Are you ready to start a money-making blog that gives you the freedom and flexibility no other traditional job can?
Then you’ll love this blog launch checklist of 23 things I put together for you!
Per Bloomberg, did you know that 8 out of 10 businesses fail in the first 18 months?
And since blogging is a business, using a blog launch checklist will help you start a successful blog.
That statistic is heartbreaking, but a blog launch checklist increases your chance of success because it helps you set things upright.
New bloggers often don’t understand just how hard it is to start a blog despite the warnings they receive from experienced bloggers. But a blog launch checklist can make it much easier to develop a plan.
Using this blog launch checklist will allow you to start your blog faster and ensure you have all the tools you need to run a successful blog.
For some people, it takes months to start a blog. However, by knowing exactly what I needed, I was able to start my blog in just 7-days while working full time as a lawyer.
With the proper tools and blogging strategies in place, you can do the same!
Why You Need a Blog Launch Checklist to Start Your Blog
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed once you start the process of creating a blog. There are so many tools and things you need, such as hosting, a domain name, and much more.
Without clear guidance, it would have taken me much longer to launch my blog and start making money in my first month.
The best way to know exactly what to do is to invest in high-quality blogging courses. But most new bloggers can’t afford to pay for a course when they first start. So, I decided to create this helpful list for you.
It allows you to see what you need ahead of time so you can create a blogging strategy and launch your blog faster. This is the only checklist you need before you hit publish.
Brainstorm Ideas and Set Goals
The first phase of a blog launch checklist is essentially brainstorming and researching to see what you want to write about and setting measurable goals.
Measurable goals are ones where you identify what you will feel, see, and hear when you achieve them. By doing this, you can break your goals down into measurable components.
Check out these two examples of goals:
I want to make money from my blog this year, or I want to make $1,000 a month in six months. The second one gives you a deadline, so you know whether you’ve made your goal or not.
By the way, the second one was the goal I set for myself when I first started blogging and with the right tools and strategies in place, I was able to make $1,000 in my first month rather than six months!
You can also break it down into steps to plan a strategy to complete it. The first goal is too vague, and you have nothing measurable to show that you’ve achieved it or not.
So use the second goal as an example when you create your own.
When you clearly define a goal, you can create a road map to achieve it.
Here are some of the things you need to do before you start a successful blog.
1. Choose a Profitable Niche
Before you pick a domain name and start your blog, you need to choose a profitable niche. There are four main components to a profitable niche:
- Your passion for a topic
- Other people’s passion
- Your background or education
- Is it profitable?
You need to be passionate about your niche and be able to write endlessly on it. For it to be a good niche, other people need to be passionate about it, or you won’t have an audience.
Then you can cross-reference the topic you’re passionate about with your background and education. That’s the easiest way to establish yourself as an expert, but you can pick a topic you don’t know much about as long as you don’t mind learning what you need to be seen as an authority.
Finally, you need to make sure that your niche is profitable. To see how to find out if a blog niche is profitable, check out this article on how to find a profitable niche.
In my example, my niche is legal and business tips because those are two areas I’m passionate about.
As a lawyer and former teacher, I can talk about the legal side of business all day long and that’s my specialty. That’s why you see my blog centered around those topics here.
2. Know Your Audience Before You Launch that Blog
Understanding your audience is critical for bloggers and writers. Your content needs to cater to them, or no one will read your blog! This is where you create what many people call your ideal avatar.
Your avatar is the one person that you’re writing to. You need to get to know them intimately. Now, why just one avatar?
In general, you can have more than one. However, most people focus on just one to start so you can narrow down your focus and draw the right audience to you.
You create an avatar because you want them to connect with you. When your true fans read your content, you want them to say, “how did she know that?”
That means you need to write to them like you write to a friend and to do that, you need to know them well.
For many, their avatar is the “earlier” them. Maybe you wanted to start a freelance writing business.
Then you want your blog to help other aspiring writers and make it easier for them to start a writing business and make money quickly. In this case, you are writing to your earlier self.
Get really familiar with your avatar. Get out a sheet of paper or a Google doc and start by giving your avatar a name, age, date of birth, occupation, etc. Does he or she have children? A spouse?
Write down their hobbies, where they hang out online and get as detailed as possible. Define what problems they have that you can solve. What are their pain points?
You also want to know their objections. One of the best ways to look up the objections of your audience is to type in the Google search box what you’re helping your reader with or what they want to achieve plus “but”.
You really just need to type in the “b” For instance, I typed in the “I want to blog “b”, and you can see what comes up.
I also tried “I want to be a writer b”, and this is what comes up.
You can see the objections right there. I want to be a writer, but I’m scared. I want to be a writer, but I’m not good.
Creating a detailed avatar ensures you reach your true audience, and you can address those objections.
3. Understand Your Why
Understanding your “why is a very important part of brainstorming and setting goals for your blog.
Your why is going to help see you through the hard times because there will be challenges and some blogging mistakes you’ll make in the beginning.
So, take some time to figure out WHY you want to start a blog.
Is it to support your family and help others be successful in your niche? Do you want the freedom of working from home so you can have a better work-life balance? Do you want to support your family and live the life you’ve always dreamed of?
Create a vision board for your business and this blog post will show you exactly how to do that!
On those hard days when you can’t seem to get Pinterest to work for you or your blog is getting no traffic, your why statement will help you buckle down and do the hard work.
4. Look for Competitors
Here comes the not so fun part!
Competitor research is an important part of your blogging business though because they can show you what’s already working for blogs in your niche and help you with the basics of SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Look for those blogs ranking for keywords in your niche that show up on page one of Google and look at their content.
How can you make your blog posts better? The whole idea here is to do research and get inspiration, not copy. Never copy someone else’s work.
I encourage you to start working on SEO from the beginning as I regret not starting it earlier. So, I don’t want you to make that same mistake.
I recommend Mike Pearson’s Stupid Simple SEO class. It’s amazing and teaches you everything you need to know about optimizing your blog, so search engines can find you. Learn more about the class in my review of Stupid Simple SEO.
You can read more about Debbie’s secret SEO tips to make $20,000 a month in my interview with her.
Here are some excellent resources to help you learn more about SEO and blog traffic.
5. Brainstorm Blog Name Ideas
Now you want to start thinking of names for your blog. Some people just use their name, but it’s even better if you can make it clear what you do and how you can help your audience right away.
Many of the people that just use their name are already well-established and people know what they do.
When someone sees your URL or lands on the front page of your blog, they should know immediately that they are in the right place.
So, if it’s an Instant Pot Food blog, your name can reflect that. If you’re a web designer, you want it to be obvious what you do. For inspiration, look at your favorite blogs and what their name or URL is.
Look at your competitors’ websites and blogs too. Don’t copy them; simply use them for inspiration.
Also, do a trademark search to make sure your name doesn’t infringe upon another brand’s name.
6. Blog Branding
You want to stand out in the crowd in a sea of competitors, and that’s where blog branding comes in. The name and domain address of your blog are an essential part of your branding, as well as your blog theme, color palette, graphics, typography, and more.
You want your color and typography to represent you, your niche, and your voice.
Are you cheery? Is your blog niche a serious topic? Look at the psychology of color because every color has a meaning associated with it. Choose the perfect colors that represent you and your blog.
When choosing font and scripts for your blog, go for ones that are easy to see and read. For more help with branding, check out this brand clarity course.
7. Define and Set Goals
To be successful at blogging, you must set clear, measurable goals as I talked about above.
You would want to set both long-term goals and short-term goals.
The short-term goals help you reach the long-term goals, and you can develop a strategy that breaks your goals down into steps.
When you set goals, you can create a blogging schedule to complete those important tasks.
Bloggers without goals or a strategy often don’t succeed because they have no plan and no way to measure their success.
A long-term goal could be that you want to get 500 on your email list in six months. Now you know where you want to go, but how do you get there?
An example of your strategy would be to create a freebie or opt-in that is a quick win for your audience.
For many, it’s a small piece of an eBook or course later down the road. To reach this goal and get people on your list, you also need an email service provider like ConvertKit, MailerLite, Kartra, and others.
Once you have your goals and strategy defined, you work on the next piece.
Blog Strategy and Structure
Now it’s time to set up your blog. I encourage you to create a picture of how you want to look as far as your categories and navigation. Either the old-fashioned way on paper or a mind mapping software.
Think of what you want on the front page and what pages you want on your blog.
As we go through these next sections, you can add to your picture. Whether you do it online or write it down on paper, a picture helps you get clear with what you want your website to look like, so it’s easier to build your website.
8. Determine Your Blog Categories
Determining your blog categories is extremely important because for many bloggers, they are part of the main menu and how people navigate around your website. Even if you don’t use them in your main menu, they organize your content, so it’s easier to find.
Your categories are the main topics you’re going to write about. Hopefully, you niched down well because being a general lifestyle blogger makes it harder for Google to understand what your blog is about.
With every niche, there are supporting topics you will write about that closely relate to your main topic.
For example, a mom focusing on making and saving money may have “Ways to Make Money” and “Ways to Save Money”. She may include subcategories like freelancing or work from home jobs, such as blogging or budgeting.
The Google Adwords Keyword Planner is a great tool to use to decide on blog categories. It’s better to focus on the ones with low to medium competition.
9. Setup Permalink Structure to Post Name
One of the biggest mistakes new bloggers make is they leave the default permalink setting, which is the year, month, and day you publish a post.
This format is bad for SEO, and older dates may make your audience think they are reading outdated material.
You want to go to settings in your WordPress dashboard under settings and select permalinks. The best option is to set it to “post name.” Then whatever SEO plugin you use, you can change the URL to your keyword phrase so that it’s SEO friendly.
Your URL would look something like this: aselfguru.com/blog-launch-checklist.
10. Create the Three Legal Pages You Need for Your Blog
Legal pages are super important to prevent lawsuits! I can’t emphasize that enough as a lawyer who has seen bloggers making tons of legal mistakes over the years.
Do you know the legal pages you need for your blog?
You also need a disclaimer to limit your liability surrounding the content you post on your website. It needs to be tailored specifically to your niche which is something all my legal templates help you do. A disclaimer also protects you from other legal issues surrounding the accuracy and completeness of your content.
Without these terms and conditions, you are at risk of someone stealing your content, and you’ll have no recourse when you run into legal problems with customers over products.
What a pain, right?
But don’t use free templates and generators because they don’t legally protect you. Read this post to learn why 50+ savvy entrepreneurs don’t trust the free legal templates to protect their businesses.
As a lawyer, I created easy to use templates for these pages that completely cover everything you need.
You can buy them separately or grab my discounted legal bundles to save more money and time!
I have premium legal bundles that come with awesome bonuses. You can get all three together for less money.
11. Write Your About Me Page
Your about me page is a very important page on your blog.
It introduces you and allows you to showcase your authority and expertise, as well as why people should trust you.
But don’t make the same mistake many website owners make and create a page that is all about you.
Yes, even though your “about me” page is about you, it’s still about helping your customers and readers more. That’s your primary focus, and you use your expertise and knowledge to illustrate who you are and how you can help.
I have an article that tells you how to write an about you page with examples and you can grab my About Me Page template for free in that post!
12. Create a Contact Form
You also want a contact form so that people can easily reach you, whether that be readers or brands that want to work with you. These forms are simple and have a place for people to fill in their email address, name, and an area to write their message.
WordPress notifies you when someone submits a message through your contact form.
There are plugins like WPForms that make this easy.
13. Research Ideas for Your First Blog Post
It’s a good idea to create a list of topics for your first blog posts. You likely ran across some ideas when researching for your niche. But you want to make sure you write articles that people are actually searching for and that help your audience solve their pain points and problems.
If your avatar is you, a couple of steps earlier in your journey, then you likely know many of the problems you had and also the solutions. But keyword research is critical no matter what. You can use a tool like SEMRush or KeySearch.
Your ability to succeed as a blogger and earn good money while maintaining the interest of a large active audience relies on your ability to produce high-quality content.
Here are 7 ways to find blog post topics as a new blogger.
Now we’re to the fun part! It’s time to set up your blog. This part of the blog launch checklist has the things you need to get ready to publish your blog.
14. Decide on Blog Platform
You need to decide on a blogging platform. While you can start your blog almost for free, this is the part you don’t want to skimp on.
There are free platforms such as Blogger, Wix, and WordPress.com, but they severely limit the customization and monetization of your blog. This issue may not seem like a big deal now, but trust me, it will.
If you are serious about making money blogging then do things the right way from the very beginning!
You want a WordPress website where you get your own hosting, and that’s a WordPress.org site.
You can get good affordable web hosting easily so it isn’t expensive.
If you want to learn more about the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, check out this article I wrote on the 20 best WordPress plugins to get.
16. Choose Your Domain Name and Hosting
Once you’ve gone through your branding and decided on a name for your blog, you need to pick a domain name and hosting. Most web hosting companies give you a free domain with the purchase of a hosting package, which is awesome.
When it comes to choosing a domain name, you want it to be immediately clear what you do. A web designer may choose a name like 365webdesign.com.
You may see people just use their name, which is okay. But the people that do that are usually already established well-known brands as I mentioned earlier when choosing a name for your blog.
You also don’t want the name to be too long. So, keep those things in mind.
There are several great web hosting services out there. First, there’s Bluehost, which is what I used to get started. Bluehost has good customer service and really helps new bloggers get set up easily.
SiteGround is another great choice for new and intermediate bloggers. They have excellent customer service, and setup is easy.
Another option is HostGator. They are an affordable choice for web hosting.
Then there is Big Scoots. They are more expensive and a popular option for advanced bloggers with a lot of page views.
Look at these options and compare the features you need for your blog. Most offer the same basic things.
17. SSL Certificate
Some new bloggers get confused when they see the term SSL certificate.
The most important thing to know is you need one. It provides security for your domains by encrypting any communication between any website visitor and the server. An SSL certificate also indicates your site is secure by displaying a little padlock icon in the address bar.
Most web hosting platforms provide this for free but make sure that it comes with your hosting because sometimes it may not.
18. Install WordPress and Setup Your Blog Through Your Host
Thankfully, your website host has resources or may even set up WordPress for you.
It’s not very hard; you just need to follow the directions they give you. Many even have videos to help you with the setup process.
Here is an excellent WordPress course to teach you everything you need to know.
19. Choose a Theme
Choosing a theme for your blog is fun. Now you get to pick one that matches your niche, personality and type of website you want to create. This process can also be overwhelming because of the sheer number of themes out there.
There are plenty of free themes, but if you want to customize your website, a paid theme is the best way to go.
Divi and Extra are two paid themes from Elegant Themes that are great for beginners. This is what I used when I first started. Note that if you want to change later down the road, Divi allows you to build beautiful web pages, but it’s difficult to switch to another theme without issues.
Astra is a beautiful theme with a paid and free version. It’s fast, which is good for SEO. A fast website enhances the user experience.
StudioPress is home to the infamous Genesis Framework that has multi-tiered plans. This framework also comes with some pre-made Child themes to make designing faster and easier.
Start with any of these themes and you can always change things later once your blog starts to make money.
All these themes have their unique features. Choose the theme that you like and I recommend Studiopress themes the most.
20. Choose Your Plugins
Plugins make life so much easier, and they provide an endless array of neat features. While too many plugins can slow your site down, there are some that you should consider getting.
Remember, SEO is important, and that means you don’t want a slow website. Short Pixel compresses and optimizes images, so they load fast and don’t use up a lot of bandwidth.
Akismet is a free spam blocker that makes it a must-have plugin if you allow comments on your site. Spam emails often show up in the WordPress comment sections and can accumulate fast and slow your site down.
You can get Akismet for about $5 a month, and it’s well worth the price.
UpdraftPlus helps you migrate, restore, and backup your WordPress website. Too many people have learned the hard way that backing up your website is critical. I know people that have lost multiple blog posts and wasted hours of time when they didn’t back up their website.
You need an SEO plugin for on-page SEO. We talked a little about this above.
Either one of these SEO plugins is great, and they have free and paid versions.
MonsterInsights is another plugin you want to get. There is a free version.
MonsterInsights is considered the best Google Analytics plugin out there. It walks you through setting up your dashboard in a few steps. Over 12 million people have installed it. The Pro version is incredible.
There are several other important plugins like Social Warfare for sharing your posts on social media.
GDPR Cookie Consent and this plugin is great for speeding up your site.
There are several other plugins you may want to check out in the article I already mentioned on the 20 best WordPress plugins for your blog.
21. Setup Email and Email Marketing Service
We’re almost done with this blog launch checklist and creating a professional email for your blog is important. Some web hosts offer Office 365, where you can get a professional website through Outlook. That’s a paid option.
You can usually set up email through your host for free without office 365 and have it forwarded to a Gmail address. This is a popular way to do email for free while still keeping a professional email address. You can set it up to look like it’s coming from your main domain name and not a Gmail address.
Many bloggers choose [email protected] or their first name instead of hello. Either way is fine. Whatever you choose, just keep in mind that this is a business.
Read my review of Kartra here, which is what I use and love for my email marketing needs!
22. Social Media Profiles
I added this step to this blog launch checklist because you also want to set up your social media profiles.
Starting with one or two social media platforms where your audience hangs out is the easiest way to prevent being overwhelmed. Don’t try to be everywhere at once.
It’s a good idea to go ahead and create social media profiles in your blog’s name on the major platforms. This way, you can make sure they’re available when you do go to use them.
Once you launch your blog, you want to add a link to it on your social media profiles.
While you do that, make sure to join our blogging and business group as well on Facebook such as mine here.
Facebook groups helped me SO much when I first started as a blogger and you need that kind of support.
23. Set Up Google Search Console
You also want to set up Google Search Console. Setting up Google Search Console is an important step in this blog launch checklist.
This tool is another important source of data. It helps you to monitor, troubleshoot, and maintain your website’s presence in search results on Google. It’s a useful tool to help you understand how Google sees your website and improve it based on the data Google Search Console provides. So, make sure you set it up.
Now you’re ready to launch your blog. Aren’t you excited you’ve gotten to this point?
Now I want to answer some frequently asked questions that I get when it comes to starting a blog.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Posts Should You Have Before Launching a Blog?
Unfortunately, many new bloggers think that once they launch their blog, Google picks up on it, and droves of people flock to it. This assumption couldn’t be farther from the truth.
It takes work to get traffic to your blog. I hear some people say you need to have five posts to start your blog. But you don’t need any posts to launch.
Keep in mind in the beginning, you will barely see any traffic.
So you need to start working on content right away because that’s what draws readers. Content is king. The more you have, the more people read it.
Plan out your keywords and articles you want to write and block out time to write the content and publish it. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you want it to be high-quality and optimized for SEO for Google to notice you.
What Equipment Do I Need to Start Blogging?
You can bootstrap your blog for free or very little money if you want to by using all free resources. Of course, you need an internet connection and a computer or laptop.
But your success relies on the tools you use, and that can make a huge difference. If you choose to start your blog for free or cheap, you should start investing in your blog when you get resources.
Final Thoughts – Blog Launch Checklist
We covered a lot of information in the mega-blog post!
Now you have a blog launch checklist with everything you need to be a successful blogger. It’s hard work in the beginning but totally worth it when you start getting traffic and making money.
There will be a lot of bumps along the way. Always remember why and think of it when things get difficult. Planning and setting goals are vital to moving step by step, closer to success.
Now it’s time for you to take action and start the blog of your dreams.
HAVE YOU STARTED YOUR BLOG YET? DID THIS BLOG LAUNCH CHECKLIST HELP YOU? LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU’RE STRUGGLING WITH RIGHT NOW.
Blog Posts Related to the Blog Launch Checklist
Now that you know HOW to start a money-making blog with this blog launch checklist, here are some other helpful articles to read.
- 5 Blogging Tips Every Blogger Should Remember in 2020
- The Ultimate Guide to Forming an LLC for Bloggers: Tips from a Lawyer & Blogger
- 52 Best Gifts for Entrepreneurs and Smal Business Owners
- 5 Secrets to Creating the Perfect Blogging Schedule You’ll Actually Stick To
- 7 Blogging Lessons I Learned After Making $10,000
- Blog Income Report: How I Made $60,000 from My Blog Last Month
- How Much Does It Cost to Start a Blog that Will Make Money
- 6 Steps to Starting a Successful Blog