Yes, a simple niche blog launch checklist for you, the new blogger or online business owner looking to build, brand and manage a successful traffic driving and converting niche blog and blogging lifestyle.
Here we will go over 15 of the most common questions many internet marketing and blogging experts get from new online entrepreneurs and business owners here who are looking to harness the power of a blog, and how it can indeed increase their bottom line.
So, with that, let’s look at these most popular questions and use them as a checklist to guide us through a successful launch of our new blog… (BTW, give me a great blog and that view above, and I am a happy man!)
And Just So You Know…
Blogging is not just about having a WordPress website and blog or any other content management system, as a matter of fact, you can blog on Facebook today if you choose to. But, before you do, I suggest we go over the basics of blogging first, just you and I.
Blogging is more than a content management system. It is also more than a professional website. A blog is the center of your brand, your business, and where most of your income potential can be converted online.
And when taking up building and income generating blog, or a personal or professional blog to compliment your online business, I believe, and so do many of my professional peers, that WordPress is the platform of choice. It is both professional and scalable for your blogging needs.
Here are some recent facts and statistics about blogging, and why it will always be an evergreen marketing platform for building an online business, and the income to go with it:
1. 6.7 million people blog on blogging sites and 12 million people blog via social networks.(Barnraisersllc)
2. 23 % of Internet time is spent on blogs and social networks. (Barnraisersllc)
3. Bloggers between the ages of 21 and 35 dominate blogging, totaling more than 53%.(Sysomos)
4. There are more than 80 known languages utilized in the blogosphere. (The Future Buzz)
5. Blogs can assist you with the effective promotion of a service or product.(Convertwithcontent)
6. More than 60% of U.S. online consumers say they’ve made a purchase as a direct result of reading a blogger’s recommendation. (Factbrowser)
7. Blogs are the most valuable type of content, according to more than ?rd of today’s marketers. (Content Plus )
8. B2B marketers who blog gain a 67% increase in lead generation over their peers that don’t. (Insideview)
9. Writing anywhere from 21 – 54 posts can significantly boost traffic to your blog by 30%.(Trafficgenerationcafe)
10. Websites with Blogs have 434% more indexed pages (helps search engines & SEO efforts) and 97 % more inbound links. (U.addresstwo)
11. Creating, optimizing, and promoting content is keys to filling the top of your sales and marketing funnel with more website traffic and leads. (U.addresstwo)
12.Blogs can speak for your brand. (Convertwithcontent)
13. Blog posts that were shared on Twitter and Facebook got 149% more inbound links than those not shared on social media at all. (U.addresstwo)
14. Blogs can give you credibility and authority. (Convertwithcontent)
15. According to 78% of chief marketing officers, custom content will be the champion of marketing tactics in the future. (HanleyWood)
16. Images in articles tend to boost the number of views by 94%. (Jeff Bullas)
17. Blogs are used by upwards of 30% of B2B companies that embrace social media.(Insideview)
18. Blogs are 63% more likely to influence purchase decisions than magazines. (Contentplus)
19. An updated blog is a sign of a business that cares about their community.(Convertwithcontent)
20. Blogging builds TRUST. (Convertwithcontent)
“Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.”
Facts and statistics are just that, facts and statistics. And these prove that your niche blog can create you the type of online income lifestyle you are dreaming about because it has for many of us here.
So, here are some of the basic blogging platforms and best practices, so that you know, and so that you have no excuses later…
The Blog Launch Checklist.
While this checklist is rather long, it is most important when it comes to building a truly successful niche blogging lifestyle. And just so you know, you can go here and get the FREE and in-depth video series built around helping you develop all this starting today!
By the way, I love blogging, and not just for business or the income it can generate either, actually, I find it fun and fulfilling too. I believe you will as well as you let this powerful platform for driving and converting traffic grow on you.
So, let’s look at the checklist together…
#1 What Content Management System Is Best?
WordPress is best. Stay away from Wix and Weebly. And unless it is a personal journal, Blogger will not be a real scalable blogging platform you’ll be happy with next year either.
It is not that those other platforms and content management systems are horrible, all I’m saying is that they are unreliable and are truly lackluster when it comes to their primary job of being and performing “content management”.
Sorry, but it is true. If you find yourself already using one of them, move it to WordPress before you type another word on that so-called website and blog!
#2 How Do I Pick A Blog Niche?
There is a lot of advice floating around online about niche blogging and just niche online businesses online in general. Most of it, to tell you the truth, is simply hogwash.
Here are the three specific rules I not only followed myself from my mentor and coach ten years ago but, the same simple rules that have helped me guide others into success with niche blogging.
And yes, these are seriously 3 questions you’ll want to think hard about or do your best due diligence on:
Will you be happy with this business and blog niche 1 year from now? How about 2 years from now?
- Is there enough search traffic to monetize and create a stable income with?
- Can I monetize the niche with more than just Amazon?
- Another question is; is it scalable?
Of course, I will not, and you should not either, answer that question here and now. However, it is something that can be pondered for just a few minutes for now.
The key to #1 is simple, dive into what you are truly interested in. I know, I believe you can make money with “popular” hot “niches,” but not today, and not as fast as the slick sales copy on the sales pages you have been perusing lately until you came here.
“Find your passion, now build on it.”
#2 is just as easy to figure out, all you need is one simple tool to tell if it is viable income generating niche, and that is Google Keyword Planner. This one simple platform can help you discover the amount of traffic you could expect monthly within your niche who are searching for answers within it.
Forget competition, just look at the volume of the many different keyword phrases and pairs of words that are searched out every month. This should give you a basic idea, and help you decide on whether it is a viable niche after all.
If it is, go for it!
#3 What Domain Name Should I Choose?
Before we get to the actual name, know this;
“domain extensions will change in importance one day, so the .coffee, .me, and the .books will be something we all find natural to type in or search for.”
What I mean is this, today’s .com may be a natural instinct for us to use when trying to pull a domain name from memory, but this will change soon enough, so be ahead of the curve. The .Coffee and others that match your niche, well, you might consider using one of those when starting your new niche blog business.
Here are some simple guidelines for choosing a great and brandable domain name:
- No more than 18 characters if possible
- Keep in memorable
- No dashes, dots, numbers, or symbols of any kind
- Try to get the HTTPS right out of the gate
- Domain extension should at least match niche, industry, or personalization
That was easy huh?
#4 What Hosting Company Do I Choose?
I like Hostgator, and if you are new here and are worried about shared hosting or private server, well, Hostgator has them both.
Not too mention, Hostgator also offers cloud-bassed hosting which does run a little faster than the traditional server-based hosting, shared or not.
Personally, depending on your blog and aspirations of your website over time, choosing a shared hosting service is fine for now, you can always upgrade later.
Personally, I like HostGator, and yes, there are similar and great hosting companies out there. However, it is not just the actual hosting that makes me a fan. Actually, it is the customer service.
#5 Premium Theme Vs. Free Theme.
Premium themes, that is the only choice for you to make. See, if you ever notice, and it is a little thing to find on your screen, but to the bottom of the PC screen when you go from one page to another you’ll notice links popping up. (the bottom left hand of your screen).
Sometimes, well, many times, theme developers like to sneak in links to their main website and blogs hoping for what SEO’s call “link juice.” I hate that phrase by the way!
These links can harm you.
Not too mention the fact that you are not truly able to take advantage of the theme itself. See, the developers have the basic theme, and then they have the upgrade premium theme, and you’ll get that advert in your dashboard from time to time.
So my suggestion is this; “You’re a professional blogger and business owning entrepreneur online, so you need to look like it too.”
Get a professional theme, either StudioPress or, Themeforest. (My affiliate links).
#6 WordPress Plugins.
WordPress plugins do one of three things, they either;
- help with the aesthetics (the look) of a website and blog
- or, they help with usability (UX)
- or, they help with optimizing the content (SEO)
Some of my favorite plugins are SEO By Yoast, WP-Optimize, and WP Smush for optimizing content. For usability or, UX as it is commonly called by developers and marketers, I love WooCommerce, Thrive Theme Landing Pages, and Thrive Theme Leads.
As for Look and feel is concerned, give me a theme that needs Visual Composer, and I am a pretty happy guy when it comes to creating awesome static pages! Also, I would include Social Warfare (affiliate link) as far as social media integration is concerned, I love it!
Either way, plugins are important, and sometimes, they can be a little fickle, and that is why you need professional help when installing them.
#7 The Social Connection, Which Ones Do You Need?
Social media is as important today as the content itself that you create within your blog, and that includes content you add to it like video, images, and so on.
When it comes to content distribution, making a video for a blog post is just part of the strategy, social media, and email marketing is by far the bigger players here.
Why do you need social media channels? Well, that is simple, distribution of content and driving traffic to it. But, does this mean the more, the merrier? No! It can have the opposite effect, you could be labeled a spammer by Google, and that is not good.
Social media marketing is not about being everywhere at once; it is about being where it matters. And it is about generating new readers and followers as much as it is about staying connected and engaging with current followers.
I suggest these 4 social media platforms you should start with, and by the way, never let go of YouTube…, here they are:
- Either Instagram or Pinterest (depends on your niche)
No, I did not mention SnaChat, but I could see using that in lieu of Instagram or Pinterest.
#8 The Sales Funnel & Software.
Building a list of subscribers is where 80% of your blogging efforts will pay off in real money, period. And while your content marketing will drive the traffic, no matter how good it is, your sales funnel will make or break you.
Some use systems like LeadPages, I use a combination of Aweber (we will discuss below), and Thrive Theme Plugin for WordPress.
Why? Well, it is a cheaper mix than the others. Most systems out here designed as lead conversion software try to cover both the email marketing and the page creator part of the service. This is why it can cost more.
Personally, I have a plugin that allows me to design the lead capture and sales pages I need, and Aweber is where I can handle the list of subscribers those awesome pages convert. Keep it simple here at first, as a beginner here, you don’t need everything you think everyone else has because they don’t either.
The other component is your free offer. The free offer or “freemium” as some would call it needs to be useful, helpful, or educational.
An email series, a video series, a free email series that includes video, ebooks, whitepapers, weekly or bi-weekly meetups. These are just a small handful of the platforms you can use to help convert your readers and followers via the landing pages and sales pages.
#9 Promoting Blog Before Launch.
The reason to have your social media be the next natural step of your new blog set up and launch is to “prime the pumps” if you will.
Your sales funnel is ready to go. You are wrapping up static pages and are about to start writing your first blog posts. During this time you should be posting out short memes, videos or audio, and all through your social media profiles and pages.
This is why your social media should be up and running right now! Here, next to your email marketing campaign(s), is the best of the content distribution channels to start generating interest.
Personally, I would be posting out content, short videos, a meme or two here and there on social media a couple times a week at least. Each one has a call to action for a subscription. As a matter of fact, you should have a pre-launch landing page ready to go with a simple follow up email.
YouTube is also a great channel to start promoting that soon-to-be-published blog. I believe that video is even more powerful than just social media alone. Here you can start personalizing your brand and truly connecting with people before launch.
As a matter of fact, this is how many a new business generates sales faster once launched, the know, like, and trust is already there.
As far as paid media is concerned, I think that is fine. However, I would not go broke using paid media before launch, sorry paid media gurus, I simply think it is a waste of time and effort to run ad campaigns at this point.
#10 How Many Blog Posts Do I Need To Launch?
I would like to think you’d have more than one ready to go. But, I’ve been wrong. I have seen people publish without even a single blog, and I believe that is a mistake, a big mistake.
Nothing looks more amateur from an online entrepreneur than launching anything out here with absolutely nothing to back it up other than a landing page. Personally, I like to see you have 3 published and 2 ready to go weekly.
Here is what I do:
- I have 2-3 blog posts ready and published when the blog is launched
- I have 2-3 blog posts scheduled for each week over the next 2-3 weeks
- Now I am always 2-3 weeks ahead of publishing content
A simple answer to a simple question that many actually fail to heed and that is why they have a weak start to their blogging efforts and business online today.
Simply put, it’s nice to have a little “meat” for people right out of the gate, it lets them know you are serious about your niche, and about how you want them to be able to rely on you for the information they seek about it.
#11 Which Email Service Is Best?
I love Aweber. I have linked to them, and they have linked back on my other blog. Why? Well, they loved the content and blog design, and I love their service and the customer service is impeccable.
There are many platforms out here, and some even offer FREE parts of their service, but remember this, anything free here is only going to slow you down.
No matter what email marketing platform you choose, however, just make sure they are a solid company with good history.
Okay, that was short! Ha!
#12 How Do You Grow Your Audience And Trust?
Okay, I will leave some of them to the FREE video series to cover (you can click here to get that by the way). But, let’s try going over just a few basics that have always worked wonderfully, and they are;
- Blog Consistently
- Share and Engage
- And, Follow-up
Blogging consistently is a must. Patience is part of the secret to success with blogging, but consistency is playing the long-haul game that truly builds the kind of audience that is easier to convert.
Creating a mixture of quality, evergreen blog and multimedia blog content, mixed with shorter content weekly, seems to please both people and search engines. SEO is part of the consistent marketing game here for getting ranked and staying ranked.
And, of course, being well ranked well on Google and YouTube means traffic to your blog, and traffic to your blog on a regular basis at that! Be consistent, and you will win.
“Sharing is caring,” so they say. Sharing your content is great, but sharing other people’s content and engaging with people is even better!
Be prepared to spend a little time each day on social media. No, I do not think at this stage of your new niche blogging career building stage you need a social media manager, but you will need to spend some time engaging here, not just sharing content and leaving.
Sharing and engaging helps to build credibility and even more visibility for you and your blog.
The follow-up does not just mean answering questions you may receive on social media pages or profiles, it also means sharing your content out via your email list, and answering questions that you will get back through that same email follow-up campaign(s).
Follow-up consists of at least one weekly email update. yes, people will be and could be currently subscribed to our free offer follow-up, but that should not stop you from blasting out your latest blog post this week today!
#13 How Do I Make Money With My Blog?
The “million dollar question” it is, pun intended!
From simple eCommerce pages that can be created and infused into your WordPress website and blog, to affiliate links, native advertising, membership programs, and plain ole’ ads clickable to affiliate products, you can monetize a blog six ways from Sunday today.
As a matter of fact, the most popular eCommerce stores online today have or started out with a blog.
Personally, I do believe the first month or two should not contain too much in the way of affiliate links and “buy me now” jargon, that just seems a little too much personally.
However, for those of you in special niches, or have your own products or services, you should have some monetization and calls to action for it available and present within your blog.
Making money with a blog is simple; create the kind of content that builds that know, like, and trust factor, and you will naturally generate subscribers who convert. Not all mind you, but some will and some can set you free financially to a lifestyle of blogging for a living.
There are no set rules for monetizing a blog, only best practices about how to go about creating calls to actions, linking, and advertising layouts.
#14 What About Other Multimedia Content?
I love video and imagery, as you can tell. Writing is important, and you need to make sure that it is written in a mobile and SEO friendly way. Software like Grammarly can really help those like me who have less than desirable grammar skills just so you know.
But, perfection is nothing to lose yourself in, remember, you are creating answers, information, and so on for people, not algorithms. Breaking up content into mobile-friendly formats is good for people, so yes, creating content with SEO in mind is creating content with people first in mind! Ha!
And people love more than words today, blogging is part art, part business, and the rest you, remember?
Podcasting, video, infographics, play-back webinars, live casting, it is all a go for your blog today. Leave no stone unturned when researching other types of multimedia content the people surrounding your industry prefer, it will only grow your visibility and popularity faster.
Don’t be afraid of multimedia content marketing, it is simple to do, and simple to implement within your new professional blog.
#15 Launch Your Blog And Never Stop.
It’s time to launch your blog.
Launching a blog with all the right content, with all the right build up, and with all the right calls to action as well as an awesome free offer means nothing if you quit two weeks later.
Once the launch is done, it is all about consistent blogging and engagement from here on out.
“If there is one thing you can know for sure about building a successful income generating blog and lifestyle to go with it is this; it takes patience and persistence.”
That is oh so true.
When it comes to some of the most profitable websites, businesses, and brands online for that matter, blogging consistently is what gives them that double and triple-digit traffic, and that brings in that 5-6 figure income each year, even every month for some.
But for now, I hope and pray you follow the lead above when it comes to this blog launch checklist, I know I am…, and it seems to be working wonderfully.
Do You Have A Second To Share?
What say you? Agree with me? Disagree? Drop me a comment below and let me know if you think in regards to this article, share it around if you agree and hope that this helps you! And thank you very much…