When you start blogging for the first time, there’s so much excitement and anticipation. You’re ready to start yelling from the rooftops with your first Hello, World post. But launching too soon could spell disaster and disappointment. To ensure your first visits give you the return you seek and deserve, make sure you have the below bases covered. Here are three signs you’re not ready to launch your blog yet.
You Don’t Have Any GOOD Content
Don’t launch your blog with a single post reading, “Welcome to my new blog.” The majority of people stopping by your blog will have no idea you are new. And they really couldn’t care less. We visit blogs to learn and to feel we aren’t alone in our struggles. Leave your personal story for your About page and focus your posts on can’t-miss content.
You have likely already chosen your blog’s focus. The next step is identifying your unique voice and position. What makes you different from everyone else out there writing on this topic? Why would someone want to follow you when they have so many other bloggers to choose from?
You first need to consider your target audience’s needs:
- What are their struggles?
- What are their failures as it relates to your topic?
- What makes them happy?
- Who are they currently subscribing to?
Visit the top 10 to 20 most popular blogs in your industry. Take a look at their posts. What’s your spin? How can you offer something better? Now create at least five outstanding pieces of work ready for your new visitors to consume, love and share. Give them not only a reason to stick around for a few pages, but also a reason to come back.
No Way for Visitors to Subscribe
Now that you’ve got them on your site, how are you going to make sure they come back? You may be tired of hearing me preach about email marketing, but it’s truly your most valuable asset as a blogger. And it’s in your best interest to start early.
While I understand you are likely on a tight budget starting your blog, you need to choose a dependable newsletter service. AWeber is my service of choice for those serious about list building yet not quite ready for ConvertKit. It does run $19 per month for your first 500 subscribers. (You can get your first month for just $1.)
If that’s too much of an investment, I don’t want you to put your newsletter on the back burner. Instead, check out MadMimi. They have a very user-friendly interface and it’s free up to 500 subscribers. Do be sure to check out their Terms of Service, however. Many industries like multi-level marketing and work at home are prohibited. You also cannot send affiliate links in your emails. When you start earning an income, get moved over to AWeber or ConvertKit ASAP.
Start collecting emails from the get-go, even if you are just sending a broadcast of your new posts for the time being. Nothing is worse than trying to play catch-up down the road or having a blog post go viral and wishing you would have had a method in place to get all of those visitors as ongoing subscribers.
Sidebar opt-in boxes aren’t the most effective, but you can easily add an opt-in box below your posts with free plugins like Magic Action Box or PopupAlly.
No Plan for Promotion
“Launching” a blog isn’t the same thing as publishing your first post. It’s up to you to get the word out about your awesome new content. Good news! You have so many options.
You are quickly going to feel overwhelmed if you attempt to sign up for every social media platform out there. It’s best to focus your efforts on just a couple. Determine where your target audience hangs out and start there. For me, that’s Facebook and Pinterest. Set up accounts. Start sharing your posts and popular posts from others in your industry. Follow people. Leave meaningful comments.
Find forums in your industry and start participating. That doesn’t mean spamming the board dumping your links. Choose forums that allow signatures. This is where you will put a link to your latest post or homepage. Then, you can concentrate strictly on providing awesome value. As forum members see you as an expert, they will click through your signature to visit your site. You can find relevant forums by Googling “intitle:forum” + [your niche keyword].
Join a few Facebook Groups for bloggers. Not only can you get some great support within these communities, many also have “share days” where you can swap social media shares of your latest content with other members. Just make sure you read the rules.
Don’t underestimate the power of great guest posting. Every day, I get around 200 visits from guest posts I wrote a year or two ago. On the day those posts published, it was even bigger. Even better, visitors from these guest posts tend to convert into newsletter subscribers at a much higher rate than social media visitors – 2.5% to 6.5% compared to <1%. That’s time well spent in my book. The key is seeking out the most popular authoritative sites in your industry. You’ll get little to no return writing guest posts for small blogs.
It’s unlikely you will be able to accomplish all of these things on a “launch day,” but you can work through them over the course of a week or two. Don’t let that discourage you. Promotion isn’t a one-time thing. Would you rather have continuous traffic over a long period of time or a flash in the pan?