Now that you got your new blog up and you sat down with a celebratory glass of wine, take a sip and read. You want all your hard work to be found online right? Your visitors are there, but without taking these 8 crucial steps immediately after you start your website, they won’t be able to find you. Having no traffic to your blog is a bummer, trust me, been there. So let’s make sure you start out on the good foot.
I Started a website Now What Steps Do I Take?
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1. Change Your Permalink
What are permalinks you ask? A permalink is the full URL that’s visible for your posts, page or any other piece of content on your site. Permalink should be SEO friendly, therefore they’re hella
WordPress, by default, gives your links a “date + post name” structure like this:
We want a shorter, cleaner, and more shareable link for search engines and readers to use like this:
Here’s how. Go to WordPress Dashboard > Settings >Permalinks. Click on the circle next to “post name” and click save.
2. Update the Time Zone and Date For Your Website
Head to your WordPress Dashboard > Settings > General. Scroll down the page and find the option to set your time zone. Then select a city that is in the same time zone as you live in. Next, select the date. All these steps are important to show the most accurate date on your site, as it also helps with scheduling posts. Don’t forget to save your changes.
3. Setup Forms to Collect Subscribers
I’ve reluctantly admitted in a previous post that when I first created my website that I didn’t have an email opt-in. HUGE mistake. Start collecting email subscribers from day one! By not collecting email subscribers on my site, I missed out on huge opportunities to connect with potential customers. At the time, I didn’t think I needed to collect emails from visitors because I was just blogging for the fun of it. BUT later I found I had no way of contacting these visitors for when I wanted to share my big announcements. Your email list is yours-ish! Meaning, if Instagram shut down overnight, you would still have YOUR email list of subscribers to contact. You picking up what I’m putting down?
I recommend starting with a free and reliable email automation system. MailChimp is a popular tool used by many bloggers. It does so much more than just collecting emails. The software gives you the ability to create and manage mailing lists, newsletters, automated campaigns and more.
After signing up with MailChimp, you’ll need to download a plugin to connect MailChimp to your site or manually include your unique codes. For those who are code-challenged, look for the plugin MailChimp for WordPress.
3. Set up a Google Analytics Account
Google Analytics is a free tracking software that allows you to monitor how people use your website, as well as how they find it. It’s an extremely useful tool as you can track the number of page views and visitors for your blog. You can dig in as deep as seeing how people are finding your website, track real-time visitors and a crap load of other data.
Installing Google Analytics may seem a bit intimidating at first glance, but it’s actually pretty simple. Just visit Google.com/Analytics and sign up using your Google account. Once you’ve configured your website in Analytics, you’ll need to paste your unique Analytics tracking code onto your website.
There are several ways to add your code to your website. If you have a WordPress site, you can use the Google Analytics by Yoast plugin. There’s also another plugin called Insert Headers and Footers that makes adding your code easy. I’ve used both methods on websites I’ve built in the past.
4. Create a Google Search Console Account
Once you’ve set up Google Analytics, it’s time to add your website to Google’s Search Console. Google Search Console is a tool that you’ll be using to track your site’s search performance in Google’s eyes. I know, your head may feel like it’s going to pop off with all this Google stuff. Trust me, once you get er done, you won’t have to do all this again.
So your website needs to be connected to Google Search Console so that you can index your website on Google’s Search Engine. It also monitors what keywords people may be searching for to get to your blog.
To add your website to Google Search Console, click on over to Google.com/Webmasters. The good news is since your site is already linked to a Google Analytics account, you can start using Search Console without any additional verification process.
5. Submit a Sitemap to Google Search Console
Ok so this is the last Google associate step for today, I promise. It’s another important one that you don’t want to skip.
A sitemap is a page that includes all of the URLs to your site so that Googlebot can use it to index all of the links on your site and show them on its search engine. And yes, Googlebots are a real thing – I didn’t make up that ridiculous term.
Anyhow, the easiest way to create a sitemap is to download the Yoast SEO plugin and it will generate it for you. Sitemaps created with this plugin would be http://yoururl.com/sitemap_index.xml
Edit your sitemap under Yoast SEO’s plugin settings. Simply submit your sitemap to Google Search Console by logging in and going to Crawl > Sitemaps > Add/Test Sitemap. Did I mention how important it is for you to submit your sitemap yet? Pretty damn important If your posts aren’t indexed, nobody will be able to find them on Google.
6. Set Up Automatic Backups
If your site breaks or is hacked, there’s no better feeling knowing that you can click a button and restore it like nothing happened.
There are many backup programs out there, both free and paid versions. I use the plugin UpdraftPlus Backups. The free version is awesome! It saved my life more than a couple times when I screwed up some coding and my site broke. EEK! You can download the UpdraftPlus Backup plugin and then schedule backups to your email, or desktop. I prefer saving backups to my DropBox account.
7. Set up Favorite Social Media Accounts
Remember to use the same social media handle for each one if possible. Also, standardize your social media bio and descriptions. You must stay current and in the loop when you have a website. Sign up with those social media accounts that are relevant to you. Don’t feel like you need to be on all of them. Select only those that you are comfortable with and go from there. My suggestions are Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook.
Remember to keep your username and bio’s consistent when you are creating your social media accounts.
8. Learn SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it’s what determines how well your posts and pages rank in search engines. If you are anything like me, you’ll learn something quicker by watching a video and thank goodness for YouTube. There are a gazillion videos on SEO just waiting for you. If you haven’t downloaded the Yoast SEO plugin, then let this be your first step in tackling SEO. Yoast takes a lot of the guesswork out of optimizing your posts. It’s a very visual plugin, so it makes it easier to understand just what the heck you are doing. Learn SEO, my friends! Optimizing each of your posts and pages will eventually bring you lots of organic traffic if you do it properly.
Building and launching your website or blog is just the beginning. Taking these steps above immediately after you launch gives your website and all your hard work a fighting chance to become searchable and indexed. Otherwise, you just set up shop out in a world called nowhere. Not cool!
Have you recently started a new website or blog? I’d love to hear all about it! Comment below and share.
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