51 Steps to Launching a Hot Blog
By Annabel Candy on May 28, 2010
This is quite comprehensive, don't be overwhelmed, get empowered and head over to my blog Get In the Hot Spot if you want more help creating a hot blog of your own.
- Pick a topic. Decide what you want to blog about.
- Make sure your topic isn’t too narrow or you’ll get bored with it.
- Don’t let the focus get too wide or people will get confused.
- Come up with a great idea to showcase your skills and knowledge.
- Work out your unique selling point, even if you’re not actually selling anything.
- Decide how to explain to other people what you do.
- Define your goals clearly.
- Write them down in a maximum of two sentences.
- Come up with a slogan that sums up in as few words as possible what people will find on your blog.
- Brainstorm for sub-categories on your blog.
- Divide the information you’ll be sharing via blog posts into chunks of information to make it easier for readers to find what they’re looking for.
- Work out what static information you need on your blog ~ for example about, contact and legal.
- Sort out what your values are and how you can share those with your readers ~ for example adventurous, caring and down to earth.
- Brainstorm possible names for your blog.
- Find a suitable domain name – not too long and easy to spell.
- Buy the domain name.
- Embrace branding. Branding has a bad reputation but it’s unavoidable and strong branding is vital for online success. First impressions count. People will be judging you and your blog from the second they set eyes on your photo or website.
- Decide how you want people to describe you ~ for example knowledgeable, off beat, stylish, witty.
- Work out how you can convey that in your branding.
- Choose a photo of you that you can use on your blog and all social media.
- Be consistent with your image and chose a photo that suits your branding image ~ for example friendly, trustworthy, professional and interesting.
- Remain consistent in everything you do and say online. Inconsistency is confusing and will scare people away.
- Check out some websites and work out what you like and dislike about them.
- If you’re creating an online business invest in it and outsource jobs you can’t do. Unless you’re an experienced project manager, Internet technician, writer, graphic designer, business planner, marketer and branding expert you’ll need help in some of those areas if you want to get good results fast.
- You may need a separate graphic designer who specialises in logos and branding as well as one to design the web interface.
- Write a detailed brief for your graphic and web designers outlining your goals, target audience, site design guidelines, topic, categories, sub-categories and static pages in as much detail as possible.
- Consider the page layout too. People read from top to bottom and left to right. Make sure the most important parts of your blog are immediately visible to people. For example, on my blog my main goal is to let new readers know what the blog’s about and get them to subscribe. The first place people’s eyes will fall is on the logo and slogan top left. The second place they’ll look is top right where I have a big red banner encouraging people to subscribe now.
- Choose your web designer wisely. It’s an unregulated industry. Try to pick someone who’s qualified and experienced. Look at some of the sites they’ve designed and spend time exploring them. Do they look good? Are they easy to navigate? Do they have clear calls to action like contact us now, subscribe or buy now links?
- Outsource jobs you can’t do well. The best recommendation for choosing people to help you is often word of mouth. If you can’t find a good recommendation ask for clients you can call to speak to for a reference.
- Relationships are important too. Choose someone you like and trust. You should be working with them closely so it might as well be fun and rewarding.
- Trust your gut. If you’re not 100% sure find someone else. It may take time but that’s better than spending money on something sub-standard that doesn’t get you results.
- Be prepared to spend time on all of this. If could take months but it’s worth planning it properly and avoiding costly mistakes and wasted time.
- Hand over the job to your chosen experts and give them some creative freedom. You chose them carefully. Now you need to trust them.
- Refine the initial design until you’re 100% happy with it. Keep testing and tweaking. No matter how carefully you plan there are always some elements that have been overlooked or need refining.
- Develop the blog in a test area so you can play around with it before it goes live. Actually clicking on links and imagining you’re a reader looking for certain information will help. For example, test how fast can people find your email address? Your best selling product? Your Twitter page?
- Watch your language and check the wording. Does the language you use reflect your branding and company values? Does it speak to your target audience? For example if my target audience was students I’d use different words than if I was trying to appeal to baby boomers.
- Have a soft launch. There might be problems to begin with. Put the new site up and try it out. Ask some friends to test it for you on different computers and browsers. A good web designer should do this for you.
- Make sure your blog isn’t marked as private and submit it to the major search engines.
- Get your technical expert to sort out the widgets and install the essential plug-ins like aksimet which will catch your spam comments and the tweetmeme so people can easily tweet your post.
- Put up your first blog post. You can use your target goals, target audience and company values to get you started.
- Work out a posting schedule of a minimum of once a week and stick to it. This will get you in the habit and make you commit to your blog.
- Brainstorm for post topics and come up with some eye-catching headlines that will make people want to read them.
- Start networking and find a blogging buddy who will keep you going when times get tough
- Committ to a time frame and set goals. I set myself the goal of 1000 subscribers after one year of blogging and got there even though I changed my domain name and topic three times which really set me back.
- Interact with your readers – reply to their comments, read their feedback and show them you care.
- Sign up for Twitter and Facebook. Make sure you keep your branding consistent across all platforms.
- Network with other bloggers who are starting out, people who’ve been at it for a while and the top bloggers in your niche. Retweet their links, comment on their posts. Just let them know you’re around and interested.
- Be authentic. It shouldn’t take practice but it does. Your confidence will grow as you learn to share confidences with your readers, trust each other and feel safe being yourself. That’s the person people will love best.
- Have fun with it.
- Don’t worry about not knowing everything about blogging. You’ve set up a strong foundation, the rest will happen naturally over time.
- Celebrate. Have a launch party and invite all your new blogging friends. I’m not sure of the date and time yet but I plan to have a launch party online. I’ve been to a few fun webinars. The party will be similar to a webinar. I’ll be talking to you live and you’ll be able to chat to me and other party goers. Sounds good? Make sure you’ve subscribed so you get an official invitation. Of course, you’re all invited, I just need to make sure you know when it is. Feel free to bring your friends – the more the merrier.
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