As a beginner, it is easy to get overwhelmed with the whole technical aspects of blogging. If you’re from a technical background or has any interest in learning the technical stuff it will be easy for you to get started.
But for someone from a non-technical background or someone with no fondness of technical stuff, it might get a bit hectic to get started.
That is why I have written this post keeping a complete newbie in mind. I hope you’ll be able to take care of the tasks on your own.
Here we go…
9 Things to Check Off Before Your Blog Goes Public
1. Test if your blog is accessible from different parts of the world:
While you are working on your blog it might work exactly how you want it but just like a news reporter you need to be sure everything is all right and you are ready to go live.
People won’t come to your computer to access your blog. So it is your duty to make sure your blog opens up from anywhere (given they are connected to the internet 🙂 ) before you spread the word about your blog.
Even if you are not targeting outside India, it’s still a wise decision to make your website accessible from the rest of the world. It never hurts to get some bonus traffic.
Here is a website that tells you if your blog is accessible from different parts of the world.
What they basically do is, they ping your website from different regions of the world and tries to access your blog. If they find any issues in reaching your server, they will let you know and you can go ahead and fix it.
Today, 80% of internet users own a smartphone (Smart Insights) and most of them are going online operating it. So, it is obvious, if your blog is not mobile friendly then you will be losing a big portion of the traffic that could happen on your blog.
So, before you go live make sure your blog fits itself into any mobile device your readers pick.
Just go to pingdom.com, type in your blog’s URL and push the start test button.
According to Google if your blog doesn’t open up in the first 3 seconds, people might go away and look for the solution (the one they were hoping to find on your blog) somewhere else.
So, once you do the page check, Google gives you suggestions on what are the things that should be fixed to get your blog to load faster; go fix them all if you can or hire someone to fix it for you.
2. Install an SEO plugin and configure the basic things:
So, if your blog doesn’t show up on the search engines when people are looking for a solution you provide then, you will be losing a big stack of the traffic that could have come your way.
And as you know, SEO results can’t be achieved overnight. So, it is a smart thing that you start working on your blog’s SEO from the very first day you decide to be found online; or else you will be missing out on a big opportunity to get some targeted traffic to your blog in the future.
Recommended Read>> How to set up Yoast SEO to get the maximum SEO benefits.
When you are just starting up, a term like SEO might sound too technical; but mark my words “it is not”. Maybe a decade back it would have been a bit technical as you had to understand how exactly the search results are being fetched and work accordingly.
But now, the whole perspective of SEO has changed. Now, SEO is as simple as creating awesome content (presuming you are a content ninja).
If you put content on your blog that helps resolve some problem or problems of your readers, then you don’t need to worry much about SEO; sooner or later your blog will be noticed.
Let’s say there is a woman who is so beautiful that any man would die to marry her. But what if she locked herself inside a dark room, never came into the lights and never let anyone find her? Her beauty would literally go wasted, don’t you think?
Just like that if you don’t let the search engines to crawl your blog you might as well be putting a stop sign for many of your potential followers.
That is why it is important that you do the basic stuff right.
If you’re on a self-hosted WordPress blog then, just install an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO or All-in-One SEO and set the basic things like the title and the Meta description. If you are not sure what these are, then, have a look at the screenshot below, it’s self-explanatory.
Obviously, you can’t optimize a post which is not yet written. So, along the way, you will have to optimize each post you write with at least one focus keyword.
I will be writing a detailed post on how to do SEO for your WordPress blog, using any of the plugins mentioned above. Most probably I will go with Yoast SEO, as I have been using it for a while now. So, stay tuned.
3. Connect your blog to Google Search Console and Google Analytics:
Connecting your blog to the Google Search Console (previously known as the Google Webmasters Tool) is a part of SEO; in fact the first step of SEO.
Although, if you want to do it absolutely right then, set up the basic on-page SEO of your blog first and then connect it to the search console.
By connecting to the Search Console, you are simply telling Google that your blog is now ready to go live and Google spiders can come and start indexing the pages and posts available.
However, if your blog is not properly interconnected then the spiders might take too much time to index the available posts and pages of your blog; as they would have to figure out the ways to the next page or post on your blog all by themselves.
So, to make the process easy for them it is important that you submit a sitemap to the search console. Sitemap, in simple words, is a map of your blog for the spiders to crawl through.
Yoast SEO already has an option to do that, but if you want a separate plugin then you can install a plugin like Google Sitemap Generator to create a sitemap for your blog and submit it to the search console.
Next thing you want to do is create a Google Analytics account and connect it to your blog. You can do that with the help of a plugin like Google Analytics Dashboard for WP or Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights
Once you start to promote your blog you will see people coming to visit it. Now it’s very important for you to observe your readers and understand their needs; because if you don’t learn what your audience wants then how will you provide that to them.
Observe which posts people spending more time on and accordingly create more content around it. Observe from which page most people are leaving and improve anything that you feel might have made them leave, implement an exit intent popup on that page and try to redirect them to some other content on the blog.
We will talk about that in details in my upcoming posts. For now, you just connect your blog to the Google analytics and search console.
4. Create a Facebook page:
When it comes to getting traffic, Facebook is always my first choice. With its 1.94 billion monthly users it’s a no-brainer of course.
You might ask, I already have a profile then why do I need a Facebook page.
Well for starters, you can’t run any paid promotion on your profile. And if you can’t promote your posts then how will you get your audience? Of course, there are other ways. But anyone would be a fool to skip Facebook from his digital marketing strategy.
If your blog name is your own name then create a page for the domain name you have bought.
And besides, on your profile, you share your personal stuff and page is a place where you share things that are related to your blog or business. And I believe you should never mix your personal things with your business. That’s not at all professional.
So, go ahead and create a Facebook page for your blog and invite your friends to like and ask them to forward it to their network as well; that should be enough to get the initial page likes before you start promoting your page.
5. Create a Pinterest page:
Often we tend to underestimate the power of Pinterest. Pinterest is more than just a social media site. Some even term it as the 2nd largest search engine in the world, after Google. I don’t wonder, why?
With its more than 750 million boards and 30 billion Pins, your next big idea is just a few clicks away.
Pinterest is a place where most people would come looking for ideas and inspiration. It is sure a perfect place to brainstorm ideas. Pinterest is more popular with the female community.
So, if your blog is related to fashion, lifestyle, makeup, decorations, interiors, recipes or any niche that is appealing to women then you can generate a whole lot of targeted traffics to your blog from here.
However, if your niche is more into male-specific topics then you might not get the same success rate as like the female-specific niches.
Though Pinterest ads aren’t available in India yet, it’s still something you should not ignore.
I have found a study that proofs that Pinterest drives qualified leads to your website than any other social media platforms.
So, go ahead and signup for Pinterest today. And start pinning your blog posts.
6. Join a few FB groups and forums related to your niche:
As you know blogging is all about connecting with people.
If you want to be a thought leader in a particular field then you will have to first share your thoughts. And to share your thoughts you need a community of like-minded people. And Forums and FB groups are the perfect places to find them.
So, go ahead and search Google and Facebook for forums or groups related to your niche and start socializing with the people in it. Help them solve something and whenever appropriate, refer links back to your blog posts and ask them to check those out for more information.
That is one way to create more conversations on your blog as well.
For starters, you can join our FB group.
7. Create a YouTube channel:
The demand for video content is increasing at a high rate.
As per Hubspot, 78% of people watch videos online every week and 55% watches every day.
By 2017, video content will represent 74% of all internet traffic. (Source)
Those stats are strong enough to give you the idea that if you are not investing your time on videos then you are simply trailing out on a tremendous opportunity.
If I had created a video along with this text post on the same topic and put both on this page, which one you would have preferred? Obviously, the video, isn’t it?
According to Hubspot, 59% of senior executive agree that if text and video are both available on the same topic on the same page, they prefer to watch the video.
So, don’t underestimate the power of videos. And when it comes to video marketing nothing can beat YouTube.
So, go ahead and create a YouTube channel for your blog and start creating videos around your niche.
And if you are worried that you can’t come up with good ideas to create videos then, simply record yourself reading your blog posts. It should be enough to give you a start.
8. Implement Opt-In Forms on your blog:
Like they say, “Money is on the list”;
If you are serious about blogging and plan to monetize your blog in the future then an Email list will always come very handy.
Many established bloggers and online marketers have agreed that email marketing has the potential to outperform most other traffic channels.
And being a blogger you should definitely start to build an email list from the first day on.
Even if you don’t want to monetize your list, you still should build an email list. Because every time you publish a new post, you can send a notification to your list, which will make your existing readers to keep coming back, hence, help you increase repeat traffic to your blog.
So, don’t be a fool, go ahead and sign up for a free email marketing tool like MailChimp (free for 2000 subscriber).
Create a sign-up form and implement it on your WordPress blog. You can also use OptinChat (the pop-up you saw at the bottom-right as soon as you landed on my blog) to collect emails and integrate it with MailChimp for automation.
Instead of just asking your readers for their email Ids, create a giveaway; that could be an eBook, a small email course or anything that benefits your readers and they would not mind to exchange it for their email ids. That’s a win-win for both.
9. Have a stock of blog posts:
As soon as you make your blog public and start to promote it, you have a responsibility to keep it updated.
And being human you could catch a fever, you might get caught up with family issues, might get long days of writer’s block and there are plenty more hurdles that can come in between and stop you from creating content for your blog.
That is why it is always a good idea to have a month’s blog posts written already; so that you can keep them scheduled for the running month and work on your next month’s blog post ideas. It’s also a good way to keep the pressure away.
In my opinion, you should not start to promote your blog until you have at least 10 blog posts published on your blog and a few in stock.
Additionally, while creating those 10-15 blog posts you can have an idea of yourself, how serious you are about blogging and how you are holding up so far. Because at the end of the day, blogging needs commitment and hard work.
So, if you are confident that you are made to run a successful blog someday then go ahead and write some awesome blog posts and schedule them before your blog goes public.
Today’s post was mainly intended to let you know the things you should do on your blog before you make it public.
All of the things you can do yourself, like, creating an FB page, joining a few relevant groups and forums, signing up for Pinterest, setting up your SEO plug-in, connecting your blog to Google search console and analytics.
I will get back to you ASAP.
One final suggestion, pay more attention to point no 9 on the checklist above.
Cheers! see you soon.
P.S. If you have liked what you read today, please share it with your friends and family who you believe might benefit from this.