Everyone wants to be a blogger. After eight years at it, I know something about digital storytelling. I wrote the below list in 2013 and recently updated it, providing a primer for people who determine if blogging is right for them.
1. Choose a name for your blog. Pick a name that is connected with your goals and one that is memorable to the ear and finger.
2. Buy a domain. Self-host your blog via WordPress.org. It is more sustainable and customizable than the free version of WordPress.com. If you don’t care about memorability and customizations, go with the free one. Forget about Blogger, Drupal, etc.
3. Create a description. Determine the blog’s focus.
4. Create a logo. Also create an optional header image.
5. Set up the user experience via themes, plugins, layout, sidebar widgets, colors, fonts, and menus.
6. Set up administrative functions, especially if you will have multiple authors/editors.
7. Brand your blog with your website, Facebook page, business card, and other marketing channels.
8. Create personalized pages that explain how someone can contact you, who/what you are, location/hours, disclaimers, etc. (These are typically on the top navigational bar menu.)
9. Set up a RSS subscription feed – and an email subscription feed. Let your user decide how to read your blog. Don’t dictate one way to read your blog.
10. Pick a niche for your blog (and the posts in the blog). Don’t be an echo chamber. Be unique.
11. Create an editorial calendar. Think about having guest bloggers, especially if you’re taking a vacation. It’s normal to post-date posts (but don’t be far away if you need to handle a crisis).
12. Create meta keywords and folksonomy tags/categories for each post.
13. Enable your reader to leave a comment. Blogs without comment choice = not social media. Respond to people who comment, ideally indented and emailed to them. Write a comment policy in advance.
15. Write a headline that captures one’s attention, inspires further reading, and explains in a sentence what they’ll get in return from reading it.
16. Write related content without being overly promotional. We hate direct mail.
17. Write for your target audience. (The people who buy/use your product.)
18. Be remarkable.
19. Break up blocks of text into easy-to-read paragraphs. Incorporate section headers, bold and italic formatting, bullets, and pictures – to make your text easier to read.
20. Link! Link both internal and external. A post with zero links is bad.
21. Attribute your sources. Use contextual linking.
22. Include a call to action, whether to add a comment, join an email list, click a link, etc.
23. Spell-check before publication.
24. Distribute your new posts to social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Email your friends, colleagues, and clients with a link to the post and the call to action.
25. Syndicate to Business2Community.com, SocialMediaToday.com, Newstex.com, etc.
26. Add your blog to directories, e.g. Alltop.com, BlogCatalog.com, Technorati.com.
27. Enable social icons. Inspire people to share your posts. Never limit the desire to share.
28. Think about monetization: product sales, donations, ads, sponsorship, affiliate marketing, Kindle subscription, etc. Be aware of FTC rules about disclaimers.
29. Analyze! Use Google Analytics or similar to track metrics. WordPress.com implements its own tracking data but is usually less accurate than third-party tools. Consider Quantcast and Alexa.
30. Grade your blog and follow all advice given.
This list is not exhaustive. But it does provide a starting point…