Drying a log is very difficult. I read an article a few years ago written by the forest department that said logs don't follow the normal drying formula's for wood. In fact some logs take many many years to dry and may not dry at all.
Removing the bark does little to change the drying but may reduce some bug damage. Ripping the logs through the pith helps speed up drying but doesn't really stop them from checking but may reduce it.
Coating the end grain is important. Keeping them out of the sun and wind and off the ground is the most important. You will still get some checking but if the ends are coated with end grain sealer you stand the best chance of getting check free wood.
Your best bet by far is to rip it into usuable thicknesses. As a turner I often rip logs into 5x5, 4x4 and smaller and seal the ends and have very good luck keeping them. Lately I've taken to sawing them into wider blanks such as 2x6's and 3x12 just to see how that works and so far it works great. Sawing the wood into these thicknesses greatly reduces the drying time but still may take a year per inch. The best way to know is to weigh the pieces and date them. When they stop losing weight they are stable enough to work with. I find moisture meters useless for wood thicker than 2". Weighing is the best way.