Ready to start your first blog? Here I’ve put together a quick blog launch checklist, so you can be proud of your achievements right from the get-go.
You want to launch your blog with a BANG. When someone visits your little corner of the internet, you want them to be wowed. And you want to feel successful… pretty much right away. Am I right?
Simply follow these 12 essential steps to make sure everything is properly set up before you hit that ‘Launch‘ button and make your blog public.
Essential blog launch checklist for a successful roll-out
Launching a blog is really easy. Many people see a bunch of new terms (like hosting, domain name, and analytics), feel overwhelmed and think it’s hard. But all the steps leading to a successful blog launch are just a bunch of items on a checklist. Let’s cross them off together.
- Start on the right blogging platform with your own domain and hosting
- Create an action plan
- Check your blog’s permalink structure is set to ‘post name’
- Write at least 3 blog posts
- Dress up your blog
- Get the perfect logo
- Launch your blog with a bang
- Be prepared to measure your success
- Start an email list
- Add social sharing buttons
- Write your legal pages
- Join supportive Facebook groups
1 | Start on the right blogging platform with your own domain and hosting
First off, you need to make sure you’re using the best blogging platform available. You have lots of options (see my Blogger vs WordPress comparison), but long story short, WordPress is the most popular one by far. It’s also widely recognized as the best there is. That’s why I use and recommend you build a WordPress blog.
In order to use WordPress (which is basically a free software), you need to purchase a domain name and hosting.
Your domain name is your web address (mine is bylauraiancu.com). It’s the stuff that makes it possible for people to find your blog online. It’s also unique to you.
Hosting provides your blog with a physical space on a server. That’s where you’ll store all your blog’s content, from images to text and design elements.
If you get your domain name and hosting as a bundle, the whole set up process is a whole lot easier.
While it is possible to start a blog for free, the caveat is that you’d have to go with a blog-publishing service with very limited features and that won’t allow you to grow. And if you decide to go self-hosted after launching your blog, it might be quite a hassle (even moving WordPress.com to WordPress.org takes time!). On the other hand, if you need help moving from Blogger, here’s how to migrate Blogger to WordPress.
That’s why my heartfelt advice is to go self-hosted right from the get-go. This means you’ll have to make a small initial investment, but it’s nothing that will break the bank.
To kickstart my blog launch checklist, make sure you choose a good web hosting provider and get your own domain name.
The hosting company I’ve personally used, paid for, and recommend is Bluehost (you can also read my Bluehost review to find out more about the key features they offer). Setting up an account with them is super easy and fast and they even give you your domain name for free for the first year.
When you use my Bluehost referral link, you get a 63% discount off the monthly fee. This means you only pay $2.95 per month when you sign up for the 36-month term.
$2.95 a month + free domain name
If you need help setting up an account with Bluehost, head on over to my step-by-step tutorial on how to start a WordPress blog. My tutorial also includes info on how to get a personalized email address that ends in your domain name and how to get your blog marked as secure, both an absolute must-have.
2 | Create an action plan
If you want to build a profitable blog, you need a plan.
You must figure out what you want to blog about.
And you must set long and short term goals, write them down, and track your progress religiously.
The Smart Blog Planner will help you stay organized and productive. It will also give you a beautiful platform for creating an editorial calendar, planning giveaways and round up posts, all the way to creating your first product.
I designed the Smart Blog Planner a couple of years ago and soon as I started using it, I noticed an immediate change in my mindset and my income. Because of these huge benefits I was noticing in my own blogging career I decided to pack it into a digital product so others can take advantage of it as well.
If you are serious about blogging and want to make this work, DON’T miss out on the benefits of using a planner.
Now is also the time to brainstorm ways to make money with your blog. I recommend you start with affiliate marketing because it’s risk-free, it doesn’t cost a penny and if done right, you don’t need a ton o traffic to start making money.
3 | Check your blog’s permalink structure is set to ‘post name’
The permalink is the full URL you see for any given blog post or page. The purpose of a permalink is to provide a unique and permanent address for each of your blog posts and pages.
For example, the permalink for this post is https://www.bylauraiancu.com/blog-launch-checklist.
- bylauraiancu.com is my domain (never changes)
- blog-launch-checklist is the slug (which is unique and identifies this particular post).
The permalink structure is the format WordPress uses when naming your individual posts or pages. By default, the year, month and day a post was published are included in the URL. This might come in handy for news or deal sites.
But if you plan to write mostly evergreen content that will be relevant for years to come, including the date in the permalink structure might:
- Put off readers – nobody wants to waste their time reading outdated advice.
- Result in broken links shall you decide to update and republish an older post (the date will automatically change when you do this). If other people linked back to the original post from their site, you’ll also lose those links and the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) benefits that come with them.
To change your permalink structure go to Settings >> Permalinks.
I use the post name option and this is the permalink structure I recommend for most blogs. Once you’ve chosen your new permalink structure, don’t forget to save the changes!
WARNING: If you’ve already started publishing posts or pages on your blog, changing the permalinks structure might result in broken links. To fix this, you’ll have to set up redirects for each and every one of your existing posts. A free plugin (I used this one in the past) will help, but depending on how many posts you’ve already published, it might take you some time.
4 | Write at least 3 blog posts
Three good blog posts are all you need to launch your blog. Sure, if you are a super fast writer and can write really thorough, in-depth posts in record time, you can aim for more.
But I find 3 to be the magic number. Your blog won’t look ‘naked’ and your first readers will have plenty of material to go through on a first visit.
What I find of
I wouldn’t even dream of writing more than one post a week now. There are other tasks, like writing my next email newsletter and promoting existing content that I consider far more important. Plus I also want to have a life and make self-care a priority.
To write your first post, go to your WordPress dashboard and choose Posts >> Add New in the left column.
Quick checklist for writing killer blog posts
- Compose your post. You can write directly in WordPress or in a text editor and then paste it into WordPress when it’s done. Each post should give the solution to a problem. Use as many words as you NEED to get your message across. No more, no less!
- Write short paragraphs (2-3 sentences, 5 lines max). Long paragraphs are intimidating.
- Format your posts (use subheaders, bullet points, bold and italics)
- Proofread your articles using an online grammar checker. My favorite is Grammarly
- Add at least one Pinterest-friendly image per post
- Link to relevant content you wrote in the past
- Finish with a question to spark engagement
- Title your post something relevant people will actually search for
- Change your post’s permalink if necessary. A shorter permalink, stripped by all unnecessary words is usually better.
5 | Dress up you blog
Once you’ve published the first couple of posts, you can get a better idea of how your blog looks like.
If you’ve installed a free theme, you might be tempted to keep it.
Nevertheless, I recommend you look for a premium theme for several reasons.
- Many bloggers use the free themes in the WordPress repository and this means many blogs look pretty much the same. You cannot stand out if you look like everybody else.
- Free themes lack support. On the other hand, a premium company like Bluchic will go as far as installing and setting up your theme for you.
- Many free themes are not up to date. This leaves security holes in your blog that hackers can exploit. Not worth the risk!
When you are ready to go premium, read my post on how to choose a WordPress theme first. There’re lots of cool themes out there, but my advice is to avoid shiny object syndrome and pick one that fits your niche and needs instead.
Also, if you want to save time creating your About, Contact, and other essential pages for your blog, I recommend investing in a beautifully designed landing page template bundle that you can use over and over again.
6 | Get the perfect logo
Every business needs a unique and memorable logo and blogs are no different.
Your logo is the very first thing a reader sees when your blog loads in their browser. It’s the first thing that draws someone’s attention when you hand them your business card.
Your logo sets the tone for your brand. It has to appeal to your target audience and express your brand’s vision.
An eye-catching logo is the first step towards creating a strong brand.
If you are artistically inclined, you can create your own logo. That’s exactly what I did.
If graphic design is not your cup of tea and you have $5 to spare, hiring a professional designer on Fiverr is an elegant and quick solution. Most designers will have your logo ready in 48 hours and even the basic package usually comes with several revisions. My favorite logo designer on Fiverr is DigitalBarbie.
7 | Launch your blog with a bang
Apart from your blog, I recommend you also pick one or two social networks to be active on. For most bloggers, Pinterest and Instagram are really hot right now.
However, Instagram was not designed to help you drive traffic to your blog and waiting for Google to send people your way might take quite a long time.
This makes Pinterest your BFF because Pinterest can explode your blog’s traffic in a very short time.
While you go through this blog launch checklist, start joining relevant group boards on Pinterest.
Also, join several active Tailwind tribes. Tailwind tribes are the gold standard when it comes to Pinterest traffic. To get a free month of Tailwind, you can join via my referral link.
Then on your launch day, share all your Pinterest-friendly images in all the group boards and tribes you’ve previously joined for a boost.
8 | Be prepared to measure your success
If you want to be able to measure the success of your blog launch, you need to have a way to track each and every one of your visitors.
Knowing how many people visit your blog, where they come from and your most popular posts will always come in handy. Plus these are numbers advertisers and PRs are interested in before deciding if you’re a good fit for their campaigns.
Google Analytics is the industry’s standard and it’s super easy to install.
- Sign up for a Google Analytics account.
- Look for the Admin tab and click Create new account. Set up your account by filling in your account name (it can be the same as your blog’s name), website name, URL, etc. Click Get
- Accept the terms and services.
- A new page will open. Copy the code under Website tracking.
- Install a free plugin like Insert Headers and Footers and add the tracking code to the header section.
To take your analytics to the next level, also sign up for a Google Search Console account.
This is another free service that lets you learn a lot about your blog, add a sitemap, notifies you of site errors, and (rejoice!) won’t hold back information about the exact keywords people use to find your blog in Google.
Add and verify your blog in Google Search Console. If you know how to get to your website’s root folder, I recommend using the HTML file upload method. This way, you won’t have to worry about the verification code being deleted every time your theme gets updated.
Last but not least, connect your Google Analytics account with your Google Search Console account to get access to all those keywords I mentioned above.
9 | Start an email list
I know it might sound counterintuitive to ask people to join your email list when you’ve barely written a couple of posts and are just launching your blog.
But trust me, you don’t want to miss the opportunity of converting those first visitors into subscribers. Watching you grow and become might turn them into your biggest fans.
- Your list is yours. Google might change their algorithm anytime and your posts can fall out of grace. Facebook and Pinterest constantly innovate and make changes and while your status updates might reach your followers today, there’s no guarantee they will tomorrow. Yet, when someone gives you access to their inbox, you don’t have to play catch all the time.
- It’s the easiest way to build trust. A gazillion page views per month and a million followers on Instagram are nothing but numbers until you give the people behind the accounts a reason to trust you. Pageviews are meaningless if people don’t trust you. You can’t build a relationship with a number.
- The money is in the list because that’s where your most loyal readers are. Circling back to the previous point, whom would you rather buy a product, service or course from, a stranger or somebody whom you know, trust, and admire? Email builds trust even further. And trust almost always leads to more income and sales.
If you are new to email marketing, I highly recommend MailerLite.
With MailerLite you can grow your list for free up to 1,000 subscribers. If you need help getting started, you can read my detailed MailerLite tutorial here.
Not sure where to start when it comes to building the landing pages for promoting your freebie? You can get a head start by purchasing a landing page template bundle that does most of the heavy lifting for you.
10 | Add social sharing buttons
Every now and then I read a blog that’s so awesome, I feel compelled to share it with my followers.
So I look for some sort of floating share buttons first, then I scroll all the way up and then all the way back down again. And nothing. Depending on the social network I intended to share the content, I might give up and move on.
You should always go the extra mile and help your readers share your content. This includes adding Pinterest-friendly images as well as social sharing buttons.
Your readers are busy and adding easy-to-find sharing buttons to your blog is a matter of courtesy.
There’s an abundance of free social sharing plugins to choose from. After testing several, I finally settled for the Grow by Mediavine plugin. It adds beautiful, responsive buttons, share counts, and so on. I truly hope it enhances your experience on my blog.
11 | Write your legal pages
When you start making money or decide to place affiliate links in your content (as I said, you can do this from the get-go!), you’ll also need to add a disclosure policy.
In the disclosure policy, you should explain that you get a commission whenever the reader makes a purchase through your affiliate links. If you accept sponsored posts you should state that your opinion is never influenced by the compensation you receive (of course, this should also hold true).
Also, if you’ve applied to become an Amazon affiliate, there’s a specific language you need to use. I actually recommend you add the Amazon disclosure text to your blog before you apply to avoid being rejected. For more on this, check out this list of Amazon affiliate mistakes and how to fix them.
12 | Join supportive Facebook groups
Networking with other bloggers is extremely important if you want to build a successful blog
Unfortunately, many bloggers see their peers as rivals, and instead of learning together, they prefer to keep to themselves. Not only their successes but their struggles as well.
Rid yourself of this scarcity mindset. There’s enough for all of us.
Over the years, I joined quite a few highly-engaged communities of women always ready to support each other and I am grateful for every single boss lady who decides to share her time and expertise freely.
These groups opened my eyes to just how valuable and generous the blogging and entrepreneurial community is.
That’s why I highly recommend you to look for communities that are the right fit for you, whether due to proximity or common interests.
Besides the support, another thing I love about Facebook groups is that you can ask for constructive feedback.
Many bloggers are too shy to ask for help or are afraid of criticism. But feedback is one of the most powerful drivers of growth.
It really takes a village and you shouldn’t walk this blogging journey alone.
If you’ve followed every step in this post, you should be ready to launch your blog with a bang! Congrats, you beautiful blogger, you!
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About the author:
Hey there, dream chaser! I’m a writer and designer on a mission to inspire and empower you to create a highly profitable minimalist online business and show up for your dreams in a sustainable way.