All set with Google Analytics 4, or is that still stressing you out?


I heard someone recently say that there are so many ways people will tell you to start a blog because there are many ways to be successful by blogging. They aren’t wrong, but a new blog set up is a standardized process.

There are a lot of ways to launch, produce content, how you use social media, and so much more. That’s not what this post is about. This post is also not about mindset or niche selection.

This is simply the list I have documented in my standard operating procedures (SOPs) for all steps to be done to set up a blog.

I store it in ClickUp, and I have it on deck when shiny object syndrome strikes.

Your Mileage May Vary

There are plenty of step by step instructions all over the internet on how to set up the pieces if you’re unsure. This is basically my personal checklist more than step by step process (with personal flavor added, of course). They are things I’ve been taught and modified to my business’ needs.

I have a portfolio of sites, but I also go through the process so infrequently that I found myself forgetting the steps! Documentation for the win. New blogger or experienced, I highly recommend a set of procedures that you can duplicate on all processes.

Please know that you do not have to have everything figured out to start. The best advice you’ll find about setting up a blog is to take action. You start doing the work, get 1% better each time, and then we’ll be using data to help you improve. Naturally.

Steps to Setup a New Blog

1. Domain

For the most part, blogging is a long game. You do not have to be married to a subset of a niche, but you are married to the niche you select with your domain to some degree.

Go broad with your domain name when you find the right niche to blog about. You can start your blog on a narrow topic to help with traffic, but you’ll want the long term flexibility of a broader domain name.

Now onto the steps in my SOP for the domain part:

  • Check for trademark concerns before you buy anything
    • – TESS trademark search
    • Basic Word Mark Search. Type in the name you are considering & then Search.
    • No result = better odds you’re fine. If results are there, are we talking same or different industry? Use your best judgment, but I error to the side of ‘choose a different name’ if there are results in the same industry displaying.
  • Login to NameCheap.
  • Buy domain for 2+ years.
  • Add site to Site List spreadsheet
  • Add site and charges to the Recurring Charges spreadsheet.
  • Adjust budget in YNAB to include the increase in the Domain fund found on the Recurring Breakdown in the Recurring Charges spreadsheet.
  • Add to Projects in Notion

I use NameCheap as the company that registers my domain. Hosting is step 3 in this guide, but I do not recommend having your site hosted & domain registered with the same company. You certainly can, but if you sign a contract for your hosting, your domain can get wrapped up in that, too.

Just pick a domain. Don’t overthink it! Get started!

2. Secure Email & Social Profiles

You do not need to post everywhere or be on every platform when you set up your new blog. If you are setting out to be a blogger, there is something to be said about being heads down & pumping out content.

There are very few times when showing up isn’t the right answer! 

That said, you will definitely be posting to build trust easier like on YouTube. Some niches will do well by aiming for some Pinterest traffic to their site. A more comprehensive list of places are below, but knowing you’ll want to be present at least down the line in another way means you’ll want to go ahead & snag the profile name you desire. 

This post isn’t about strategy, though. Just know that some platforms such as YouTube will let creators have the same channel name. Others won’t. 

You just need to go ahead and grab your preferred names across the social profiles. You can pick which to post on when you’re ready. 

My SOPs:

  • Setup Gmail account for the new property
  • Set business email for the way to recover the password to this new account
  • Set up forwarding (if desired) to primary business Gmail)
  • Add Gmail to the Social Accounts within the associated Project in Notion
  • Follow each platform’s workflow to create accounts using the new Gmail account & document in the Project in Notion for the following:.
    • YouTube
    • TikTok
    • Pinterest
    • Facebook
    • Instagram
    • LinkedIn
    • Twitter

3. Now You Need Hosting

While the domain is the address someone types in to see your blog, the host will ‘host’ the information you post. They keep magic systems behind the scenes as a form of storage & makes your blog function. This varies depending on the host a bit, but the ideas are the same. I’ve been with HostGator from the start for my new sites, and even that has changed on me.

To start, I went with a shared host option through HostGator. I’ve had learning issues, but the customer service has always gotten me back on track quickly (even when I messed things up).

My actual SOPs has the process to add on a domain since this is a shared hosting setup. When the blogs are profitable, there is an SOP for migrating to another platform for faster, better hosting. I also include a bunch of screenshots, but those are relevant specific to my set up using HostGator.

Essentially, my SOP has the following steps

  • Buy your hosting service
  • Connect your domain to the host by changing your domain’s name servers (DNS). The host gives you the values. You put those values in the DNS of your domain. For me, HostGator gives me the name server values. I make the change in NameCheap. 
  • Set Up WordPress through the host. For HostGator (& presumably others), you can install WordPress through the cPanel menu (start typing Word in the search bar).
    • Just don’t go with Admin as your user name! Make your username and password unique!

Your site is now a functional site on the internet. Well, depending on how long those name servers take to actually update!

4. Setup Your Site

Your site is alive, but it’s likely plain and ready for your vision! This will start by selecting a theme.

You’re not making money yet, and there is no need to pay for a theme… particularly when you are not making money yet. You can certainly find paid options down the line if you find it necessary. I have tried paid themes, but now all of my sites are on free themes now.

In the SOP steps below, I use Twenty Twenty-One. Look at Kadence (free) or GeneratePress if you’d like a couple of other options.

  • In the WordPress admin panel, select Appearance and then Themes
  • Leave or add (using ‘Add New’) the Twenty Twenty-One theme
  • Delete any additional theme loaded
  • Change site settings.
    • General Site Settings
      • Set Title & Tagline
      • In the WordPress Address & Site Address, put the site with https:// (not http://www)
      • Set Administration email address to the Gmail account you set up OR your standard business email address
      • Membership: Uncheck Anyone can register
      • New User Default Role: Subscriber
      • Site Language: English (United States)
      • Timezone: Chicago
      • Date Format: January 17, 2022
      • Time Format 5:59 am
      • Week Starts On: Monday
      • Endurance Cache Level: Normal (Level2)
      • Save
    • Writing
      • Default Post Format: Standard
      • Leave all else blank or defaults
      • Save
    • Reading
      • Your homepage displays ‘Your latest posts’ (initially). Workflow to customize once site more established.
      • Blog pages show at most: 6 posts
      • Syndication feeds show the most recent: 10 items
      • For each post in a feed, include ‘Excerpt’.
      • Search engine visibility: unchecked
      • Save
    • Discussion
      • I turn off comments on new sites, and I make a decision on whether to allow comments depending on how I want to use the site long term down the road. For a new blog, the traffic isn’t yet organic, so I just turn them off.
      • Check ‘Attempt to notify any blogs linked to…’ and ‘Allow link notifications…’
      • Uncheck ‘Allow people to submit’
      • Save
    • Media
      • Thumbnail – 150×150 (Check ‘Crop thumbnail…’ box)
      • Medium size – 1200×800
      • Large size – 1500×1024
      • Check ‘Organize my uploads…” box
      • Save
    • Permalinks
      • Never the permalink structure on a site with articles published. From the change this once set up. Select the ‘Post name’ item.
      • Save
    • Privacy (tackled in the Essential Pages area)

You can do whatever customization you prefer. Just make sure to put that in your personal SOPs! Remember – if you ever need to do it again, it is incredibly helpful to have a framework to help you do just that.

5. Essential Pages

In general, you’ll create a Post for your blog articles. Everything else on your site will generally be called a Page. You are welcome to navigate on this site and use the pages I have as inspiration. Just change it to apply to your world, of course.

Next time you’re browsing other blogs, give them a look because inspiration is everywhere!

Some essential pages you’ll want to set up are the following:

  • About: This page is the section about you and about the blog. What is your background in the niche? This establishes a bit of authority in your space, and long story short – Google likes this.

    Plus, you allow your blog’s readers to get to know you and some context here because connection is important. In real life and online. I don’t have a full template here because how much I provide depends on the niche. Here’s a potential list of things to include that I have in my official SOP
    • Why the blog was started (brief)
    • Niche related credentials
    • Brief about you (kids, dog, area of the world, whatever you are comfortable sharing)
    • Experience in the niche
  • Contact: I include this on my About page, but generally I do not have the contact information elsewhere these days. If you are setting up a site for your business, you might prefer to also set up a Contact page, and make sure you set this up in your SOPs if you do.
  • Privacy Policy: My SOP includes a template, but essentially it is the same across the blogs. Once I add ads with Ezoic, they alter it, but that’s a different part of the SOP library!
  • Affiliate Disclosure: I set this up even if I am not going to have affiliate links straight away. I don’t want to forget!
  • Disclaimers

We’ll attach these to your site structure a bit down the line.

6. Plugins (Keep it simple!)

All plugins except the below should be removed. If they do not exist on the site automatically, Add New process to install them:

  • ManageWP (backup plugin)
  • Code Snippets
  • ReallySimpleSSL – Set this up when you add it by following the instructions.
  • Twentig <now that I’m using Twenty Twenty-One>

Keep your site as light as possible. This means be smart with what you put on your site because each plugin is a drain on the your site’s resources as is

7. Set Up Google Analytics

This blog is all about systems & data. Get that data going ASAP!

  • Set up a new Google Analytics code for the site (new Google Analytics account is needed for a code if you don’t have one)
  • In the WordPress administration area, select Snippets (driven by Code Snippets plugin), Add Snippet
  • Copy the following code into the box with the codes from Google Analytics:
add_action( 'wp_head', function () { ?>

<!-- Global site tag (gtag.js) - Google Analytics -->
<script async src=""></script>
  window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || [];
  function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);}
  gtag('js', new Date());

  	gtag('config', 'UA-xxxxxxxxx-x');
	gtag('config', 'G-xxxxxxxxxx');

<?php }, 1 );

8. Set up Google Search Console

Here’s a solid resource to set up Google Search Console, but otherwise, just link it to your existing Google Search Console account.

Important for the whole – use data to help streamline your effort – thing.

  • Login to Google Search Console.
  • Select the Property dropdown, and then select Add Property at the bottom of the list.
  • Type in the and follow the instructions to add a DNS Record to your hosting platform. (If you’re not sure, search ‘how to add a dns record with xxxxx’ with xxxx being your host name.)
screenshot of where to select 'Add property' within Google Search Console
Google Search Console screenshot – where to click ‘Add property’

9. Backup your site!

I use ManageWP using the plugin, but you will not find any new site of mine without a backup straightaway. It’s not free, but it is affordable.

Your host has some level of backup, but I have heard way to many stories about relying on your host alone.

My SOPs here:

  • Login to
  • Follow the instructions in Manage WP to sync with the ManageWP plugin already installed
  • Add the monthly backup for the newly added site
  • Update the Recurring Charges spreadsheet with the increase (incl taxes)
  • Update YNAB with the increased recurring charge expected monthly

10. Set up Site Structure

This is where we start adding in categories, menus, and where to link up to those pages you already created. This is personal, but below is the SOP framework I use.

Set up categories

  • In the WordPress admin area, Posts >>> Categories
  • Create categories for the themes you plan to host on the site. If you do not know these yet, you can revisit this later. For this site, you see Productivity, Data, and Systems along the top – these are the categories set up on this site.

Set up header menu

  • In the WordPress admin area, select Appearance >>> Customize >>> Menus >>> Primary menu
  • Adjust this menu to the categories just set up
  • Check the ‘Primary menu’ box
  • Uncheck ‘Automatically add new.’

Set up footer menu

  • In the same Appearance >>>Customize>>>Menus area, go to Footer menu.
  • Adjust the menu to consist of the About, Disclaimers, Affiliate, and Privacy Policy page
  • Check ‘Secondary menu’
  • Uncheck ‘Automatically add new…’
Screenshot of this site's header and footer set up with the categories acting as the top menu. The essential pages make up the footer.
This site’s categories and essential pages set up. You can adjust to your preferences, of course.

11. Make it look the way you want.

You’re welcome to create your own or hire this out. I’ve had varying luck with Etsy options, making my own, or using

Don’t get stuck here because I’ve seen folks spend hours upon hours. If you’re one of those people, hire it out for an affordable option, and get to writing!

SOPs for the site identity:

  • Create or buy a logo
    • 300×100 px for logo using Twenty Twenty-One theme
    • 512×512 px for favicon using Twenty Twenty-One theme
  • Decide on brand colors as part of the logo process. I leave the background white. Text is black. A couple of colors for pop that fits with at least a loose brand at this point, and I’m done.
  • In the WordPress admin area, select Appearance >>> Customize >>>Site Identity, upload the logo and a favicon to the site.
  • In the Appearance >>> Customize area, change up anything else you’d like on the site.

Start Writing

At this point, you’re up and ready to start publishing content. I do have a section to add in affiliate components in my overarching SOP for a new blog setup, but I think I’m getting into the weeds at this point.

There are many ways to monetize your blog if that is your ultimate goal.

Capturing email, affiliates, ad networks. That is where things really start to get personal, but seriously – heads down & produce content! That’s the thing that will drive your long term success no matter where decide to take your blog.

Read here for blog monetization insights

Simplified graphic of the new blog set up outlined in this post
New blog set up