7 Steps to launching a Great Blog

In the ‘Ask Your Blogging Questions Here’ thread, franky asks:

How do you really start a new (niche) blog? Many times the ’10 articles’ and ‘establish yourself as an authority’ is managed, but what pace to set during the first period?

There are two established strategies to successfully launch your blog – the big bang model or the bootstrapping model – and these differ in terms of resources available to the blog owner.

The Big Bang Approach

If you have any one of these two:

  • a lot of money
  • plenty of good contacts in the industry

This is the ideal way to go. You can write a lot of quality content in advance (around 30-50 articles), and around launch time either spend big or network big and get the word out as quickly and as widely as possible.

Lots of good content + a lot of eyeballs generally translates into a good, successful launch, but there are two factors that you have to cater for.

One, make sure you’re working in a profitable niche.

Two, make sure you have a ‘phase 2’ – a plan for what to do and how to manage your blog after the launch. It won’t be possible to maintain the same blogging rhythm as during launch, and you’ll have to find a solution that scales and not just eats up your time.

Bootstrapping Approach

Best if you don’t have much time or money. Simply start blogging, putting out 1-2 articles per day and posting them on your blog. Promote your blog but at this stage focus on the key activities – attracting attention of the top blogs, writing linkbait, getting links from trusted sources, etc.

The key here is to focus on what you can do with the resources available to you – so if you’re the only blogger and you can’t churn out 5 articles a day, don’t go down that road, it’s not sustainable or scalable. If you can’t spend 4 hours a day promoting your blog, ruthlessly eliminate all but the most important of promotion activities and spend just 1 hour.

Cut down using the 80/20 rule and focus on what’s really important – quality content, picking a good niche and promoting through the right channels.

A 7-Step Checklist to Launching A New Blog

This checklist is based on the strategies I used to launch my own blog, Soccerlens (see the DBT face off here).

  1. Provide resources that can be linked to, downloaded, read, discussed, etc. Do this at the start, and if possible prepare them in advance.
  2. Get initial links from high-PR, high-trust blogs such as Performancing and ProBlogger by participating in blogging contests and writing articles about your own blogging experiences. I’d add Marketing Pilgrim, Blog Herald and Daily Blog Tips to the list while Chris Garrett and Mark Ghosh do roundups as well. There are probably more that I’m missing – bottom-line, pro blogging sites are a good source of links.

    Think of all the people who’ve removed ‘no-follow’ from their blogs’ comments!

  3. Establish and settle into a blogging rhythm as quickly as possible. Don’t fret about writing 20 articles in advance – just start writing them one by and one and put them on your blog.
  4. Apply to be editor in Dmoz and BOTW Blog Directory for your niche’s category. If you’re accepted, build up those sections and add your site too 🙂 JoeAnt accepts applications automatically, so consider signing up there as well.
  5. Make a list of the top bloggers in your niche and collect as much info as you can about them. Read their blogs daily and understand what type of stories interest them and what they link to. Then for each author, tie in their interest in a couple of your articles and ping them the URLs (without asking for anything in return). Your goal is to get them to be regular readers, links will come by themselves.
  6. Remove all obstacles that prevent your readers from subscribing to your feed, from commenting on your blog, from sharing it with others, from linking to it and from finding things on your blog. This means not asking for ‘registration’ before commenting, showing your RSS feed (and email subscription box) above the fold, a prominent search box, a clear listing of site categories, social bookmarking icons (done subtly they look really good), etc.
  7. Have fun and be yourself – without these two things, your best work will come across as ‘forced’ and ‘unnatural’. If your readers don’t see your passion in your writing, how are they going to respond? In kind, by not getting excited about what you’re writing and drifting away.

    Thanks Liz for teaching me this.

  8. Bonus Tip: I used the thought of beating my competition as motivation to work harder. Fretting about stats isn’t an ideal habit but if it helps you make your blog better then it does have some value.

It’s ok to start slow and build things up, but it’s important not to lose momentum once you’ve built it up – nothing is worse than taking your site to the top and then getting lazy and allowing it to fall back down in rankings, earnings and readership.

Also Read:

Starting a Professional Blog – Choosing a Niche
Starting a Professional Blog – Qualifying your Niche
Blogging Mistakes – Launching on an Empty Shell
How To: Launch A New Blog The Easy Way
Planning A New Blog Venture
10 Business Models for Bloggers
10 Key Ingredients of A Great Blog
Positioning Your Blog
10 Step Plan To A Profitable Blog

If you have any questions related to search marketing, blog promotion, WordPress or blogging in general, ask me here.

5 thoughts on “7 Steps to launching a Great Blog

  1. Killer article dude. Maybe we can Digg this on Monday? Priceless advice here.

  2. Ahmed, your entry contains awesome advice, all while showing how much work it is to launch a new, and hopefully popular, blog!

    And there’s no one who can keep a conversation running like Liz can!

  3. Hi Ahmed!
    Thank you for the love. This post is packed with some great information!

    I can’t bring to the forefront enough the idea that the writing is only part of what a blog is about. When the people come — note I didn’t say traffic or users or eyeballs — they’ll only stay as long as there is a fair exchange of real value. You pay attention to them, and they will pay attention to you. For example: throw them an empty link list and they’ll know you’re serving yourself, not them. Offer a list of links that help them out and they’ll spread the word and come to see you tomorrow.

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