doing still from your checklist. Seems I did quite a bit all out of order. 🙂

    Thanks for your help BTW. It is nice to have someone there when I get confused, which is often. 🙂

  8. The order doesn’t matter too much actually – I just have to try to remember to get the stuff done. If I don’t do it all early, once I start regular posting, I’ll never go back and do it. lol

    If you decide to set one up off of blogger, feel free to let me know if you need help at all. It sounds a lot more complicated than it is really, and once you set it all up, you don’t have to think about a lot of it again. 🙂

    Permalink Structure – Take a look in the address bar while you’re looking at this page. It should say something like

    That’s the permalink (basically the permanent URL or address for specific pages and posts). The default WordPress installation has it show a page number – not the category and name. In this one I have it set to show the date, the category and the post title (I don’t always show the date). Having the title there helps for basic SEO. If you change the format after you’ve been blogging for a while, you may have to implement redirects from the old permalinks to the new ones so you don’t lose backlinks (depending on the version – I believe the newest WordPress will do that automatically, but I’m still getting used to it, so no promises). 🙂

  9. I think having a niche is extremely important. I have had several blogs in the past and never wrote in them as much as the current one because I have a niche to follow. It actually makes it easier to come up with topics when you narrow down what all you can write about. Although straying every once in a while is not bad and can sometimes help as well.


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