If you’re wondering how to set up a blog and launch it properly, you’re in the right place. Today I’ll give you all the tips you need to start a successful blog from day 1.
When I hang out in Facebook groups for bloggers, I see many of the same questions being asked over and over again by people wanting to launch blogs.
I rounded up a few of them so I can help to alleviate your fears, answer your questions and help you with any issues you may be facing as a new blogger.
As someone who’s been doing this for quite a while, I thought I could offer my perspective on this whole blogging thing. Many bloggers are overthinking parts of the process and would do well to rely on one of my favourite mantras, done is better than perfect.
That will be the main theme of lots of the tips I provide here today to prepare for your blog launch. Done is better than perfect. Let’s get into these questions I get all the time from new bloggers.
In this post you will find
- Where Should I SetUp My Blog?
- How Many Posts Should I Have on my Blog Launch?
- How Often Should I Post on My Blog?
- Blog Branding: Your Colours, a Logo and a Theme
- How to Choose Your Blog Niche
- How Long Should Your Blog Posts Be?
- What Should You Include in Your About Page?
- What Should Your First Blog Post Be About?
- How to Manage Your Time As a Blogger
- How Should I Collect Emails on My Blog?
- What Tools Will I Need for my Blog Launch Plan?
Where Should I SetUp My Blog?
This is an interesting question because it depends a little on if you want to make money with your blog or you’re just dipping your toes in to either document your life and share it with others or decide if you even like blogging.
If you’re just starting out and you’re not sure that blogging will be for you, then sure, sign up for a free account on WordPress.com and get a feel for the blogging platform.
If, however, you’ve made a decision that you love blogging or you want to start one to make money, then skip the amateur step and go self-hosted from day one. You’ll save yourself a lot of headache down the road and you’ll also be free of monetization limitations that free platforms have. So you’ll actually be able to start making money with your blog as soon as you go self-hosted.
I recommend Siteground as your host of choice. I’ve been using them for over a decade and have never had any serious headaches or downtime with them. Their customer service is quick and friendly and will help you with any tech questions you have. Here’s my tutorial for getting your new blog up and running in mere minutes using them.
How Many Posts Should I Have on my Blog Launch?
So my best answer to this question is to have one month’s worth of posts up when you launch your blog. This gives you a whole month’s head start on new content and allows you sufficient time to write new posts.
Now, one month’s worth of posts looks different for everybody. How often do you really see yourself publishing a new piece? For me, a month’s worth of posts is only 4 posts because I publish once per week. My content creation process takes quite a bit of time and I run two blogs so I really can only get through this twice for the week plus promoting my blog posts, curating photos and all the other things that go into running a successful blog.
I spoke about my content creation process in a Facebook Live in my Help a Blogger Out Facebook group so you can see what that process is like and why it takes so long. This brings me to my next tip, how often to post.
How Often Should I Post on My Blog?
As much as you can realistically manage. My content creation process is quite in-depth. Once a week is just fine for me. There’s a myth that Google loves a blog that is updated regularly with fresh content and so posting more improves your SEO.
The truth is that Google loves content that is fresh and updated, not fresh content that is of no value. One of the masters of SEO that I quote regularly on this blog, Brian Dean, has less than 50 whole posts on his blog. When he does post, you are guaranteed a thorough post explaining everything you would ever need to know about whatever SEO topic he is writing on and that counts much more to Google than you posting 3 or 4 or 5 times per week.
Another popular view is that you should post on a regular schedule so that your readers are accustomed to your schedule.
I guarantee you that with everything happening in everyone’s daily lives, keeping up with your blog on a set schedule is not a high priority for anyone at all. Your job is to make sure that whenever you do publish a new piece of content, you market the heck out of it.
This is how your fans and followers will know that hey there’s something new. Don’t rely on them remembering that you post every Monday and Wednesday, cause, they won’t.
Blog Branding: Your Colours, a Logo and a Theme
This is where my mantra comes in strongly. Done is better than perfect. Don’t get so hung up on having the perfect theme, logo and colours selected before you launch your blog that you never end up actually launching.
Here’s a secret I want to let you in on, whatever you decide on today for your branding elements, you’re going to change at least a time or two throughout the course of your blog.
Many of your favourite bloggers started out with blogs that would make your eyes cringe. You do not want to see where my lifestyle blog is coming from and OMG the logo back then makes my heart cry.
But they worked at the time and as my tastes refined, my blog grew and I took on elements I preferred and dropped ones I didn’t care for, my branding came together pretty much on its own. I’ll continue to refine it as I grow too, I’m sure.
This blog started with a logo I made quickly in Canva until I could get a designer to do one for me and yet still I already know that I will be changing it again soon.
The point is that these elements are less important than you think. It’s more important to launch and begin getting your Google link love on than worrying about finding the right shade of pink.
How to Choose Your Blog Niche
Some new bloggers struggle with picking a niche. Maybe you want to write about different things and are wondering if they all can be covered on one blog. Maybe you’re wondering if your niche will make money. Maybe you’re wondering if you should niche down or go broader.
The advice that I will give you is to pick something and start writing. Over time, your readers will begin to gravitate to particular topics. Over time, you’ll realise what you prefer to write about. Over time, you will realise what posts make more money and will probably choose to go for more of those.
It’s more important to define and find your target audience than it is to define your niche immediately.
There are successful blogs who write about everything under the sun and successful blogs that write about one specific thing only. There’s no one formula to this bog thing. Trial and error and lots of DIY will help you to hit your stride and figure out what works best for you.
How Long Should Your Blog Posts Be?
As long and as thorough as they need to be without any fluff. If you watched my content creation process video mentioned above, you’ll see why all my posts are between 1500-2500 words with some much longer.
For SEO purposes, your content should always be helping your reader to solve a problem. Those are the types of posts that will do well. If you want to land on the first page of Google for your topic, then your post will have to be better than every post already ranking there in order to boost your chances of beating one of them out.
Chances are, you’re going to need a very thorough and in-depth post that’s more than just a few hundred words in order to accomplish this.
There’s no magic number. Just be sure that you have exhausted the topic you’re choosing to write about. I talk more about this in my Keysearch review, this is the tool I use to research keywords for my blog posts.
What Should You Include in Your About Page?
Another one that new bloggers struggle with that I find not so important. My about page doesn’t get any traffic at all so I pay very little attention there.
Some bloggers say it’s definitely a page their visitors visit however so you should at least optimise this page with a freebie to get visitors on your email list. I use one of mine as a “start here” page of sorts, taking new visitors through a list of my most popular posts on the blog.
The one for this blog is actually my first blog post. I introduce myself and why I feel qualified to give you advice on blogging, just in case you wonder.
While this page could use some optimization as you grow, it should definitely not hinder you from launching your blog. Done, not perfect. Get something up and out and tweak yours as you find awesome about pages you want to emulate in some way.
What Should Your First Blog Post Be About?
Well, both of my blogs started out with posts introducing who I am and why I started the blog. I use that same intro post as my about page on this blog. That’s one way to go.
You could also just jump right in and start writing about whatever topic you’ll be covering on the blog. Remember I suggested above that when launching, it’s a good idea to start with a handful of posts so that when you begin to get readers, they have something else to read.
Interlinking your posts is super important for SEO and it will help your bounce rate if a reader has related topics to click through for further reading if they happen to like your blog.
So go ahead and launch with a couple posts related to each other in some way. But again, don’t stress over this too much because your first handful of blog posts are probably going to be your worst ever. You’ll get more seasoned and polished as a blogger and writer the more you blog.
How to Manage Your Time As a Blogger
You will definitely need some sort of system in order to keep on top of all the tasks that are part of blogging. There’s social media promotion, content creation, research, finding stock images, shooting your own photography, guest posting, blogger outreach, regular maintenance, tracking your affiliate links and just so much stuff to think about.
Some bloggers use online productivity programs like Asana or Trello while some, like myself, stick to good old pen and paper.
I bullet journal plus keep a running list of blog post ideas and other knick-knacks in a notepad that lives on my office desk. Here’s my current blogging schedule that keeps me sane and from going into burnout and overwhelm as a blogger.
You will definitely need a planner to keep yourself on track. This is the planner I’m currently using and it makes a superb planner for everyday life.
I also created a 9-page blog planner that is non-dated. This means you can add dates where needed and print the pages you use on demand.
The awesome thing about this planner is that you’re able to track your stats, income, expenses jot down blog post ideas and plan your week and month using this one printable. As the year goes on, you’re able to simply print a blank month sheet and fill it in while keeping your stats tracker etc handy.
I’ve made it available to you for free, enter your details below to download.