You just started your blog but now what? Since you’re still new to this whole “blogging” thing, you probably have a lot of questions.
How I you write blog posts? How do I promote my blog and grow my audience? How do I make money?
Okie, let’s slow down a little bit. I know you’re excited but there are some things you need to take care of first before you start pushing out blog posts and promote your blog like crazy.
Here’s a list of 8+ things you need to do immediately after you start a blog:
1. Change Your Permalink Structure
By default, WordPress automatically gives your links a “date + post name” structure. So, your links will probably look like this:
This can make your URLs look too long and ugly so what you’re going to do instead is change the permalink structure to show just the post name. Yoast talks about how this is the perfect WordPress SEO permalink structure.
You can do this by going into settings > permalink, clicking on the circle next to “post name” and clicking save. Afterwards, your link will look like this instead:
Much cleaner right? It’ll also look much nicer when you share your links.
2. Create Your About and Contact Pages
To help your readers learn more about you or to contact you if they need anything, you should always have an About page and a Contact page.
Creating these are easy. Just go to Pages > Add New in WordPress.
The About page should include information about you (if you’re an individual blogger) or your company (if it’s a blog for your business). If you’re not sure what to write, check out what other people wrote on their websites. You should be able to find a nice structure to use as an example for your own About page.
For your contact form, I would recommend installing a plugin called “WP Forms Lite.” This plugin takes away all of the work by letting you create a beautiful contact form that you can put anywhere on your site via a shortcode it provides.
Once you get the shortcode, paste it directly into a new page and your contact form will show up.
3. Create a Google Analytics Account
Google Analytics will be the tool you use to track all of your site’s data; from page views to audience information, all the way to acquisition data.
Some of this data might not be useful for you yet but you will need it in the near future to optimize your pages and posts and to learn more about your readers.
Is Google Analytics free?
Yes it is! You can create a Google Analytics account using your Gmail and start tracking your blog’s traffic information right away.
After you sign up, you’ll be given a tracking code to place in your website. I recommend following this tutorial so that Google Analytics doesn’t track your own page views, as that would skew your analytics data.
4. Create a Google Search Console Account
Google Search Console is a tool that you’ll be using to track of how Google see’s your site.
Once connected, you can index your site on Google’s Search Engine and then Google will be able to crawl your pages and list them on its search engine. Even if you don’t index your site, your blog will still eventually be found but this process makes it much quicker because you’re manually submitting to Google instead of waiting for them to find you.
Using Google Search Console, you can also monitor what keywords people are searching for to get to your blog. It’ll display what keywords you’re ranking for, what position you’re ranking for, and how many clicks and impressions your pages are getting from Google.
Since Google is the world’s leading search engine, you can trust that they know what they’re doing when it comes to helping you do well on your site. The information this tool provides can help you increase your organic traffic.
5. Submit a Sitemap to Google Search Console
A sitemap is a page that includes all of the URLs to your site. When you submit this to Google Search Console, Google can use it to index all of the links on your site and show them on its search engine.
If your posts aren’t indexed, nobody will be able to find them on Google.
You can submit a sitemap to Google Search Console by logging in and going to Crawl > Sitemaps > Add/Test Sitemap. Your Sitemap is usually located in www.your-domain.com/sitemap.xml so use that as your sitemap link.
If you don’t have a sitemap yet, download the Yoast SEO plugin and it will generate one for you. You’ll learn more about Yoast SEO later on.
If you’re not sure how to find and install plugins, check out my article on How to Install WordPress Plugins.
6. Make Your Site More Secure
The last thing you want in your blogging journey is for you to get hacked and lose everything. Making your site more secure will help decrease the chances of that happening.
You can increase your site’s security by installing the WordFence plugin. You can find it in Plugins > Add New and searching for it in the search bar.
Once installed, it’ll activate a firewall to prevent all sorts of attacks and also warn you when something suspicious or potentially dangerous is happening on your site.
7. Set Up Automatic Backups
In the case that you do get hacked or something bad happens to your site while you’re working on it, it’s always a good thing to have a recent backup to restore from.
You can schedule automatic backups with a plugin called “BackupWordPress.” This plugin lets you set specific times to backup your database and website files. You can download these files anytime you want so that you can have a safe copy on your computer.
Find out more about this in my article on How to Backup WordPress Automatically.
8. Add Optin Forms to Collect Subscribers
You want to start collecting subscribers for your mailing list right away so that you can send them email updates when you write new content or want to reach out to them.
Your mailing list will one day become one of your leading sources of recurring traffic so don’t ignore this step!
I always recommend new bloggers to sign up for MailChimp because it’s free and it’s also a really popular email automation tool.
You can create an account below.
After signing up for MailChimp, you’ll need a plugin to connect MailChimp to your site.
I recommend using the plugin, “MailChimp Forms By Optin Cat.” The free version let’s you create beautiful popup forms and sidebar forms to place on your site.
9. Install a Social Sharing Plugin
To make it easier for others to share your posts, you’ll need to install a social sharing plugin to add social media buttons on all of your posts. Your readers will be able to share your posts at the click of a button rather than going through the trouble of copying your links.
I love using Social Warfare Pro because the buttons look beautiful and it also gives me a share counter on all of my posts to show my readers how many times my posts have been shared. This gives my site more credibility. It’s also inexpensive at just $29.95 a year. There’s also a free version which is also very good.
10. Learn About SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it’s what determines how well your posts rank in search engines.
This is something you need to learn about before you start writing your posts because it’s pointless to write posts that nobody is going to see. Optimizing each of your posts and pages will eventually bring you lots of organic traffic if you do it properly.
The first SEO step you should take is to install the Yoast SEO plugin. This plugin will guide you through the optimization process when you’re writing your posts. It’ll give you green lights for the things you’re doing right and orange/red lights for things you can do better.
Learn more about SEO from these articles:
11. Prevent Beginner Blogging Mistakes
Last but not least, you want to make sure you start off on the right track! As a beginner blogger, it’s very likely that you’ll be making a lot of mistakes.
How do you avoid blogging mistakes? You learn from other people who have experienced obstacles and overcame them.
Here are a couple of articles featuring blogging mistakes you should avoid:
- Aspiring Bloggers – 11 Blogging Mistakes Most Beginner Bloggers Make
- Seeking Serotonin – 8 Crucial Blogging Mistakes You Need to Avoid
If you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to leave a comment and repin the image down below! It’ll help other learn what to do after creating their blogs!