When I started my first blog (in Danish), two years ago, I simply bought a domain and started posting. That was an excellent strategy for getting started, but for Trovatten.com I wanted a proper launch.
(This post is written prior to the actual launch of Trovatten.com)
Here’s what I did before I launched Trovatten.com
If you don’t have a blog yet, you can go to bluehost.com and have it up and running with WordPress, in a snap!
1. Choose Your Topic And Determine Your USP
There are so many blogs out there today, and no matter what topic you choose, you will get strong competition. I’m competing with 1,400.000 other internet marketing blogs according to Google.
This fosters a need to be precise and laser-focused on what your blog is about. People have so many to choose from, why should they pick yours?
For me, this was a tough one, because I really wanted to claim a legitimate place for myself out there, but simply choosing a narrow field within online marketing didn’t seem tempting, even though I knew this would be the easiest way to dominate the niche.. That sounded arrogant.. Sry.
The limitation of choosing a niche-topic like a “local SEO blog” or a “Link Building Blog” simply didn’t fit my broad online marketing interest…
This is when I thought to myself that I wanted to create a blog that I would like to read.
A blog about Internet marketing, that doesn’t suck…
I really don’t care about which tools or techniques to use. I care about the results they make and that’s what I will blog about.
2. Line Up Your First Five Posts
You don’t want to open your site to the public without at least a handful of posts for them to read. Imagine you’re successful in advertising your blog from the start and you get thousands of visits to your new blog, then these people should be able to enjoy your writings in depth.
Even if you start with a small audience, then you want this audience to really connect with you the first time. They will not return if they feel you underachieved, and these are the people you desperately depend on for spreading your words to the rest of the world! You only get one shot at a first impression.
3. Keep Your Overall Standard In Every Post
You are not in control of which page or blogpost people will see or read first. Therefore you need to make sure that every post lives up to the standard of quality that you want to represent.
4. Create An About Page That’s Worth Reading (Here’s mine)
The About Page is one of the most visited pages on every blog. You really don’t want a poor about page, because this is for the people who care about you the most and show you interest.
This is your chance to let people know what you are all about, on what conditions you want your blog to be judged, for whom it’s for and what ever else you find important to let new and eager readers know about you. The About page is also one of the most high-converting pages on your blog, in terms of new subscriptions and followers.
5. Engage With Other People In Your Post
Blogging is a social experience. It’s about learning through creating, sharing and engaging. Some time ago I encountered a meme stating that “in order to be interesting, be interested”, and that’s a very precise insight.
Don’t wonder why no one writes about your blog, likes your posts or re-tweets your tweets if you don’t do the same. And even more important, don’t mention, like or re-tweet someone else if you don’t feel a deep interest, and just want to see the favor delivered back in return – they’ll notice! It’s all about legitimate interest, and you can’t fake it.
My blog post about “How Pat Flynn Is Killing it online with SmartpassiveIncome.com” was fueled by my eagerness to learn more about creating a succesful blog and my interest in his approach. This is an example of how you can align your interest with you writing and enter a social field at the same time.
If I’m lucky, he will appreciate the post, pass it on, and bring new readers to me – and if not – well then I still learned from writing the post, and hopefully you guys learned from reading it.
6. When Designing Your Site – Let Form Follow Function!
My visual design isn’t great, I know, but I love my theme for it’s functionality, and I think that’s where to start. I will work on perfecting the visual design later on.
Theme-tip: At first I tried Mysitemyway’s InFocus-theme, but it was slow and I wasn’t satisfied with the readability. Then I bought the Thesis theme and it proved a major change. The Thesis theme is amazing in terms of readability, custom-features and load-speed. Both themes are great in their own way, but I will recommend Theses for bloggers.
7. Show Different Aspects And Skills In Your Posts
In my first five posts, I have chosen to write about a bunch of different topics, and deliver them in a multitude of forms. I’ve made an analytical post, a list-post, a random post and a resource page.
8. Power Your Site With WordPress Plugins
I love WordPress. And I love how WordPress plugins makes it easy to create a lot of nice, custom tweaks in a fast and free manner.
Here are my favorite WordPress Plugins. Enjoy!
9. Have 2 guest posts ready for launch
You want a big bang when you launch right?
Edit: I actually didn’t publish any guest-posts during the launch. I regretted it for the simple reason that I want to build Trovatten.com up before doing any marketing. I guess there are PRO’s and CON’s for each method.
10. Connect with your readers. Make them Subscribe
I have never used a newsletter on my blogs before. True story… I have always just used RSS subscription. But that has changed. Now I have a newsletter that you can sign up for and so should you. I use Aweber for my newsletter like everyone else..
The biggest difference between having a newsletter and a RSS-feed is the ability to get directly in touch with your readers through your newsletter, since you have their email addresses… perhaps it’s true what they say; The Money is in the list.
11. Prepare 1-2 post that you won’t publish on launch date
Blogging never came easily to me. Neither did writing. It takes a lot of time producing content and after you launch you blog you have to spend a lot of time fixing errors, tweaking your site and engaging with others. This is why I’ve already written two posts, that won’t be published on launch date. I don’t think it’s a must to have 1-2 posts done, but I’m sure glad that I’ve done it, so I won’t be too stressed about producing fast content after the launch.
Other stuff I did before I launched the blog:
14. Create an Favicon
The Favicon is the single most important thing you should implement before launch-date. Blinky smiley-face.
Get inspiration for your favicon design here.
16. Create an Aweber Account for newsletter subscriptions
Aweber is my email marketing provider. So far I’m very happy with their service. Aweber is one of the most popular email marketing providers and they are pretty cheap.
17. Burn my feed
I burned my feed at feedburner.com. Now I can track clicks, impressions and subscribers.
18. Create a Google Alert for my name and domain-name
I bet that you are already familiar with Google Alerts. I can’t stress enough about the importance of monitoring your name and domain-name through Google Alerts. I have setup an alert for “trovatten“, “Frederik Trovatten”, “www.trovatten.com” and similar words. So whenever someone mentions my name or blog-name I’ll get a mail and can take action on it.
19. Correct all the broken links
One of the last things I did, before launching my blog was to check that all URL’s were pointing to the correct destination. This job would take soo much time, if it weren’t for this awesome broken link checker plugin. Broken Link Checker scans your blog and lists the broken links so you can fix it in 10 minutes.
Online Marketing and Affiliate Podcasts that I listen to
While working on my blog I subscribed to a lot of brilliant people in the online marketing industry. These people have helped me a lot with tips, inspiration and great motivation!
I don’t know about you, but for me, it helps a lot hearing other bloggers and affiliate marketeers talk about their business and strategies, while working own projects. Here are some of the guys who influenced me the most, while building my blog.
You’ll see that the majority of my subscriptions are affiliate marketeers and great bloggers. I didn’t choose affiliate marketeers on purpose actually. It’s simply because I’ve stumbled upon some really great affiliate-guys that give actual great tips away that are actionable and in-depth!
It’s funny thinking about the fact that all of my subscribtions, come from self-employed people and not from huge SEO or Blogging communities. This also means that there’s a potential and an opportunity for every one of us right?
SmartPassiveIncome Podcast by Pat Flynn
Pat Flynn has more than 35 Podcast-episodes on iTunes now. All of the podcast are about 30-40 minutes and the topics are affiliate marketing, blogging and interviews. By the way, I’ve wrote a post called “How Pat Flynn Is killing it online with SmartPassiveIncome.com”, if you want to read more about him.
AdSense Flippers Podcast by Justin Cooke and Joe Magnotti
Justin and Joe talk about making money online with Adsense, selling and buying websites and how to outsource with personal assistance. They are two humble guys with a down-to-earth approach and tons of great tips for killing it with Google Adsense.
ViperChill Podcast by Glen Allsopp
Glen just started podcasting in 2012. As I write this has he only three episodes on iTunes, but the quality is great! His blog is a huge inspiration to me because he actually writes in-dept articles about every topic he covers. Read more about How Glen made it to the top of iTunes after launching his first podcast.
The Most Important Blogs and Newsletters I Subscribed To
The Moz top 10
The great SEO community SEOmoz has created a newsletter with the 10 hottest and best trending SEO posts around. This gives me a quick overview of some of the trending SEO-articles and discussions.
Neil has a lot of advice on online marketing, blogging and SEO.
Copyblogger is perhaps the greatest resource for blogging, copywriting and content-marketing online. Go to Copyblogger.com and get smarter.
And I Final Note; Make your blog, YOUR blog
Give people a reason for reading your blog, that is beyond the content you cover, the amazing skills you have and the crazy results you make.
YOU should be the Unique Selling Proposition of your blog. People should return to your blog, because they want to hear your voice about the topic.
That’s why I read blogs like shoemoney.com and Seth Godin’s blog. Jeremy Shoemaker doesn’t bring any quick-tips to the table anymore… He brings himself, his experience and his point of view. That’s what matters and that’s one thing no one can copy…
A new chapter has begun
This post started out being a to-do list for my own blog. I listed all the things I had to do before I launched Trovatten.com and I thought I might as well turn it into a blog post. I hope you liked it!
What do you think is crucial for people to do, prior to their blog launch?