Site moved to www.rohitbhargava.com/2008/10/how-to-launch-a.html, redirecting in 1 second...

« Comcast's Actual Social Media Policy No One Knew About | Main | The Softer Side Of Measuring Social Media »

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How To Launch A Successful Blog In The First 90 Days

Starting a blog is not for everyone. There are lots of reasons not to blog, including having the time to keep a blog up to date, having something to say, and the fact that blogging is becoming an increasingly crowded space making it far tougher to stand out than it may have been in the past. Why would I start a post about successful blogging with all these cautions against blogging? Mostly to make sure that if you are going to start a blog, you are getting into it without a false expectation that it can solve all your problems or how much work it will be.

Assuming you have the right idea in mind, the question I get asked most often is how you can make your blog as successful as possible. Here are some tips for new bloggers on what you may want to focus on in your first 90 days of blogging:

DAYS 1 TO 15:

1. Find a good niche. Think hard about what you want to write about. It has to be something you are passionate about and interested in, otherwise it won't work. The more specific you can get, the better. You can also broaden it later, but in the beginning you need to find a subject that you can own.

2. Choose a name and URL. This is a tough thing, but just as many companies these days do, you should let available URLs drive how you name your blog. If you can't get the URL, don't use the name. And make sure you plan to put your blog on a specific URL, whether you are using Typepad or Blogspot or any other service. Trust me on this, you'll eventually wish you built your blog on your own URL, whether you think so today or not.

3. Grab a template and launch quickly.
The biggest paralysis new bloggers have is wanting to get their new blog just right. In the first few weeks of your blog, the most important thing is to find your voice - so forget about design just launch it with a ready made template. Chances are remote that search engines will list it that quickly, and you'll have a few weeks to get it right.

4. Add Google Analytics. Google has a free tool called Google Analytics which gives you some great metrics on your blog all for free. It requires you to do a bit of tricky cutting and pasting to add certain code to your blog, but it is totally worth it to do it early so you'll have metrics from the first days of your blog to compare to and see how far you have come.

5. Create an editorial calendar.
Some football coaches head into games scripting out their first 10 plays as part of their gameplan. You should do the same. Figure out the topics for your first ten posts, and then write them steadily. Not only does this get you thinking ahead, it also gives you a sense of how many posts per week you can realistically write.

DAYS 15 TO 30:

6. Reevaluate your blog title. At this point, you will likely have several blog posts to look at and a better sense of what you enjoy writing about. It's the perfect time to check the title of your blog and theme that you set earlier and make sure it still accurately describes what you want to write about. If it doesn't, now is the perfect time to fix it.

7. Design your blog brand. Now that you have your theme and several posts, you can design your blog. At this stage, you may just want to add a logo to an existing template or do something more custom. Either way, by having your blog brand set and several posts in your archive, you can really see what your design will look like.

8. Get your blog listed.
It's also time in these two weeks to get your blog listed on all the search engines by submitting it. You should also claim it on Technorati, and submit it to any other sites in your particular industry or area of focus. Remember, you don't need to focus on promotion right now, this is just about getting your site listed.

9. Set up your feeds. Many bloggers today (including me) are using Feedburner to syndicate their RSS feeds and offer email subscriptions to their blog. Whether you choose to use Feedburner or not, setting up your feeds and making them available to readers will be important as you start to grow your blog.

10. Learn the art of headlining. In blog posts, titles make a big difference. Particularly because many readers will be accessing your content through RSS and the title may be the only thing you see. To deal with this truth, you need to think like a copywriter and treat your blog post titles like headlines. Learning to write good blog post titles will be a major skill you will use all the time.

DAYS 30 TO 60:

11. Set your targets. You'll probably be getting close to finishing your first ten posts by now, or at least worrying about what you'll write about next. Based on what you've been able to do in the first month, set a target for yourself of how many posts you will try to write per week. My target is three and I usually stick to it.

12. Learn the 25 styles.
More than a year ago, I wrote a presentation designed to answer the common question from bloggers of what to write about. To help you fight "bloggers block" - view the presentation and learn the techniques. They will help you figure out what to write about, as they have helped me.

13. Contact your influencers. Now that you have a month of blogging experience, it's also time to start asking for advice and introducing yourself to those who inspire you. Create a list of bloggers that you look up to and then religiously email one person from that list after you do a post. Ideally it will be someone who would be interested in your post and likely to respond to it.

14. Actively share your posts. In addition to emailing them to your influencers, you should start finding appropriate social networks and sites on which to share your blog posts. This could mean submitting them to Digg, or posting them onto del.icio.us with keyword tags. Essentially, you want to try a few tools to get your blog posts out there tagged and saved.

15. Integrate your blog into your profiles. At the point when you start your blog, you are probably already using other social networks such as Facebook or LinkedIn. After the first month when you have some good activity on your blog, you can add the URL to your profiles and make sure that your network knows you have a blog.

DAYS 60 TO 90:

In these days, your main focus should be on content and connections. Try to create the best blog posts you can. Those that have insights, a strong point of view, and are highly shareable. If you can really succeed at having this great content, people will pass it along and your blog will have the greatest chance of getting passed along too. At this stage you should also make sure that you are using all of your social networks to also spread the word about your blog and your posts. The reason I don't have specific lessons at this stage is that you're starting to get into the point where you will probably be finding your own way and techniques that work for you. The best advice I can offer at this stage and moving ahead beyond 90 days is to try and stay as consistent as possible, and continue to create the best content you can, and share it with people in your network most likely to help you spread the word.

Good luck with your blog! And if you have a blog where you used these suggestions to help you launch, please leave a comment and let other readers know how these suggestions worked for you.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c4f1253ef0105357f9aa1970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference How To Launch A Successful Blog In The First 90 Days:

Comments

Although I have had a personal blog in the past, I am getting ready to launch a new business related blog. Your post couldn't have come at a better time. I plan to use the steps you have outlined which are so clear in creating a solid foundation of quality content, and then focusing on spreading the word.
Warmly,
;)
Amy
On Twitter @amymiyamoto

Good post Rohit,the one thing I would add is to be consistent. Think like you are writing a book and not a newspaper.

This blog is really nice and informative. We are pleased to know this blog is really helping people and it’s our pleasure to post informative content on this useful blog created by webmaster.

Here’s our market view on American stock market for 13th October, 2008

You all know my opinion - we have the characteristics of at least "a" bottom. Look at the scoreboard - Dow and S&P 500 down 18% last week, in only a week. If that doesn't show irrational dumping the only other environment that probably would is an official end of the world pronouncement from on high.

The VIX Index (69.96) soared to a record high; bears at extreme high levels, bulls no where to be found; valuation levels the best since Black Monday, October 19, 1987. And back then you could buy AAA long term munis yielding 10% or better vs. around 4.75% today.

No one can call bottom in advance with confidence, but we can correctly report that the conditions for at least a bounce are in place, assuming we are not headed for a 1929 depression.

We are not, but don't take my word on this. Last Tuesday, Oct. 7, Gary Becker the 1992 Nobel economic laureate, professor of economics at the University of Chicago stated in the Wall Street Journal - "we're not headed for a depression."

He states, "World economic growth will recover once we are over the present severe difficulty." Also he states, "Although it is the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930's it is a far smaller crisis, especially in terms of the effects on output and employment."

ThePowerStocks.com Team
Get 56 days free trial on our exclusive newsletter. Offer Limited.
http://www.thepowerstocks.com

Good advice. I would say, a lot of this depends on why you're blogging though. Some people, like me, just blog for fun and as a creative outlet. Then, the blog is like a canvas and you as the artist can do whatever you want with it. My blog breaks a lot of rules because it doesn't always contain useful information and its entertainment value varies. I post sometimes as often as once in two days, sometimes once in two weeks depending on what's going on with my life at the time.

With the uncountable numbers of blogs being created every day, it is a tuff job for one to make it or make their blogs stand out. But, certainly with the right tips and tricks applying to your blogs can really work wonders.

Thanks for this post Rohit, I remember talking to you about blog content when we met in Singapore.

I learned some of your tips just from reading IMB and the PNI blog and it has really helped us as we improve our Better Response Blog.

Our approach is also slightly different from most blogs. We're not necessarily looking for large numbers per se, but relevant readers in the direct marketing industry.

As a result of this approach we decided to avoid controversial content to attract eyeballs but rather provide relevant content and focus on a smaller niche. What do you think?

I am so glad to have come across this. Content and connections- very key. It is time for me to take things to the next level. I might have broken many "rules", but so far, so good. Check out www.SanDiegoBargainMama.com. I encourage any productive feedback.

Great overview of a 90 day launch. I'm very fond of your presentation on fighting blog writer's block... It always eventually happens and you provide some great stuff to fight it :-)

Maria Reyes-McDavis
www.WebSuccessDiva.com

just registered a domain for something i call "brandology" taglined "the study of brands and branding"..

how niche is that in your opinion?

Thank you so much for this! I am just starting out and determined today to make an editorial calendar..and read this today! Karma! Also ..people have been telling me to publish my blog on my twitter bio. I wouldn't b/c I am a perfectionist and this blog is far from perfect. Ok..I now have it listed. This post is just wonderful for anyone getting started. THANKS! Subscribed to you and will look forward to reading more!

Terrific advice for newbies. I appreciate the the rules reminders, and the integrated media perspective (including linking to the 25 styles.) Determining style is proving to be my first big challenge in dealing with a) the day business of what I do, b) the general career business of what I do, and c) just having fun with expressing myself in a blog. These tend to intertwine. There are times this could/should be ok, and times is is NOT ok.

I agree with Atul. Some of this depends on why you are blogging.

I had a niche blog which grew quickly, but I realized that all I wanted was a platform to share my thoughts and connect with interesting people. My current blog will be successful if I accomplish those two goals.

I'm not trying to split hairs--your advice is satisfactory for someone trying to gain a position of authority or a large audience to sell to, for example.

This is excellent. I was just talking this morning with someone who was looking for practical, step-by-step guides just like this. The wisdom and practicality reminded me that I'm sorry I was running around so much at BlogWorld08 that I didn't get to talk with you there. Hopefully next year! And yes, it is a very good idea to start by warning people that if they want to get into blogging seriously for business they have to be prepared for some hard work. I tell people these days, it's simple, but it's not easy.

Excellent post! I need to make myself sit down and figure out how to use the Wordpress hosted blogs... I know they are more flexible but they intimidate me for some reason! :( Thanks again.

Fantastic post! This is a great 90 day program that will get you well on your way to blogdom. Thanks for taking the time to put this up, I personally appreciate it.

Great informative post, clear guidance for setting up a good blog!

This is a beautiful 90 Days program for any blogger.
Create a blog is an easy job … but launch a successful blog will need some skills and right steps. Your post really provides a good info. Thanks !

Ally Chan
www.allychan.com
www.my-freedom.ws

I think one of the most important insights here is to develop an editorial calendar. Too many new bloggers start writing articles on a whim and as a result their consistency suffers. Keeping yourself accountable to an editorial schedule is a great way to counteract that initial burn-off.

Great article! Thanks for posting this. I think you are dead-on with this list. I wish I had this when I first started to blog, but you better believe I'll pass this along to all my friends!

really interesting article ;)

Ah! An editorial calendar, I have been awakened to a new level of ease and purpose! Thanks for that simple and I am sure for some obvious tip. Now off to create one!

Think Big!

This is an excellent step by step approach to starting a blog. It would have been great to read post like these before I jumped in that water.

Terrific article and so many great guideposts to lead the novice and pro alike.

# ref: "Trust me on this, you'll eventually wish you built your blog on your own URL, whether you think so today or not."
True! I agree with you on this. I have seen most of the good blogs have their own domain. Considering the works and time involved in maintaining and doing seo your own url, i wonder, is it really that profitable?

Nice post! I was stuck up with the right wordpress template and designn stuff... you really hit me in the head. I started to focus on content than the presentation.

thanks

Yes, but any way good effort/time required for it.
But the process is a standard , even holds good for a Small company website building

This article was great. I'm going to put your plans into practice. Hopefully my traffic grows in the next 90 days!

Rohit - love the advice, insight and overall blog. Keep putting out quality information - it helps keep my head in the game.

Thanks! Steve Gumm

I just launch my own website, its 30 days and counting.

Your blog is very nice

The comments to this entry are closed.