Launching a WordPress BlogLaunching a new blog has been always a fascinating experience for me

Most of the bloggers take much care about setting up a beautiful themes and marketing strategies, Which is really awesome things to do but they often fail to realize the importance of minor tweaks which can bring them enormous result.

When I launched WPStuffs I haven’t completely tweaked it, So I made a list and slowly started to fix the things one by one.

In this article I am presenting you the list I made,Make sure that you fix all these things before you press Launch button.

Note that I assumed you are using WordPress, which is the most used platform by bloggers.(some of the fixes still applies to non WordPress blogs also)

Essential Tweaks

I start with some basic configuration of Wordpress.

Setup Permalinks

Permalinks are Human readable URL’s assigned to your blog posts. Actually WordPress make this process pretty simple. Just go to Dashboard >> Settings >> Permalinks

You can see some five different types of URL patterns based on date, category etc. Select the one you wish to have as default.

I normally choose URL with post title in it.

Permalink Settings

You can check this post URL which is an example of above mentioned URL Pattern. Nevertheless you can also choose custom URL for each post and pages.

Best guide for Configuring WP Permalinks

Domain Redirection – non WWW to WWW

Implementing This step completely depends on you.

By default your blog URL will be on naked domain address that is without www. in front of the URL.

I usually change this to www but there is no good reason to do this, Some people say it has a SEO advantage but it is not yet proved.

To make this little change go to Dashboard >> Settings >> General

URL settings WordPress

You can see field called WordPress Address (URL), just add www. after http://.

Similarly you have to change the Site Address (URL) also.

Adding Ping Services

This is another minor Tweak to score high on SEO.

Whenever you publish a content or change the content, the change will be reflected to various Search Engines like Google,Bing etc.

So after you publish a post search engine bots will be crawling your new content.

To add some ping services go to Dashboard >> Settings >> Writing

At the bottom of the page you can see the field for adding ping URL’s. You can get the list of essential ping URL’s on WordPress official website.

Configure Akismet Plugin

You are likely to get tons of spam comments,If you didnd secure your WordPress properly.

Akismet is pre bundled WordPress plugin which can effectively fight the spam comments.

For further reading you can refer my previous article in which I gave the list of plugins and methods to secure your blog from Web Spam.

Content and Design Tweaks

Before even thinking about launching your blog you must have some quality articles ready to post because when people visit your blog they are likely to look for other articles if they like what they read and If you don’t have enough articles then you’re in danger of loosing your precious reader.

Also you must have some other contents ready before launching your blog, such as

About Page

This is the gateway of transforming your first time readers to loyal readers.

About page in any blog is the most likely page to be visited by a user after reading your awesome content.

So It is essential for you to prepare a nice pitch about your blog and yourself.

Contact Us

Contact page is the excellent bridge between you and your readers. Also It is the best method for your potential advertisers to connect with you.

It is most advisable to prepare a Contact page before going live.

Setup WordPress Menu

With the advent of new WordPress 3 menu, adding menu items has been made simple by drag and drop interface. So it won’t take much time and work to setup a perfect menu for your blog.

Make sure that you link your main categories and other important static pages like About, Contact and Archives page.

Install Rich Text Editor

I am not a big fan of WordPress default text editor because it give only very few options to makeup your text.

In most of my blogs I use TinyMCE Advanced editor,It gives bunch of tools and options to modify your editor itself.

You can also consider some other popular plugins like Ultimate TinyMCE and CKEditor.

Add a Favicon

I often forget to make this little change every time I launch a new blog.

It is very essential to add your own favicon to make your brand visible. It may sound strange but your readers will be taking note of even small details like favicon.

Most of the themes now come with option to add favicon. If you didn’t have the option then you can edit your theme’s CSS file or install a plugin like WordPress Total hacks.

Social Media Tweaks and RSS syndication

Signup for Popular Social Media channels

Social media channels are a wonderful tool available to modern bloggers. It’s a best and cheap method to get their blog to larger audience base.

Creating a social media channels will also useful to secure your brand.

It is entirely upto you to choose your favorite social media channels to start with. Most bloggers use social media channels like

Place Social Sharing Buttons

People using social media are generally too lazy, So it becomes your duty to place social sharing Icons in front of their eyes to get your content shared.

There are several Plugin available to accomplish this task. I personally use Digg Digg and Twitter Facebook Social Share buttons. Either plugin has floating options and integrated with most popular social platforms.

8 Ways to Use Social Share Buttons on Your Blog

Create Feedburner Account

It is a wise thing to setup your Feeds on Feedburner. Feedburner offers various options to optimize your feed and even you can monetize your feed with Feedburner.

Here is a step by step Guide to setup a Feedburner on WordPress.

Redirect default feeds to Feedburner

Most of the readers are likely to get confused with your native XML RSS feed and Feedburner feed. So what you can do is, redirect the native XML feed to your Feedburner URL.

This can be achieved by using some plugins like FD Feedburner Plugin or by adding some codes.I use Genesis theme hence I have a default option in Theme settings to redirect Feeds.

Auto post to your social media accounts

It is possible to auto post blog updates to your social media accounts through Feedburner. Here is a post about configuring auto post options.

Alternatively you can also use Publicize feature which is integrated with Jetpack Plugin.I will be talking about Jetpack plugin later in this post.

If you have some money to spend then go with the plugin called Nextscript Social Network Auto poster, by using this plugin you can auto post to some other social media channels like Google Plus and Pinterest Pages.

Signup for Email Service and Setup Optin Forms

Most of the successful bloggers out there built their tremendous readers base though Email list only. There are several advantages of using Email list over social media channels.

Aweber and Mailchimp are two most trusted brands in Email services. I am using Mailchimp for my blogs. If you are not willing to pay for Email service, then go with Mailchimp. You can get a Free account in which you can add up to 2000 subscribers.

Next big thing after signing up for this service is to setup eye catching Optin form throughout your blog.

As you can see, I have optin form in my blog’s right sidebar and below this article. You can use some premium plugins like Popup Domination and Optin skin by viper chill.(Here I have designed my own stuff)

Search Engine Optimization

Install WordPress SEO plugin

There are many SEO plugins out there for wordpress,I always prefer WordPress SEO by Yoast Plugin. It is the by far best plugin which can manage more than just SEO.

Also,With this plugin you can easily setup Google Authorship and XML sitemaps.

Another great feature is:you can import SEO settings from other plugins such as All in One SEO pack and SEO Ultimate.

How to Install and Setup WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast

Signup for Google Webmasters Tool and Bing Webmaster Tools

You may aware that Google and Bing has their own set of tools to provide greater insights about your blog SEO.

Just signup for both and submit your blog’s XML sitemap there.

SEO by Yoast plugin comes with built in XML generator, so you can submit that. Otherwise you can choose from plenty of other plugins available like Google XML sitemap generator.

Other Tweaks

Install Jetpack Plugin

Jetpack plugin is one of my favorite, It comes with plenty of features in a single plugin. Some features like Site stats, Publicize, Enhanced Comments and Photos will be very useful to you.

The 5 Best Features in WordPress JetPack

Signup for Google Analytics or other visitors tracking services

The stats provided by Jetpack plugin will not be enough to analyze our blog traffic pattern, So It is essential to signup for some professional tracking services such as Google Analytics, Statscounter or Get clicky.

Control Post Revisions

Every time you make a change to your blog post, the copies get stacked one after another in database. Initially it may not harm your blog but eventually when your blog grows it will get your blog very slow and unresponsive.

So it is wise to control post revisions .You can edit some code in wp-config.php to make this possible, If you are too lazy like me then use plugins like WPTotal Hacks and Revision control.

Install Caching Plugin

Caching plugin transforms your blog as a set of HTML pages which can boost up your blog speed. Note that your blog’s speed indirectly contributes to your SEO score and bounce rate.

When your article goes viral then this plugin helps to withstand a sudden Traffic spikes.

If your blog is hosted on shared Host like Hostgator,Bluehost then you can go with WPSupercache plugin and If you opted for a VPS or dedicated host then you can go with WPTotal cache plugin.Both the plugins has its own advantages in certain platforms, Especially WPTotal cache is very powerful plugin but your server should be properly configured for that, otherwise you can’t expect any good results.

You can compare your blog speed using some online tools like Pingdom Tool,GTMetrix and Google Pagespeed.

That’s already a Huge List isn’t it ? I am not going to engage you further.

Just go ahead and launch your awesome blog keeping above things ticked.


Image by woodleywonderworks

Comments

  1. says

    I recently launched a couple of sites and a blog and I missed out on some points from your list. In retrospect, this probably would’ve really helped with my launches thanks !!

  2. says

    Hey Vivek, thanks for sharing the awesome checklist. Couple of weeks ago, I’ve written a post on the same topic, Sound a topic of setting up a WordPress blog after install, isn’t it?

    Thanks for our comment on my bog.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] The very first person (now friend) I met was Vivek of WPStuffs. Though I don’t have the habit of chatting much, I started chatting with this guy. He is really an awesome guy though not many posts in his blog yet my first WordPress lessons where from his blog. He is also the very first person to comment in my new blog. Read: The Only Checklist you ever need before Launching a Blog [...]

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