The 15-Point Checklist To Start A Blog In 2023

Important checklist to start a blog in 2023

It so happens that prospective bloggers won’t stop asking me how to start a blog. It’s easy to conceive the idea of starting a blog, but when it’s time to deploy, all shades of confusion set in.

How do I start a blog? From where do I even begin the process of starting a blog? What is the first step and then the next?

These questions and more are about to be answered in this simple, straight-to-the-point but comprehensive and detailed checklist on how to start your blog.

I will be sure to be concise while writing this checklist. I will also add the necessary details so you can always understand.

So, here goes:

  • Decide You Want To Open A Blog.

Of course, the first step. You have to decide that you want to have a blog.

 

  • Determine Your Blogging Niche/Topic.

You don’t necessarily have to have just one niche compulsorily for this. You can write on multiple topics or have a lifestyle or personal blog.

Firstly, let me preface this by saying

I DO NOT CHOOSE NICHES.

 The niches choose me.

What does that mean?

Well…

I’ve never thought, “I want to start a new site. Which niche shall I choose?”

 Instead, I’ve found myself researching online and thought, “Wow, I should make a website about this.”

Now, if you haven’t started your first site yet, 

You may be thinking:

‘OK, good for you, but I DO need to choose a niche’.

And if that’s the case, my advice is this.

 

Think about what you’re into or what you want to get into.

Spend some time searching for info to learn more about this topic.

And while you’re learning, think about how easy it is to find the info you want.

  • The perfect scenario – is that you already know more than what’s easily accessible on the internet.
  • The next-best scenario – is that you’re willing to learn more than what’s on the internet from offline sources.

 I’ve heard a lot of advice that says, ‘When you have a niche in mind, just start; don’t spend too long thinking about it.’

But that’s pretty bad advice.

 People who do that look down and go, ‘I’ve got a dog,’ or ‘I’ve got eczema,’ or ‘I’m sitting on a chair.

They started a site about dogs, eczema, and chairs, and it does terribly for several reasons.

 Instead, treat choosing a niche like you’d treat selecting a tattoo.

Pick one, but then don’t commit yourself that same day!

Wait a while, and make sure you don’t end up with one of these…

So you’ve picked a niche, and there’s info that needs to be covered better online… 

Before you start, here are the seven things I would consider non-negotiable red flags…

 

1. Low search volume

  • It could be that nobody has written the content because nobody is searching for it!You could rank number 1 and still get no traffic.Get yourself a 14-day free trial of SEMRush and see how many people are searching.

 

2. Declining trends

  • I wouldn’t touch a niche that’s becoming less popular over time.
  • Head to Google Trends (for free), choose ‘worldwide’ and ‘past 5 years’, and see how many people have been searching.
  • Here’s the Google Trends data for ‘keto diet’…
  • That one’s a big fat nope from me.

 

3. Cheap products

  • Making pennies on each sale as an affiliate is just not worth it.If you sell a $5 product on Amazon, you can make 25c.But if you sell a $100/month subscription through another affiliate program, you could make $30/month or more from a single sale. Recurring!
    Even if you plan to monetize with ads, this matters.

    Why?

    Ads are often shown alongside relevant content.

    So, your post about designer watches will have ads for designer watches (or ads for other things aimed at wealthy people who buy designer watches).

    Advertisers will only pay so much to be featured on your post about cheese graters.

 

4. NSFW Topics

  • This is p*orn, g*ns, dr*gs, etc.I don’t even want to put the words here for the risk of this email ending up in your spam.Anything that’s ‘not safe for work.

    Traditional ad networks won’t touch a site with this content, so I’d only do it if I had a solid affiliate plan.

 

5. Super Seasonal Topics

  • I have a site that gets 10X the traffic for one month of the year.
  • Sounds fun, right?
  • Well, no, it’s not actually.
  • You have to prep like crazy before the event, and there’s no guarantee that you’ve done a good job, and by the time you know if you have, it’s too late to avoid.

 

6. Anything Too Narrow or Too Broad.

  • Too narrow = knitting needles
  • About right = knitting
  • Too broad = crafts

I’d recommend starting with a broad domain name and working through the narrow niches within it one at a time as categories.

Or – I sometimes do ten posts on each category, see which performs the best, and then build them out in order, starting with the best one.

 

 7. Anything Ethically Dubious

  • Remember to honour your values.As a vegan, I’d never write about how to kill animals, for example.But if a restaurant serves meat, I’ll happily include it in my round-up.

    Only you can decide what you’re comfortable with.

    Write about things that sit well with your beliefs unless you want to feel icky about yourself forever.

 

Check Blogs In Your Niche.

Do a quick tour of blogs in your niche; that way, you will have a feel for what blogging in your niche looks like. You can also begin to generate blog post ideas.

Check this article on how always to have blog post ideas.

  • Write 10 Great Posts

Everyone will have their unique processes as they may decide to launch with just one post. I recommend you have ten great and ready posts so your new blog readers are busy loving up on different posts.

 

  • Check Domain Availability

Type your preferred domain online to see if any blog has it.  Below are my Top tips for choosing a good domain name:

  • Make it as short as you can
  • Avoid using any hyphenated versions.
  • Use your full name if it’s available.
  • Always use the dot com version (if necessary, try different permutations of your name)

 

Buy Your Domain and Hosting.

You can buy your domain and host in the same place or from different places. A good hosting to buy your hosting and domain name is HOSTINGER.

I recommend them because they have an excellent walkthrough process from start to finish. It is also one of the least expensive and has the best quality.   Click here to get started!

 

  • Install WordPress software

After you buy your hosting, your hosting service provider will ask you to install the software you want to work with. Install your WordPress.

 

  • Set Up Your WordPress

Change your WordPress display name, and choose your username and password. Ensure that your password is difficult to predict.

 

  • Install A Theme

You can either pick a theme from WordPress or install a custom theme and begin to design. You can design your blog once and for all and set it up the perfect way, or do the bulk of the design, make it neat, and continue tweaking and designing until you are thoroughly satisfied with your blog,


 

  • Change Your Permalink Structure.

In my post on common mistakes Bloggers make on WordPress, I mentioned that they need to remember or never know how to change their permalink structure. It would be best if you did yours immediately to avoid complications.

This is how to change the permalink structure of your WordPress blog: Log in to your WP Dashboard, head to Settings, click on Permalinks, select “Post Name,” then click “Save changes” to save your new permalink settings.

 

  • Write or Paste Your First Post.

…and other ones. You might want to apply sound SEO strategies immediately so your blog is in great shape from day one. Click here for a good SEO for beginner Bloggers’ articles.

 

  • Write the About and Contact Me pages.

These are super important. You will be shocked to know how many people want to read your About page, especially if they land on it for the first time. Your contact page, too, is so important.

 

  • Install Social Media Share Plugins.

So many people must remember to install a good social media share button until much later. You want your blog to spread farther than you can do by yourself.

 

  • Install Google Analytics

Google Analytics is very accurate in giving you more correct blog statistics. You can’t rely on your WordPress stats because you don’t have other important metrics like bounce rate, number of pages per session, etc.

 

Final Thoughts

You found the 15-point checklist for starting a helpful blog. By following its steps, you can ensure that your blog is correctly set up immediately.

This will put you in a better position to rank well in search results and earn money in the future.

You will acquire reliable and efficient publishing practices that will benefit you in the long run as a thriving blogger.

Spread the word!

Tell your friends about the blog, and have fun blogging.

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