Maybe you launched already or about to. Maybe this post got to you just in time before launching your blog.
Wherever you are now with your blogging journey, you need to give some serious attention to these 11 steps before you launch your blog.
These 11 steps are part of your pre-launch phase and a blog can’t function optimally without them. You never know what will happen when you start sending traffic to your new blog.
- Get new subscribers.
- Have someone interested in a product
- Blogging opportunities (Guest Posting)
- Have one of your Pinterest Pins goes viral and your blog explodes with visitors.
- People want to share your blog post.
You just never know. You can launch your blog with one or more articles, but you need to put these crucial steps in place before launching. Let’s have a closer look at them.
11 Steps before launching your blog.
Table of Contents
1. Using the right web hosting.
It doesn’t matter who you are or what kind of blog/website you want to start if you are serious about starting a blog, you are going to need a self-hosted service from a very reliable company.
It is sometimes difficult for a new blogger to understand why you would want a self-hosted company when they already started a blog with Wix, Squarespace or even Weebly.
The short version to your question is if you self-host your blog you are free to do what you want.
FREE, no rules or anything. You own your blog/website. You can go bananas and no one can delete, close or ban your blog.
What is self-hosting?
Your new blog is a house and your hosting company the landlord, the name of your blog (URL) is your address.
What is the best hosting company?
Now, If there was ever a loaded question before then it is “what is the best hosting company” There are 1000s of great hosting companies you can go with and there are also 1000s you should avoid at all cost.
A better question is. What is the best hosting company for you?
I use and strongly suggest NameHero. They are brilliant! A super-advanced company with a sharp focus on client service. 24/7 customer support via live chat. This hosting is perfect is you want a .com domain name. They are a fantastic choice for WordPress hosting due to their private cloud hosting with solid-state drives.
What does that mean I hear you ask? That means their hosting is fast, VERY FAST.
NameHerohas also been rated and industry leader in customer service providing 10/10 support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!
If you know a thing or two about websites and SEO then you would know a fast website is a must if you want any traffic from Google.
Plus, they make it super easy to set up your blog with a one-click WordPress installation.
All this for a low R57.69 per month.
I do feel they lag a bit performance if you measure them against a company like Namehero but it is a very good option for beginners.
When launching your blog and it seems like you need something with more performance you can always migrate to NameHero for free.
Packages start at R12 a month but I would highly recommend the Cpanel Start-up for R80 a month.
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2. Use a responsive theme.
I can’t stress how important a great theme for your new blog is. It is crucial to have a fast theme, mobile responsive and above all a theme that looks magnificent.
This is where I am a HUGE FAN OF DIVI. Divi comes with high-performance tools to help you build a blog you can be proud of. Not even to mention the very helpful training materials and communities you can join.
It is a super easy page builder, almost the same you will experience with page builders like Weebly, Wix or Squarespace.
But for WordPress! Awesome!
Not coding or nerdy skills involved here.
It is obviously a premium theme, but let me tell you, you have a ton of learning material to teach you how to build a blog in a day!
Check out the training documentation.
Not only does Divi come with the famous Divi page builder you also have access to the Elegant theme library. (More than 87 beautiful themes and a mind-blowing 1147 beautiful layouts)
Plus you get more world-class plugins like –
- Monarch — Social Plugin
- Bloom — Email opt-in Plugin
That is not all, you get more than 1147 fully customizable modern preloaded layouts to choose from. Divi has mind-blowing designs, and your creativity is only limited by your imagination.
DIVI comes with a complete package for you to get started at R1587.10 (Time of writing.)
Whilst we are on the topic of themes I would like to add the Astra theme. Where Divi is focused on beautiful designs and stunning creativity the Astra theme went for performance. Astra is also built for page builders like Elementor.
With Astra and the Elementor page builder you can build a great website for free if you don’t mind being limited to the free tiers.
3. Delete all WordPress examples and templates.
When starting out with WordPress it can be perplexing and overwhelming. However, there are a few things that will make you look amateurish like still have the Meta description in your sidebar or if one of your readers stumbles upon the “Hello World” example post by WordPress.
Trust me, it happens. New bloggers don’t always know how to remove them, so they just leave them out of frustration.
So, before launching your blog, please remove them by following the simple steps below.
You can remove the meta description, archives and recent post in the Widget area. Just hover over APPEARANCES > WIDGETS and delete them from the sidebar widget.
To delete your “Hello world” post, click on POST and when the new page opens select the post you want and “TRASH” it.
That way you can keep your blog fresh and with only relevant content.
4. Branding of your blog.
A very important step is to get your branding going of your blog. Select only 2 – 3 colours you want to be associated with and build your blog and online presence with that.
Don’t stray too much from your branding colours. It sets a tone, and you will look more professional if you keep things consistent throughout your blog and social media accounts.
You can use tools like,
In Fiverr, you can explain to any freelancer what your needs are, select a price that suits you and there you go.
Fiverr is great for all kinds of digital things you need for your blog. However, save yourself some money and learn how to use Canva or Pic Monkey.
It will make the worlds difference to your wallet.
5. About Us.
It seems obvious to have, and it is but you need an excellent “about us” page. If you look at most bloggers’ statics on Google Analytics and you will notice the “about page” is one of the most visited pages on a blog/website.
Please, spend some time to create a beautiful about us page explaining who you are and what you can do for your readers.
It is like a small Curriculum Vitae for a job opportunity. Your best side should show.
Things to remember –
- Introduce yourself, keep it simple. People don’t care about your history that much.
- Why are you doing it?
- What you can do for readers.
- Tell them what they should do next.
- How can they contact you if they have more questions?
If you do it right, you might capture someone’s attention right away for a subscription to your newsletter.
6. Email Opt-in.
I can’t stress this enough when I say get this in order before launching your blog. Like I mentioned earlier on, you never know what will happen when launching your blog so do it right from the beginning.
A subscriber list is crucial for your blogs survival later on. You literally have permission to send people whatever you want them to see!
Think about this, the readers you attract from Pinterest or from any other source you don’t “own” If Pinterest decides to tighten the algorithm grip on free traffic your blog will suffer.
But, with subscribers, you “own” the list and can continue to promote newsletters and or new products’ suggestion.
The Best practice for an email opt-in is a freebie give-away. What this basically means is, you create a free e-book, guide or content upgrade in exchange for a name an email address.
You are also going to need an email service provider (ESP) to handle all the subscriptions and email campaigns.
If you are a beginner blogger, I strongly suggest –
MailerLite — I just switched to them and I love it. It is free to use up to 1,000 subscriptions. You can do almost everything you need with MailerLite from email, newsletter, responders, automation emails, email sequences and a lot more.
A true gift for new bloggers who have no money to invest in a paid service.
MailChimp — I started with MailChimp, and I am pretty sure the rest of the world too. It is also for free for the first 1000 subscribers and has many cool features on the free account. However, I kind of got over the constant change they bring to the platform. It has become confusing to a point that I don’t want to mess around to find the settings any more.
If you are an advanced blogger and have money to spend then there is no better than –
ConvertKit — Just an amazing email marketing platform. It truly is. You can take care of so many things with ConvertKit like email sequences, forms, sign-ups, automation and a lot more.
Price starts at R520.00 per month for the first 1000 subscribers.
Aweber — Another professional email service who focus on the entrepreneur who takes their email campaigns very seriously. It also brings plenty of cool features to the table and is seen as a very competent contender in the email marketing field.
Prices start a R338.91 for the first 500 subscribers.
Whoever you are and whatever your skill, there is an email service out there that will suit your needs perfectly.
I would like to mention this again. If you start out, I would highly recommend you try out Mailerlite. What you get for free is really a bargain and a hand full of cool tools you can start using today.
7. Have some posts ready to publish.
In a way this makes a bunch of sense to do, still, many bloggers launch their blogs with all their content published. Then they scramble for traffic and in the midst of the chaos we run around like a headless chicken trying to do everything. It is a recipe for burnout and failure.
Do yourself a favour before launching your blog, make sure you have at least 10 articles ready for publishing. The reason being, if you launch with 5 articles published you have 5 articles left.
Now, you can publish an article a week that way it gives you a head start of 5 weeks to concentrate on different things like, establishing your social media accounts, email subscribers, building traffic and all sorts of other things that eat up your time.
Remember this when launching your blog, you will thank me later.
8. Social Sharing.
It has become very important to have social sharing buttons throughout your blog. It is a way to score some free traffic to your blog, and who wouldn’t want that? There are some good plugins you can use and not so good ones.
I use the Monarch plugin that comes with the subscription to Divi. It is an excellent plugin with tons of features like placement options, social sharing/following and metrics.
You can also look at the free and very popular plugin called Social Warfare.
PRO version at R519.00 per single site.
I am sure everyone is familiar with social sharing buttons, and the very common places bloggers like placing them are at the top and bottom of every post.
Another very common place is on the left side of the screen. These are floating social buttons.
Even if you don’t follow any social media platforms, it is always good practice to have social sharing buttons on your blog.
It creates an all round good experience for your visitors and as a bonus if they like what they read they will share it.
Free traffic, Simple and easy!
9. Installing The Right Plugins.
Let’s start with what plugins are and why you need them. A plugin is a piece of software that adds more functionality to your blog/website.
Once you install a plugin to your website, your website will have extra features you can use to your advantage.
They are usually for free to use with an option to upgrade to premium. These free plugins are sometimes more than enough to keep your blog going without the need to upgrade.
So, you will definitely need –
- Yoast SEO– Yoast is a crowd favourite when it comes to optimizing your blog for search engines like Google.
- W3 Total Cache — It is a performance plugin that will drastically improve your website load speed and handle all your database caching.
- Monarch Social Plugin — Developed by Elegant Theme, it is arguably the hottest plugin for social sharing on the web.
- Askimet — If you are serious about spam on your website like unwanted comments, make sure to install Askimet.
- Bloom — Another excellent plugin for email sign-ups. You just can’t continue without this one.
- Jetpack – It usually comes pre-installed when you install WordPress for the first time. It handles all your website security and spam filters.
- WP Smush it — Very important plugin. It compresses all your images for faster loading times.
All the above plugins are essential for your blog and will greatly enhance your website’s performance.
Keep in mind, your website speed can dramatically slow down if you install too many plugins.
10. Installing Google Analytics.
I find myself staring at my analytics every morning when I wake up, it is has become a bit of an addiction. It is fun and very exciting seeing your viewers grow every day.
But, the main reason you need Analytics installed on your blog is to look at important metrics like “what blog posts or pages are getting traffic” or “why is your bounce rate so high”
When you have access to your analytics, you can improve on the post or page, such as creating a content upgrade for your popular post. Maybe you can add some affiliate links to the post and make some more money. Who knows? The point being is, you will have extremely valuable information right at your finger tips.
How to install Google Analytics
Understanding Google Analytics
11. Develop a Social Strategy.
Have you decided what you are going to do after launching your blog? Probably starting to drive traffic to your blog? Do you know how or from where?
Everyone is talking about Pinterest and for good reason. Pinterest is a gold mine for free targeted traffic to your blog. I would recommend starting a business account with Pinterest and use graphic design tools like Canva to design your pins and start pinning.
You also have to focus on Pinterest SEO to get your pins found if someone is searching for a related search term.
Think of Pinterest as a search engine and not a social media platform and you will discover the ‘tips and tricks to Pinterest faster.
If you are looking for a course on Pinterest to speed up things for your blog you can always look at this Pinterest Ninja. I have taken the course and can honestly say that I loved it.
It will teach you how to –
- Set up of your Pinterest Business account
- Confirming your website
- enabling Rich Pins
- Pin Creation
- Pinterest affiliate Marketing
- Pinterest Group boards
- Using Facebook groups to drive traffic.
And a lot more.
So, be sure to check out Pinterest Ninja, it will be the only investment you need to make.
That’s It! If you have all these steps in order, you will be launching your blog in now time.
Focus on creating great quality content. Even if you post twice a month. Your Content needs to be out of this world, otherwise, your articles are going to drown in a sea of endless mediocre blog posts.
Now, get that blog ready for launch day.
If you have any questions regarding this article please leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you.