By now you know that your small business needs a blog. But where to start? After blogging seven days a week for 4.5 years and helping tons of clients building business blogs from scratch, I’ve developed this (nearly) foolproof checklist for launching any sales-generating, momentum-gaining, attention-attracting blog.

1. Create a backlog of content

Posting consistently is really important; it helps you establish yourself as a trustworthy source of information. So you might decide you’ll be posting twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, at 6 am. Before you even tell anyone about your blog, you should create the equivalent of a month’s worth of posts and backdate them appropriately. In this case, you’d write eight blog posts and backdate them for the previous Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Why? Once you announce to your friends + family + customers that you have a blog you’ll have a big ol’ traffic spike as everyone pokes around your site. And you want to make sure that there’s plenty of content for them to read.  And you want them to think “My goodness, but she is a reliable and professional individual! I bet if I hired her, she’d do a great job!”

2. Schedule at least a month’s worth of posts

Life happens.  You might get busy or uninspired and you’ll feel way, way better if you know you’ve got at least a month’s worth of editorial buffer. And you want to retain the trust you’ve built with your readers by continuing to post regularly.

3.  Make sure your social media profiles are awesome

When you tell everyone about your blog, you’ll inevitably get new Facebook and Twitter followers as well. Are your profiles up to snuff? Do your Facebook and Twitter profile photos match?  Are you using the new Twitter layout?  Have you added apps and custom app icons to your Facebook page?  Do you have a custom background on your Twitter page?  Do your social media icons match?  Are they easy to find on your blog page?

4.  Write an email to introduce your blog

I know it’s hard to resist the siren song of ‘BCC all,’ but this is a situation where personalized emails work wonders.  At the very, very least create a different email template for your friends and family, for professional peers, and for present/former clients.

5. Make sure your professional goals are reflected in your blog content

Well, that’s a big one, isn’t it?  Before you started on this road to bloggery, surely you had a big think about what you wanted to accomplish, right? RIGHT?  If you want to sell more products, post photos of happy customers and their testimonials. If you want to get hired for speaking gigs, post vlogs in which you are painfully articulate and clever.  If you want to be viewed as an expert in your field, write crazy helpful tutorials.

You’ve got a bit of work ahead of you, but if you can tick off this checklist, you’ll have a blog worth sticking around for.