OK, you did it, you created a new blog! You post a few entries on which you sweat for days, give it the best of your best. But what’s next?
Here are five basic steps I follow for every new blog I create:
1. Track your visitors.
Nothing is as encouraging for a blogger, as to see the amount of visitors going up, but also to explore where your traffic is coming from, which of your blogposts are the most popular,… So the first thing you need to do, is to monitor your traffic.
Activate Google Analytics on your blog. It is a free tool, and easy to use.
2. Submit your blog to search engines.
Search engines are one of the main sources of traffic, so submit your blog toGoogle, Yahoo and to the new kid on the block: Bing.
But there are more search engines than just these two giants. Use some of the free services, such as SubmitExpress to submit your blog to a dozen engines in one go.
And be patient. It will take a couple of days before they will start crawling your blog.
3. Sign up for some basic webmaster tools.
Google Webmasters allows you to tweak the Google crawler (the website indexer), to monitor how the crawler sees your site, who links back to your blog,…
If you followed step 2, you will have submitted your site already to Yahoo SiteExplorer, which offers features comparable to Google Webmasters.
And you can just as well submit your site to Bing Webmaster Center.
4. Submit your site to blog directories and social bookmarking sites.
Listing your site in directories will make it easier for others to find you precious blog, giving it the deserved attention.
The most popular blog directories are Technorati and Alexa. Try also the DMOZ open directory, even though your blog will be queued for the approval by an editor, which can take ages.
As an option, you can also submit your blog to a series of “blog catalogs”.Here is the list of free blog catalogs I use for my personal blog.
Some catalogs will require you to ‘link back’, i.e. include a link to their website from your blog.
Blogging is all about creating communities, and being active in these communities. Register, submit your most relevant blogposts and start looking for bloggers with similar interests on social bookmarking sites. The most popular ones are: Mister Wong, StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicious, Mixx,Reddit and Diigo.
If you have time, it also worth snooping around on blog forums. I like the friendly and helpful crowd on the Bloggeries forum.
5. Implement some the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) basics.
If you are really thorough, it is worth to tweak the Search Engine Optimization or SEO for your blog.
A well-tuned SEO will increase the probability people will find your blog through search engines, when searching for topics you blog about.
Wordpress has the superb All-in-One-SEO plug-in, but for Blogger, you will need to manually edit the template:
Insert the following in your template, just before the </head> tag:
<META CONTENT='keyword1, keyword2, keyword3' NAME='Keywords'/>
<META CONTENT='Describe here what your blog is about' NAME='Description'/>
<META CONTENT='Fill in your name here' NAME='Author'/>
…where ‘keyword1,…’ are the most important search keywords for your blog, e.g.: ‘Agriculture, development, poverty, agroresearch’.
And now… your blog is ready to go!
Check also 10 Free Blogging Tools I use daily.