12 Steps to Launch a Successful Blog

By Guest Author

This is a guest post by Ilias Chelidonis. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

I decided to launch my first blog back in February 2011, I was all excited and ready for being able to share my knowledge and experience with the world. Although, in the beginning traffic was very low, after having a specific plan in place and knowing the subject I was blogging about very well, managed to reach 4000 unique visitors last month. In a nutshell, the key ingredient for a successful blog is to create great content that teaches people something, optimize the content for search engines and distribute it via social media.

I made a list of 12 steps you need to follow in order to create a successful blog. They are all coming from personal experience, starting from a single idea to creating a blog that help people learn lessons on social media, search engine optimization and blogging.

1. Decide what you are going to blog about, this is by far the most important decision in order to create a successful property. It is acceptable if the subject is broad in the beginning, as you gain more experience and learn what your readers want, you can become more focused. For example, in the beginning you may blog about online marketing in general but down the road realize that you want to focus on just seo practices or social media marketing.

2. Decide for your blog’s name. The name needs to be memorable, easy to spell and it would be advisable to include a keyword of the topics you will be blogging about, that is if you blog about online marketing and social media it, try to add words like social, media, marketing, in your domain name.

3. Get a professional blog theme, I would advise Thesis theme and Woothemes, they are very easy to customize with tons of features. Do not try to save few dollars by getting a free theme, because most of them do have limitations and do not come with support. You do not need to have a custom design for your blog, at least in the beginning, as you gain more experience and readers, you can consider that for a major update.

4. Get a professionally designed logo, it will cost you few dollars to have a designer do that but will put you ahead of competition, furthermore, readers will take you more seriously and they see you invest money and time in creating a serious blog.

5. Select a good and reliable web host, shop around for a reliable web hosting provider that can help you in setting up your blog as well, do not go for the cheapest but for those specializing in wordpress. Start with a share hosting account and if you grow big, move to a dedicated server.

6. Install few but powerful wordpress plugins. I have personally used them and highly recommend them. Avoid stuffing your blog with as many plugins as possible because they will eventually make your blog hard to navigate and make readers lose focus.

7. Install google web analytics. If you cannot measure it you cannot improve it, so make sure google analytics are on place. Check your stats often but do not get over obsessed with traffic especially in the beginning as it will not be much.

8. Write down any ideas for topics you may have, sit down 1 hour a week and brainstorm on what to blog about next week, do not worry if you eventually change the topics but having a list of idea topics will help you to stay focus. How to and list topics work the best e.g How to run an online store or 10 ways to run an online store.

9. Install social media sharing widgets and buttons, this will help your readers share your content with their friends and fans, thus bringing in more traffic and loyal readers, people love to share only content they like.

10. Optimize all your posts for search engines, make sure that keywords are on the subject title and repeated at least once every 150 words in the main text content. Use images to increase readers’ curiosity, internet is all about photos.

11. Blog as often as possible but try to have a post at least 3 times a week, do not expect to build a successful blog if you have just 1 post a week, blogs need content and lots of it.

12. Develop a system to get new content ideas. You do not need to create the content for all your posts because you will eventually get drained. Find interesting content from other resources that will help your readers learn something new and do a post at your blog, do not just tell them to visit the link but do an analysis instead. For instance, if you found a great post on another blog about Search Engine Optimization, do a 150 word analysis on the post, what is your opinion and experiences on the subject. Do not forget to add the link and the blog you found the topic.

About the Author: Ilias Chelidonis clogs at TheWebCitizen.com about online marketing, seo, social media and blogging.

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9 Responses to “12 Steps to Launch a Successful Blog”

  • Elden

    Hey Elias thanks for the roundup. I’ve read through these awhile back but a refresher is always nice.

    I’ll definitely be bookmarking this resource and sending it along to people new to blogging.

  • Outdoor

    Firstly, I would like to appreciate the effort that you have put in making such a great blogpost. I enjoyed this post of yours and I must say that every time I come back to your blog, I always have something new and informative to read. Thanks for keeping me updated.

  • neo

    Hello Ilias

    Having a successful blog is our dream. And I pray it comes true! One day we could talk about how we build our blog with our efforts just like what you write here.

    Thanks for your tips

  • Robert

    Great post, those 12 steps make it seem so easy to start a blog. How come it never seems to work that way though

    I think you need a 13th step though – “Promotion” no point in having a blog if nobody’s going to read it

  • HP van Duuren

    Thanks for your post Ilias,

    There are still a lot of things that I can improve, although I do think that with my – Writers Lifestyle Blog – I already made a lot of improvements, because recently the amount of Unique Visitors – compared to a few months ago – rose with +400%

    ‘So I probably must have done
    at least something right’
    🙂

    My Most Popular posts are about ‘Writers Workspaces that Inspire’ and about how to make your Blog ‘Sticky’
    I also recently created a special dedicated page where I put some of my Short Stories. Feel free to have a look and
    join the conversations by writing – your – Comments.

  • Sean

    All great tips with #11 being the most important for blogs

  • Daquan Wright

    Wonderful list, I’m designing the developing the code for my website right now and once it’s launched, I’m developing a portfolio and blogging page/channel.

    My niche is “UI Design” and “Application Development.” I’m very passionate about my subjects and I always think, what am I going to write about? xD

    Most bloggers I know don’t post three times a week though, especially professional web developers as my contacts.

    Posting 3 times a week…is that if you want to make a lot of money off blogging and get big? Because my contacts have a good number of followers on twitter and they seem to value quality over quantity.

    Or is it just to acquire a large readership? My topics in general would include things like HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, MooTools, PHP, MySQL, SQL, Python, C++, web standards, emerging technologies, hardware, etc.

    I may launch a site later on for a niche but I want my blog to be a mix of personal and professional, like something to compliment a business. I’m not just doing a blog all on its own.

    Once I get back to school, I might only be able to post twice a week.

  • Derek Jones

    There are some great tips here, especially optimizing your posts for search engines. A word of warning though, don’t over-optimize as the article will just seem spammy to your readers. You may also get penalized by the search engines if you include too many keywords within your article(s).

  • Jerrick

    Atleast that the basic. The 1st step i do was think off what i interested and what i able to share which lot of people would like to look for it.
    After that , keywords will automatic came to my mind and purchase the domain with keywords, design your blog logo that related to your domain keywords.

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