Check List for Setting Up a New Blog

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One of the areas I intend to expand this year is my blog network, at the moment I have 5 or so blogs that all look and function pretty differently. What I intend to do is put some procedures in place to help me expand the network consistently and relatively quickly. Scott has already achieved one of his goals of 2008 so I need to get moving on some of mine :) .

Recently I received an email from Caroline Middlebrook promoting her free guide on creating mini sites with WordPress, I’m not looking at creating mini sites here but there is some good tips there none the less, especially for people that are new to WP. Any way onto my check list:

  • Install CMS Software, in my case this is WordPress so some of these points will be specific to that platform though other CMSs will likely have an equivilent.
  • Choose and set your permalink structure, this is the format of the URL for each post. I like to use: /%year%%monthnum%/%postname%.htm as this means posts are grouped (artificially) in a folder per month and are only one directory level away from your sites root.
  • Enable Askimet antispam and make sure that you have a valid key.
  • Install tracking software, be it Google Analytics or something else. You can generally either use a plugin to add it to your site or add a bit of Javascript to your themes footer.php. I need to find (or write) a plugin that works with the latest code version of Analytics as maintaining multiple themes will become a pain
  • Create a new FeedBurner account to track your subscribers and follow the instructions (installing another plugin) to make your feed URL point at the burnt one.
  • Install and automate a backup system. A good method is to use the plugin WP-DB-Backup and get the files emailed to you on a daily basis. This is where having a free email account with large storage space can come in very handy.
  • Next up is to through the other options and change any accordingly, these are the ones I find are worth changing:

    • General Options -> Weblog Title – Set to whatever the title of your blog is
    • General Options -> Tagline: A short (sentence) description of the site
    • Reading Options -> Show at most: 8 posts, I find 8 is enough for my blogs (the default is 10)
    • Reading Options -> Syndicate the most recent 20 posts – This is double the default but gives new subscribers plenty to read
    • Reading Options -> For each article, show: Full text – I find showing the full text is the best way to keep subscribers, it does mean you get less visitors to your site but is worth it in other ways. If you use the more tag you’ll need to install a plugin like this for full feed syndication to work.
    • Discussion Options -> Hold a comment in the queue if it contains 1 or more moderation, I go for all other default options but do manually approve ALL comments with links in

    Once your blog is set-up it’s a good idea to keep it running (doh), Vladimir has some great tips on insuring your blog.

    I will be adding to this list as I remember, learn and discover new things that I should be doing. If you have any suggestions for the list please let us know via comment.

    This post is just about setting up new blogs, I will go into promotion and launching in a future post.

About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.

Comments

  1. That’s a good list of very specific tips to start off. I’ve created a couple of lists of tips for new wordpress blogs on my site. They’re still on the front page if that interests anyone!

    • My top tips are:

      Create a Google and Yahoo sitemap of your site, the sitemaps plugin makes this really easy.

      Make your RSS feed really easy to find. Adding email subscriptions helps visitors who are not familiar with RSS.

      Create an archive page with a list of all previous posts. Using a related posts plugin is great for individual posts.

  2. I think maybe adding a contact form to your wp blog gives some functionality to the site.

  3. I add an extended list of pinging urls but switch pinging off when I’m setting up and as a default always install seo and breadcrumb nav plugins

    • Thanks for commenting Laura, what does your SEO plugib do, I generally do all SEO in the theme rather than via a plugin but I could be missing a trick there.

  4. The plugin allows you to add unique titles and descriptions to every post / page its called All in one seo pack.

  5. Al, to add to your list of essential plugins i’d add the following too:

    Breadcrumb Navigation (there is a newer version available, but this one works for me ;-) ) – http://sw-guide.de/wordpress/plugins/breadcrumb-nav-xt/

    HTML Sitemap – http://www.dagondesign.com/articles/sitemap-generator-plugin-for-wordpress/

    XML Sitemap – http://www.arnebrachhold.de/redir/sitemap-home/

    Random Posts – http://rmarsh.com/plugins/random-posts/

    Similar Posts – http://rmarsh.com/plugins/similar-posts/

    All the above are great for avoiding your pages falling into the supplemental index.

  6. For those looking to benefit from the search engines, http://www.mytypes.com/seoblogtemplates/ might be a consideration. The spiderability of some of the more generic templates out there is questionable, so it’s best to go with something you know how been optimized and checked for SEO accessibility.

  7. I use allinoneseo. I also have the extended tinymice editor as well, so I can do tables and additional styles in the body easily.

  8. Al i made a post and included a few useful / recommended posts, i guess it got snagged by askimet

  9. Thanks Al for sharing these tips. I really enjoyed the ebook.

    I’ve been doing all of them on http://www.domainleft.com/ and http://www.99adz.com/ and so far it’s been great.

    My traffic is amazing for the first one and not so good for the second though.

    Looking forword to reading more useful tips here on SMM :D

  10. Great article! Final step should be insuring your blog be it a new or the new blog.

  11. Thanks a lot for the tips Al.. some of them seem really basic, but there’s definitely some great info in there. Especially for beginners like me ;-)

    • I find it’s the simple and basic things that are often forgotten hence doing the check lists. I’ve set up numerous blogs but before I started using a list they were all slightly different (well they still are but I’m working on it).

  12. How long do you wait before adding adsense to a new blog? (or any other ads)

  13. Great list to help people get started. You also want to make sure you have a good ping list to bring more spiders into your site. James Brausch released his list recently and there are other lists out there available.

  14. Thank you for your great work here.
    I just got inspired and started http://www.ecoperipherals.com yesterday.(took 4 hours total), for a newbie. All down to al, scot and mighty followers. thanx

    You may use

    in your comment.

  15. Although specifically wordpress related, I think the general idea applies to all CMS solutions.

    Just to add:
    Look for plugins, such as SEO All in One, Privacy Policy, etc (the important plugins) to add to your newly created board….

    Forsaken’s last blog post..Hurricane Ike strikes South East American Region

  16. Goods tips for neb, who don’t know exactly how to start with WP…

    Beauty’s last blog post..A Quick Hand Treatment

  17. I have my own little list now for setting up a new blog, your summary covers most of my list other than bits mentioned above including setting up a decent ping list, although i can’t find my original source for the list i use.

  18. Great summary, thanks

  19. A good guide, especially the backup plugin. I learnt that lesson the hard way.

  20. i have everything already placed on my blog except “WP-DB-Backup”
    i didn’t know about this plugin, but it sounds handy because it automatically creates backup
    going to install this on my blog
    thanks

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