Congratulations! You’ve set up your blog and you’re ready to start growing your online following. The thing is, after setting up your blog, you’re not really sure what to do next.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. I was in the exact same boat when I started blogging, as are scores of new bloggers.
So, today, I’ll guide you through the 10 things you should do after setting up your blog. Now, in theory, a lot of these things would ideally be done before launching your blog. However, most new bloggers are so excited to start blogging that they dive right into writing their first blog post without doing the prep work first. So if that sounds like you, you are in the right place.
Let’s dive in!
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links I may make a small commission (at no added cost to you). I only post affiliate links for products that I have personally used and recommend.
1. Establish Social Media Accounts
These days, social media is a huge component of blogging. Not only do your blog readers expect to see some kind of social media presence, but posting your blog posts on social media is one of the top ways to drive traffic back to your site. It may not seem obvious, but social media platforms act a lot like search engines. By establishing a social media presence, you increase the likelihood that someone searching for the kind of content you provide will find your blog posts and click through to your site.
2. Automate Your Social Media
Posting on social media can be incredibly time-consuming—especially because on many social media platforms such as Pinterest and Twitter, it is recommended to post multiple times a day. Who has time for that?
If you don’t want to spend hours every day posting on social media, then I highly recommend automating your social media posts as soon as possible. This way, you can sit down once a week for an hour or two, schedule out your posts for the rest of the week, and simply monitor your accounts for mentions, likes, and messages. To automate your social media, you can use tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, CoSchedule, or MeetEdgar.
3. Start an Email List
If you’re hoping to eventually make money from your blog, then the next thing I would recommend doing is starting an email list. For bloggers and online business owners, email lists are extremely valuable because they are a direct line of communication to your followers. By contrast, growing a large social media following establishes social proof, but what happens if Facebook decides to shut down your account? What happens if people decide to stop using Twitter? Your email list is a list of your raving fans that no one can take that away from you.
Related reading: Why You Should Start Building a List of Email Addresses
4. Learn About SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of guidelines that bloggers and website owners use to help boost their rankings on Google. Google looks at things like header tags, article length, and backlinks to judge how useful the article is to readers. With good SEO, you’re essentially signaling to Google, “Hey, my article is really helpful. You should place it higher in search rankings.” Good SEO doesn’t guarantee a better ranking, but it sure helps.
The quickest and easiest way to optimize your blog posts without having conduct tons of SEO research is by installing an SEO plugin such as Yoast SEO or All in One SEO. Each has free and paid versions, and what’s especially nice is that the plugins themselves guide you on the best SEO practices. However, I’d highly recommend taking the time to learn about SEO fundamentals. Moz and Kissmetrics SEO Guide are good places to start.
5. Set up Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free service provided by Google that enables you to track how many people are visiting your site, which pages are the most popular, and a myriad of other useful information. This kind of information is useful to you, the budding blogger, because it lets you know how people are finding your blog online and which posts people are reading. Then, you can leverage this information by promoting your blog via your top referral sources and writing more content similar to the content that was getting traction. Neat, right?
6. Set up Google Search Console
For a lot of successful bloggers, the largest source of their traffic comes from Google. But how do you make sure that Google likes your site enough to rank it well? Google Search Console.
Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) is Google’s free service that allows website owners to monitor the status of their site in Google’s search results. This tool lets you know if your site is being penalized (and therefore not ranking well in search results) for a variety of potential triggers including:
- Unnatural links
- Hacked pages
- Keyword stuffing
- Too many ads
- Thin or unhelpful content
By not keeping yourself informed about what Google thinks of your site, you could be losing out on tons of traffic. So, be sure to check the status of your site from time to time.
7. Install Essential Plugins
One of the coolest features of a self-hosted WordPress installation is the ability to install any plugin you like and customize your blog to your heart’s content. For example, if you run a food blog, you may require a plugin that displays recipes and provides an easy printing option. Or, if you need to display lots of photos on your blog, you may need a plugin for displaying photo galleries.
To start off, I would highly recommend checking out the 11 Essential WordPress Plugins You Should Be Using Right Now. Then, visit the top blogs in your niche and gather ideas for plugins that you might like to use. Don’t copy other people’s blogs, just use them for inspiration. You can also use the free tool BuiltWith to find out what plugins other bloggers are using.
Back in the day (circa 2005), it used to be possible to simply put up a blog and traffic would eventually find you. However, these days, there are so many competing blogs and websites that you really need to spend time actively promoting your blog if you want people to find your content. In fact, I would recommend that bloggers spend about half of their time creating content, and the other half of their time promoting their content.
Not sure how or where to promote your blog? Here are 26 Ways to Promote Your Blog.
9. Choose Your Monetization Strategy (Choose Wisely!)
If you’d like to eventually monetize your blog, then the very first thing I would recommend is reading the article How to Make Money Blogging in Any Niche. In this article, I go over 10 different ways to make money blogging including affiliate marketing, selling ads, and creating information products.
But, before you engage too deeply in any one specific monetization strategy, I urge you to consider your long-term goals for your blog. Are you hoping to eventually earn passive income? If so, then I would avoid strategies that will take up more and more of your time as your blog grows such as selling physical products. Are you hoping to hoping to become a top influencer in your niche? If so, then choose a monetization strategy that lends itself toward building your credibility. Although you can always change strategies later, continually bouncing around from one strategy to another can cost you valuable time and growth.
10. Keep Producing Valuable Content
Finally, the last thing you should do after setting up your blog is continuing to produce amazing content. Although it may seem like no one is reading your blog now, remember that it takes time for blogs to gain traction. You need to keep writing new articles and promoting in new places to find out what kind of posts people enjoy reading, and which promotion strategies work best for you. In fact, rumor has it that Google has a “sandbox” period which prevents blogs and sites from ranking well within a given time period. So, if you’re not seeing success within the first few months of having launched your blog, don’t worry! Just keep producing great content and readers will find you … eventually.
Alrighty, now it’s time for you to take action. Hopefully, this list gave you some ideas for what to do after setting up your blog, and you’ll be on your way to growing your readership and earning revenue along the way. If you haven’t downloaded the Perfect Blog Post Cheat Sheet yet, make sure you grab it so you can start crafting highly optimized blog posts right away. 🙂 Download it here!