This is the third Installment of the 21 days to a (better) blog series. It will make a great deal more sense if you have read week 1: up and running and week 2: the devil is in the details. This week I am leaving out the redundant writing, posting and editing schedule. By now you should have settled into a posting schedule that works for you. We’ll stay focused on fine tuning and fun stuff.
Week 3: Fine tuning
Day 15 Back it up baby. Backing up your WordPress database and applications directory is absolutely essential. If you self-host, as I do and have command line access it’s actually quite simple (see code below). If you don’t I recommend taking a look at these WordPress.org search results for backup and database backup plugins.
If you do backup with the command line method you also need to copy these two files to a second location in case your server ever crashes. With these two files you can be back up and running in minutes (not including server setup and DNS resolution time).
Day 16 Blog security . If you self-host locking down the WordPress installation is your responsibility. I’d start by looking at Login lockdown and WP Security Scan both of which I discussed in 18 useful WordPress plugins. WP Security Scan in particular will make many recommendations I recommend following.
Day 17 Add support for mobile devices. Consumption of blogs on mobile devices is already big and growing fast. I make use of two mobile theme plugins. WPtouch and WordPress Mobile Pack. One works better here and the other on ColorMetrix.com. It’s probably worth taking a look at both of them.
Day 18 Consider the Disqus comment engine. Your goal should be building a community you own and control. As such you need a robust comment system. The built in WordPress system is a bit limiting from a community growth perspective. (In my humble opinion). Take a look at the comments here and compare them to your blog. There is a WordPress plugin that makes the Disqus install fairly simple and straight forward.
Day 19 Is this blog going to be a place I have ads and affiliate sales relationships or not? Until you have literally tens of thousands of loyal readers the money won’t amount to much. So, my suggestion is be careful what you promote on your blog. I’m down to three affiliate programs I truly believe in and use the products. If they generate a few bucks great, if not that’s OK as well. Consider letting you blog be a representation of you. By doing that the speaking and consulting revenue (or a job offer if you are hunting) will be infinitely more valuable than a few affiliate bucks. A solid readership of one thousand might be all you need to develop four or five paying clients for a lucrative consulting business.
Day 20 Consider a premium theme and professional design assistance. Premium themes like Thesis (aff link) extend the functionality and versatility of WordPress. Thesis does great things for both SEO and typography. Don’t, however, spend the money until you know it’s the right thing and you plan to stick with this whole blogging business.
Day 21 First, pat yourself on the back, you’ve made it 21 days! Now, Consider a writing/SEO improvement tool like Scribe (aff link). Now’s the time to give Scribe a free try. You’ve got 21 days of posts you can run through the Scribe engine. You are already a good writer if you got this far. Now, it’s time to find out how well you write for SEO. After eight months of using Scribe and tracking my stats and analytics I can simply tell you it works. Over time your traffic coming from search engines will grow with this tool.
So, who has followed through on part or all of the 21 days to a (better) blog series? Did you start or improve a blog over the past three weeks? Please share your site in the comments and we can all go take a look!