This is a list of small tasks I wish I had completed before I launched my blog. Had I done them, I would have been more organized and productive and I would have saved lots of time and sanity along the way. But remember, there is such a thing as being too organized
- Know Basic Blogging Dos and Don'ts - Not an exhaustive list, but good to know. Related: What Makes Readers Lose Interest in a Blog?
- Start purposeful social media engagement - While you're getting your own site set up, take advantage of what's already happening on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media platforms. I don't mean just be there, I mean be strategic. Pick the one big site where your future readers are hanging out. Block out a chunk of each day (even 15 minutes is something!) and be helpful, promote others' stuff and build genuine relationships. Related: All my posts about Networking & Social Media
- Set up a place to store logins and passwords. Use an online tool like LastPass (Chrome extension) or 1Password or use good ol' pencil and paper. I made a PocketMod which is small and handy. In the past, I've also used a small, cheap address book. Another idea is to set up a spreadsheet (like in Google Drive). Related: How to Organize Your Affiliate Links (same setup process)
- Create a way to capture your blog post ideas. Great resources are Evernote, labels in Gmail, a notetaking app on your phone or good ol' pen and paper. I always seem to get good ideas when I'm driving. If you can relate, try calling yourself and leaving a voicemail, getting a voice recorder app (here are some ideas for Android and iPhone). After years and years of happily using my cheap flip phone, I finally made the switch to a smartphone this summer. I have an iPhone 4S so I tell Siri to email Evernote with my blog post idea. But regardless of how you do it, I recommend keeping all ideas in one place. Related: How to Post to Your WordPress Blog from Anywhere on the Web
- Get a Gmail Account. There's debate about whether your email address looks more professional as email@example.com vs. firstname.lastname@example.org. Personally, I have done both and have opted for the later. I like how my Google account is integrated online in many ways. I use Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) and Google Calendar. It allows me to pick up email from all my different email addresses (I've collected many over the years) in one spot and it's reliable. Related: How to Use Email Templates to Save Time, Increase Productivity by Ignoring Your Inbox? (and the follow-up)
- Sign up with Swagbucks. Swagbucks is a way to start making money online right away. Basically, you can install a toolbar that will earn you points ("Swagbucks") when you search. You'll be doing a lot of searching as you build your blog, so if you can deal with some ads in your search results, it might work for you.
- Sign up with Gravatar. This makes your picture show up next to comments you leave on other blogs and around the internet. It's a good way to build your brand.
- Sign up with Pocket. No doubt you'll come across a boatload of things you'd like to read as you go through the process of setting up your blog. Pocket is a handy tool that allows you to save things to read later so you don't get distracted now. It also keeps you from having a gazillion tabs open in your browser because you want to read it but don't want to lose it. It's a great time management tool and can by synced across all your devices. You can also read things later offline (great for the plane or where you don't have wifi).
- Set up a buzz file. A buzz file is a place to store the nice things people say about you. This comes in handy if you need some testimonials (I'd ask first before you quote people though) or if you just need to read some encouragement and know that what you're doing is helping others. That's always nice when you get the hate mail.
For those of you who hope to make money blogging, there are extra steps I highly recommend as well:
- Prepare yourself to make money. I won't reinvent the wheel. I listed 4 things in How to Keep Track of Your Money and a few more in How to Write an Ebook: Setting Up Accounts.
- Know what the laws are where you live. If you want to make money blogging, I highly recommend you check with your town, your county and your state for information about home business requirements, taxes, zoning issues, or anything else you need to be aware of. This varies by location. Good resources are your local Chamber of Commerce (in the US and in Canada), your City Hall and the Small Business Administration (SBA.gov). Get the advice of an attorney and/or an accountant if needed.
- Determine what type of business you'll have. This might be a sole proprietorship, an LLC, etc. (Refer the posts I mentioned above.) Do you need to register a DBA (Doing Business As)? Check with your County Clerk. Again, consult an attorney and/or accountant.
Refer to all my posts about Productivity & Organization here.
Did I miss anything?
Other posts in this series
- How to Start a Blog or Website: Intro & FAQ
- How to Start a Blog or Website: Cheat Sheet
- How to Find (or Refind) Your Passion
- How to Decide What to Blog About: What Works for Readers?
- How to Decide What to Blog About: What Works for You?
- Understand Branding: 4 Tips
- Understand Keywords: Increase the Odds of Getting Found
- Writing Great Content: 3 Tips
- How to Write a Killer About Page
- 12 Blog Organization Tips
- How to Choose a Domain Name: 12 Tips
- How to Register a Domain Name
- How to Set Up Hosting and WordPress
- How to Change Your Nameservers
- How to Add a New User in WordPress
- How to Optimize Your WordPress Settings
- How to Install a Plugin
- My Favorite Plugins
- How to Get & Optimize a Feedburner Feed
- How to Choose a WordPress Theme
- How to Install a WordPress Theme
- Elegant Themes for WordPress
- How to Install Google Analytics
- How to Use WordPress: Tips & Tricks
- How to Start a Blog or Website: 10 Tips for New Bloggers