The first 7 days of blogging by way of Darren, represents a solid introduction when starting a new blog. I don’t agree with everything, it is missing some technical matters that I believe are vital, and it doesn’t address what you should do if you are moving an existing blog to a new domain. It is still a new blog, but some of the suggestions should still be applied, with the addition of a few more details.
1# Highly important for any blog is not to host your own subscriber list. Use a service like Feedburner thus if for any reason you need to move, or decide to merge your activities with another blog, you retain your readership. Feedburner can be easily integrated with WordPress using the Feedburner Plugin. Then setup your blog to ping Feedburner. They are the ones that have to have your ping, because they feed the content to your subscribers. With their Pingshot service, your feed will then go out to those that count. I have tested Pingomatic and Pingoat recently, and have noticed that if I only use them for pings, my Feedburner feed (with my important subscribers) doesn’t get updated reliably.
2# Blogs from birth should have a good permalink structure for SEO. All blogging platforms allow to a certain extent SEO friendly URLs. If you have a new blog, before you post anything, you should setup your permalink structure. In WordPress this is found under options/permalinks. In Blogger, URLs are automatically SEO friendly. If you are moving from Blogger to WordPress, you will probably need to use the following structure for your new wordpress permalinks.
Don’t worry too much about other SEO things immediately, but it is vital you have your permalinks correct from day
3# If you are moving blogs, import your content. I am using “Moving from Blogger to WordPress: Best Practices”to redirect from my old niche websites blogger blog. It is not quite working perfectly for me yet, I need to debug things. I also have a 301 redirect setup from Andybeard.name.
4# Have a content and linking strategy in place. Once Google has found your new domain, you have a short period of grace before you end up in the sandbox. Geting out of the sandbox takes a lot of work, so much better to not end up in it in the first place. Sure it is important from both an SEO and readership point of view to stay on topic, but more important is to get readers and backlinks. You can always refine your core topics at a later date, basaed on reader activity, comments, feedback, traffic and revenue. If talking about somethig brings in readers, new subscribers, and results in higher than average earnings, whilst you shouldn’t forget your initial intentions of topic, you will have to learn to mix your content to gain that all important foothold – i.e. staying out of the sandbox, and getting a few regular readers and contributors. Here is some good info on beating the sandbox.
Some Ideas For Links
- a) look for an upcoming lauch and latch onto it, being the first to make some comments or even the first to break the news.
- b) as news is breaking, update your initial post with links to other bloggers – great for trackbacks
- c) make lots of posts on forums in different places (make sure the posts are relavant) – in your forum sig, have a link
- d) publish a few articles with a service like Article Marketer (aff). I use them extensively, and am also one of their most pro-active affiliates. they are honestly the best way of syndicating articles. Who honestly would spend 1 hour pinging each of their blog posts. That is what many people do using software article submission programs. If it takes you more than 5 minutes to syndicate an article to hundreds of article directories, it is time to look at a better solution.
- e) if you have a mailing list, tell them about the new site to get some immediate traffic. (I don’t do much with mailing lists at this time, but I will in the future)
- f) linkbaiting
5# Don’t be a chicken. People hating you is a good thing, because even if 80% of people hate you, there is a good chance that 5-10% are going to love you. Those 5% actually can mean potentially a huge amount of subscribers, and even some of the people who hate you are going to subscribe. The worst thing possible is just to be liked. In many ways John Major was a better Prime Minister than Margaret Thatcher. Unfortunately, he was just too grey. When you are blogging you don’t have to have 50% popularity to win, you just need 5% (though of course more helps)
6# Have you noticed that bloggers are very anti-marketing? Avoid monetizing your blog with loads of adverts when it is new. You can slip an occasional affiliate link if it is highly relevant, but the aim is to get readers… subscribers… repeat visitors.
7# Don’t be consistant ! I totally disagree with Neil’s “Day 3” – I have noticed a tendancy for many Bloggers to post drivel and filler content. Posts just for the sake of posting. Just like email marketing, a reader is more likely to read your blog post if it contains something interesting, a different point of view. Sure you can have some quick link or asisde posts, but make sure your main posts actually mean something. With email marketing, there is a good chance that you will alienate your readers if you post too frequently. Imaging receiving 3 or 4 emails per day from someone. that is what many bloggers are subjecting their readers to in their RSS readers. It might be viable for the elite bloggers now, but it is not going to last forever. Much better one good post, than 4 posts of drivel.
8# Create buzz… give something away for free that is going to get mentions on high traffic, high PR sites that post about related things. WordPress plugins or themes are great for this.
9# Create anticipation… more about that later
10. Only do it if you have time. Don’t launch a new blog if you are just about to go on holiday, unless you have it highly automated, or have have lots of stuff outsourced. You are going to need to devote a few hours per day initially for any conventional blog to get it off to a good start.
Can come later…
Honestly, it doesn’t matter for the first few days or even weeks to have everything tweaked unless your site is going to have a huge amount of traffic from day one. I have seen so many blogs that launch without their permalinks set correctly, and they are now stuck with it. It takes just 2 minutes.
I have lots of things to tweak on this blog, and a huge amount of prior content that needs to be integrated correctly, especially in regards tagging for use with Ultimate Tag Warrior. I only need to re tag 2 or 3 posts per day, and my site will grow 10 or 20 pages!
I don’t need to write lots of new content to make the search engines think my site is growing. Improvements in cross-linking structure are just as important as adding to content (and the main reason I switched to WordPress for this blog).