Preparing for a blog launch can feel very exciting…at first. But then as you prepare more and more for your blog’s launch, everything feels stressful. And overwhelming. After all, you want your blog launch to be perfect. But there is so much to freaking do.
Reroute Lifestyle has been something I talked about for months. It started out as an idea, and it was fun to talk about the idea. But at some point, you gotta just buckle down and turn your ideas into action.
So it’s exciting, right: you have an amazing idea. Yet, once you finally start building your blog, things feel overwhelming. Especially since bloggers are notorious for striving for perfection. And seriously, I strove for perfection. I wanted to choose the right theme, write the right articles, and portray the right message. But, who doesn’t?
Since you might be wondering if you checked off all the boxes in preparation for your blog launch, I prepared this guide on 11 things you need to do to ensure a seamless and successful blog launch.
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1. Decide on a niche or target your audience.
First and foremost, decide on a niche or target your audience.
- Who will you be writing to?
- What problems do they have?
- What problems will your blog solve?
For Reroute Lifestyle, I knew I wanted to write to aspiring, goal-getting digital entrepreneurs who wanted to stop putting all their hard work into building someone else’s dreams, start a profitable blog, say goodbye to their 9-5 (although, isn’t it like 8-5 these days?) and be their own CEO.
I wanted to create a go-to resource for them and answer all the questions they may have had when it came to starting their own blog biz.
By narrowing down your audience, and honing in on their problems, you set yourself up for success. You can anticipate the questions your audience will ask or need to be answered. You will create a community of people who look up to your advice, and get excited every time you hit Publish!
So, before you do anything else, narrow down your ideal client. Who is she? Where does she like to shop? What problems does she have, and how can you solve it?
2. Set up social media and claim your domain name.
When you brainstorm your blog’s name, it feels like every name on the Internet is taken. So almost immediately after I finally agreed on a dot com that excited us, we claimed our domain name through Namecheap.
We decided on Namecheap because they offer domains at very reasonable prices. For reroutelifestyle.com, I paid $10.87 for one year. Click here to check out Namecheap’s domain prices.
Alternatively, you can get a free domain just by signing up for blog hosting with Bluehost. Start trying out a few different domains to see if the one you want is available!
And once I claimed the domain, I knew I needed to claim and set up social media accounts, too. After you claim all your social media names, you should also:
- Decide on a consistent profile photo for every account;
- Create a cover photo for Twitter and Facebook using Canva;
- Create covers for your Pinterest boards; and,
- Add a brief bio explaining what your site is about to all social media profiles.
So once you decide on a name, claim all your social media handles! That’s one less thing you have to worry about as you start planning.
3. Create a blog business plan.
You will set yourself up for success by creating a blog business plan. Setting up a plan with bigger, long-term goals helps you set achievable, short-term goals.
It helps for you to have an idea of where you want to be in one month’s time, six month’s time, and even a year’s time. If you know that you want to be independent and working from home full time in one year, you can set smaller goals that will help you achieve that.
So start by planning your blog. Think about your branding (colors, fonts, mission), your ideal audience, and an overall vision. When you have a vision, you can also think about your blog’s monetization plan. How do you plan to make money blogging? Will you start by identifying affiliate programs that your audience would absolutely love?
4. Build a social media following.
Yes, before your blog launch, you CAN build your social media following. This way, when you finally launch your blog, you have an audience to tell about the launch!
- Start tweeting and building an audience on Twitter.
- Find like-minded people who would be interested in your content to follow on Twitter and Instagram.
- Create niche-specific Pinterest boards and start populating them to generate followers.
This takes time and effort, so put in as much work building a following as you deem necessary. I did not devote very much time to this leading up to our launch and instead focused on creating tons of epic evergreen content we would be able to promote year-round.
5. Start building your mailing list.
It’s important to start building a targeted mailing list as soon as possible.
- Your mailing list will be a group of people who look forward to receiving emails from you.
- Sending out email newsletters will be one of the best ways to build an online relationship with your readers.
- You can directly ask your subscribers for their feedback in the future, and thus create content they want to see.
- When you launch a product, you will have a targeted list of people to send news your product immediately.
Seriously, don’t wait to build your mailing list. Even if you don’t have anything to offer at first, you might still draw in people who love your content enough to give you access to their inbox.
But this is also why it’s important to have your blog business plan. Do you hope to launch products in the future? What are you going to launch? Who is that product going to be for? Then, design a freebie for that type of person!! This way, you’ll build a targeted mailing list of people who would love to buy your product.
When you are just starting out, Mailerlite is the best email marketing tool. For one, it’s free for your first 1,000 subscribers. And secondly, as a free user, you still get all access to their features including creating landing pages, and automation.
Seriously, you can’t beat that. So use this link to sign up for Mailerlite for free!
Related Reading: How to Use Mailerlite to Set Up Your Mailing List
6. Create an editorial calendar.
Next, you can start planning your content. Creating an editorial calendar ensures you will have topics to write about as time goes on. The editorial calendar also helps you stay on track and organized.
Plus, it’s good to think of your blog and its posts as a spiderweb. Each post is connected in some way. And it’s easier to see how each post can connect with one another by planning ahead with an editorial calendar.
Eventually, you may also want to batch blog tasks such as writing posts. So, if you have content planned for say weeks or months to come, you can sit down with a few strong cups of coffee and get writing.
7. Set up your blog’s hosting.
Once you have a majority of your blog planned and ready, it’s finally time to set up hosting for your blog!
If you bought a domain through Namecheap, and plan to purchase hosting separately, you will need to do an additional setup. The process takes 5-15 minutes of your time, and the servers take 24-72 hours to sync.
Siteground walked us through the process of adding the external domain to our cPanel and changing the Name Servers with Namecheap. Their prompt customer service was crucial, as we are not that savvy when it comes to those technical things.
You can buy domain hosting at less than $4/month. So if you’re #coffeeaddicts like us, just say no to the café Americano for one day.
For a detailed guide on how to set up your self-hosted WordPress blog at $3.95/month, click here.
8. Select a theme.
After WordPress is set up on your blog, you can finally start customizing it!
There are a few places you can search for your WordPress theme:
- We use the Divi framework by Elegant Themes, and love the customization it offers.
- Themeforest offers a huge selection of WordPress themes.
- Etsy also hosts shops that offer digital products like WordPress themes (my favorite shop for that purpose is Cityhousedesign)
9. Set up your blog!
After you get your theme installed and customized, you still need to do a little tweaking to prepare your blog for blog launch day.
- Upload a logo and Favicon.
- Set up Google Analytics.
- Create blog categories, and link them in your navigation bar.
- Write a super captivating About page.
- Add widgets to your sidebar.
10. Prepare posts for publication.
Of course, you also have to prepare posts for publication. I like to brainstorm blog post topics by listing the problems I could solve for my audience. Then I get writing.
In addition to writing, you also need to format the posts, choose or take photos, and of course create Pinterest images.
For our blog launch, we decided on publishing one goals post, a few beginner tutorials, and a couple more advanced topics. We wanted to appeal to both the beginner and seasoned blogger right off the bat.
11. Go the extra mile and build up hype for your blog launch!
As you prepare for blog launch, you can still get everyone hyped and excited! Once you decide on a blog launch date, post it on social media!
Here are some extra steps you can take:
- Design an opt-in for your ideal audience and make it available before your blog launch
- Post images on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram celebrating your launch
- Create a Pinterest image for your opt-in and start circulating it to generate subscribers
- Send emails to your mailing list to get feedback or start building your relationship with them
Putting in the work to prepare your blog for its launch can be defeating. You have to put in quite a few hours preparing your blog, setting up your social media, and of course writing posts.
But the outcome for starting a blog is totally worth the time and effort. In time, you’ll create a thriving community. And you can earn a sizable income from blogging, despite all the naysayers out there. If you still need to start your blog, click here to read our step-by-step tutorial.
- How to Start a Blog and Make Money Online
- Make Money Blogging: How This Blogger Made Her First $1,000 Blogging
- How to Use Mailerlite to Set Up Your Moneymaking Email List
Are you preparing for a blog launch? What are you blogging about?
And don’t be scared to dish your secrets: what special things are you doing for your blog launch?