Starting a Blog: The Comprehensive Checklist

Blogging recently has been evolved as an industry on its own. Earlier, we used to see weblogs that are sharing information and personal experiences. But today, we got to see that blogs have become a community business. Starting a blog have become a necessity for individuals and corporates nowadays.

Most of the bloggers today are giving a prioritized attention to building a mailing list. You still can get some sort of a premium help from the blogger in the form of purchasing eBooks or enrolling into courses.

What I want to say is that starting a blog in 2018 is awesome. Yet, it requires more work to do it right.

The reason behind this post today is to share my exclusive checklist on starting a blog in 2018. I will show you the exact steps you need to follow to come up with a smart profitable blog.

Not only that, but I will show you where the money is. And how to start making money from your blog in 2018.

Why Starting a Blog?

The vast number of blogs being started each day is something to make you certain about how valuable blogging is. People like to blog and they do like to read other’s blogs too.

Before going technically on starting a blog in 2018, Let me give you a couple of reasons why you seriously need to start a blog.

  1. You have a story to tell the world about.
  2. You want to build a personal brand.
  3. You want to make money online like many other bloggers.
  4. You want to heal from a past experience.
  5. You want to be a constant learner.
  6. You want to improve your writing skills.
  7. You want to build your self-confidence and discipline.
  8. You want to stay “under the lights”.
  9. You want to make new friends and connections.
  10. You want to help others.
  11. You want to screw your 9-5 silly job.
  12. It’s very easy to get started!

Are you convinced?
Do not waste more time into your brain’s comfort zone.
There’s nothing at all to worry about. Let’s get started right now.

Starting a Blog in 2018:

I’ll assume that you’re an absolute newbie and will walk you through the process of starting a blog in 2018 from A to Z. This guide is an exclusive one based on my 8 years experience. This is my gift to you as the new year’s present. Let’s get started!

Where To Start?

starting-a-blog-checklist

  • Grab a Web Hosting account and a Domain Name: Starting a blog is super easy. In order to get your own little corner on the internet, you’ll need to grab your own web space and web name. Here, I would recommend using BlueHost (Did you know that it’s as low as $3.95/mo only?).

  • Install WordPress: I will assume that you’ve followed the guide mention above and installed WordPress on your site. Now you’ve got to own something. Here, I recommend reading my post here on why it’s crucial to avoid freely hosted blogs like WordPress.com and BlogSpot.com: How To Start a Successful Blog and Why Self-Hosted?

  • Tweaks and Configurations: It’s time here to proceed with the initial tweaks and configurations of WordPress. The point here is to play with the settings and install necessary plugins, then you can officially start blogging. Here is my ultimate list: 13 Important Things To Do After Installing WordPress.

  • Blog Design and Choosing a Theme: It’s time to work on your blog design. I hear you! I know that you’re not a technical savvy and you don’t have to be at all. All you need to do is to head over to WordPress Dashboard > Appearance > Themes on your WordPress Dashboard. You will find tons of designs to choose from. Furthermore, I would recommend that you read: ThemeIsle Review: 30+ Best Free WordPress Themes 2018.

Getting More Professional:

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  • Setup an Email Address on your Domain Name: While you still can use your current email, it’s way professional to set up an email like [email protected]. You can do it via your Hosting Dashboard > Email Addresses. You also can setup an Email Forwarder. For example, All emails coming to [email protected] are to be forwarded to my Gmail email address.

  • Add your Gravatar Photo in Comments: It’s more professional to have your photo beside your name in comments. You can do so by associating your email address with a Gravatar account. Not only will this work on your blog, but also will work when you comment on any other blog.

  • Setup Social Media accounts & Integrate into your blog: Social Media profiles will be your best friends, especially in the beginning. Use a service like NameChk to check the availability of your brand name over different social media platforms. You can give a priority to Facebook, Twiter, Pinterest, and Google+. You may use a plugin like Social Media Widget to add social media links in About page or Sidebar.

Design & Customization:

starting-a-blog-checklist

  • Clear your blog sidebar: After installation, WordPress – by default – will add unwanted stuff on the sidebar like Tags, Meta Login, Archives, ..etc. I would suggest removing them to look more professional. This can be done by going to WordPress Dashboard > Appearance > Widgets and play with items by drag and drop.

  • Add your photo and a hint about you in Sidebar: It’s important for readers to see who is that person behind this blog. While you still can blog anonymously, I would recommend telling a little about who are you and what you do. Go WordPress Dashboard > Appearance > Widgets, drag and drop a Text Widget into the sidebar. Use this Text box to add your photo and a little about you.

  • Consider having a logo: You’re still good to go without a logo, Don’t ever hold yourself back to start blogging. You may use services like Fiverr to get a logo designed for you for as low as $5 USD. Also, you may like to use UpWork or Freelancer to find your logo designer.

Blog Content:

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  • Write About, Work with me, & Contact Pages: This point is to be your baby step into starting a blog. You will need to create those three important pages. About: To tell the world about who are you and what you do. Work with me: To include reasons for brands to work with you. Contact: So your readers and followers can reach you easily. On the contact page, you can add an automated contact form using Contact Form 7 plugin.

  • Publish Legal Pages: I see this particular as a very important one even if it will be with a placeholder content. I would suggest adding pages like Privacy Policy, Terms of Service, and a Disclaimer. This way you’re telling your visitors and search engines: It’s me, a professional blogger right here. You can generate these pages for free using many online available resources..

  • Include High-Quality Photos: Make sure you’re using high-quality photos into your posts and pages. These resources will help you find interesting free photos for your blog: PicJumboGratisography, and Dreamstime.

  • Publish Your First Blog Post: I won’t overwhelm you with how long or how good your first blog post should be. Make sure you keep the relevance and the personalization. Unleash your productivity! Check my guest post here: Write A High-Quality Blog Post With These 6 Tips.

Building a Mailing List:

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  • Sign up for an Email Marketing service: This will be your intimate friend where you can store subscribers email addresses, and mass emailing them when you got an update.  I would recommend using ConvertKit or Mailchimp as your email marketing friend.

  • Include Email Opt-in forms: This is yet another crucial item on the list. You can include these opt-in forms into Sidebar, Above the Fold, Below Post, ..etc. I would recommend reading How To Grow Your Email List From Zero?

  • Create a lead magnet: Here, I mean to give away a freebie to your visitors in exchange for subscribing to your mailing list. This freebie could be a PDF eBook or an Email Course. Make sure to deliver a high-quality content on that freebie. Here is a good resource on how to create an eBook freebie.

  • Automate your Welcome Email: After applying the above items, you will need to automate the first welcome email. So when someone subscribes to your email list, a welcome email will be automatically sent to your new subscribers including the eBook freebie.

  • Create a Landing Page: This item may not be for absolute beginners who are just getting started, so don’t bother yourself with it. Creating a landing page will tell people what your blog is all about and how they can subscribe to receive updates or to receive the lead magnet freebie. You can use a theme like Divi WordPress Theme to create a stunning highly converting landing page.

Essential Plugins:

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  • Install Akismet Plugin: It’s a very important plugin comes from Automattic (WordPress Developers). This plugin will help to protect your blog against spamming comments. It automatically adds spamming comments into the spam box and only keeps the legit verified comments. Check it out here.

  • Install JetPack Plugin: Another important plugin from Automattic (WordPress Developers). It’s packed with many features of the WordPress Cloud services including Security, Engagement, Site Analytics, Speed Performance, and many other useful tools.  Read more about it.

  • Install No Self Pings Plugin: The last thing you may want is to get your site ping itself. It will affect your blog speed and performance. That’s why I strongly recommend that you install and activate No Self Pings plugin to keep this self-pinging issue sorted out.

  • Install Wordfence Security Plugin: This will be your defense line against hackers and attackers. Yet, Wordfence is a crucial plugin you need to install in order to keep your site as safe and secured as possible.

  • Install Bloom Plugin: If you’re about to start and grow a mailing list and looking forward to embedding subscribe forms into your site, then this plugin will do the job. Bloom will allow you to create professional email subscription forms and integrate them into your site with a click of a button (Hands down, No coding required!) Read my full review: How to Create Email Subscription Forms & Why Bloom?

  • Yoast SEO: It’s an important plugin you need to install right away. Not only will that plugin help you with on-page SEO optimization, but also it will give you many insights about your pages and help you rank higher. You can find and install that plugin here. It’s Free!

How Do I Start Blogging?

Starting a Blog in 2017: The Comprehensive Checklist

Thanks for sticking by until right here. I tried as much as possible to cover all the steps you need to fulfill in order to start a successful profitable blog right today in 2018.

Please do let me know in comments below shall you still require any further assistance. Also, don’t forget to share this awesome checklist with everyone on social media.

2 thoughts on “Starting a Blog: The Comprehensive Checklist”

  1. Hi Karim,
    Well explained Checklist. I appreciate that you have covered all the essentials here.
    However, I feel you have missed one important plugin “WordPress SEO by Yoast.” Isn’t it worth mention here?
    Anyway thanks for motivating newbies to create a blog.

    Reply

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