So you’ve finally decided to launch a blog? That’s fantastic!
With your blog, you’ll get a creative outlet that you can use to share your knowledge and experiences with other people. Plus, if you do this right, you’ll also be able to make money blogging!
That said, like any new thing, starting your own blog can be a rather scary thing.
However, if you stick with it, it is possible to turn it into a full-time work-from-home business.
Just remember that nothing good happens overnight. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and dedication to finally start seeing the fruits of your hard work.
The good news, though, is that there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of finding success with your blog.
In this article, I’m gonna share with you several lessons that I have learned in my own personal journey.
I made lots of mistakes starting out. I’m going to share all that with you so you can know what to look out for and what pitfalls to avoid.
Hopefully, with these tips, your own journey will be a lot easier and your blog will grow a lot faster than mine did.
Sounds good? Great! Let’s get right to it then!
Here is everything you need to do before you launch your blog.
1. Choose the right niche
The first thing you have to think about as you start your blog is your niche and how to choose it.
Your niche will determine the direction that your blog will take, as well as the products you’ll feature and how you’ll market them to your audience.
Picking a profitable niche that has good potential for growth will set your blog up for success from the start.
Here is how to choose the perfect niche for your blog:
Get inspired by your interests and passions
You want your niche to revolve around something you actually care about. Otherwise, you risk losing interest and giving up on it when times get hard. Here are a few questions you might want to ask yourself:
- What interests you? What hobbies do you have?
- If there was one thing you could do every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
- What do you like doing in your free time?
- Do you enjoy your job? Could you talk about it every day if you had to?
- Do you enjoy learning new things? What do you like learning about?
- If you watch a lot of videos online, what do you enjoy watching? What Youtube and Facebook subscriptions do you have?
- Is there anything you can talk about for 20 minutes straights without having to prepare for it beforehand?
From these questions, creat a list of 10 or so potential topics.
2. Do your niche research
Analyze your list of potential niches, trying to figure out how you can offer value to these audiences. What problems need solving?
If you don’t know much about your potential audience, take this as an opportunity to learn more about it! Here are a few things you can do to help:
- Research current online information sources for your niche. Where does your potential audience currently go to get information online? Sites like Reddit and Quora can give you lots of insight into the behaviors and needs of your niche audience
- Talk to your potential audience. Ask questions on forum sites and use the answers to help in your decision making
- Perform some basic keyword research. Tools like Google Adwords Keyword Planner and Google Trends can show you what people are searching for in your niche. This will point you on the direction to follow with your blog
3. Research the competition
The next thing you want to do is a quick Google search of sites that are in the same niche as the one you potentially want to get into.
What are they doing that you can do better? Pay close attention to the best-performing site and try to come up with a way to improve upon what they are currently doing.
The presence of many competing sites means that the niche is highly competitive, so that’s good. Try to find a way to make yourself stand out from among what is currently being offered.
4. Do a niche profitability research
By now you should have narrowed down your list of potential niches to just a few.
What you want to do now is find the most profitable niche from among the few you have left.
To do this, you need to perform your niche profitability research.
Go to a popular merchant site like Amazon or an affiliate site like Impact Radius. What are the top products in each of your remaining niches?
If you find very few products, it means that it’s a tough niche to monetize. Too many products means that it’s too late to get into that niche.
What you want is to find neither too many products nor too few. This is an indication that the niche is ripe for the taking.
Next, find out the average cost of existing products.
This information will guide you on how to price your own products. If you have no products of your own, you might want to try your hand at affiliate marketing and promote other people’s products.
Here is a list of 136 profitable affiliate programs that you can start with, categorized by niche.
Pre-launch: Planning for success
5. Name your blog carefully
Once you have decided what you want to blog about, it is time to choose that winning domain name.
This is the name that your blog will be known by all over the internet, so you cannot afford to take this decision lightly!
I have a detailed guide on how to do this here. However, if you want the short and sweet version of it, here you go:
- Decide whether you want a brand name or a keyword name. Both of these have their own strengths and weaknesses. You can read all about that here.
- Keep things simple: the shorter the name, the better.
- Keep it legal: don’t use names of famous people or organizations that you are not affiliated with. Don’t use names that sound too similar to other people’s brands.
- Perform a quick social media check to make sure that your potential name isn’t already being used by someone else. If possible, secure all the accounts for yourself.
- Don’t be too original. Avoid weird spellings and abbreviations, and be sure to sound out your name to make sure that it does not sound awkward.
If you want to check for your domain name’s availability or to confirm whether or not yours has been taken, you can do so here:
6. Start connecting and collaborating early
Even before launching your blog, you should start building your networks in your niche.
Making these connections with other bloggers in your niche will make it easier for them to be more receptive of your requests down the road when you need to participate in roundups, share your content with their audiences, or collaborate with them on projects.
Follow them on social media and leave thoughtful comments on their blogs.
If they are not interested in connecting with you, that’s fine. Don’t focus too much on that.
There are lots of bloggers you can reach out to, so do that and keep pushing forward.
How to launch your blog
7. Lay your foundations right: Be careful about the back-end stuff
When I talk about the “back-end stuff” here, I’m referring to your choice of website builder and web host.
When it comes to website builders, I highly recommend WordPress.org.
It is the most popular website builder on the web, and although it might take a little tinkering, I think it is hands down one of the best options out there.
When you go for WordPress as your website builder of choice, you are also going to need to get your own hosting.
There are a lot of options out there when it comes to hosting.
However, I recommend getting one of the three WordPress recommended hosts:
Of these, I can personally vouch for DreamHost because that’s what I use on this site!
If you want to learn more about web hosting services and what to look for in the options available to you, here is a detailed guide to web hosting that also features a comparison of all the most popular hosts.
If you have no idea where to start with all this back-end stuff, check out my step by step guide to blogging that will help you set up your own blog from scratch in no time.
8. Make your blog pretty
No one wants to have an ugly site. Before you launch your blog, you want to make sure it looks good, it is easy to use, and it reflects your brand.
A great starting point for all this is to choose the right color scheme.
A good rule of thumb is to stick with two or three colors as your main blog colors. The good news is that you don’t have to think too hard about this.
You also want to have some consistency in your font styles.
Go for 2 standard fonts (one for your headings, the other for your paragraphs) and one extra script font for when you need something with more character.
Make sure that all the fonts you use are easy on the eyes, too.
You also want some consistency in the graphics you use on your site.
I didn’t have this on my site when I first started, and I feel like that made me look kinda unprofessional.
These days, I use Canva for all my graphics, and from the feedback, I have been getting, it’s made a whole lot of difference.
The next thing you want to do is get the right theme for your blog.
There are free WordPress themes with limited features and paid themes with lots of cool features that will expand your horizon.
If you want a quick rundown of everything you need to know about WordPress themes to help you get the best one, I have written a dedicated post on that subject here, complete with the best theme recommendations.
Personally, I use Divi on my site.
I absolutely love its drag and drop feature that allows me to edit my site as I please.
I have zero technical expertise, but I was able to use this platform to build this site from scratch. That’s quite something, isn’t it?
Related: The best WordPress Themes for Blogs.
9. Create quality content
Before you launch, you want to make sure that you have at least 5 quality posts ready. You don’t want your website to go live just for people to find only one or two posts on it.
You also want to populate your blog with high-quality content.
Your content is what will keep people coming to you, so you want to make sure that everything you put up is the best you have to offer.
After you launch, you’ll want to watch your content metrics closely.
If you do something that gives you a spike in traffic, do more of it. If something does not resonate well with your audience, drop it and move on to the next thing.
Speaking of your audience, you also need to listen to them as you create your content.
This is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to get innovative ideas that will make your blog stand out. And it’s all for free! You absolutely want to take advantage of it!
If creating high-quality content is something that’s stressing you out, I recommend outsourcing the hard part of the job to content creators online.
Your blog launch strategy
Make a list of the most important things that you need to do within the first few months of your blog’s life.
This list will form the backbone of your blog strategy for the rest of your blogging life.
It is always going to change month after month, so you are going to have to keep reviewing it and updating it every time you complete something on there.
Among other things, here is what you absolutely must include in your blog launch strategy:
10. Create a content strategy
You need to have a clear content strategy before you launch your blog.
Your blog content strategy is a breakdown of all your blog’s content over a specific period of time.
Having a written strategy in place will save you a lot of time that you’d otherwise waste on the wrong promo strategies, working on the wrong content, or collaborating with the wrong people.
To create your content strategy, you need to have a clear understanding of what your goals are.
Leverage the lessons you learnt from your target market research earlier on to come up with topic ideas and target keywords.
Then create a content calendar with exact dates of when specific articles should go up. This will help you consistently create amazing content.
11. Create a promo/marketing strategy
This is what will help you get the attention of your target market.
Today, the best way to do this without having to spend a boatload of money is to build a strong social media presence way before you launch your blog.
When you have a loyal group of followers, you will have a ready audience waiting eagerly for you to launch.
Over the last two or so weeks before launch, you want to create a lot of hype on social media and make your blog reveal feel like a big deal.
Depending on your social media platform of choice, you may want to share content sneak peeks, share a few behind the scenes pictures, and so on.
As part of your marketing strategy, you also want to make sure that you have a “Coming Soon” page set up on you domain.
Direct people there and give them the option of signing up to your email list so they can get notified when you launch.
You can also offer a freebie or some other form of incentive for them to join your list. This is a great way to start building a returning audience even before you launch.
As long as you are running an online business, you absolutely need to have a strong social media presence.
Pick two core platforms to focus on for a start, then plan out what you want to post on these platforms.
That said, I cannot stress enough how important Pinterest is for your blogging career.
No matter what other social media platform you use, be sure to also have Pinterest and to actively use it.
It is more than a simple social media platform: It is actually a search engine like Google, which increases the potential of your blog posts going viral by a huge margin.
Be sure to save your blog name on all social media platforms even before you launch.
Even if you will not be using twitter, for example, you want to make sure that your brand identity is secure on that platform and not up for grabs.
What to do after launching your blog
Once you launch, consistency is the name of the game. Set weekly goals and do everything you can to meet them. Then set new ones and hit them, too. This is the only way your blog will grow rapidly.
Keep testing and refining everything that you do. With time, you will be able to consistently put out high-quality stuff that your audience loves.
13. Review your blog
After the launch, you want to keep reviewing all the hard work you’ve done so far.
Don’t just set everything up and let it run. Fine-tune things and keep improving on them.
For example, I have a compilation of money-making ideas on my site that I update at least twice a month. In a year or two, it will probably be the most detailed such list on the web!
Reviewing your blog also means letting other people have a look at what you have done and giving you their feedback about your progress.
Talk to friends and family and let them tell you what they think. A fresh pair of eyes will help you spot all those pesky broken links and typos!
Speaking of typos, one of the best tools you can get to help you with your writing is Grammarly.
Trust me, it’s a lifesaver. And it’s completely free!
14. Learning on the job
Technology changes constantly. What’s valid info today will be virtually unusable in just a few months. This is why when you are a blogger, you never stop learning.
I love WordPress as a blogging platform because there’s just so much information about it out there.
There’s a ton of resources, tutorials and tools, as well as plugins that’ll help you do almost anything you can think of.
At the same time, you also want to constantly brush up on your website marketing skills. Again, there’s a lot of free resources about this online.
If you need some extra help, you can sign up for free blogging courses or read books that will give you an edge in your journey as a blogger.
Additionally, here are a few more things you want to do as you learn more about blogging:
- Posting regularly on your blog. Make sure you post at least once a week without fail. Ideally, you want to post at least 2 or 3 times every week if you want to position yourself as an authority within your niche
- Fine-tune your social media marketing. Be consistent and active on your chosen platforms
- You might also want to start a Youtube channel to complement your blog
- Become an active contributor on relevant niche forums
- Fine-tune your email list and keep working on building it
- Guest post on other blogs within your niche
- Interview niche influencers on your site
- You might also want to look into paid advertising to drive even more traffic to your blog
- Collaborate on projects with people you meet online
- Leverage the power of networking sites like LinkedIn to build more connections
- Learn how to ask your customers for referrals, testimonials, and ratings on rating sites
Once you launch your blog, you will realize that different things work differently for different people.
However, there are several tried and tested methods that a lot of bloggers have consistently used to find success. This is what you should focus on.
If you need help selecting your niche and starting your own blog, I have a detailed guide to help you quickly do that. Check it out and let me know how it goes!
With this checklist, you should finally be able to launch your blog and set it up for success.
If this article resonated with you, please do not forget to leave your comment below.
And don’t forget to share this post with anyone else who might find this info helpful! Good luck on your blog!