So You Launched a New Blog – What Now?
Launched a new blog, and unsure of the next step? Look no further. A guide on how to grow, maintain and provide engaging content for your blog.
When it comes to creating something, often the hardest part is getting started. Forcing ourselves to brainstorm an idea, or even just put words on a page, can fill us with dread, and be a very daunting task. This is most definitely true if you’ve launched a new blog.
If you have just launched a new blog – be proud of yourself! You’ve chosen your platform, your visual themes, and your homepage looks like a work of art. Congratulations! The hard part is over.
…or is it?
Unfortunately, launching a new blog is just the beginning – it’s not a one-and-done deal. It’s more like a little garden patch that needs constant care and attention to flourish and grow.
If you have just launched a new blog, or you’re about to, this post is going to cover the items that will help you actually get it off the ground.
Before you put anything on the internet, you’re going to want a small handful of blog posts in your backlog – these will be your Phase 1 posts, the articles that will pad out your website.
It’s a good idea to write a few of these before your blog goes live. They’ll give you an idea of the writing pace you’ll be comfortable with going forward, how many posts you can expect to publish per month, and give you a chance at testing quality control.
So take the time to build some unique posts that will make you stand out, and put together a monthly plan for when you’re going to release them. We’ll discuss some tips for writing a good blog post later but for now, let’s go over a few ways you can make yourself more visible.
Find your audience
If you’ve just launched your blog, then there’s a good chance you already have a vision for what to write about, and of the kinds of people who are going to care about it. But a little bit of research can never hurt in this scenario.
Look into other websites exploring similar topics to yours – see what you can learn about their audience and what they do to attract them. Take note of the details: tone of voice, design aesthetic, popular trends…
Rather than copying your competitors, use them to find the digital watering holes that their audience – and hopefully, also your audience – enjoys spending time at.
Facebook pages and online forums cater to all kinds of niche interests. Once you’ve carved out your identity as a blogger in your chosen field, and you have a few posts under your belt, you can start sharing content.
To start out, you don’t necessarily have to push your own content immediately – this kind of eagerness often puts people off. Instead, share posts which interest you, comment regularly on popular community threads and simply post bitesize, free advice, or insight. Twitter is a great platform for this.
Image sourced from twitter.com/iammarkmanson
Mark Manson, author and life advice blogger frequently posts advice on YouTube’s community feeds, and links back to his blog on social media.
A blog can’t exist in a vacuum by itself – sometimes you need to poke your nose into the internet’s business before people will look your way. And many won’t care what you have to say until you do this next step.
Make some friends
So, now that you have some kind of presence in the relevant social media communities, expand your reach by making friends with established bloggers or influencers in your niche.
If you’ve followed the first step and you have a diverse and original set of blog posts at the ready, established bloggers will happily give you some exposure by linking to your blog. Your blog will be an easier sell if you have something of value to offer to their audience.
Sometimes this will come at a price – you may need to link to some of their blogs or products they are selling in return.
If the content you post about aligns with what they’re promoting, then this shouldn’t be a problem. Don’t link to a website for cloud contact center solutions if you run a sports blog, for example, as it might be a bit jarring to say the least.
Writing guest posts are also an extremely viable way to drive traffic to your blog, as they don’t only benefit the established blogger – who most likely has a high demand for posts to keep up with – but they also act as a sort of trailer for your blog.
If you’re liking and sharing relevant posts like we talked about earlier, then you’ll likely run into the people who are making waves online. Don’t hesitate to get in contact – if you look like a professional, they’ll treat you like one. And if you’re looking to turn your customers into affiliates and start your own affiliate program you can drive further traffic to your site.
Stand out with SEO
While having friends in high places and a solid presence in your community is a great way to draw attention, it will generally only attract readers who have a specific idea of what they’re looking for.
For those searching the internet with a more vague interest in mind, it helps to link your blog to some specific, common keywords that might pop up in a more general browser search. This is where SEO (search engine optimization) comes in. Just like formatting an excel spreadsheet or creating a digital signature in word, you don’t need to be a technological genius to get to grips with it.
When it comes to utilizing SEO for your blog, keywords are your secret weapon. The more of them you pack into your posts, the higher they will rank in search results.
That being said, you can’t just cram a bunch of keywords into a single paragraph and expect the clicks to flood in. You have to implement them organically and make sure they’re relevant to the topic you’ve chosen to write about.
Once again, this will come down to research into your competitors. You could always pay for a keyword search application like SEMrush, use a freebie like Keyword Surfer, or simply make a list of search terms yourself.
You can do this by searching topics related to what you’re writing about on Google and seeing what comes up. If you search ‘automated phone answering system for small business’, at the bottom of the search engine results page it will show you results directly related to that search that other users may have searched for.
Using these results, you can quickly decipher which key words and phrases rank at the top of the search pile – and use them in your blog.
Measure your results
If you’ve been following all the previous steps up to this point, then you should be making a pretty good impression in the blogging world by now.
In order to keep things going well, you need to know what you’re doing well – and that’s where analytics come in.
Want to know just how many people are visiting your blog? What about specific posts? Which ones are getting attention? Which ones are being shared? How do you even know where the click-throughs are being funneled from?
A truly successful blog maintains its success over time, but it’s near impossible to do that without effective study of analytics.
So. What do you need?
Whatever blogging platform you use, you likely have access to several analytics plugins that can help you track the progress of your posts.
WordPress, one of the most popular blogging platforms, has access to analytics solutions like HubSpot and MonsterInsights, which simplify the process of gathering data on audience engagement.
Let’s say you’re blogging about the benefits of having a virtual phone number. Any standard plugin would show you the number of people responding positively to this topic by measuring clicks, and eventual conversions and even comparing the success of that topic to your previous topics, with a simple graph display.
Whichever plugin you end up installing, you’ll begin to see a clear synergy between your SEO efforts and the unique topics you deliver to people, through a careful examination of your results.
But now that you’re fully equipped to attract and learn from your readers, how do you keep them coming back for more?
Enhance your writing
The best way to ensure repeat visits to your blog is simply to provide a reading experience that is entertaining, informative, and original.
In a time where we can see and hear almost anything we desire on YouTube, a blog has to be really special to stand out. So here are a few ways you can truly make your blog your own.
1. Find your voice
It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Though it may be hard to find an original topic in the blogging landscape, what you may not realize is that even the popular, “original” bloggers probably borrowed bits and pieces of their ideas from multiple different sources – and those sources probably did the same thing.
Originality, in that sense, is just alchemy, and the only ingredient that really matters is your distinct voice. But what do we mean by this?
Before moving to screenplays, the writer of the 2007 comedy film ‘Juno’, Diablo Cody, wrote a blog detailing her experiences working at a strip club. Her unique blend of wit and candor brought in a dedicated readership.
While you wouldn’t typically find a blog covering this kind of material, it was the way in which it was presented, with sharp sarcasm and humor, that made it so popular. Only a deep and specific perspective on the things that interest you can provide such a voice.
Image sourced from azquotes.com
2. Have opinions
You can have a voice without having opinions, but it won’t have much weight behind it. You could have all your facts straight and know how to present them in an entertaining way, but it won’t matter unless you take a stance.
That is, ultimately, what a blog is for. People read a blog to hear a certain point of view. Blog readers scour the internet for different takes on the most ancient and varied of subjects, from world politics to exotic fashion.
Now, that doesn’t mean you should manufacture arbitrary or controversial opinions on popular topics just to get clicks. That might eventually get you in some deep water. As a rule, you should only write about a subject if you have something new to add.
3. Edit out the waffle
Yes, it really is great to have opinions, but sometimes we can get carried away by the sound of our own authorial voice. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking every passing thought and feeling is gold.
If you’re blogging about the best virtual call center services, get straight to the meat of it. What will the services provide? Why might you need these services? How can you get them?
To be engaging you have to be brief and to-the-point. If you’re documenting your life, the reader is there to read about you. But even the most dedicated follower of your blog is going to mentally check out when you start rambling on about what you ate for lunch.
Unless you’re a food blogger. In which case by all means, write all about your lunch!
If you’ve just launched a new blog, understand, that as with all creative endeavors, a blog doesn’t become a hit overnight. These measures are things to be implemented gradually and observed as they grow and bear fruit.
With a solid foundation of first-phase content, a healthy social media presence and some experienced contacts to help you, you’ll be able to make the vital next step into a blogging career.
And with a robust SEO system, plus the analytics plugins necessary to track your growth, you’ll be able to maintain your career and make it stick long-term. Just don’t forget to voice your opinions in the way that only you can (and remember to trim the fat before you post).
Now you’re all set. Good luck!