In the last month or so, I’ve set up a few brand new blogs, and for each one, I used the same skeleton of a checklist to keep myself on track. Truth be told, setting up a blog on its own domain from scratch can be a bit tricky if you’re not paying attention, so I thought I’d share my checklist with you all today.
Part I: Set Up Domain Name
Perhaps the trickiest step of the whole process. All web hosts are different in how they instruct you to set up add-on domains, subdomains, name servers, etc., so even if you’ve done one, you haven’t done them all. Just follow the directions that your web host gives you, and you’ll be fine.
- Purchase domain name.
- Direct domain name servers to my web host.
- Set up domain name as a subdomain on my web host.
- Direct domain name to subdomain.
- Create FTP account for new subdomain.
Part II: Install WordPress
This is my overly-simplified version of the Famous 5-Minute WordPress Install. Again, this can be tricky if you’ve never done it before, but it’s really not too difficult. Just dive in and do it.
- Create MySQL database and unique user and unique password.
- Customize wp-config.php file to match MySQL information.
- Change table prefix from wp_ to my site’s initials (i.e. sja_). (This amps up the security of your database.)
- Upload WordPress files to the designated directories.
- Run WordPress installation.
- Change admin password.
- Add myself as a new user.
- Review and change default settings.
- Create a sample post with a sample comment.
Part III: Upload and Install Plugins
For each of the plugins below, I upload them, activate them, and review/change their default settings. All of the blogs I manage get these plugins:
- All-in-One SEO Pack
- Broken Link Checker
- Feedburner Feedsmith
- Google Analytics for WordPress
- Google XML Sitemaps
- Subscribe to Comments
- WordPress.com Stats
- WordPress Related Posts
- WPtouch iPhone Theme
Part IV: Set Up Google Webmaster Tools, Analytics & Feedburner
Google provides three services that I find essential in my blog management: Feedburner, Analytics, and Webmaster Tools. If you already have a Gmail account, you can use it for these services. In the case of the Springfield Bloggers Association blog, I created its own Gmail account in case I pass the blog development to someone else.
- Create and optimize Feedburner RSS feed for blog.
- Create and optimize Feedburner RSS feed for comments.
- Add both new RSS feeds to Feedburner Feedsmith plugin settings.
- Add blog to Google Webmaster Tools dashboard.
- Verify blog by creating and uploading the specified file to my blog’s directory.
- Submit sitemap.xml file created by Google XML Sitemaps plugin to Webmaster Tools.
- Create Google Analytics account for blog.
- Add blog’s tracking number to Google Analytics for WordPress plugin settings.
Part V: Set Up Blog Theme
This step can take a long time if you’re picky. If, however, you comfortable using a theme as it was designed, it goes pretty fast.
- Install desired blog theme.
- Customize header with unique banner.
- Add copyright information to footer.
- Customize sidebar with desired widgets.
Part VI: Complete Miscellaneous Tasks
And here’s where you’ll begin to feel like you’re blogging because you are. Yea!
- Create blog categories.
- Create blogroll.
- Add pages and fill with content.
- Write a few starter posts.
- Delete sample post and comment.
Once I’m done with all these tasks, I spend some time tweaking the design (I’m picky) and fine-tuning my content. In some cases, I’m ready to share the blog with the world right away, but for other blogs, I’m collaborating with other bloggers, so announcing the blog is put off until it’s exactly as we want it.
Hope this post helps you organize your new WordPress.org installations! (And certainly, if there are steps you think I’ve missed, send ’em my way.)