If you’re reading this post because you have decided to start your own blog – congratulations.
While I know the process of starting a blog can be a little overwhelming, it’s also very exciting!
Your blog will be your very own creative outlet. A place for you to share your knowledge and stories with the world! It will encourage you to learn new skills and make new connections. And it could even earn you some extra money!
Yes, you read that right.
But make no mistake. It will take some hard work and dedication for your blog to become successful. That’s why I decided to write this handy checklist of everything you need to do before you launch your blog.
Following these steps will ensure that your blog is on the road to success from the very start!
13 THINGS TO DO BEFORE LAUNCHING YOUR BLOG
1. Choose Your Niche
This is a bit of a controversial topic here in the blogosphere. Not everyone believes that a blog needs to have a niche to be successful.
But, it’s going to make things easier for you.
Your niche will help everything fall into place. It will allow you to establish your brand, audience and strategy from the beginning. Without a niche, your blog may end up going in the wrong direction- and we definitely don’t want that.
If hearing the word “niche” gets you feeling a little anxious, just thing of it as a topic or focus instead.
The most important thing to remember when deciding on a niche, topic, focus – whatever you want to call it – is to stay true to yourself. You don’t want to force yourself to write about something that you’re not passionate about. Stick to what you know.
2. Pick a Domain Name
Once you’ve established the topic of your blog, you’ll need to decide on a name and domain.
Choosing the name of your blog is like choosing the name of your business, it takes some serious thought and consideration.
I recommend getting out a sheet of paper and brainstorming all of your possible ideas. Also, keep in mind that you preferred domain name might not be available. So, pick a few that you like and see if they’re available by using this tool:
Some general tips for choosing a domain name:
- Keep it short and easy to type
- Avoid using numbers or hyphens
- Stick with a .com extension
3. Build Your Blog
This part is actually a lot easier than it sounds.
Basically, you need to decide on a blogging platform and a hosting company.
The blogging platform is essentially the foundation of your blog. You want something reliable and customizable. For that, I definitely recommend WordPress.org.
If you’re on the fence about going with the free version of WordPress or the self-hosted, read this post where I wrote an in-depth comparison of the two.
After deciding on a blogging platform, you’ll need to decide on a hosting company for your blog. I host my blog through Bluehost and I can’t recommend them enough. They have affordable plans, 24/7 live chat customer service and they are the official hosting partner to WordPress. Plus, when you sign up with Bluehost, you get a free domain name!
For the step-by-step process on how to setup a WordPress blog on Bluehost, check out my full tutorial here.
4. Find Your Theme
Once your blog is up and all of the logistics are taken care of, you can have some fun. You’ll need to decide on a theme for your blog!
And you might want to steer clear of getting a free theme. Besides being overused, free themes are going to limit you when it comes to customization.
Instead, I suggest purchasing a theme that will allow you to accomplish everything you want with your blog. For example, if you are going to be offering products or services, look for a theme that has a shop feature.
5. Define Your Brand and Style
First impressions matter.
That’s why you need to make sure that your blog looks great on the day you launch.
Every single person who lands on your blog, will immediately start building an impression of your brand. So, take the time to establish your branding and style.
First, decide on a colour palette. Use colours that are functional, yet visually appealing. Check out this article on 100 Brilliant Colour Combinations for some inspiration.
Second, choose your typography. It might not seem like it, but the fonts you use on your blog will actually effect the way your brand is depicted by your readers. If you see a font that you love online and want to identify it, take a screenshot and upload it to this handy website.
Lastly, you need to establish your brand visuals.
You can hire an amazing graphic designer on Fiverr to design a logo for you. Sign up for my email list to download my styled stock photos. You can use these photos anywhere on your blog or social media accounts.
6. Establish Your Audience
If you want to turn your blog into a business, you need to establish your audience and figure out how you can help them.
So, who is the type of person that would want to read your blog?
If you’re starting a travel blog, your target audience is people who like to travel. If you’re starting a blog running a farm, your target audience is people who also live or run a farm.
Now, what do these people need from you?
Figure out what your blog can offer them and how you’re going to get their attention.
7. Do Your Research
If you’re reading this post, then that’s a good sign!
It means that you have already started your research process. So, continue doing as much research as possible! The internet is full of amazing resources that will help you succeed.
Start by looking at other bloggers in your niche. Read their content and see what’s working for them. Search for blogging and social media strategies on Google or Pinterest. And bookmark helpful posts so you can refer to them later.
Here are some helpful posts to help start your research:
- The Search Engine Optimization Guide for Beginners
- The Powerful Pinterest Strategy for Bloggers
- 5 Ways to Make Money Blogging
8. Create A Strategy
In order to get your blog off the ground, you need a plan. You can’t just launch your blog and hope people will find it! I tried that once. And it didn’t end well.
So, make a list (similar to this one) of everything you need to do before, during and after your blog launch. Doing this will help ease the panic of starting your own blog. Brainstorm some blog post ideas, figure out how often you’re going to publish and where you’re going to promote yourself.
I always have ideas flowing through me, so I like to keep a physical planner at my desk, where I can write down my post schedule. And, I also use Evernote on my phone, when I want to jot down quick ideas. It automatically syncs up to my computer, keeping me nice and organized!
Trust me, once your blog is launched, you’ll be so thankful to have a strategy already in place. It will be one less thing to worry about!
9. Write Some Content
Imagine your blog as a bookstore.
Someone shows up to your store on opening day, and finds only one book on the shelf.
Pretty disappointing, am I right?
So, give your readers a reason to stick around!
I recommend having 5 published on your blog before you launch. This will keep your readers intrigued and give them a chance to fall in love with your writing. For some blog post inspiration, check out my list of 19 Essential Blogging Tips for Beginners.
If you really want to get ahead of the game, try writing another 5 blog posts and schedule them over the course of your first month. Launch time can be stressful, and you don’t want the added pressure of having to think of new post ideas right away!
Also, don’t forget to write an “About Me” page and a place with your contact information, so your readers (or brands) can get in touch with you!
10. Set Up Your Social Media
Social media is a must for all bloggers.
You want to make it easy for your readers to keep up to date with your brand. So, sign up for all the major social media networks like Facebook (a page, not a profile), Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
Even if you don’t plan to use each network right away, it’s a good idea to save the handle that corresponds with your blog. For example, mine is @mayamaceka.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when setting up your social media:
- Use the same profile picture on all of your networks. This will make it easy for people to recognize you.
- Incorporate your brand colours and/or tagline. Especially on networks like Pinterest, you want your branding to look consistent.
- Add social media buttons to the sidebar on your blog. You want to encourage your readers to follow you online.
- Don’t underestimate the power of Pinterest. Use a scheduling tool like Tailwind to put your Pinterest on autopilot and generate traffic while you sleep! Check out my Pinterest Strategy Guide to find out exactly how it’s done.
But most importantly, don’t overwhelm yourself. If you don’t think you’ll be able to actively manage multiple social media platforms, start by just focusing on two!
11. Create an Email List
When you’re first getting started with your blog, this might not seem so important. But, having access to someone’s inbox is so valuable!
Even if you’re not selling a service on the day you launch, you might decide to one day.
And, wouldn’t it be great if when that day comes, you already have a list of loyal followers?!
Before you launch, sign up for Mailerlite. It’s a totally free email marketing service that makes newsletters and landing pages a breeze.
I recommend setting up a welcome email that includes a little introduction about your blog, your top posts and your social media networks. Every time someone subscribes to your list, they will automatically receive this email.
Now, to take things one step further – you might want to create an opt-in freebie too! In fact, you can even begin offering your freebie before your “official” launch. This will help create some buzz about your upcoming blog.
12. Connect With Other Bloggers
Start making connections with other bloggers as early as possible.
You can find others in your niche by joining Facebook groups, Pinterest group boards and conversations on Twitter. Leave meaningful comments on their blog, follow them on social media and sign up for their email lists.
Introduce yourself and your blog whenever possible. This will increase your chances of being included in roundup posts or future collaborations.
Be mindful that not all bloggers are going to connect with you – and that’s alright. For the most part, the blogosphere is an extremely welcoming place and you’ll find a group that you vibe with in no time at all!
13. Promote Your Blog
You have all of the tools you need for a successful launch.
So, pick a launch day and then start building some hype around it!
Add a coming soon page to your blog, with an email sign up and links to your social networks. Include a couple sentences about what your readers can expect from you.
Create some promotional graphics on Canva and share them with your friends, in online blogging communities and across your social media networks.
Share some sneak peeks of your upcoming blog posts. You could even hop on Facebook Live to do a behind the scenes look at what’s to come.
Get people familiar with your blog and brand. Keep them updated. And get them genuinely excited for the launch. The best thing you can hope for is that people will be dying to visit your blog before it’s even up!
If there is anything to take away from this post, it’s this: you’ve got this.
With a little bit of hard work and determination, you could be running a successful blog within the first week of your launch. Keep providing valuable content to your audience. And don’t give up on yourself!
I hope this post has you feeling even the slightest bit more confident in your upcoming launch.
Next, you should read my full tutorial on how to setup a blog from scratch. And of course, if you have any questions along the way, do not be afraid to send me an email. I would love nothing more than to help you launch your blog!
Now tell me: What’s your biggest fear for your upcoming blog launch?