What to do after launching a blog? It’s the question you’re probably asking yourself after you’ve signed up with a hosting provider for your new blog. That’s where having a handy blog launch checklist is handy.
To keep you from feeling overwhelmed with all the things to remember to do, I’ve created a list of the essential activities in your first month of going “live” with your blog.
You may have your first blog post written, and that’s about it.
The biggest complaint that I see from new bloggers in Facebook groups is that there are so many things to do to get a blog up and running.
And you want everything to be perfect.
To figure out what are the things to do immediately after starting a blog, I’ve created a step-by-step list of action items to add to your first month of blogging “to-do list”.
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Top 10 Things To Do After Launching A Blog
After you’ve purchased your hosting plan, and potentially “soft-launched” your blog by making it go live, the fun starts.
Here are the recommended things to do after launching a blog to get it ready for your “official launch.”
They’re listed in order, making it easy for you to get things done smoothly.
1. Choose A Quality Theme
Face it, the free themes that you get through WordPress are not all that great. They’re basic.
Choose a quality theme!
Make sure it’s an easy one to customize and one that’ll work with your niche needs.
If your blog is going to be a lifestyle blog, you can start with a simple theme that’s easy to use and customize.
Check out my recommended feminine WordPress themes.
If you want something more unisex, try Kadence or OceanWP – free themes with thousands of “demo” template options with the Pro upgrade.
2. Set up WordPress And Key Plugins
Next on the blog launch checklist is your WordPress setup and your plugins.
To set up WordPress you’ll need to check the following:
- Your user profile
- Set the time zone and time formats
- Your blog name and tagline
- How your homepage looks (static or showing your latest blog posts)
- Comment management
- Your permalink structure (the best is to have it set to “Post Name”)
This is also a good time to set up your plugins. They help with various functions including making the site run fast and for a great user experience.
Here are some of the key plugins you should consider adding:
- To speed up how fast your site loads, and to ensure a great site visitor experience, invest in WPRocket). Partner this with the free plugin Autoptimize for HTML optimization.
- Make your posts shareable with a social plugin such as Social Warfare,
- Optimize your blog posts as you write them with the help of Rank Math SEO plugin – a free guide that has many more useful functions, such as redirection
- Add WP Code – Insert Headers and Footers, which gives you the power to add code into the header without touching the actual theme files.
- WordFence – a free security plugin that prevents hackers from entering your site
- Updraft Plus (free) – a plugin that you can automate to back up your blog to Dropbox, Google Drive or your computer.
Learn more about other great key free plugins for new blogs.
3. Add Mandatory Legal Pages
One of the most important things to do in your first month of blogging is to set up your legal pages.
Protect yourself and your blog legally by having these pages:
- Terms & Conditions
While you may be tempted to use free templates, they are usually not well-written or up-to-date. This means there may be loopholes for lawsuits and fines.
Get the Legal Bundle, written by a lawyer who blogs, and customize the pages for your site.
You’ll also want to make sure your site is accessibility-compliant. There have been many blogs, including some from the biggest bloggers, who have been sued for non-compliance.
I recommend this ADA Compliance and WCAG Checklist that includes training and recommendations as well as an Accessibility Statement template that you can add to your site as a page.
Learn more about all the blogging best practices when it comes to legal stuff.
4. Branding Your Blog
Next on the new blog checklist is branding your blog.
For this step, you need to consider your blog logo. It’s easy to create one using Canva with a font of your choice.
Create a favicon – the little icon you see at the top of the browser tab) to brand your site. Create a favicon by using a favicon generator.
This is also the time to consider what your blog’s brand palette will be: 2 to 3 dominant colours plus black and white.
| READ MORE: Blog Branding Guide – Key Steps To Creating It For Your Site
5. Customize Your Theme
Now it’s time to play around with your theme and customize it to your preferred look.
Draft a few blog posts to see what your blog will look like when you begin to make custom changes.
Play around with layouts and fonts.
Make it look visually appealing but also user-friendly. Consider what a site visitor experiences – can they find info easily?
PRO TIP: Make your blog easy to read. Bump up the font size in blog posts so that older readers don’t have to squint!
Choose three to four broad blog post categories and then sub-categories for each if appropriate (nestled under the main category).
You’ll find the categories on WordPress under the Posts tab, and the Menu under Appearance.
Creating categories makes it easier for site visitors to understand what they can expect from your site.
It also helps you to create content on specific niche topics, instead of going broad and off-niche.
I like to have a sidebar on my blog post pages. It makes it easier for site visitors who use a desktop computer to see additional info they may be interested in checking out.
Start with the About widget in your sidebar – this is one of the easiest ways a site visitor can get to know about your site’s niche and topics.
Add social follow buttons near your About widget to encourage people to connect with you.
Add your links to your legal pages in the footer section.
You can also add a Recently Posted or Top Posts widget to your sidebar to generate more clicks to your blog content.
8. Create Your About Page
Next on your blog launch checklist is tackling the About Page.
This is where you share your blog’s brand messaging: who is your site for and what they can expect to read and learn.
This is where you can really fine-tune the message about what your blog is all about.
Make sure you tell your site visitors upfront what they can expect when visiting your blog.
Then talk about yourself with a brief bio section.
Learn more about how to create a kickass About Me page (check out my free downloadable worksheet below)
9. Add A Contact Page
Set up your contact page!
For this, you will usually need a plugin such as WP Forms (the free version is fine).
To make your contact page work well you’ll need to use your email with your domain. Make sure this is set up and working first.
Your hosting provider will be able to help out if you purchased your domain through them.
When you set up your contact form, test it out!
10. Set Up Google Analytics And Google Search Console
Set up your Google Analytics and Google Search Console so you can track your progress.
You will need to ensure your blog is showing up in search engines by submitting your sitemap.
If Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is too confusing, at this point you can upgrade to the premium option: Fathom Analytics. It’s an easy-to-read dashboard that gives you the essential data without the “reports” and frustrating setup.
Read my full Fathom Analytics review.
| Read More: How To Start A Blog And Make It A Profitable Business
Next Step: Start Blogging!
Now that you’ve taken care of all the things to do after launching a blog, it’s time to start writing some great blog posts.
This is the exciting part!
First, read how many blog posts you should have before you launch your blog and make it live. Next, look at starting a content calendar.
Start A Content Calendar
Creating a content calendar is going to be your first step.
To do this look at your categories and come up with the following:
- Blog post ideas under each category that help answer a question your readers might have (you need to research this on Facebook groups, Google Trends, Google searches for keywords)
- Topics that are seasonal (e.g. seasons, Holiday-related)
Take a calendar for the full year and start adding one topic per week to give you one new post per week. This sets you up nicely to create a weekly posting schedule.
Change up the type of posts you’ll be writing to keep things interesting for your readers… and yourself!
PRO TIP: Your first blog post doesn’t need to be a “Hello!” blog. It can be your first one that answers a big question your readers have. Subsequent posts can be offshoots from that topic.
| REAR MORE: How To Start A Blog Content Calendar And Get Organized
Blogging Best Practices To Consider
Immediately after launching a blog, you’ll want to figure out what makes for a great blog post.
After all, this is the whole point of blogging. You want people to read your content and come back for more.
To start things off right, consider a few blogging best practices.
A great blog post needs to:
- Answer a question, inspire or entertain
- Be on a topic that your readers are interested in (not just on a topic you find interesting)
- Include visuals that illustrate your point – from a photo, screenshot, infographic
- Be formatted for easy reading, meaning you need to add headings for sections (H2, H3, etc.) have white space and smaller paragraphs (2 to 3 sentences maximum), and have bullet lists (like this post)
- Have a few opening paragraphs that show the context or big problem, leading to the body that has tips or answers to the big issue, with strong a conclusion that wraps it all up in a summary or with a powerful call to action.
- Be optimized for good SEO practices: include a few keywords, internal and external links
- Optimized images that load fast
Also WOW your readers. Consider writing at least one “cornerstone post” that’s long, full of valuable information and
| Read More: How To Write A Great Blog Post Your Site Visitors Will Love To Read
Take a Step Back To Assess What You’ve Done So Far
Now that you’ve got your blog set up with the basics, and you’ve got a few posts published, it’s time to review it.
Critiquing yourself can be hard. This is the time to get input and constructive criticism from friends, family and other bloggers.
Facebook groups are a GREAT way to get insights into what you could be doing better.
I run a Facebook group – The Blog It Better Society – that’s specifically for new and growing bloggers, to help support each other with tips and ideas.
You’re more than welcome to join!
If You’re Still Stuck Trying To Figure Things Out
If you’re still trying to get past blogging challenges, it might be time to connect with a blog coach, like myself.
Blog coaches can help you see the bigger picture while also figuring out the small details.
We can also help you figure out what’s not worth worrying about. Not to mention, we can help you update your checklist of things to do after launching a blog.
It’s a small investment to make if you’re serious about starting a professional blog that can become your lucrative side hustle or full-time business.
If working with a blog coach is too tough on your budget, that’s OK too. I’ve launched a course specifically for new bloggers whose goal is to learn key blogging skills, FASTER. It’s called the Grow It: From Blog To Business Course.
You Will Have Changes To Make
Whatever feedback you get, you’ll probably be feeling a bit down. After all, getting to this point has taken much work on your part.
However, take the feedback and make tweaks and changes to improve the design and user experience. It’ll help you create a better site and blog.
You want people to follow you and keep coming back.
Having a professional site that’s visually appealing and with quality content helps you build a community around your site.
I’ve done blog audits for new bloggers who haven’t even officially launched their blogs yet!
They wanted feedback on what they were missing and what needed to change.
You may want to have a blog coach do a blog audit a few months into blogging to see how you can improve your site. It will be a great foundation for your blog and you moving forward!
Working With A Coach Fast Tracks Your Blogging Journey
Your Next Steps After Launching Your Blog
Here’s your new blog checklist for the first month of blogging with the key things to do after your soft launch:
- Choose a custom theme
- Set up WordPress settings and key plugins
- Add the necessary legal pages
- Customize your theme settings, and set your brand palette
- Create a blog logo and favicon
- Set up your categories and menu bar
- Customize your sidebar and footer with key widgets and links
- Write and publish your About Me page
- Set up your Contact page
- Connect up your Google Analytics and submit your sitemap to Google Search Console
Once this is done, create a content calendar and start blogging.
In about a month or two, seek feedback from others. These could be your friends, family, Facebook group members and perhaps even a blog coach for more structured constructive feedback.
Tweak, change up and improve your blog to get it to the point where you are doing an AWESOME JOB.
This is one of the key ways you’ll continue to see success and keep blogging for years to come!
NOTE: If you still are in the planning stages, read this post on what to do BEFORE you create a blog.
The next thing to tackle… setting up your Pinterest profile!
QUESTION: What is – in your opinion – one of the hardest things to do after launching a blog?
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