I’ve been experimenting with two different approaches to launching a new blog recently: just going live with it, and in contrast, build it up quietly, then launch.
It’s been interesting comparing the two methods and how they’ve affected my attitude towards the blog itself.
Doing it Quietly
Go! Chris! Go! is my new personal blog. Or at least it will be when I finally “push the button” and put it live. I’ve been quietly building it behind a password-protected curtain, writing content, tweaking design details and functionality… Doing the things we often hear recommended to us.
On the whole, I’ve found the process rather uninspiring. When you’re behind a veil where no one can see you there is less motivation to push yourself. Maybe I’m just finding this on this site because it’s a personal blog, but I’m sure I’ve felt this way on any site I’ve worked on. As such, I’m not making much (if any) process on the site and it’s close to being stillborn.
Until you’re in the public firing-line, when the praise and criticism are flying, you’ll never know if you’re going in the right direction or not. Ultimately, if you’re putting anything on the internet – this most public of public forums – it’s because you want other people to see it.
Just Do It!
By contrast, The Get Rich Project(GRP) was done in the most direct manner: a wordpress install, apply the Hemingway theme and write like there’s no tomorrow…
And write I have! In the last week I’ve managed more posts on the GRP than I have in a month on most of my other blogs. There is a lot more energy behind this blog than any I’ve worked on before and it’s proving to be great fun! Even for such a (usually) dry subject as personal finances.
An extension of this type of site launch is the so-called “live” redesign – where a website is redesigned in “real time” while people are still able to visit. I’ve done a couple of this type of redesign and in each case they’ve proven to be fun, enjoyable experiences.
When launching in this way, I made sure I had written a few decent posts before I started doing any of the usual “marketing” – del.icio.us, forums, etc. This way I should hopefully avoid the “empty shell” effect normally associated with launching in this fashion.
Not everything will be optimised off-the-bat, but I’d argue that no blog is optimised on launch – no matter how much planning you put into it. You just never know how people will react until it is in the wild. You can apply your own (and others) past experience as much as you want, but each blog is unique so you’ll never know for sure.
Give it a Go
Next time you have a blog to launch, consider trying the “just launch it” method. With maybe a little prior planning, starting-up this way can prove to be an effective way of igniting that extra little spark of passion that reminds you blogging is still as much about fun and “doing things different” as it is about business and making money.
I’m hoping to repeat the personal feeling of success I now have at the end of this first week of the GRP with two other blogs I now have in the pipeline.
When I started The Blogging Times, I just did a one-page bullet points of what I want on my blog… worked on it silently… and launch it without any fanfare. I think this is better as it does not build enough expectations at first and made me work on blog features one by one.
Very good observations here.
It seems like there are strengths to both as far as retaining readership. Readers may be likely to stick around if they know they are on the ground floor of a new blog. But readers may be likely to not stick around if there is not a considerable swath of content to consider.
I would guess that your initial postings, then, have to be dye-no-MITE to carefully walk both strengths, and that can only come from your informed passion in the subject.
‘Just go live’ is what I always prefer over doing that test mode thing. There is one restriction though, it’s if you are launching a site in a corporate environment. It’s definitely not a good idea to ‘just do it’ if you are not the boss 🙂
‘Just launching’ has the big advantage that you can immediately start to promote the new site to the search engines. And the SEs don’t care much about CSS tweaks. But if you are changing the template functions all the time then it also has the additional advantage that every change seems to be like new or updated content to the SEs.
I guess I got the best of both worlds for my games blog – I already had content from another site to migrate over. I got an offer of free hosting from a friend (thanks again B if you read this) which I simply had to take up, after making my blog grow on a free squidoo page first. When I got this hosting I got the domain, moved some content over, then started my adding new stuff as well. Of course I want people to read it etc, but I’m still less interested in SEO than I am in writing passionately about my subject!
I just started a couple weeks ago in the same fashion as you say, Just Launch it!
Its a blog in spanish since i think betting for my languaje would feel nice, and lady, it does!
I write it on my spare time but i managed to post quite a bit of information and in the meantime i already started to set into what i will be talking about (started a couple of tutorials, got meneado)
I am considering, when my blog is more mature to start publishing my content into english, that may prove a challenge.
excellent comparison…the ‘just do it’ approach has one big advantage – the moment you see the first splurge of traffic you get strong motivation to start improving your website (design) and to add more content.
Live redesigns are not always fun if you mess things up Always test first on a trial server (I use a sep wordpress installation for this, but if you are just switching around themes the theme switcher plugin should help)
I tend to agree with your thoughts on motivation and just go for it. I put up my first blog/site (isaacbowman.com) in a similar fashion. Build a little content first before approaching any forums/blogs for links but had the site live the whole time.
I figured that since it was my professional/IT site what better way to document knowledge and how-to then show and write about changes and fixes.
Thanks for the 2 way ref, Isaac