Performancing launched with a splash, we got noticed early and in a big way. We used every trick in the book including buying ads. You don’t necessarily need to get big fast though, there are some advantages to “small and quiet” versus “big and loud”.
I would say our launch was a success. Yes we caught some criticism but that only fuelled our traffic, there is no such thing as bad publicity right? (maybe). There is a risk in a big-bang launch though. Remember Instablogs launch? Their launch hype caused quite a few problems. They do seem to have weathered that storm but I wonder how many people remember them for the bad stuff rather than their good points?
Our PPWD required that we make a big splash and fast. Your business plan might not. Let’s take a look at what some of the advantages are to a slow and steady launch and how you can do it.
Slow and steady launch Advantages
- Cheaper – a big bang means big budget. You either need to be able to pay for advertising or pay for or build some killer, unique offering. We bought advertising plus have the luxury of having a Jed. If you haven’t got a jed then you are going to need extra cash or extra time.
- Less Risky – with big and loud you are going to get noticed fast but also any cracks in your faÃ§ade, any weaknesses are going to be magnified. Also obviously if you are making a big investment then you have more to risk than a small investment if it all goes sour.
- More Nimble – when hardly anyone will notice and the people who do notice are loyal it is easy to tweak tweak tweak, with a big and new audience it is harder to change because any changes you make are so public. This is partly offset by the big budget being able to buy lots of new traffic to replace the disenfranchised but it is easier to make mistakes when you are anonymous!
- Less Organisation – big projects need big project management, good leadership and clear vision. Smaller “suck it and see” projects just need persistence. It also helps if you have done something like it before with large projects. How organised to you think you are?
- No Fear – all the above leads to fear. Fear of failure. Fear of looking stupid. Fear or appearing a fraud. OK, you can feel the fear and do it anyway, but you might prefer to not feel the fear and do it?
- Easier – we all like an easy life, if you do not need big results right away then why cause yourself extra hassle and stress?
So do you need big results right away? No? Then read on for some ideas for a slow and steady blog launch …
Launching a new blog the easy way
This route to a blog launch requires patience. You are not going to see fantastic results for weeks, maybe months. There are always exceptions of course, but don’t expect any income right away. Early stages are building good solid foundations, not instant riches.
The general aim of the slow and steady approach is to build up. Build up content and profile, which builds traffic and eventually leads to advertising revenue. You want lots of posts that bring in lots of visitors who subscribe, and tell others, who bring in more, and so on.
Work out what you are going to do. Plan your blog, position it well, give it a good name. Install a good stats package.
Put together the best blog design you can. Make sure it is usable and that your advertising layout works well with the heatmap. Make sure your navigation has good internal linking structure. Some disagree but I like to have “best of” or “most popular” lists and good links to categories rather than age based navigation. For visitors to read more it is good to show off titles plus it helps to get that search engine attention.
You will be on to a winner if you can build lots of killer blog posts and perhaps have lots of great viral ideas. You need to launch with some posts in your archive but make sure you do not blow all your best ideas all at once. Plan your posting schedule and be careful with timing. Especially at first I would aim to post at least 500 words a day, either over a couple of posts or one longer one. Do not sacrifice quality for quantity but don’t think it has to be Shakespeare either.
Link out generously, you will gain attention plus your posts and blog will be more valuable for it. It may also help your blog seem more relevant to your topic in the eyes of search engines. This is a double-edged sword, keep links on topic.
Also do not forget to link to your own content – just look at this post! Rather than rehash information you have already covered, just link it. It saves cluttering posts, increases page views and also increases those posts visibility in search. Always use good descriptive anchor text.
Once you have something worthy of promotion you need to start putting the word out. The old favourites do work, put your blog in your email and forum signature. Comment on others blogs, respectfully and intelligently. Post to forums and discussion lists, again being truly part of the conversation.
Email people who know you well and A) ask them to visit and B) ask for feedback. If you have written a great post it might be worth mentioning to some higher profile bloggers, just remember they might see it as spam and will get lots of these emails so only push stellar posts and write a really good pitch.
Try and get into bookmark sites, you might also try services like blogexplosion and other traffic schemes but do not expect too much from them.
Most important, write linkbait!
Get your writing out in the world and link back to your blog. Guest post on other blogs, write for online and print magazines. Give your articles away. The aim of this tactic is to get people reading your stuff and clicking through to find more, plus creating lots of on-topic links. It could be a nice little side earner too.
Once you have income, probably a trickle at first, you can put that revenue to use as advertising budget. The idea is you put a portion or whole of your blogs income into buying ads that promote your blog thus creating more traffic and more advertising budget. Your goal is not page views but subscribers and advocates. Eventually you want your blog traffic to be self sustaining and to be able to not have to buy ads. You need some sort of hook or USP, it will not have much success if you do not give people a great reason to visit.
Some people though make good money out of buying cheap clicks at Adwords which generate higher priced clicks in their adsense. Only testing and tweaking will tell you if that is possible for your blog.
The key is to stick at it. You might not know when you are near your blog tipping point. It could be a milestone like the 1000 post mark, it could be the 6 months mark. It usually takes a good few weeks to just get into Googles index properly, sometimes longer to rank depending on your niche.
You may wonder why I haven’t suggested submitting to search engines or directories. Thing is you do not need to submit to search engines, get inbound links and they will find you. Directories I think do not really help, I never see any traffic from them and their influence in search has waned. If you want submit to yahoo! and the open directory but I wouldn’t bother with the rest, spend the time creating great content and spreading the word instead.
As you can see, there is not much here that is not just plain common sense. Luckily, common sense is not necessarily common practice so by doing these basic things and plugging away eventually you will have a success on your hands.