You’ve spent long days and sleepless nights building a new WordPress blog. You’ve chosen a great theme and customized it just the way you want it to look and you’ve even installed a couple of plugins to make repetitive tasks easier. Finally, after all of that work, you’re ready with your content and want the blog to go live.
This all seems good until you realize—six months after launch—that you’re getting a dismal number of visitors. Or, maybe you wake up one morning to discover that unscrupulous individuals hacked into your blog. Without a doubt, this means that you didn’t give some essentials the attention they deserved before the big launch.
So before you take your new blog live, give attention to these features to ensure that your blog is bullet-proof secure and that you get the readership to match your efforts.
There are a few settings you need to pay careful attention to:
When running through your checklist of essentials before going live, the first place you want to check is the Settings page to ensure all settings are as you want them. Start with the URL’s by enabling pretty permalinks (you need mod_rewrite for pretty permalinks; fortunately most WordPress hosts support it). Go to Settings > Permalinks and select any permalink structure but Default.
Because you’ve enabled comments for your posts, it’s only natural to expect spam comments every once in a while, or frequently if there is no measure in place to block them.
So head over to Settings > Discussion and enable email notifications for every posted comment, comments in moderation, and the option that allows only previously approved users to comment. It’s also recommended to restrict comment posting to registered and logged in users.
Once those spam blocking measures are in place, install an anti-spam plugin to add another spam filtering layer. There are countless free anti-spam plugins in the plugin directory but you can get a premium version too with more advanced features.
Security and Updates
Pay careful attention to site security and how you handle updates, too:
Tighten Your Login
For its ease of use and ubiquitousness, WordPress is also an easy and popular target for intruders. What’s worse, many users utilize simple passwords that can be cracked with ease using various freely available automated tools.
So before taking your blog live, ensure that your login is secure by using a complex password and install a plugin that limits login attempts. Alternatively, you can use a plugin to manage the security of your blog through blocking brute force password crack attempts.
Prepare Your Blog For Updates
The core WordPress engine along with themes and plugins are constantly updated with new features that either fix known bugs or improve functionality and security. As such, it is necessary that you always run the most up-to-date versions of all the software that powers your blog. Use an update reminder or enable automatic updates to keep your site up-to-date.
Social Media Integration
How can you expect to get the word out about your new blog if you don’t incorporate social media?
Social Media Buttons
After securing your blog, it’s now time to focus on user interaction. In the early days of blogging, setting up a blog was as easy as installing WordPress, writing a few paragraphs and then hitting “post.” There’s more to it now, however.
To ensure your blog fully represents your brand, you must provide buttons to your social media profiles so visitors can easily check them out. Most WordPress themes have widgets for adding social media links. You can add social buttons in the header, sidebar, or footer of your pages.
Enable Social Sharing
It’s no longer enough to simply include links to your social media pages. You must make it easy for readers to share your content on their own social accounts. Thankfully, WordPress makes it a breeze to enable sharing buttons on your pages via custom plugins.
Increasing engagement can often be found through site subscriptions:
Enable Comment Thread Subscriptions
Most readers like to be part of the discussion and subscribing to a comment thread is the best way to ensure this. It’s a win-win for both the reader and blog owner because it encourages readers to come back and check the post, increasing site traffic.
Enable Newsletter Subscriptions
Finally, before you put out your blog for the world to see, you want to make sure that you have the tools to build a loyal readership. Your subscribers eventually become the easiest users to convert into paying customers when the time comes to sell a product, too.
A newsletter is like talking to your readers one-on-one. You can personalize your newsletters to increase appeal and cement the relationship with your readers.
This is a basic checklist of the must-have essentials for a new blog, but there are obviously many things you can add before your blog goes live depending on your goals.
Do you think there’s any basic feature that’s been omitted here? I’d love to hear your views about launching a new blog and what your ideal checklist would be, so feel free to share!
Image source: Pixabay