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So, you’ve started a WordPress blog. But where can you go from here?
Well, you might be thinking now is the time to start writing content. After all, that is what blogging is all about right? Actual blog posts for your audience to read.
Well, before you write your first blog post, here are a few considerations you might have missed. In your excitement to start a blog!
Don’t worry it is more common than you think. And these won’t take long to sort. So you can get on with writing your amazing ideas down.
What are you waiting for? Get these important steps below. That you should take before you even spend any time writing your first blog post.
These foundations will make writing a blog post easier, simpler and faster. Allowing you to breeze through it, find it enjoyable. And want to keep writing more week after week. Since this is your bread and butter. You need to be thinking about writing long term.
1 | Before You Write Your First Blog Post You Should Understand The WordPress Basics
Before diving into using WordPress to write your first blog post. The first thing you should do is get an understanding of WordPress in general.
So if you’ve just got your blog setup and WordPress installed. Then before you jump into writing you should consider getting an idea of how WordPress works.
To start with, get familiar with things like the WordPress dashboard. And where all the different features are. You’ll also want to understand the basics about WordPress plugins so you can maximize their use on your blog too.
2 | Setup Your Backups
Once you are familiar with the WordPress basics. One of the most important things you should do before writing your first blog post. Is to setup a WordPress backup. This should be done as soon as you’ve setup your blog. To prevent you from losing any work during the setup stages. But if you haven’t done it yet, or perhaps have forgotten about it. Now is definitely the time to get it done. So you can avoid losing any work. Especially your carefully crafted writing.
One of the easiest ways to get a WordPress backup setup is with UpdraftPlus. Which you can read a step by step guide for setting it up here.
The UpdraftPlus backups work through a WordPress plugin that is added to your blog. You can then run backups using this plugin to either your Dropbox account or Google Drive. I recommend sticking to using Google Drive. Because a free email address provides more free storage space than Dropbox. You’ll get 15GB with Google Drive vs 2GB with Dropbox.
You can then run completely free backups for a month or so. Before having to clear out older backups for more space.
So using this method you’ll get daily backups for a couple of months. 100% free so long as your blog backups aren’t massive. Which you can help to avoid by compression, using quality optimize resources. And deleting unnecessary resources that are no longer used.
3 | Before You Write Your First Blog Post Make Sure To Secure Your Blog
The next thing to do before you even begin to write your first blog post. You need to ask yourself if your blog is secure.
Now, as a WordPress beginner it is likely security seems like a daunting task to consider later. But whilst WordPress itself is highly maintained. No system is perfect. And WordPress being as popular as it is. Often makes it a prime target for hacks and exploits. So it is important to be extra vigilant.
In fact, what I would suggest is following these top 7 security steps for WordPress. That are quick and easy to implement on your blog. They won’t cost you anything other than a small amount of your time.
Other things like keeping your WordPress blog updated regularly. Along with other WordPress maintenance tasks. Will help you keep everything in tip-top shape. So when you start writing that first blog post. Along with the next and any future ones after that. Then you can be confident the content you create is secure on your blog. And won’t get deleted or corrupted by malicious coding or hacks.
4 | Install Antispam Plugin
As I have mentioned so far, things like security and backups. I also want to suggest getting an antispam plugin setup before you start writing. Because once you start writing. You will likely not want to find spammy comments added to the bottom of your hard work, right?
In fact, spam comments can happen sooner than you think. So before you get busy writing and forget about adding one. Get your antispam plugin installed and protecting your blog from spam comments. Before they can make your content and your blog look bad.
In fact, I recommend checking out either Akismet or Antispam Bee. As these plugins are both popular options in the blogging community. They both have their pros and cons. Which is why it is important to explore and check them out for yourself on your blog.
5 | Fix Common WordPress Mistakes
Another task or in this case it might be several tasks is to make sure you fix the major issues on your blog. Before you write any blog post. As you wouldn’t want there to be any difficulties getting to your content. Or possibly even losing the content if there are any technical errors either.
After all, it sucks to put in the time and effort crafting your blog post. Just for it all the go poof on your screen. It can take hours to write a post. And I would want to cry if I lost it all to some silly system crash!
You can find the full list of WordPress mistakes here. You can focus on fixing the most urgent mistakes on this list. If you want to fix some at a later date.
6 | Setup & Customize Your Theme Before You Write Your First Blog Post
Next up, before you start writing you need to cover the basics first. There’s no point writing any content if visitors won’t stick around on your blog long enough to even see it. Because they find that your blog isn’t set up yet. And frankly seems a bit neglected.
So to start with we should spend some time and love on the actual appearance of our blog. First impressions are crucial after all. You know the saying that first impressions can be lasting. Well, you certainly want to make the right impression here. Otherwise, people will move onto the next blog they find. You want to stop people in their tracks on your blog. So that they stop and read your content. Not someone else’s right?
So, one of the best ways to make a good impression is to make sure your theme is setup. If you haven’t picked a Theme yet. Then you need to go do this first. And if you need help with deciding as the decision can be overwhelming. Then check out this free vs premium WordPress themes blog post.
Consider Whether Getting A Premium Theme Would Save You Time
However, to summarize – picking a premium theme might be an early expense you weren’t thinking about. But if you are in a rush to get things done sooner rather than later. A premium theme will get you setup with a quality and visually appealing blog in no time. It helps, if like me. You struggle with picking something. And end up spending days trying to decide what colour theme you want to use.
Once you’ve got your theme picked. It is time to customize it. If you get a premium theme there shouldn’t be too much you need to do right now. Other than add things like your blogs name. A logo if you have it. And social media links.
Don’t Spend Too Much Time Customizing Your Theme
You could also change the colour, styles, layouts, add widgets to your sidebar and much more. Since WordPress is such a versatile platform. But here’s the thing, you don’t want to get too bogged down on making decisions here. Don’t spend weeks trying to design the perfect theme for your blog. Go through your free or premium themes settings once. Pick a setting for each setting and then leave it at that for now.
You can always come back and tweak later. So long as your blog looks appealing (it should be if you got a premium one). Then you can start thinking about getting your readers to your blog.
Oh and if you do however find yourself struggling to pick a WordPress theme. Consider taking this quick quiz from Restored316.com. It certainly helped me to narrow down the amount of choices in just a few minutes. So I am sure it can help you too depending on your needs.
7 | Delete Sample Content Before You Write Your First Blog Post
Here’s another task you should prioritize before you start writing your first blog post.
Make sure to remove any sample content included on your blog from when it was freshly installed. There is usually a “Sample Page” and a post called “Hello World” that many blogger forget to delete.
So, get them deleted before starting to add your own content and writing. As it will help avoid confusion. Look more professional. And make a better first impression for people visiting your blog.
8 | Get Familiar With The WordPress Gutenberg Editor
Right, so before you even start to write your first blog post. You should also get familiar with how to use the WordPress editor itself.
Nowadays that means getting used to the WordPress Gutenberg editor. Which now focuses on the use of blocks to build your posts. Whilst this might sound strange and you might struggle to see how this would work when writing. It is actually more simple than it sounds.
But either way, I do recommend reading some guides. And getting familiar with the editor before jumping straight into writing. As it will save you a lot of frustration in the long run. Whilst Gutenberg has been improving over time. Some WordPress Gutenberg features aren’t as obvious as one might expect. There is also a certain lack of tutorials inside the editor itself.
If you are not sure where to start. Then my guide on how to write your first post in WordPress Gutenberg. Will be a useful resource to have alongside. When you do attempt to write in the Gutenberg editor for the first time.
You’ll eventually want to consider using more advanced features like reusable blocks.
Once you get familiar with the editor, you’ll find it much easier to actually write your first blog post.
9 | Use Things Like Buzzsumo Or Google Trends To Search For Popular Topic Ideas
Another suggestion. Is that you want to do some research on the topic of your first blog post. Before you actually write it. You don’t want to just pick any idea. You want content that people are interested in reading. But how do you pick a popular topic to write on before you’ve actually written anything?
Well, there are a few tools you can use. BuzzSumo is a popular option. And whilst BuzzSumo does have paid accounts for using some of the tools. You can do some basic research and find popular topic ideas easily while using the free version of this tool too.
Google Trends can also give you ideas on what people are searching for too. If you type in some search ideas. Google Trends will give you back some stats about it. As well as other suggested ideas that it thinks are related. Unlike BuzzSumo though. Google Trends is free to use and doesn’t have a limited amount of searches. So you can explore freely with it.
So before you decide to start writing. Consider using one of these tools to do some research. And try to find some popular topics that might be interesting for your target audience within your niche.
10 | Consider Doing Some SEO Keyword Research
Considering we’ve talked about research blog topics for your blog post. It is a good time to mention. That you should think about your SEO! Again, this is something you ideally want to do before you write your first blog post. Or start writing any blog post at all.
So, you should consider at least briefly. What SEO keywords you’ll be using throughout the post.
And although SEO seems to be moving more to semantic and related context over keywords. They are still an important part of writing your blog posts to try and get them seen in the Google Search engine.
Whilst there is far too much information to cover on searching and picking your SEO keywords. As it would take over the purpose of this blog post. Consider typing in some ideas related to your topic into tools like:
KWFinder (Limited free searches)
Or a browser add on like Keywords Everywhere
Whilst you can pay for some of these tools and others. I’d suggest starting with the free tools first to get to grips as to what works and what doesn’t.
11 | Use CoSchedule To Write An Enticing Headline
Here’s another idea. Once you have chosen your post topic, but before you start writing. Why not decide on a headline for your blog post first?
Now, this might depend on your personal preference. As I know some people prefer to write first. And then come up with a headline that reflects their writing later.
But I like to write my headlines first and use them to keep my writing topic focused as best as I can. You can try both ways for yourself and see which you prefer!
Either way, if you want to know of an awesome tool for helping you write better headlines. Then consider using CoSchedule’s headline analyzer. You can even get their emotional and power word lists from their blog. To help boost your headlines potency even more.
Who knows what powerful headlines will CoSchedule’s headline analyzer help you come up with!
12 | Get A WordPress Coming Soon Plugin Setup
Okay, so this step you can get away with not doing. But this can be so quick to do with the right WordPress plugin. What am I talking about? Well, have you considered adding a coming soon plugin to your blog’s setup.
After all, writing content, setting up your blog and so much more. Takes up a significant amount of time. Everyone works at their own pace. And whilst some might be able to do things faster. It’s unlikely you’ll be churning out a lot of content in a short amount of time.
This is why it is a worthwhile consideration to add a plugin like Under Construction plugin (UCP). Which will allow you to rapidly add a coming soon page on to your blog. It is free to use and can be setup in a few minutes. So, what is there to lose? Other than improving the appearance of your blog. While you can focus on editing it in the background. How cool is that!
13 | Write An Outline Before You Write Your First Blog Post
Finally, one of the most important things to do before you write your first blog post. And every blog post for that matter. Is to write an outline for your blog posts.
Once you have an idea of what you want to write about. Write some broad details. For example, in this blog post, I chose to write about what you need to do before writing a blog post. So I wrote a brief outline of the different steps I wanted to cover.
Don’t worry. You don’t have to write a lot for this. And it definitely shouldn’t take you more than 10-15 minutes. Especially when you get into a routine with it.
For example, you can briefly write something like a short sentence per subtopic you want to cover in the main content. Then, you’ll also want some notes or ideas on what to cover for your introduction. And the concluding paragraphs too.
Plus any other notes or ideas you might have in general. Ideas on external and internal links. Stats and resources. And any call to actions you might have.
Just don’t get too carried away. An outline should be brief to write. But it should help you write faster and stay on topic.
Before You Write Your First Blog Post It Is Important To Have A Secure Foundation
So, that’s all 13 tasks you should do before diving into writing your first blog post. Once you’ve got to grips with these. You can then move on to actually writing your blog post in the Gutenberg editor.
There’s a lot to cover, but all of these will help make your life much easier. When you get around to writing part. Just don’t feel like you have to do all of these. As they are just a recommendation I wish I knew when I first started blogging.
It can be overwhelming and there is so much that can be easily missed. But by following these instructions and recommendations. You should find it easy to take action. And know exactly what your options are.
Also, whilst this blog post is focused on setting the foundations of a new blog before writing your very first blog post. Many of the steps further down the list can be reused for future posts as well.
Did you find these tips and suggestions helpful? Was there anything missing from this list? Let me know in the comments below!
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