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Keep Your New Year’s Resolution: Set up a Social, Search-optimized WordPress Blog … Today

This guest post is by Marcela De Vivo of Gryffin.co.

Recently ProBlogger discussed how to brand your blog, how to find your voice, and how to build your authority.

Mouse

Image courtesy stock.xchng user panoramadi

These articles are powerful, but often I find myself speaking with people who don’t have a blog yet, or are using Blogger or custom made, cumbersome platforms. Just this week alone I went through these steps with four different people who want to jump on the blogging bandwagon.

In this article we will go back to basics for those who haven’t started their blog yet, or who are on platforms that are hindering their progress.

If one of your New Year’s Resolutions was to improve your blogging presence—or start a new one—read on!

We’ll go through a step-by-step process, including tools and resources for each step, to set up a WordPress blog that is optimized for social and search marketing success.

Setting up your WordPress blog

WordPress is currently the most popular content management platform.  It can be used for static pages or as a blog.  You can add plugins for a shopping cart, image galleries, and much more.

Here’s how to set it up.

  1. Register your domain with sites like Register.com, Godaddy.com, or Enom.com
  2. Create a hosting account with sites like BlueHost.com, WPEngine, or HostGator.  If you would like to do more research on hosting companies, check out WhoIsHostingThis.
  3. Select a WordPress theme. I personally love using StudioPress as the themes are clean, functional, and easy to work with. Search for a responsive theme so your blog will be accessible to mobile users.
  4. Is your site running on a different CMS or platform? Consider using a blog migration service, such as BlogWranglers, to move your current site over to WordPress. Hundreds of thousands have done it, with no regrets.
  5. Upload WordPress to your hosting account, and customize with your relevant theme.  If you are not a techie, this is the part where you’ll need some help.  Check out Elance.com, Freelancer.com, or a site like Craiglist.org to find someone who can help you set up and customize your template.
  6. Install WordPress plugins.

Let’s take a deeper look at the plugins you’ll need.

Setting up your plugins

Social media

These are the social media plugins I recommend you consider.

SEO plugins

My favorite SEO plugins include these ones.

Usability

Usability plugins can be a huge help. Consider these:

Doing keyword research

To gain exposure from search engines, you need to have your blog focused on a theme. Select a primary keyword within this general theme for each page of the site.  You can read more about keyword research in this ProBlogger article.

Select keywords by identifying low-competition and high-search terms for your industry from Google’s Keyword tool.

Other tools you can use include:

.

Prepare content for your static pages and images

While a designer/programmer is working on setting up your site, you can start by writing and preparing content for your site.

A well-optimized page includes the primary keywords in the Title of the page, Meta Description tag, H1 tag, once or twice in the body, and in an outbound link.

As you’re preparing your content, remember these elements of an excellent blog post:

        • Post title: creative and compelling
        • Social share icons: make sharing your content easy
        • Image: an image speaks louder than words
        • Opening paragraph: include keywords in a teaser into the introduction
        • Body copy: use headers and bold words
        • Lists: make your content easy to scan
        • Conclusion: include a teaser for your next article
        • Related posts: give them more content to consume
        • Comment section: Always respond to comments

Read Darren’s compilation from earlier this year for more information on each element in The Anatomy of a Better Blog Post.

Connect your site for optimum findability

By this point you should have a WordPress blog with a range of enhancements made possible by plugins and other customizations.  You will have SEO plugins to improve your on-page SEO, page load times, keyword density, site maps, and other relevant SEO features.

You will also have a selection of social plugins so that you can encourage social shares from your site. You will have other features such as contact forms, tracking, reporting, and an email signup box to build your email list.

Incorporating keyword research will help you to deliver the content that people are looking for in a way that lets it be found.  You can write articles based on long-tail terms, answer questions that your audience may have, and target hundreds of keywords by writing articles specific to each one.

So what are you waiting for? Make your New Year’s Resolution a reality and start your new blog today. And if you have any suggestions of plugins, tools, or services to add to this list, please do share!

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer who writes about blogging, SEO and social media at Gryffin.co/blog.

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Comments

  1. Jatin Sharma says:

    Hi,
    Marcela

    My website is social and search optimized already. I am currently using the balance theme on Genesis framework and almost all the plugins you have stated. I am not using Digg Digg but instead of it, I am using WP- socialite because it does’nt slow down the loading time of a BLOG.

    For now I only use Adword keyword tool for keyword research, planning to buy one. Which one do you recommend?
    One more thing the keyword should also be in the last 50 words of a post.That’s what I do.
    and I have already connected my site for optimum findability.

    Thanks for the nice share, really a must for all the newbies out there.

    • Karan Thapar says:

      I wouldn’t recommend buying a keyword researcher tool. Use Google Adwords keyword tool in addition to Google Search Suggestions. If you are too much keyword oriented, your readability gets compromised.

    • This is the first time I’d be hearing about WP-Socialite wordpress plugin. I have been an avid Digg Digg user but now, I will check it out as well.

      Thanks

      • Dion says:

        Digg Digg is a really useful tool that should def be used in conjunction with the WP-Socialite plugin.

  2. Rahul says:

    it is very nice post i am starting to my new blog this post is very helpful for me thanks for sharing..

  3. Andrius says:

    It’s a very useful post for me. It’s really good help for me improving my blog. Thanks.

  4. Tauseef Alam says:

    Hi

    I recently setup a blog on Blogger but after reading your post i’m thinking to move it to wordpress because i’ve heared that WP is better for SEO.

    Please suggest should i move to wordpress or stick with blogger.

    • Adam says:

      Hi Tauseef,

      If you are looking to expand your blog and want to be able to customize it later on then I would highly suggest you move to WordPress. There will be a slight learning curve in the initial stages but once you overcome that you will realize the true power and ease of use WordPress has to offer.

      Cheers!

  5. Thanks Marcela!

    I’ve already got a couple of blogs that I started in 2012, but there’s a couple of plugins you recommended that I never even knew of…

    Social Metrics?!?! That’s what I NEED! Thank you. I’m gonna go grab that one right now and set it up.

    Aloha, Chris

  6. Kent Chen says:

    I think setting your wordpress site on a reliable and reputable hosting is ultimately important. I was once hit hard for using too much resources and was forced to move my site to another hosting service. That made me lose my rankings, but a lesson learned too.

  7. Monisima says:

    Very comprehensive and encouraging. Thank you for the wonderful information you have here about getting a website optimized:)

  8. Vivek says:

    Great information. I have never headed about Spy Fu keyword tool. This tool seems to be good enough.

    • James M. says:

      I used spy fu a few years back when I was still into building new websites for myself. But that was when much of the Spy Fu information/data was free. After it got commercial, I got myself Market Samurai and Micro Niche Finder. Both very good tools.

      With regard to the plugins listed above, I have most of them in my blog, and several others, I’m beginning to worry the number of plugins I installed might be affecting the speed of my blog.

      • Dan says:

        Thought I would throw this out there… I have been using the Weaver 2 theme. Thoughts on it?
        thanks

  9. Mani says:

    If your New Year Resolution blogger. Not only in wordpress. WordPress or Google Blogger. Net surfing all of the people not have enough knowledge by using above said all of the tools. Create the blog based on your professional work or favourite field or topic. Create the research collect informations and posts into your blog. Register domain registrations if any .com, .net, .org etc., And promote the blog, blogging tips and techniques, your problogger tips and by user fiendly social sites facebook, twitter, RSS feeds etc., And then step by step of knowledge use all of the above said tools.

  10. Thanks for this awesome post. Short but explains everything to start a wordpress blog. Even the newbies or those who have no or less knowledge can also get benefited by this.

  11. Thank you for such an excellent list. I will definitely be adjusting my blog based on this article.

  12. Great advise and tips. Thanks so much for sharing, especially the plugins and content advise.

  13. Emily says:

    If you invest in the Thesis theme, you don’t have to worry about SEO plugins (although I’ve heard there’s been trouble with version 2.0 – I never downloaded it).

    I just discovered the Contact 7 Form plugin, and wonder where it has been all my blogging life?! You need to read through some tutorials to set it up exactly how you want it, but once you figure it out it’s great to be able to put different forms on different pages on your blog.

  14. Yesblogger says:

    I agree with you that WordPress is much more flexible, but I also think that you are underestimating Blogger. Blogger is a simple, secure and reliable blogging platform, and a well optimized Blogger blog can well match any WordPress Blog in terms of traffic.

  15. Davon says:

    Some really good plugins out there and very well categorized. Many thanks for the post!

  16. Brenda Hook says:

    You read my mind, Marcela! I’ve neglected my blog for too long. It’s time to answer your call to action and “Make my New Year’s Resolution a reality…” Thanks for the brief but thorough refresher post.

  17. Ken Pedersen says:

    Marcela,
    Wow, this is a great post. I never dreamed that you could contain everything you need to get a website up and running in such a short post. But, it’s all here. Nice work. I’ll be looking at some of the social media options to include on my site.

    Thanks,
    Ken Pedersen

  18. Rose says:

    Wow, I had no idea Bing had a webmaster tools feature. Thanks so much!

  19. Ken Pedersen says:

    Marcela,
    Great post! I love how you included everything to set up and run a website and in so few words. Sometimes it doesn’t take 2000 words to get your point across.

  20. aditia says:

    not to forget spam blocker and for SEO I still using AIO

  21. GreenLava says:

    Thanks providing the links to all the resources and plugins.

  22. Anawia says:

    I never use a tool that is here. sepetinya excellent try for my new blog. This is very useful thanks

  23. Marcie says:

    Thanks for these resources. I am going to revamp my sites this year and these are mighty handy.

  24. flip says:

    i want to switch to wordpress from blogspot. however, i fear the work of transferring my material. is there an easy way to maintain my structure while switching over? also, will “starting over” ruin my SEO that i have earned over the years?

  25. John says:

    Great list of plugins! Thanks for sharing, will definitely help to socially optimize my site…

  26. NatalieMac says:

    I think you neglected one really great place to find someone to hire if you need help customizing your theme – your local, friendly WordPress meetup group. It’s always nice to hire someone local who you’ve met in person.

    • Steve says:

      Great post, this is perfect strategy to start the new year. I’ve never heard of some of those plugin’s so, thank you again!

  27. Thanks for the info. I’m definitely blocking off some time to go through his in more detail.

  28. John says:

    Hey,
    Excellent post.
    It has nearly explained each and every thing that how to setup a new blog. You have given nearly all the plugins which i love. :)

  29. Nazmul Alam says:

    I’m already a big fan of WordPress and using it for a couple of years now. I have used almost everything that you have mentioned here. But I think for WordPress SEO, the plugin from Yoast, recently renamed as “WordPress SEO” plugin is better than the “All In One SEO” plugin. Though both of them works perfectly fine but WordPress SEO works better for me.

    I have used both of them and loved the one from the Yoast.

    Hope this helps.

  30. Matt Brennan says:

    Helpful post. Good information for those looking to launch a new blog / site.

  31. Impshum says:

    A very good post indeed my friend. Just what I need… A checklist for a new beginning.

    Thank you. x

  32. Amit Shaw says:

    Some Plugins are new for me. Would love to try those plugins for my upcoming new Blog.
    Thanks for this awesome step by step tips.

  33. Danny says:

    Very concise post for setting up a site, Marcela.

    There are some great suggestions for tools, services and plugins…though, it will depend largely on an individuals budget and needs, when it comes to spending up…..

    I already use a large percentage of the tools, services, plugins, etc that you suggested and can confirm that a great many of these are very helpful…..

    Blogger has got it’s faults, though, I have come across many Google Blogger blogs(with a custom domain name) that are doing very well…..and I only found out later they were blogger blogs…

    So, as much as I may agree with the move over to WordPress being a great idea(I use WordPress) I won’t discount the potential a Google Blogger blog can have….

  34. Very comprehensive and encouraging. Thank you for the wonderful information you have here about getting a website optimized :)

  35. Lahaul Seth says:

    I am a theme junkie theme fan. So, I bought a theme junkie template for my newest wordpress blog. I like the seo settings integrated in the theme itself. I can edit seo title of home page as well as the post page.
    And it costs a lot less than the studiopress themes (about half).
    I would like to work with some of the plugins you’ve mentioned. Thanks a lot.

  36. Menulis Tips says:

    Hi darren, I enjoyed reading your blog posts. I am a newbie blogger who still have to learn from your experience on how to make the blog look better

  37. Becky says:

    I like Studiopress, but found them to be a little expensive….plus I don’t know how to use the Genesis framework very well.

  38. frank says:

    Great post. I just added plugins I dont already use to my new site. Most of the plugins I already new about apart from scribeSEO which is really useful

  39. Nice article I have just added a few of those plugins to my wordpress site.

  40. Thanks for the short and nice checklist! However, I’m a hug fan of Catalyst Theme, as in my opinion it’s the best for any design needs, easy to use and fast-loading. So far, I haven’t find any theme that beats Catalyst.

    Never heard of Outbrain for related posts, will try that now, thanks !

  41. Lisa says:

    Thanks for the post. I will definitely be trying some of these on my blog.

  42. Randy says:

    I use many of the plugins that you recommend. I use Contact Form 7 for my “contact us” page on many of my websites. It also has a way to add captcha to the form to keep spammers out.

  43. Philip says:

    Excellent post.

    Those are some great examples of plug in that will definitely help with your ranking.

  44. Mark says:

    Great post, good on you for listing all the plug ins too.

  45. great post, you’ve given so much information on how to set up a post, plugins and all. nicely done. Mark.

  46. Mark says:

    This is an excellent summary for setting up a blog. I wasn’t aware of the Contact Form 7 reCAPTCHA Extension plugin, but have now implemented it on my contact page. Thanks for the heads up!

  47. Paul says:

    Thanks Marcela!
    Your guest post is quite valuable for me because i am new to blogging and definitely will try the techniques that you show here. I think that social signals are the “must” feature on my site.