Anybody can hop online and claim their own blogging URL within moments. This can lead many to think that launching a wildly successful blog is as easy as a few swipes of the keyboard. Unfortunately, this isn’t exactly the case. Thousands of new blogs join the Information Highway every single day, and only a few of these will ever get read by more than a handful of people.
Luckily, there are things you can do as an informed blogger during those all-important first two weeks to greatly improve your chances for the long term. And while the blogosphere is a notoriously fickle landscape with no guarantees, following these tips closely does increase your shot at success.
First Impressions: They Matter
You have a matter of seconds to connect with your readers, make an impression, and convince them to stick around for a while. One of the best ways to make an impact on readers is to let them know who you are with a well-written, thoughtful About Page and welcome message. Depending on the type of blog you have, this might include images, an author biography, or other ways to connect with the public on a personal and professional level.
Populate Before Going Live
Readers are unlikely to come back to a blog that’s barren the first time they visit, regardless of how many promises the site holds of things to come. You get one (very quick) shot at impressing a visitor, critic, potential buyer, or fellow blogger. Never launch with less than five fully developed posts. The most common mistake in this case is thinking you can hit the publish button first and then fill out the important stuff later. Your blog should be a fully fleshed out picture of you and what you stand for. New users should clearly recognize this image, the moment they come on your website.
The blogosphere is basically made up of hundreds of communities and niches populated by people in the know. What you want is a seat at the popular kids’ table. You can’t get there by blindly stumbling around the Internet. And the old advice of trying to ingratiate yourself through blind email solicitations has pretty much been labeled as bad science.
Instead, look for other, high quality, well-written blogs within your niche and spark conversations and thoughtful, well-written comments whenever possible. Avoid clunky mentions of your own blog, as that’s when you come across as spam. Instead, simply leave your URL in the allotted field and let your ideas and words speak for themselves. With care, this can lead to contributions on both your and others’ blogs.
Outbound Links are Your Friend
As the new kid on the block, your primary target audience is going to be other bloggers. You need to get noticed by search engines and social media in order to stay afloat during this crucial time. Older bloggers in your niche have the readership numbers to put your name in front of people. One of the best ways to get your blog noticed by them is to include lots of outbound links in your posts. By hyperlinking to relevant bloggers whenever possible, you’re alerting others in your niche community that you’ve noticed them, and increasing the chances that they will, in turn, link back to you.
Now is the Time for Giveaways
And finally, your launch week is definitely the time to give people a reason to visit your blog that goes above and beyond your typical awesome content. Whether it’s free samples of products, services, designs, plugins, stories, books, or even a report or PDF. The fact of the matter is, people love giveaways. Freebies create buzz, and buzz keeps people coming back for more.
Now you are ready to take on the internet and reach new audiences and heights through your blog. Although you’ll likely stumble a bit in the beginning, everyone’s been there and these tips will help you smooth out your first steps as much as possible.
Tell us what other tips you know that would help new and aspiring bloggers.