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Before you Blog: a 6 Step Pre Launch Checklist

Getting ready to start a blog?

Although it may be tempting to jump right in, there are certain items that are best taken care of before the first post sees the light of day.

Here are 6 steps to help ensure a smooth and successful launch:

Step 1: Choose the right platform

WordPress or Tumblr?
Custom design or predesigned template?

The design choices you make will largely hinge on budget, comfort level with HTML/CSS and familiarity with the platform. Hiring a professional designer to build your blog from the ground up is always a wise investment.

A Comparison of the Most Popular Blogging Platforms

Step 2: Prioritize SEO objectives

Before you start blogging, make a clear list of your SEO goals. What keywords are you trying to rank for? What’s your plan for on page SEO? Just like design, start thinking about SEO before you launch and it’ll prevent future headaches down the road.

Planning SEO for Local Startups and New Businesses

Step 3: Setup Google Analytics

This one is an absolute must. Google Analytics is free, powerful, and the insights it provides are incredibly valuable. It’s easy to use and getting started is relatively simple.

An Overview of Google Analytics

Step 4: Optimize for social sharing

Optimizing a blog for social media has becoming increasingly important over the past couple of years. The easier it is for visitors to share, ReTweet, and “like” your content, the more they’ll end up doing so. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Digg, and StumleUpon all have share buttons. AddThis and ShareThis are two of the more popular sharing services.

Step 5: Define your content niche

This is a big, yet often overlooked step. Before publishing your first post, you’ll need to determine what type of content you’ll produce and what type of material will most resonate with your audience.

Are you going to focus on product reviews?
Will you blog about news within your industry?
How about interviews or case studies?

The more targeted your plan is from the beginning, the easier it’ll be to stick with for the long term.

Step 6: Create an editorial calendar

An editorial calendar helps organize ideas, encourages consistency, and will put everyone on the same page if there happens to be multiple people contributing. It’s smart to start one sooner rather than later.

Make Content Distribution Easy With An Editorial Calendar

What do you think?
Leave a comment if you have any additional  steps to add to this list.

Photo credit: Steven Depolo

Jason mKey is the senior manager of social media marketing at Sparkplug Digital.
Email: jason@sparkplugdigital.com
Twitter: @Jasonmkey

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