As per the last four posts in this series, by now, you have your new blog in a reasonably good shape but it’s been privately kept until now. So far the following steps have been followed to get it into the state that it is:
- Registered the domain name (or free blog space) and the hosting space
- Set up domain email addresses and installed WordPress, chose a theme and basic plugins
- Created pillar posts, categories, permalink and configured some plugins
- Did some internal Search Engine Optimization (SEO) work using free tools and links
Having done a reasonably good work so far, now it’s time to get your blog reviewed by some experienced people – not necessarily experts – and also release it for preview to your friends and family people.
Phase 7. Get your blog previewed and reviewed
This is a very important phase because a number of things that you did not care about so far or postponed will be brought to your attention by those who see your blog for the first time. This is also the phase were you do the final touches to your blog, its theme and some content as well before it is released to public.
There are professional website review services that charges heavily for doing a review of your website or blog. But we did not want to spend any money for this and hence go the forums way . The Digital Point Forums and the V7 Network have dedicated website review sections (click the links to go there) where you can submit your site URL and, if asked politely, will get reviews from dozens of forum members. You will get to know 100s of things, that you would have missed out or not aware of, in the form of feedback from these forums. I used the DP forums extensively to shape up this blog to the state it is today.
When you ask for feedback from people ask them about specifics (such as the theme, banner, color combinations, fonts, content quality, positioning of widgets, site response etc). Also, once you post the thread at these forums, please make sure that you follow it up on a regular basis and thank and reply to those who provided feedback.
Preview to your friends
At the same time, you can also provide the blog URL to your friends who could help you in more than one ways. Of course, they can provide some feedback but what they can do more is to provide some comments on the initial posts. You might want to have a couple of comments before you launch your blog and you also can get your comment plugins and widgets tested in this process. It is ideal for any blog to have the commenting possibility for the readers without having to sign up . If you are forcing your readers to sign up before commenting, they may not leave comments as much as they do otherwise. There could be some spam but that can be taken care of by powerful anti-spam plugins.
Incorporating changes and adding more plugins
Once you keep getting feedback, you need to start incorporating them as soon as possible. This could include theme changes, content restructuring, branding, logo changes, adding/removing plugins etc. This is the phase where your blog is getting ready for the grand release!
Things to avoid
At this point of time you may not still include blog statistics widgets, hit counters, feed counters etc. But you may activate and test your site feed by signing up with a feed aggregation service such as feedburner.
Incorporating the changes suggested by reviewers may take four to five days depending on the volume of feedback received. But it’s really worth spending this effort as you prepare your blog for launch. In the next post, we will talk about ‘Launching your blog‘ and the number of things you need to do pre-launch and post launch!