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9 Things To Do With A New Blog

By HQHow Under Blogging

This article is guest posted by DJ who teaches people How to Make Money Online

There are thousands of blogs created every day, and while you may not be planning to create a new one soon, somebody out there certainly is. With this statistic in mind, shouldn’t there be a checklist that new bloggers can go through to make sure they have all their bases covered?

That’s exactly what I want to create with this post, and of course with your participation in the comments, so hopefully we can help build an excellent resource.

1. Optimise Your Permalinks

The permalink options for WordPress can be found by going to Settings >> Permalinks. Basically, this is the formatting that your URL’s will take on. There are lots of different options for this, but personally I like to keep the most optimised format and in the ‘custom’ field enter:

/%postname%/

Additionally, you can change the ‘base’ name for your categories. So if you use the structure above your categories will look something like:

http://example.com/category/categoryname and you can make this

http://example.com/anything/categoryname

I like to keep the category name short as well as the URL’s in general. It’s a good idea that this is one of the first things you do with a new blog so that you don’t have to setup redirects later and potentially miss out on some backlinks that were pointing to your old URL’s.

2. Set-Up Feedburner

Just like how you don’t want to be changing your page URL’s at a later date, it’s a lot easier to stick to one RSS feed URL as well. Feedburner hasn’t changed much since being acquired by Google for $100m but it is still a very useful service.

Such features include:

  • Being able to see how many people subscribe to your feed
  • Being able to see what people use to subscribe to your feed
  • Easy option to allow people to subscribe via email
  • Links for voting buttons in your RSS feed
  • …and much more

Once you have your feedburner link, make sure that you change all references on your site to the new RSS feed.

3. Change the RSS URL in your Header

I added this separately because if you are using Feedburner then this is important and needs a point on its own. One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of bloggers forget to change the URL to the RSS feed in the header of their site, so when people subscribe via the address bar (shown below) they get the wrong URL.

To do this, go to your header.php file for your theme and find something that looks like this:

<link rel=”alternate” type=”application/rss+xml” title=”<?php bloginfo(‘name’); ?> RSS Feed” href=”<?php bloginfo(‘rss2_url’); ?>” />

The part in bold is what you will want to change to match your RSS feed, so for my site I would put this:

<link rel=”alternate” type=”application/rss+xml” title=”<?php bloginfo(‘name’); ?> RSS Feed” href=”http://feeds2.feedburner.com/hqhow” />

Alternatively, you could use this feed to feedburner redirection plugin.

4. Stats Tracking

This is a relatively simple and obvious step, but needless to say, you need to know where your visitors are coming from. For stats tracking I use free services from both Google Analytics and BLVDStatus. BLVDStatus allows for live tracking of my visitors, while Google is better for more advanced reporting and in-depth stats checking.

Both sites will give you some form of javascript code which you should ideally place just before the end </body> tag in your code.

5. Optimise Titles

There are quite a few plugins out there that allow you to optimise your WordPress titles; some of the most popular include the All-in-One SEO Pack and SEO Title Tag by Stephan Spencer.

Currently, I don’t use a plugin and actually changed my code manually, so in between the <title></title> tags in my theme header, I have the following code:

<title><?php if(is_home()) { echo ‘How to Make Money Online ~ HQHow‘; } else { wp_title(”) ;} ?></title>

The part that is in bold is for the homepage of the site, so you could change this to whatever you want. The code is then saying that if we are not on the homepage for the blog, just use the title of the post and nothing else. If you would like more control over this though, I recommend one of the plugins above.

Speaking of plugins…

6. Install Your Favourite Plugins

Everyone has their favourite plugins, but if you’re buiding a site for the first time it might help to get to know some of the ones available. A few that I like include:

  • Brians threaded comments – this allows replies in comments, although newer versions of wordpress enable this
  • Feed Footer – this allows you to add text to the bottom of your feed, I include a link to a free eBook but you can put anything there
  • WP-Contact Form – created by Joost Devalk, this plugin lets you see the pages people visited or how they found your site before they contacted you, a good way to know if an email is just spam

Installing plugins can be tedious on older versions of WordPress but it’s nice to see your site come together how you like it.

7. Subscribe to Your Own Feed

This is simple so I won’t rant on, but it amazes me at how many people don’t do this. It took me over a year to realise one my RSS feeds was severely broken and included no line breaks, occuring because of plugin conflict.

Subscribe to your own feed so you can see that things are getting formatted to your liking and you can test that it is actually working.

8. Put Together a Traffic & Income Strategy

This won’t be for everyone, but there are a lot of you out there who are looking to perhaps become full-time bloggers someday or at least earn some nice side cash from blogging. With this in mind, get 2 sheets of paper or open a word document and put a list of the things you plan to do in order to:

  • Building Website Traffic
  • Earn Money

If you don’t have a list then you have nothing to follow, and the chances are you aren’t going to be as efficient and effective with your goal as you would like to be. I now do this for every website and it’s worked out well for me.

9. Tweak Your Design

Of course, I couldn’t write this post without having an option to improve your design. While it’s great that there are so many themes available out there for the likes of Blogger and WordPress, it’s still best if you tweak things a little. Even getting a nice logo can be the difference between a site that looks generic and a site that the owner really cares about.

That’s it! I would love to hear your additions in the comments…

DJ writes for HQHow, teaching people How to Make Money Online. He also offers a free eBook that you might enjoy, here.

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11 Comments Add yours
  1. I always forget to change my rss in my header! Great list and will dramatically improve any blog that has just been launched.

  2. Thanks alot for the tips, especially the one on changing the rss in my header – im using blogger and it came with the atom thingy – Ill check it out to see if its all ok or ill come back here 4 details. Thanks again

  3. proson
    April 29, 2009
    10:46 pm #comment-3

    well, optimize the design and title is only the first step. The hardest part is actually consistently getting traffic to your site or blog. The simplest but the most expensive method perhaps is PPC. But if you know what you are doing, you can quickly profits from those keywords without working too hard.

    Anyway thanks for your tips but don’t rely on search engines you should use other methods like twitter followers or email subscribers… this are fast and easy traffic as well.

    Proson

  4. Jackie
    April 30, 2009
    1:00 am #comment-4

    Thanks for that post. It was very helpful. I will keep these things in mind.

  5. Hexum
    April 30, 2009
    2:47 am #comment-5

    Once again, great post! I just made a post similar to this called “7 Plugins To Drive Your WordPress Blog To Success” but the first 4 on your list here were things I haven’t touched on yet.

    I’m very glad you did though because these may seem like little adjustments and alterations but they make a huge impact on the success of blogs in different ways.

  6. Jeff - Advertising Agency
    April 30, 2009
    7:01 am #comment-6

    These are some excellent tips. Thank you for posting. I will be passing this article onto a few clients…

    Great Work!

  7. Alicia
    April 30, 2009
    12:46 pm #comment-7

    Wow, thank you very much for the wonderful information! I am finding it increasingly difficult to get targeted traffic to my website, but most importantly getting repeat visitors. This could be because the website isn’t yet finished though :S haha.

    Good Post.

  8. Shankar
    May 7, 2009
    12:05 am #comment-8

    The RSS tip is good and as you said I never bothered to subscribe to my own feed. thanks.

  9. 123 power system
    May 7, 2009
    1:55 am #comment-9

    Good post here, keep up the good info. Make sure you use this stuff.

  10. This sure is a great blog for newbie bloggers out there.

    I have to agree with you however what I like the most was tweaking the design because this will surely pipe the interest of your visitors. Apart from that, your site will not look too boring and fun to visit.

    APart from that I also like the part wherein you have stated putting together traffic and strategy and gain more income through it! I think using Chitika ads and Google AdSense will gain you that much aimed for rvenue although at first time it will be quite slow.

  11. Chris Bennett
    May 8, 2009
    7:38 am #comment-11

    Great article, super good on all of these, a good checklist. Thanks for the BLVD Status mention I am glad you like it. Watch soon cause we are about to release some stuff that will blow your mind (hopefully)

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