8 Essential First Steps to Starting and Promoting a Successful WordPress Blog

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WordPress.com is a free blogging platform where you can submit your articles and posts for public. Most start blogging as a hobby or business promotion tool. While the free platform is helpful, most eventually move on to personal domains and start using the self-hosted option.

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Why so? Well, WordPress.com has many restrictions and it’s not always beneficial to your business to blog on a sub-domain. Wait, what is a sub-domain? In short, you are basically blogging for another website. In this case it would be WordPress.com and your blog URL/LINK address will also be part of WordPress domain. Here are some of the samples of blogs hosted on WordPress.com:

  • http://politics.wordpress.com/
  • http://myblogging.wordpress.com/

This brings me to our first tip:

Get a Domain

Spend a whole $10 on a unique, short as you can, relevant domain name – even if you’re hosting your blog on a free WordPress.com or Blogger account. Get this right from the beginning and you will save yourself a world of hurt later.

Don’t be tempted to make up a “cool” domain unless you have a rock-solid web service and a million dollars to market it; and absolutely don’t get a free domain like .cc

If you need to set up web hosting, try GoDaddy.com.

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Gather Your Resources

To set up a self-hosted WordPress blog, you will need:

    • a domain name
    • a credit card
    • 20 minutes (give or take)

Establish a Good Permalink Structure

Don’t promote your blog if your URLs still look like mydomain.com/blog?id=1324. Take a minute to go the permalink options in your WordPress settings. Something like mydomain.com/my-article is great.

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Change the Tagline

It’s just embarrassing to find a blog that still has “Just another WordPress blog” in the title or on the theme. You can change it from Settings -> General to something more relevant to your site. Apart from the fact that many themes feature the tagline prominently in the header, it’s also often used in the meta-titles of your homepage and therefore shown to everyone who finds your site through Google.

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Set Up Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free traffic report for your website. But what’s the point of installing Analytics if you don’t actually have any traffic yet?

Well firstly, motivation. If you have accurate feedback that shows a clear, progressive growth in traffic then you are far less likely to give up. Don’t wait until you think you have some traffic – get real feedback, right now.

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The second reason – to find out exactly what’s popular on your blog; exactly which keywords bring in the most traffic; and make adjustments based on this. Try not to get too caught up in the numbers game yet, but if you find people are coming to your page for a particular topic and leaving quickly, perhaps try to write another post on that topic that’s more in-depth or targeted more specifically.

To set up Google Analytics with your WordPress blog, we recommend this short video to get started. But there are many available if you need a more in-depth tutorial.

Note: Google Analytics is only available for self-hosted WordPress sites, and note www.wordpress.com.

SEO Friendly Images

The power of image search should absolutely not be underestimated. You can add ALT and TITLE tags to your images using the WordPress image uploader or use a plugin that does so automatically. By adding these to your image tags, you may find a huge influx of traffic from Google Image search.

Excellent, Frequent Content

Make sure you have, at the very least, 10 quality posts, but aim for around 30 ideally. By “quality,” we mean 400 words or more of your own original content. Keep your articles focused, grammatically correct and spell checked.

Also post regularly. Either set a posting schedule so readers know when to check back for updated content, or post so frequently that readers can check weekly and discover several new articles.

Social Media Tie-In

Be sure to announce your articles on your own social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest.

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