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Mar 24, 2009

Tips for How to Launch a Successful Blog

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Launching a successful blog is easy… well, it’s NOT :). Thousands of new blogs are launched every day, but only a handful ever get read by more than a few hundred people, and even fewer ever make a dollar’s profit.
With no money coming in, and a readership which can be counted in the dozens, it’s no wonder that the vast majority of bloggers give up and shut down their site within a year.
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The First Impression
Connect with your readers through an about page and welcome message. One of the best ways to make a lasting impact is to connect on a personal level with your readers. That means letting them know who you are and what your background is. You don’t necessarily need an author pic to relate to your readers, but you should find some way to allow readers to connect with you on a personal as well as a professional level.
Never launch a blog with fewer than 5 posts. In the blogosphere you typically get just one shot at impressing a visitor or fellow blogger. Too many new bloggers throw up two posts and then start working on promotion. In the world of blogging, you are selling yourself and your writing.

RSS & Subscriptions
Make sure a link to your RSS feed is available above the fold. Though they won’t help your AdSense revenues much, subscribers are the lifeblood of any successful blog. These devotees are often the ones providing you with regular comments, and are far more likely to be webmasters themselves (meaning more links). It should be obvious to anyone launching a blog, but its amazing how many new bloggers do not make a link to their RSS feed readily available. New bloggers often don’t want to devote space on their site to an RSS feed when they could squeeze in a bit more AdSense. While this thinking is understandable, it is simply wrong. The returns of having subscribers are much more valuable because subscribers drive long-term traffic organically, while an additional AdSense block provides at best a marginal short-term gain.
Add subscribe links to the most popular newsreaders. Again: we want to make it easy for people to subscribe. No one reads RSS raw. Provide readers with above the fold access to some of the most popular newsreaders such as Bloglines, MyYahoo!, Google Reader, and MyMSN.
Offer an email version of your RSS feed.Feedblitz offers this service for free, as does Feedburner. But beyond simply offering the email RSS feed, you need to make sure that signing up for it is easy.

Social Bookmarking (aka Going Viral)
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Put chicklets in your template. Chicklets are ugly, and having too many “If you liked this story, submit it to Delicious” lines in a post looks plain spammy. That said, when you have a top-notch post that you hope is going to go viral, there is no better way to boost your votes than to add the Delicious link and Digg button right onto the post.
Be your own promoter: Seed your best posts. Hundreds of thousands of content hungry readers are using social bookmarking sites every day, and many track specific keywords. By seeding your best articles, and by using a mixture of both popular and specific keywords as tags, you can bring a new crop of readers to your site on a weekly basis. The best way to select the tags for your article is to think of social bookmarking sites as a form of search engine. By including both broad keywords and narrower keywords you are certain to get a blend of both low quality/high volume readers.
The following is a list of the top 10 bookmarking sites which you should submit your top articles to:
  1. Digg: Mammoth traffic; tech-focused; savvy users
  2. Delicious: Pretty big traffic; somewhat tech/design-focused; a lot of bloggers browse Delicious for “things to link to”
  3. Netscape: Pretty big traffic; a mix of topics; less savvy users
  4. Stumbleupon: Medium traffic; weird stuff/literary articles; normal users.
  5. Yahoo MyWeb: Medium traffic; general interest; normal users
  6. Reddit: Lower traffic; politics/random stuff; normal users.
  7. Furl: Lower traffic; tech-focused/some random stuff; normal users
  8. Newsvine: Lower traffic; politics and news; normal users.
  9. Lookmarks: Low traffic; gets spammed a lot; less savvy users
  10. Blinklist: Low traffic; gets spammed a lot; less savvy users


Getting networked
Leave highly valuable comments on other blogs in your niche. Every niche within the blogosphere is made up of a few tightly knit communities. Like all communities, so much of what is actually going on (passing links, giving tips, etc.) is all done behind the scenes through email and IM. As a result, getting integrated into some of the communities in your niche is essential to growing your blog. New bloggers often try to integrate themselves through email solicitations, “Hi my name is Newbie, will you be my friend?…” This rarely works. ou need to first make a name for yourself and make yourself valuable to the community. One way is to start commenting on the sites of community members within your niche. By being an initiator of, or contributor to, good conversations on other blogs, other webmasters will come to recognize your name.
Include tons of outbound links in your posts. As a new blogger, your target audience is other bloggers. They have the links that you need to get to the top of the search engines and to get in front of other readers. So a big key is getting other bloggers in your niche to notice you.

Link Building
Submit your blog to blog directories. Incoming links help your site to get spidered, indexed and ranked better by search engines. Conveniently, there are many blog directories that specialize in categorizing and linking to quality blogs. You can find a comprehensive list of them by Robert A. Kearse at TrafficNymphomaniac.com.
Leave your blog’s URL as your signature when you participate in forums. When you make a good comment on a forum, people will not only remember your URL and begin to associate it with quality information.
Use your URL in your email signature. If you’re like most new webmasters, you will be writing hundreds of emails in your first few months of blogging.
Submit guest posts at other blogs. Few experienced bloggers can resist the appeal of good free content. But most new bloggers simply don’t take advantage of this, because the first few weeks after the launch of their blog are so hectic that they don’t have time to write additional posts for someone else’s blog.

Finaly : If you follow the preceding tips, you’re not guaranteed to have a successful blog, but you are guaranteed to have a strong launch, and a fighting chance to make it big in the blogosphere.

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Comments 1 comments
George said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Miriam

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Student, Web-Developer, FSD-PAKISTAN
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