- Blog Design: You can start with a freely available WordPress theme that you can find here and here, but a unique blog design is the way to go if you want your blog to stand out from the other blogs.
- Add Categories: Add the categories for your blog. Remember to keep it neat and add not more than 15-20 categories.
- Add an About Page: I have already wrote about the importance of an About page , add it and let your readers know who you are.
- Install All In One SEO Pack: Install the latest version of All In One SEO Pack WordPress plugin and optimize your new blog from the beginning itself. Remember to visit the plugin's option page. Also check out the other WordPress Plugins that can optimize your blog for Search Engines.
- Customize Permalink Structure: Choose a good Permalink Structure and stick with it. Here are some examples of good Permalinks:
/%postname%/If you change your permalink structure after you have been linked by other sites, those links won't work anymore. So remember to stick with the Permalink Structure you chose in the beginning
- Create a FeedBurner feed for your blog: Login to FeedBurner and create a FeedBurner feed for your new blog
- Install the FeedBurner FeedSmith plugin: The FeedBurner FeedSmith plugin detects all ways to access your original WordPress feeds and redirects them to your FeedBurner feed so you can track every possible subscriber
- Put a RSS button on your blog: Choose one of these RSS buttons and put it on your blog linking it to your FeedBurner feed
- Start Writing: What's a blog without content? Start blogging!
- Install the Google Sitemaps plugin : This plugin will generate a sitemaps.org compatible sitemap of your WordPress blog which is supported by Ask.com, Google, MSN Search and YAHOO. Download the latest version of the plugin from here.
- Create a Robots.txt file: Once you have generated your sitemap with the Google Sitemaps plugin, create a robots.txt file and add your sitemap there like in the following example:
- Add your Sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools: Add your new site to Google Webmaster Tools and then your sitemap too. Once you add your site, you will be able to find when Googlebot last successfully accessed your home page, web crawl errors, etc.
- Set preferred domain: Select your site from your Google Webmaster Tools dashboard and set your preferred domain (with or without www) by going to Tools>Set preferred domain.
- Install Akismet plugin: Download and install Akismet plugin to catch comment spam. Akismet has caught 133,660 spam comments on this blog since I first installed it.
- Add a Contact form: Install a plugin that adds a contact form to your blog so that your readers can get in touch with you. I use PXS Mail Form.
- Install Subscribe to Comments: Install the Subscribe to Comments plugin which allows commenters on your blog to check a box before commenting and get e-mail notification of further comments. This encourages readers to come back and take part in the conversation. I have also written on how to get more comments and listed some WordPress Plugins here and here that can help you.
I haven't mentioned the Related posts plugin as it isn't much of a use until you have lots of posts.