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How to Launch a New Blog in Five “Easy” Steps

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Last week, I posted 23 Brilliant Bloggers Talk About Product Launching as part of our Brilliant Bloggers series. The information was overwhelming. Although I have launched a few low-cost products in the past, I learned a ton about putting together an awesome launch for my next product. Reason #1230981 my job rocks: I get to research topics that not only interest me, but help me immensely with my personal projects!

The post got me thinking about another type of launch, though – the blog launch. The vast majority of blogs launch softly, under the radar – the blog just suddenly appears online and slowly builds traffic over time. You can also turn your blog launch into more of an event, which helps you build traffic and awareness rather quickly. Either way, there are five main steps to launching a blog successfully:

Step 1: Purchase a great domain name and hosting package.

Arguably, the single most important decision you will make about any blog you launch is the domain name. Choosing a registration and hosting company is important, too, of course, but the actual URL of your blog matters from both a branding perspective and an SEO perspective. Here’s some advice on choosing the perfect domain name:

And here’s some advice about choosing a registration/hosting company:

Step 2: Build your social network and email list.

Yes, before you even start designing and blogging, you should start building your networks. Your social networks and email list will be helpful when you do actually launch, since you’ll already have people who are interested and want to help you promote it. I recommend focusing on two or three social networks at most, at least at first, because maintaining profiles everywhere can be a full time job. Twitter is my favorite, but others are also great.

Here’s some advice for building your social networks:

And some advice for building your email list:

Step 3: Design your blog.

You could have a really simple design or a really complex one. It starts with installing some kind of content management system – I like WordPress the best – and then adding a theme, finding plugins that makes sense for your blog, creating your sidebar (either manually or with widgets), and customizing the colors, fonts, etc. Check out these links for help with blog design:

Step 4: Fill your blog with content.

You don’t have a blog if you don’t have content. After your design is ready to go, it’s time to fill it with two types of content:

  1. Static Pages (About, Contact, etc.)
  2. Blog Posts

Most blog has written posts, but you can also use videos and podcasting if you want to take a different approach – or you could do a combination of all three. Here are a few posts that are helpful for writing better blog posts:

Step 5: Promote!

Hopefully, you’ve already been promoting your project as you were building your social networks and mailing list, but once you launch, it’s time to really promote your new blog. I like to have about 10 posts up on launch day, and then blog consistently so you build your archives. Here are some posts that talk about promoting your blog to get you started:

Okay, obviously the title of this post is a little tongue-in-cheek – blog launching is certainly not easy, no matter if you’re doing a soft launch or going full-force with a month-long launch party. The five steps themselves are rather simple, but within each step, you have lots of consider. My best piece of advice? Take some time to educate yourself, and then do what makes sense for your blog.

Blogging and the Candy Corn Problem

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Like most kids, I always got super excited for Halloween. By far, my favorite treat was candy corn. I’d start getting excited for candy corn as soon as summer started fading away. After all, you can get candy bars and lollipops any time of the year, but you can only get candy corn during October and, if you’ve lucky, in the clearance bin during the first few weeks of November. 

I’d get super hyped up for candy corn, and then, finally, the big day would arrive – Halloween parties, dressing up for school, trick-or-treating, and, for sure, tons of candy corn. Better still, all parents seem to look the other way during Halloween, letting their kids eat more sweets than normal.

Finally, I’d have my first handful of that sugary-sweet orange and yellow treat. Imagine me as a five-year-old, stuffing my face with candy corn, because it inevitably happened every single year as soon as I saw a bowl full of it available for the taking. And every year, half-way through chewing I would remember something.

Candy corn isn’t very good.

Don’t get me wrong; I like candy corn. But really, it doesn’t taste like much, just really chewy sugar. For some reason, though, I somehow would convince myself every year that I love candy corn. Every year, without fail, the actual candy corn wouldn’t live up to the hype I had created for it in my mind. Halloween fail.

Luckily, candy corn isn’t much of a problem, even to a kid. It was easy enough to move on to caramel apples, cupcakes with orange icing, and chocolate bars. I never had a bad Halloween because I was disappointed about candy corn.

Some adults treat blogs like candy corn.

As bloggers, we often forget just how hard it is to build up a new blog from scratch. We’ve moved past the infancy stage with the blog we have and suddenly start to get that itch, the urge to start a new one. That was so much fun, designing a blog that you love. That was so much fun, building up a readership. That was so much fun, carving out a place in a niche.

Yeah, that was so much fun. But have you forgotten how much work it was as well?

Have you forgotten how many late nights you spent tweaking your css or php to get the theme to look perfect? Have you forgotten being the new kid on the block, having to prove yourself as an authority among bloggers who are already established in the niche? Have you forgotten how it feels not to have your authority built up with search engines yet? Or about how you don’t make money right away? Or how you have no one on your list to buy your product? Or how advertisers aren’t interested yet?

Like my love affair with candy corn, if you are removed from something, like starting a new blog, you sometimes forget all the bad things and hype it up in your mind. It seems like it’s a good idea until you have a mouthful of sugary candy that you realize is actually not that great.

If you do start a new blog (or your first blog), please take some time to think about what you’re committing to do. Like with any business, it takes time to get a project off the ground, so be prepared for the time and dedication a baby blog needs to succeed.

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