Starting a new blog is easy.

Just come up with an idea, set up a WordPress site in a couple of hours, and type away.

Well… That was the easy part.

There’s no guarantee that people will read your articles and keep coming back for more. In fact, many successful bloggers have started out with no readers and felt like giving up.

starting a new blog gif

When nobody reads your blog – Image source

So how can you start a blog that will succeed, get thousands of people reading your articles, and turn your writing into profit?

We reached out to some of the best marketing experts and asked for their opinion.

Also, it’s almost one year since Aggregate blog went live. Looking back, there are many things I’d do differently. I also learned a lot on the journey.

In one year, Aggregate blog has grown close to 30k monthly readers, most of who come to the blog via Google or are return visitors.

 

blog growth

How this blog has grown in time

As I’m not a big fan of the marketing expert roundup posts that just list everyone’s answers, I decided to test a different format that is, hopefully, more beneficial to someone looking to start a blog.

All the best practices and hacks shared by the marketing experts are edited into a logical order. I also added some of my personal key learnings based on building Aggregate blog.

Look at this article as a guide to starting a new blog or improving your existing website.

Also, big thanks to all the marketing experts who contributed to this article. (This list follows a random order)

Lukasz Zelezny, @LukaszZelezny | Ross Simmonds, @thecoolestcool |
Dubie Bacino, @opajdara | Daniel Wallock, @danielwallock | Cameron Conaway, @CameronConaway | Joanna Wiebe@copyhackers Jacob Varghese, @jacobvar Chuck Bankoff, @KreativeWebwrksMark Traphagen , @marktraphagenRaul Tiru@raultiruSam Hurley, @Sam___HurleySamantha Kelly@SJKellyWrites Madalyn Sklar,  @MadalynSklarAmy Purdie, @amypurdiePeter Trapasso, @petertrapasso |  Adam Connel@adamjaycDan Knowlton@dknowlton1Adel de Meyer@adeldmeyerKeri Jaehnig@kerijaehnig Shelly Kramer, @shellykramer Chelsea Krost, @ChelseaKrostEric Peters, @EricPeters0Dan Marks, @wdanmarksNirav Dave, @nirav_dave Peter Banerjea@successiswhatErik Emanuelli, @ErikEmanuelliSarah Dudley@sarahdudley3Jason Acidre, @jasonacidre | Johnathan Dane@johnathandaneAshley Faulkes, @madlemmingz Mike SchiemerPhil Pallen, @philpallen

Part 1: Things to do before launching a blog

1. Define Your Blog’s Goal

According to Shelly Kramer, CEO + Founder of V3 Broadsuite, it’s important to understand that you’re competing against hundreds of thousands of other corporate blogs, all vying for attention and eyeballs.

Far too many companies launch blogs that are nothing more than thinly-disguised, or not disguised at all sales pitches that are all pieces of brand-centric content.

“If your answer [to why you’re starting a blog] isn’t that you want a way to be able to serve your customers and prospective customers and provide information, resources, solutions, ideas, report on industry trends, and overall help them by giving them information that will help them grow their businesses and solve the problems they might have, stop right there.”

– Shelly Kramer

Social media marketer Adel de Meyer also added that:

“Starting a successful blog starts with a clear goal, message and target audience in mind. You need to plan out your content path and you need to understand exactly what you want your blog to do for you. Every business including personal brands has different goals, missions and stories.”

– Adel de Meyer

When starting out Aggregate blog, I had a goal of building myself an online portfolio. As time went by, I started to grasp the importance of a long-term goal and focused more efforts on high-quality articles and SEO.

starting a blog

This blog started as an online portfolio

Blogging is a more strategic endeavour than you might expect.

You should ask yourself:

  • What are my expectations for this blog?
  • What profit/outcome do I want to get out of it?
  • What are my 1-year and 5-year goals regarding this blog?

Once you know what it is you want to achieve, you can adjust the type of blog content to contribute to your objectives in the long term.

2. Position your blog on the market

According to content marketing expert Adam Connell, one of the most important things that most people forget is positioning.

Positioning is what differentiates your blog from the rest.

“Look at what your competitors are doing right now. Identify the good and the bad. And use that to position your brand in a way that allows you to cut through the noise. But what’s critical here is that you re-evaluate your positioning every so often.“

– Adam Connell

Adam noted that if you take your eye off the ball, you may find yourself surrounded by new competitors that are doing exactly what you’re doing because they see how well it’s working for you.

This is why you’ve got to be agile and be prepared to adapt – your competitors won’t stand still so you shouldn’t either.

stealing gif

Don’t let your best ideas be stolen – Image source

Nirav Dave from Capsicum Mediaworks also emphasized the importance of choosing your niche market carefully: Once that’s done, you’ll be able to create relevant content that’ll resonate with your audience and drive in more traffic to your site.

3. Select your blog’s name smartly

When starting my blog, I had no idea how to name it. So I went with Aggregate to signify my plan to aggregate many marketing hacks to this one blog.

That was not the best of my decisions.

Let’s face it; the name is kind of random. 😃

doge gif

Makes people much confused – Image source

So now, I’ve been thinking about a slight rebranding and change of my blog’s name.

The problem with changing your blog’s name is the need for domain name change. And this can potentially mess up your organic blog traffic and backlinks.

So here’s the key takeaway: Consider your blog’s name carefully!

Dubie Bacino from FriendFiler made another great point:

“Before you launch a blog, check if your blog’s domain name is also available as a handle (username) on all the social networks you intend to use. If not, spend some time now to find a short, catchy domain name that relates to your blog’s content and is also available as the brand name across social media sites.”

“Consider that online marketing is based on growing your brand’s influence. Having a uniform name will help to consolidate your branding efforts and make it easy for your audience to find you. A good brand name can be a great asset. In the same way, a bad brand name can turn out to be a constant challenge in your promotional efforts. Setting up your brand with a good name will save you a lot of headache and money in the long run “

– Dubie Bacino

I couldn’t agree more!

4. Create a distinct brand style

Your brand’s style is another important point to consider carefully before starting your blog.

It will take a lot of time to rebrand your blog later.

Moreover, the sooner you develop a strong brand image, the more people will start recognizing your content in social media and other sharing platforms.

The first 6-7 articles in Aggregate blog followed a simple design principle: all images needed to be colourful and eye-catching.

choosing blog images

Example of one of the early blog images

However, after a while, the blog developed a stronger brand image.

Now, whenever we share an article on social media, people immediately recognize the ponycorns (yes, they’re not unicorns 🙃).

Develop a recognisable brand style

Develop a recognizable brand style

So how should you think about your blog’s style before the initial launch?

Amy Purdie from Whiteacres Design told us that:

“It’s important to figure out your brand style. This doesn’t need to be perfect at this point, you can develop it as you go – and you probably will – but if you can create a brand style that is easy for you to put together when you’re creating graphics and that is carried through across everything that you do. Then, when you are sharing your posts and repurposing content and spreading the word about your blog everything will have a consistent look and feel, you’ll stand out, you’ll be recognised across different platforms, you’ll be remembered and people will become curious, remember your past posts and want to find out more about you.”

– Amy Purdie

Unsure where to start? Check out these 142 Facebook ad examples that all exhibit a different branded style.

5. Find your content/market fit

It’s an obvious one, but understand your niche, understand your audience. – Samantha Kelly.

When we asked her what’s the most important thing about launching a new blog, Kelly noted that the keywords for your article should match the user intent, not search popularity.

Look to providing the type of content your audience will want to read.

Think about both SEO and the value to readers

Think about both SEO and the value to readers

Cameron Conaway, Director of Content at Reflektion, explains this further:

“Find your content/market fit. As with product/market fit, there are many variables to consider and many questions to answer before launching a new blog.”

–Cameron Conaway

Here are two fundamental questions Conaway suggests that you think about:”

  1. Do you understand the untapped and/or unfulfilled audience you want to engage?
  2. If so, do you have a plan (of content creation, cadence, distribution, and SEO) and the resources to consistently deliver valuable content to this audience?

(We’ll get back to discussing content distribution later in the article.)

6. Define your personal niche

“Before launching a new blog, or anything in the marketing arena like that, I would always make sure you have your niche at least approximately nailed down,” Ashley Faulkes, SEO & WordPress Specialist at Mad Lemmings suggests.

That means doing some research, figuring out where you can stand out from the crowd, where there is enough traffic or a big enough audience (on social channels, for example).

“If you are just going to do what everyone else is doing, you will really struggle. It is far easier, and a faster path to success if you find a narrower niche, at least in the beginning. One that you want to spend time in, and there are people there to listen to you.”

– Ashley Faulkes

For example, Hundred5’s blog focuses on hiring and recruitment.

But not just that – they’re also qualified to talk on the topic, having previous recruiting experience of their own.

Hundred5 blog is focused on recruitment

Hundred5 blog is focused on recruitment

How to find your blog’s niche?

Usually, the key to creating valuable content that people want to read is your experience in the field.

(That’s why, famous blogs also prefer contributors who are practitioners, not just freelance writers.)

7. Provide something unique

One of the surefire ways of never making your blog succeed is repeating what others are saying.

If your blog is just an echo of Entrepreneur and Forbes articles, why would anyone prefer it to the original sources?

Think about it… Are you publishing original content that can’t be found anywhere else online?

confused gif

Are you guilty of this mistake? – Image source

Dan Marks from Hancock Whitney, suggests that you try to understand your target audiences’ interests and how you uniquely provide value.

According to the marketing legend David Ogilvy, writing a good advertisement starts by studying the product – you need to know what makes it beneficial to its users and different from the competition.

Rosser Reeves, another notorious marketer, explained that your product needs a USP – unique selling proposition.

What he said about advertisements surprisingly well applies to blog articles too:

  1. Each advertisement (read: blog article) must make a proposition to the consumer.
  2. Not just words, not just puffery, not just show-window advertising. Each advertisement (blog article) must say to each reader: “Read this article, and you will get this specific benefit.”
  3. The proposition must be one that the competition doesn’t offer.
  4. It must be unique – either a uniqueness of the brand or a claim not otherwise made in that particular field of advertising.
  5. The proposition must be so strong that it can move the mass of millions.
  6. Your advertisements (blog articles) should pull over a large number of new customers to your product (website).

When starting out with Aggregate blog, I had previously worked as a growth marketer for more than two years. I also had a fair share of blogging experience from working with some of the top marketing blogs.

That’s why, whenever I’m writing an article, I make a point of sharing advice that’s based on real marketing experience, not just on what other people and blogs are saying.

Base your articles on your experience

Base your articles on your experience

When starting a new blog, ask yourself:

  1. Does this blog bring some unique value to readers?
  2. Does this blog contain original data & insights not to be found in other articles across the web?

8. Know your reader persona

According to marketing influencer Sam Hurley, you need to know exactly who you’re targeting.

“Blanket approaches don’t work — your blog must be fit for a specific purpose, geared towards a particular audience — else it won’t be successful.”

– Sam Hurley

Mark Traphagen from Stone Temple added that you should think about the needs, wants, hopes and desires of your target audience. That information should then guide everything about your blog, from its design to the content you post there.

Stay true to the reader persona you’ve created, and solve their problem(s) in every blog post – Eric Peters from HubSpot emphasized that you should think about your target audience every time you’re writing an article.

9. Build your audience beforehand

Digital strategist and entrepreneur Ross Simmonds told that the most important thing to do before launching a blog is ensuring that you have an audience to actually launch to.

He’s onto something here.

“Abraham Lincoln once said: ‘Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.’ The same idea holds true when it comes to planning a successful launch for your blog. Spend time building a mailing list, building relationships with people who will share your first post on social media, businesses who will share with their teams and any other opportunities to give your blog launch more life.”

– Ross Simmonds

Marketing consultant Peter Trapasso also suggests that you start building up your social presence once you have secured your domain name. Build up your followers on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn first, then launch your blog and begin posting regularly.

At this point before the launch, you don’t necessarily need to have thousands of fan emails.

All you need is to find your 1,000 true fans – people who will become your loyal readers and help to spread the word.

starting a blog

Find your 1,000 true fans – Image source

“Making connections is, by far, the most important lesson I learned since when I started blogging in 2010. Whether you are launching a new blog or promoting an existing one, building relationships with bloggers of your niche ensures new visitors and knowledge exchange.”

Erik Emanuelli, social media marketer

Another way to build up your blog’s audience is to become part of an online community.

This idea is the curtesy of Joanna Wiebe from Copy Hackers:

“Invest some real time in becoming part of the community you’ll want to read your blog. By “real time” I mean more than 6 months of regular engagement with that community – to the point where people in it recognize your name. And don’t rely on upvoting / liking their content alone. You need to dig into the community. Ask questions, comment in discussions, share interesting content that’s not yours, post about the community on social media — contribute as much and as well as someone who’s paid to.“

– Joanna Wiebe

There are online communities focused on all possible topics. For example, GrowthHackers brings together digital marketers all over the world.

Become part of online communities

Become part of online communities

Building up a blog audience before the big launch is not an easy task. However, you will find it a lot easier to distribute your content later.

Tip: You can also use the communities for distributing your blog content in later stages.

10. Set up branded social media pages

If you’ve ever launched a blog, you’ll know how much effort it takes to keep things running and to publish content regularly.

The new blog is going to demand a lot of your time.

That’s why, it’s a good idea to create your blog’s social media accounts before the launch.

Here’s Mike Schiemer from Bootstrap Business:

“In my opinion, the most important thing to do in the early stages of a blog launch is to grow your social media accounts. Initially, your blog will not be getting much or any organic traffic because you don’t have a subscriber list yet, SEO takes time, and PPC campaigns can be very expensive. Social media provides free or affordable platforms to share your new or upcoming content and amplify your reach.”

– Mike Schiemer

Strive to increase followers and engagement on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest, and even Google+ pages so you’ll have a sizeable audience.

You’re going to need every platform and follower to maximize the reach of your blog posts and gain shares. The increased website traffic from social media will help your blog significantly in the short and long term, Schiemer added.

Tip: If you already have branded social media accounts, there’s no need to create new ones for your blog.

You can also use your personal brand and tie it to your blog. For example, Joanna Wiebe has tied her Twitter account to her brand Copy Hackers.

launching a blog

That’s an interesting idea for single entrepreneurs

Look at your social media accounts as a platform for building new connections and creating brand awareness.

One last thing… Do your best to publish on social media accounts on a consistent basis!

Part 2: The technical aspects of your blog

The second part of this article is dedicated to probably the most overlooked aspect of starting a new blog.

If you’ve never set up a website before, you’ll be surprised by how much technical aspects matter – your choice of website hosting will have a long-lasting effect on your blog’s maintenance costs, loading speed, and SEO results.

After all, you don’t want your blog to be crashing under a heavy traffic load once an article goes viral…

building a new blog

Ensure your blog won’t fail technically – Image source

So here are the most important technical details to consider.

11. Select a good hosting provider

Whenever you want to launch a new website with a unique domain name (e.g. a blog without the .wordpress ending), you’ll need to host it in servers.

Luckily, there are many hosting providers out there that also help you with buying the domain name you want.

SEO expert Lukasz Zelezny suggests the following:

“I bet You are launching Your blog on WordPress. Use server-side version. Then consider a good hosting provider. I am always using SiteGround. WP Engine seems to be good too.”
– Lukasz Zelezny

There are 10+ good hosting providers out there, the most popular ones (and easiest) to use being Hostgator and Bluehost.

Using a hosting service with shared servers often means that when someone loads your blog article, the servers take a long time to respond, and your page loading speed will be low.

Here’s an example of an article page speed load report by Google – their website is not well-optimized for high page loading speed.

high server response time

High server response time will kill your page loading speed

We used to have the same problem with Aggregate blog.

The articles took too much time to load, and it was damaging the SEO results.

That’s why, we decided to move the blog over to Google Cloud Platform that’s a bit more expensive, but provides high server response times.

According to Google, there are still many things that could be improved. However, we already have 90/100 points on Desktop and 68/100 points on Mobile.

blog page loading speed

We’ve still got a lot to improve

12. Upgrade your blog from HTTP to HTTPS

SSL is not a choice, is a must. – Lukasz Zelezny

According to an article in the Moz blog, 50% of page 1 Google results in a 10,000-keyword tracking study set were secure (HTTPS).

 

SSl in blog

Move your blog to HTTPS Image source

If your website does not have an SSL certificate, its links will use http:// instead of https://.

Often, websites without the SSL certificate are marked unsafe by web browsers, and people will see the copy “Your connection is not private” when trying to load your website.

how to start a blog

You better avoid this happening

You can get an SSL certificate for free. Here’s a guide explaining how.

13. Work on your page loading speed

Your blog pages’ loading speed is an important factor that Google evaluates when deciding whether to show your blog in the search engine results.

No matter how much better your article is compared to your competition – if it takes 5+ seconds to load it, people will just get tired of waiting.

You can use page speed tracking tools to uncover how your new blog performs.

“This includes speed tests (you can use Pingdom and Google page speed insights), SEO friendliness (there are plenty of onsite SEO tools such as Screaming Frog SEO Spider), Schema testing (google schema tests), Tracking & Analytics (Use Ghostery browser plugin to make sure your code is setup and tracking correctly), Email opt-in functionality and most importantly Security. Only after you are satisfied with the results should you launch your blog and start receiving traffic. “

– Zaid from PPC Masterminds

Use Pingdom to see how much it takes for your blog pages to load.

Check your page loading speed with Pingdom

Check your page loading speed with Pingdom

Tip: Check the loading speed of specific blog pages, not the home page of your blog.

After all, it’s the specific articles you want ranking on Google.

As you enter your landing page and hit the “Start Test” button, you will get tons of recommendations for improving your blog.

speed test results

Looks like there’s still room for improvement…

What is a good page loading speed?

According to Google’s 2017 research, the average time it takes to fully load a mobile landing page is 22 seconds. Yet 53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load.

google page loading speed insights

How page loading speed affects the bounce rate – Image source

Here’s some more stellar advice from Lukasz Zelezny on how to improve your page loading speed:

  1. Make sure you are using caching (especially that SiteGround provide 4 level caches).
  2. Make sure you minify javascript and CSS.
  3. Make sure you are not using too many external scripts.
  4. And if you have a bit of money to spend, make sure you are utilizing CDN (like Cloudflare for example.

14. Place your blog on your main domain

Raul Tiru from GlobalOwls emphasized another critical factor of your new blog’s SEO success: Research has shown that placing your blog on your main domain rather than on a sub domain helps improve SEO.

Start a blog as following: yourdomain/blog instead of blog.yourdomain. Here is a video by Moz explaining this.

Do this right from the start, save yourself time later, improve your domain authority and SEO.

15. Use the optimal number of plugins

Plugins are the add-ons that you can use to improve your WordPress site.

For example, there are plugins that help improve your SEO results, collect emails, and much much more.

Popular WordPress plugins

Popular WordPress plugins

An article in the WPBeginner blog suggests 24 plugins that are a must-have. That’s slightly misleading. I rather agree with Lukasz Zelezny who said that:

“Make sure you will not install million plugins – if you do, you will kill website performance and you will not be able to rank as high as you would with a well-pptimized website.”

– Lukasz Zelezny

Having too many plugins (24, for example) on your blog will slow down your blog’s loading speed.

However, there are some great plugins that you should install.

16. Get some technical and SEO plugins

Nirav Dave from Capsicum Mediaworks suggests the following:

“If your website is powered by WordPress, then the next step would include installing useful plugins like Yoast SEO (the best on-page SEO plugin), Wordfence Security plugin, W3 Total Cache (to speed up your WordPress website), BackUpWordPress (to backup your entire site and database), Contact Form 7 (to create customise contact forms), Akismet ( to prevent spam), Thrive Leads (best email opt-in plugin) and WP Smushit (to optimize your site’s images).”

– Nirav Dave

Here’s the list broken down:

  1. Yoast SEO
  2. Wordfence Security plugin
  3. W3 Total Cache
  4. BackUpWordPress
  5. Contact Form 7
  6. Akismet
  7. Thrive Leads
  8. WP Smushit

Equipped with all these plugins, your blog’s both protected, optimized, and working as a lead platform.

17. Make your blog design mobile friendly

Be sure your website and blog are designed to be mobile responsive. – Keri Jaehnig, Idea Girl Media

A recent article I read in the Moz blog was discussing Google’s new feature of mobile-first indexing.

Mobile-first indexing means that the mobile version of your website becomes the starting point for what Google includes in their index, and the baseline for how they determine your website’s rankings.

You can submit your blog to Google and say you’d prefer them to apply the mobile-first indexing on your website. Here’s the main difference with desktop-first indexing:

How mobile-first indexing works

How the mobile-first indexing works – Image source

Is your blog doomed to fail without the mobile-first indexing?

No, not really. Or rather, not yet.

According to Google’s latest article on the topic, if your website is responsive or otherwise identical in its desktop and mobile versions, you’re all good.

What you should do is ensure all your images and content is also loading on mobile, and that your blog’s theme is mobile responsive.

18. Select a good WordPress theme

Before starting Aggregate blog, I spent more than a day looking for a good WordPress theme. It paid off big time – I’m still happy with the selection I made.

You can browse for WordPress themes on sites like Themeforest.

looking for the right blog theme

Take your time when looking for the right blog theme

Here’s how it works: You buy a premium WordPress theme and can then install it to your website. Here’s an installation guide, in case you need it.

What to look for in a WordPress theme:

  1. High customizability – can you easily achieve the blog look you want?
  2. High page loading speed – read reviews rather than trusting the “Speed Optimized” slogan on a theme’s promotional page.
  3. Good UX is it pleasant for people to browse your blog and read the articles?

Alright… You’ve now set up your blog’s domain and WordPress page, meanwhile making sure it has a swift loading speed and will rock in SEO.

It’s time to launch your new blog.

Part 3: Launching your new blog

19. Launch with a big bang

According to Peter Banerjea, Co-Founder at SuccessIsWhat.com, the most important thing to do before a blog launch is to ensure that you get tons of traffic on the day of launch.

Here are a couple of tactics Peter suggests:

  1. Build an email list before you launch a blog. One way of doing that is to do lots of guest posts and have a link to a lead magnet in your bio.
  2. Build partnerships with other bloggers and podcasters. Ask them to drive traffic to a launch page or a lead magnet before you launch.
  3. Write an incredibly compelling article as the first post on your blog. Then, ask influencers in your niche to contribute quotes, data or any other type of input for the post. Then, when you launch, ask them to share it. That’s sure to drive tons of traffic to your post. Make sure you reach out to several more influencers after you launch and ask them to share your article too.
  4. Never try to launch a blog on your own. The only way you will have a successful launch is if you have the support of influencers.
how to launch a blog

Make your blog’s launch count – Image source

Tip: As you’ve put tons of effort into setting up your new blog, it’s worth taking the extra step and creating a blog launch plan.

20. Get help in promoting your blog

Unless you’re already an influencer in a given field, you probably won’t have thousands of social media fans to share your blog with.

However, there are other influencers who could help you out.

Check out what three marketing experts suggest:

“Once you have the plan in place and started producing your blog content you need to spend the time to build relationships with people in your niche on Social Media. This will help you tremendously with collaboration opportunities, traffic, building credibility and getting your blog content out to a wider audience. Launch your new blog with influencer partnerships, roundup posts or a long-form piece case study on research you did that offer massive value to readers.”

– Adel de Meyer

“Create a launch event where you are collaborating with others that will be enthused about your content and mission. Do livestreams, hold a contest, collaborate with guest authors that can share your content. Launch with meaning! Also be sure your blog is listed in GOOD blog directories so you can attract a relevant readership. {There is a list of things I recommend, but the answer above answers this specific question with quick important things people can do easily}.”

– Keri Jaehnig

how to start a blog

Tip: Tag other influencers in your social posts

“One great way to increase traffic is by quoting industry experts, influencers, fellow bloggers, or thought leaders within your post. Then, when you share the blog post on social, be sure to tag the individual(s) quoted in the article in hopes that they will retweet or share the post on their channel further bringing more brand awareness & traffic to your blog! Taking this tactic one step further, ask the person you quoted if they would do a FB Live or Instagram Live with you to discuss the topic of the article. This way you are creating more content for your audience while driving more awareness to your blog post. “

Chelsea Krost

21. Don’t launch an empty blog

Sarah Dudley from Marketing Macros pointed out another interesting idea: do not launch a blog that only includes a single article.

“When launching a new blog, have enough content available to entice people to subscribe during the launch period. If you only have one post that goes live the day of your launch, it’s harder to gauge whether that content will be of interest to me than if you have 10 blogs available. Then I get a true sense of the voice of this person or brand and whether I want to see more of what they do in the future. Similarly, have those CTA’s built into your blogs. Having great content isn’t enough if you don’t give people the next step to take, whether it is subscribing, signing up for a service, or downloading a piece of content.”

– Sarah Dudley

If your goal is to get your blog visitors to return later, it’s important they grasp what your blog’s about.

It is difficult to evaluate a blog’s quality based on a single blog post.

Moreover, your blog will look sad and empty with a single article in it.

starting a new blog

You do not want this to be your blog – Image source

I would suggest that you write at least three articles before focusing on the BIG LAUNCH. And although these articles may not get that much of a stage light, still make sure they’re top-notch stuff.

22. Start with cornerstone articles

Jason Acidre from Kaiserthesage suggests that you thoroughly plan and build the first set of cornerstone content assets (4-5 comprehensive guides/tutorials/lists).

According to Acidre, your cornerstone articles should:

  1. Be evergreen, so that you can run promotion campaigns for the content (through outreach or paid social) in a stretch of 3-6 months. Mainly to lessen the pressure of having the need to consistently create/publish new content on the site.
  2. Focus on topic areas that have substantial search volume (and be able to cover both top and middle of the funnel audience).
  3. Be linkable and shareable in nature (to attract and earn the right links over time, for them to eventually rank better on search results). And to also ensure that there’s a ton of link opportunities for the topics we’ll be creating content around on.
  4. Make an impact on the site/blog’s business objectives. Content assets that should help demonstrate expertise, in order to convert more visitors.

Digital Marketing Strategist (Director of Marketing @solufy) Jacob Varghese suggests that you think about three different types of content:

  1. Broader Niche Topics: These are topics on the blog that would tackle the broader interests within your target niche. e.g.: Say you are a personal trainer for executive women over 40, writing about time management (for exercising) for women, benefits of meditation, could be potential broader niche topics.
  2. Niche Topics: These topics would be closer to your target audience. Like ‘health and wellness for women over 40’ ‘connection between good leadership and good health’ ‘exercise tips for women’.
  3. Target Niche Topics: These would one-to-one conversations with those who are your clients.e.g.: Specific exercises for women over 40.

Although the ‘Target Nice Topics’ could form the bulk of your posts, the other topic clusters will lay strong foundations for longer-term brand vitality and other benefits like more room for creative expression and well-rounded thought leadership in your niche.

“Ensure that these topics resonate with most of your reader/buyer personas. Use a spreadsheet if you want to keep track of which persona/s and topic cluster each topic is being written for.

Before/during/after your blog launch you also want to use connect (digitally and otherwise) with other influencers and audiences for those topic clusters so you can share, exchange, and amplify each other’s valuable content for mutual benefit.”

– Jacob Varghese

23. Use the skyscraper technique

Johnathan Dane, CEO at KlientBoost suggests that you use the Skyscraper Technique when writing blog articles.

According to a blog article in Backlinko’s blog, following this technique can significantly boost your organic traffic and also the number of backlinks you’ll get.

The Skyscraper Technique

The Skyscraper Technique effect – Image source

Broken down to 3 steps, here’s how thie Skyscraper Technique works:

  • Step 1: Find link-worthy content
  • Step 2: Make something even better
  • Step 3: Reach out to the right people

24. Write “the best damn blog post”

If you truly want people to give you their time and read your blog, write what Joanna Wiebe calls “the best damn blog posts.”

“Once you’ve given to that community (and gathered a bunch of karma points along the way), publish the best damn blog post you’ve ever written. It doesn’t have to be long; it has to be incredible. And it has to be the first of several planned amazing posts that you’ll publish regularly over the next X days/weeks/months. As in, have a long-term plan – there’s no such thing as one and done.”

– Joanna Wiebe

Write articles people want to read

Write articles people want to read – Image source

What makes a good blog post?

  1. It has to be original
  2. Don’t just merely copy other blogs
  3. It has to cover the subject in-depth
  4. Usually, best articles are 2,000+ words long
  5. You have to prove your claims with stats and studies
  6. You have to have an engaging writing style
  7. You need awesome images and illustrations
  8. Make sure your article sparks emotions
  9. Make your blog article actionable

25. Work hard on your headlines

There’s arguably no other element to your blog article as important to its success than the headline.

A good headline will make people click on your social media posts and makes them curious about your article.

However, a good headline is hard to come by.

write good headlines

Brainstorming headlines takes time

Chuck Bankoff from Kreative Webworks explains: People don’t read on the Internet, they scan. They see images and headlines. No mater how good your blog article is, you need to get their attention first.

“Traffic breeds traffic, and nothing jumpstarts traffic to a new blog like an intriguing headline. As David Ogilvy, the father of advertising said, “You have to crap out 25 headlines for every piece of content.
Your headline should be either clever, shocking or interesting. It should be focused, relevant and address your target audiences’ pain.
Tip: Start with a working headline to name your piece, but don’t commit until after the entire blog has been written. You will be amazed at how often the headline writes itself based on the content you just wrote. Try scanning your article for a stand-out sentence, and use that for the basis of your headline.”

– Chuck Bankoff

Research by Conductor showed that people prefer headlines that contain numbers.

People like numbers in the headline

People like numbers in the headline

Read more: Backed by Data: How to Write Extraordinarily Good Headlines

26. Create a blog promotion plan

“Spend substantial time creating content for your blog — and even more promoting it. There’s absolutely no point in producing material, if nobody is ever going to see it.”

– Sam Hurley, OPTIM-EYEZ

Dan Knowlton from KPS Digital Marketing suggests that 20% of your time should be creating blogs, 80% of your time should be promoting them.

Think about it… You spend around 8-12 hours on writing a great blog article. If you put no effort in promoting it, this time if half wasted.

“Video is one of the best ways to promote your blogs as social media algorithms don’t penalise videos as much as links. Here is an example of how we’ve been creative with video to promote one of our blogs. “

– Dan Knowlton

Here’s another marketing expert weighing in:

“The most important thing you need to do for your launch is to promote it. Do this before, during and after. My secret weapon is SocialJukebox. It’s a great tool for evergreen content on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. It saves me so much time and allows me to “work smarter not harder.”

– Madalyn Sklar

And another…

“Also, think about how it is you’re going to get eyeballs to that content. Just because you hit “publish” doesn’t mean anyone is going to find or read your blog content.

Do you have a robust presence in the social media space? Do you do regular email marketing/send email newsletters? Have you factored in the value of paid social as a way of getting traction for your content? Does your sales team understand the value of sharing well-written, informative blog content? Do they know how to do that? Bottom line: For success with a corporate blog, start with a strategy. Develop the right kind of content, and figure out how you’ll get that content in front of people as part of that strategic plan.”

Shelly Kramer

The key takeaway from what all three marketers are saying is that you need to spend a lot of time on promoting your article. Otherwise, nobody will find it.

27. Create a content promotion checklist

If you want to consistently succeed in promoting your blog, create a list of best practices that work for you.

Start a content promotion checklist and keep to it with near-religious devotion.

“The most important thing I do before I launch a blog post is creating a content promotion checklist. In a spreadsheet I list all the places I’m going to promote the blog post and the specific tactics I’m going to execute to drive traffic and shares. I also list my estimation of how much traffic each promotional activity will drive. By check-listing every single thing I’m going to do for promotion I can be ready to promote the content effectively.“

– Daniel Wallock

Johnathan Dane suggests that you promote your blog articles via upvoting communities, social channels, and other formats so you get your vanity social proof up.

Also, you can both share and promote your blog articles on Facebook.

promote your blog on Facebook

Use the “Boost” button to promote your blog on Facebook

Tip: Before you promote your blog article to a wide audience of people (based on their interests and location), promote it to your fans and customers.

28. Engage your blog readers to comment

As you’re starting a new blog, you’re likely interested in engaging with your audience.

One of the best ways to do it is in your blog’s comments section.

Tip: Get the Disqus WordPress plugin to have a good-looking commenting platform in the end of each article.

Disqus is the most widely-used commenting platform

Disqus is the most widely-used commenting platform

Chelsea Krost suggests that in order to engage a higher number of readers, always think about that strategic Call To Action to include and the bottom of each blog to kick start engagement in the comments section.

“Make sure to always check the comments section to gain inspiration from what people like or questions asked to determine what topics to cover next.”
– Chelsea Krost

End your blog articles by asking for feedback

End your blog articles by asking for feedback

Part 4: Growing your new blog

29. Be consistent in publishing and promotion

After a successful new blog launch, you definitely deserve some praise and a few days of rest.

happy gif

You feel like you’re on top of the world – Image source

However, the initial success can easily pass if you leave your blog unattended for the upcoming weeks.

Here’s some solid advice from three marketing experts:

“Once you get traction, keep your content consistent, maintain your website to be fast, modern and a delightful experience for your visitor.”

– Adel de Meyer

“Publish at least twice/week.”

– Johnathan Dane

“Focus more on maintenance than launch. People put so much energy into the launch, but forget to create a system that keeps them accountable for continuing to publish new content. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Phil Pallen

Moreover, you should give your best to keep sharing your blog articles on social media for maximized visibility.

30. Set up an editorial calendar

An easy way to keep yourself on track with consistent content creation is to set up an editorial calendar.

“Plan an editorial calendar that focuses on your best work that speaks to those three factors so you attract the right readers for your content.”

– Keri Jaehnig

Nothing fancy is needed. For example, I like to keep a Google Doc. with all my blog article ideas. Truth be told, it’s still difficult to keep writing on a consistent basis.

31. Experiment with different content formats

Nirav Dave suggests that you take use of different content formats like infographics, case studies, expert roundups, videos, etc. as this will help enhance engagement with your audience as well as help increase your site’s ranking on SERPs.

Different content formats will help your blog get visibility in a wide range of distribution channels.

For example, infographics can do really well on Pinterest.

use infographics in blog

Infographics make your brand visible on Pinterest

Tip: No matter what type of content you publish, make sure it’s SEO-optimized.

If you’re publishing an infographic in your blog, write an intro, so that Google’s algorithms will get more information about the illustration’s content.

32. Build a list of your blog readers

Many people come to your blog only once. Then, they forget about you.

If you want to keep people engaged in the long term and keep notifying them of your latest blog articles, start building an email marketing list.

“Add an opt-in overlay (with an opt-in *and* opt-out button on it) to your blog. Make your opt-in magnet something you KNOW is compelling to the community you’re a part of.”

– Joanna Wiebe

Here’s a great example by Jeff Bullas:

starting a new blog

Create an opt-in form that’s catchy

In Aggregate blog, we created an e-book with more than 200 Facebook ad examples that we use as a lead magnet. This far, we’ve got already more than 2,500 downloads.

33. Build and engage your community

Joanna Wiebe suggests that you sometimes ask your community for help.

“Share your blog post with the community, driving them to your blog. And if it’s not stretching the rules of that community, give them a link to one of your tweets about the post so they can retweet it.”

– Joanna Wiebe

However, don’t go overboard with this tactic and only try it on people who really know you and your blog.

34. Repurpose and redistribute your blog content

After you’ve run your blog for a while, there will be a substantial amount of content that you can start to repurpose.

“Content distribution never ends. This is a mistake I frequently encounter. Repurpose and redeploy across multiple channels/platforms!”

– Sam Hurley

For example, you could create an infographic out a listicle post. Or make a 2017 guide into an updated 2018 guide.

35. Do guest blogging to get backlinks

If you want your website/blog to rank higher in Google search results, go guest post for other sites and link back to your site and articles in their posts. – Johnathan Dane

However, as I wrote in a recent article on guest blogging, it’s often not worth your time.

Tim Soulo, Head of Marketing at Ahrefs, conducted an extensive analysis of 273 guest posts and their ROI.

In terms of referral traffic, guest posting is almost as good as doing nothing.

traffic from guest blogging

Guest blogging won’t bring you traffic – Image source

If you’re just starting a blog, focus on creating better-than-life articles for your own blog and build up your fan base.

Then, if you truly have time aside from keeping your own blog filled with new content, think about blogging for others.

36. Don’t expect overnight success

As a final note, I would like to emphasize that your blog won’t get famous overnight.

Even if you write the best articles in the entire universe, it takes time for people to find out about your blog and learn to love it.

“First and foremost, have realistic expectations when you start or plan to start your own blog. Getting traction and building an audience takes time, so don’t beat yourself up about not achieving overnight success.”

– Adel de Meyer

Here are a few key learnings I took away from the first year of growing Aggregate blog:

  1. Some of the posts you think are AWESOME won’t get much traffic.
  2. It’s partly due to chance that some posts go viral.
  3. Consistency really is the key when it comes to growing.
  4. The quickest way to grow your blog traffic is via smart SEO.
  5. It really is important to outreach and engage with other influencers.

Look at growing your blog as evolution – it’s not perfect from the beginning, but it will keep improving with time.

ice age gif

Your blog will grow gradually – Image source

Alright, folks… This article’s gotten way too long already. I hope you’re at least a bit more inspired to get started with a blog.

Also, BIG KUDOS to all the marketing experts for being part of this article.

If you’ve got any additional must-know tactics for starting a blog, let us know in the comments!