The Busy Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting a New Blog from Scratch
Starting a new blog from scratch is exciting. The possibilities seem endless. Unfortunately, the work that goes into launching a new blog seems endless too.
There are just so many things to do! If you’re a busy entrepreneur with a business to run, you don’t have the time to figure out how to go about launching a new blog from scratch.
You’ll probably do things as they occur to you only to later realize that a better planned launch might have yielded more results.
Launching a blog from scratch is time consuming but it isn’t hard. You just need a step-by-step plan and a checklist of the things you need to do.
The good news is, we’re going to show you how to do just that in this post.
Build a “Coming Soon” Page
Before you do anything else, create a “Coming Soon” page on your website to let visitors know you’re working on the site. This has to be your first step. Otherwise, when your website is ready for launch – you won’t have anyone to launch it to.
The best “Coming Soon” pages are simple in design, have a launch date, and an email sign up form for folks who want to be notified about the launch.
Now I know it sounds like a lot of work. You’re a busy entrepreneur. You don’t have time to build landing pages!
The good news is, you don’t have to.
There are plenty of great services and themes that offer a good “Coming Soon” page. If you’re looking for a WordPress theme that’s easy to set up and has a free version, try Launch Effect.
If you already have a theme and only just want a landing page, consider LeadPages. It’s extremely easy to set up. While not free, it offers tons of landing page templates that you can modify according to your needs.
For more options, all you need to do is run a search for “Coming Soon” WordPress Themes/Plug-ins/Landing Pages. You’ll find tons of options.
Set Up an Email List
Now that you’ve set up a “Coming Soon” page for your new blog, it’s time to organize things. The reason you set up a “Coming Soon” page was because you wanted to build awareness and anticipation of your upcoming launch.
What better way to do so than by setting up an email list people can sign up for?
With an email list, you’ll have a group of people waiting to hear of your launch. You’ll be able to announce your blog launch and create a buzz around it.
Most importantly, you won’t have to worry about finding an audience for your new blog. Thanks to the email list, you’ll already have one.
Create a Sign Up Incentive
When you’re setting up an email list people can subscribe to, it’s important to give them a reason to do so.
And no, saying “Sign up to be the first one to find out when we launch” isn’t enough. You need to give them another reason. And the best way to do is by providing an incentive to sign up.
Maybe an ebook or an autoresponder series in exchange for your subscriber’s email address.
Having an incentive serves two purposes. First, it gives people an additional, more attractive reason to sign up to your email list.
Second, it helps you find the right audience for your blog. Your sign up incentive should be about a topic closely related to the topic of your blog. This way, folks signing up will know exactly what your blog is about and they’ll only sign up if the topic interests them.
If you’re creating an autoresponder series, make it at least 6-8 email series. Send it once a week and by the end of it, your subscribers will know who you are. They’ll also remember you when your name pops up in their inbox.
If you’re offering an ebook, it should be at least long enough to offer some real value to your subscribers. It should have actionable advice they can put to use immediately and see results. A book that’s all fluff won’t impress subscribers. It needs to be good enough to sell.
Write Your Blog’s Web Copy
Up till now, you were getting your pre-launch stuff ready. You set up a “Coming Soon” page, an email list, and created a newsletter incentive for folks signing up for your list.
Now it’s time to start getting the blog ready for the actual launch.
The first thing you need to do is write your web copy. Write your “About” page, your “Contact” page, and any other pages you need for your blog.
Don’t just focus on the pages. Write your blog’s microcopy too. That means the small stuff we often ignore like “Leave a comment”, “Share the post”, or “Sign up for the newsletter”, etc.
Getting your web copy written is half the work of a blog launch. You only need to do one other thing for your blog to be completely ready for the launch.
WordPress blogs are incomplete without plug-ins. Every theme needs additional features and support.
Don’t flood your blog with plug-ins, though. Be very choosy about which plug-ins you install. Too many of them may slow down the site.
At the very least, you need a plug-in to catch and delete spam comments (Akismet), track your blog’s analytics (Google Analytics), share your content on social media (Share This), insert a contact form on your website for readers to contact you through (Gravity Forms or Contact Forms 7).
After that, keep adding plug-ins until your blog has everything you need.
Congratulations, your blog is now ready for launch! But wait a minute…
Launching a blog isn’t that simple. Setting up your blog isn’t enough. You need to do a couple of things more before you officially launch the blog.
Market the Blog Launch
Once you’ve set up everything on your blog, it’s time to start marketing it. If you launch right now, nobody will care – except maybe your newsletter subscribers.
But if you haven’t done any marketing, you won’t have more than a handful of subscribers. And they’re not enough to create a hype about your launch.
The best way to market your blog launch is through guest blogging.
Find other blogs your target audience hangs out in and guest post on them. In your author bio, include a link to your blog’s “Coming Soon” page and encourage them to sign up in exchange for your free report or autoresponder series.
With every guest post published, more and more people will sign up for your newsletter.
Every time I guest post for a big blog like Copyblogger, I get 70 new subscribers on average. That’s 70 people who wouldn’t have known about my blog if I hadn’t guest-posted.
If you have a good relationship with a lot of bloggers in your niche, you can set up a blog tour in the weeks leading up to your launch so that you have a guest post being published every day till the launch. It’ll help drive newsletter signups and traffic on launch day.
Publish the First Post
So you’ve set up your blog and marketed it to your heart’s content. You have a decent sized list that’s excitedly waiting to hear of your blog’s launch.
But before you take down the “Coming Soon” page and unveil your new blog to the world, you need to … publish your first post!
A blog with blog posts is like a furnished house with no tenant.
Before you send a “We’re live!” email to your newsletter subscribers, publish your first post. Make sure it’s worthy of being a first post because this is your one chance to impress readers with your blog, your ideas, and your writing.
Once you’ve published it, then you can announce the launch and ask your subscribers to leave a comment and share the post.
Have you ever launched a blog? How did you go? Share your experience in the comments!