Blogging Mistakes: Launching an Empty Shell

Time and time again i read a blog entry entitiled “new blog on X launches!”. This in itself is no shocker, people launch new blogs at an astonishing rate. What constantly surprises me though, is the lack of planning and forethought that often accompanies a blog launch. Announcing a new blog, when that blog has little or no content, has got to be one of the most moronic things I see in the blogosphere. Unfortunately, I see it on a regular basis…

First Impressions

So, let’s think about this from my point of view, from the point of view of one of your readers. Here’s how the story goes with a bad launch:

  • I see your post in my RSS: Im launching a blog on X
  • I click the the RSS link as i trust you. Im not subscribed for the good of my health, i trust you enough to give you a piece of my attention by subscribing to your feed. Im interested in finding out about your new blog.
  • I get to your post, and find one of two things:
    • A one liner with a link, or worse, just a link
    • A paragraph or two selling your new blog to me. Describing what i’ll find when I get there, and why i should be interested in it.
  • Now, you may have got me to to follow the link to your new blog or not at this stage. Let’s assume that i do follow the link, either because you’ve done a great job of telling me why that action would be a good investment of my time, or your reputation (or my boredome) is sufficient to overlook the unimpressive one liner
  • I get to your new blog, and what do i find?
    • A new blog chock full of great content
    • An empty shell, with little more than a welcome post
  • Do I subscribe to the feed? Well, that depends on the above doesn’t it?

Im busy, aren’t you?

I simply don’t have time read, subscribe, or devote any of my attention to something im unsure about, do you?

As a blogger, launching a new blog, you need to be aware of this, and you need to sell your idea to me at every step of the way.

Sell it to me!

Go on, give me a reason to want to do the things you’d like me to.

  • When you announce your new blog, give me a reason to care. Explain to me how excited you are about it, tell me what im going to find when I get there, why i should care, what your plans for the site are and highlight posts of interest to give me an overview of the blog before i even get there
  • When I get to your new blog, I should be able to find exactly what I expect, based on your selling of the link to me. I want to see good content, and enough of it to make me think you’re serious about this site, and that a feed subscription is a worthwhile investment.
  • Don’t stop there! Keep that good content flowing, keep me interested. I want to see regular updates in my RSS, regular content that interests me. If i see all these things, i’ll link to you, talk about you and even evangelize your new blog

Blog Launch Checklist

Ok, so i hope i’ve convinced you that launching an empty shell is not the way to do a blog launch. Now let’s run through a little checklist for launching. It’s not complete, im not dealing with tech issues here, but these are the essentials you need be aware of:

  1. Have at minimum 10 posts of serious quality on your blog before showing it to anyone
  2. Sell your blog to me. When you post about it, or email, IM about it, give me a reason to care. A one liner, or just a link, just gives me the impression that you don’t care. If you don’t care, why the hell should I?
  3. 2-3hrs after announcing your new blog, post another great item to it. Repeat for at least 3 days. Then settle into whatever posting rhythm you intend for the blog, and here’s a good tip: Tell people about the frequency of posting. Let them know what to expect.

It’s all about selling

People are busy I am, you are, he is, she is. We’re all busy people. We need to know that your new blog is a stella investment of our time.

Not just the pre-sell, we need to be assured of that pitch by finding it to be so, when we get there. And having that perception of value reinforced at every step of the way, from subsequent promotional posts on your regular blog (or emails, im’s etc), to the content you produce. Particulary in the early days.

At the end of the day, it’s all about trust, and perception of value. If i see a one liner announcing a new blog, and find an empty shell when i get there, am i going to invest in a subscription?

The hell i am…

3 thoughts on “Blogging Mistakes: Launching an Empty Shell

  1. Millions, or rather, billions of pages and websites are lost in cyberspace because the vast majority don’t have a clue. Pertinent remarks and well pointed out. I wouldn’t subscribe either. While content is King and Video has become the Emperor, it is still important to remember that the eyes that read are owned by human beings who give away their most precious non renewable resource…their time.

  2. Excellent ideas. Every blog needs to create trust and have really informative content that solves the readers problem or entices a need to return to read more because of the content!

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