I recently had the opportunity to sit with a small group of Pre-Bloggers – people about to start their first blogs.
One of the questions I was about how much content should be written before launching a new blog.
My answer came in two parts:
- The Ideal Scenario
- What I actually have done
The reality is that what I ‘preach’ isn’t always what I ‘do’ – so let me tell you about both!
Note: we give a lot of teaching and some great exercises on this topic in ProBlogger’s Guide to Your First Week of Blogging.
The Ideal Scenario
OK – here’s what I’d do if I was creating a strategy to launch a new blog. Following this strategy would leave you with around a month of content and content ideas ready to go!
1. Have At Least 3-5 Posts Already Published
My ideal scenario for launching a new blog is to have at least a few posts already live on the blog.
The benefit of this approach is that when you launch the blog, people arrive and see more posts than just your ‘I started a blog’ post!
These early posts should cover a range of topics within your niche and give your first readers a taste of what is to come in terms of topics, a sense of who you are and an idea about the voice that you’re writing in.
2. Have 5-10 Posts Ready to Publish in Drafts
When launching a new blog, it’s also GREAT to have a few blog posts written and saved as drafts.
The reason for this is that often, when launching a blog, you can easily get distracted by other aspects of the launch. Design tweaks, getting a server set up right, promoting the blog, setting up social media accounts etc.
While you might have a lot of this done before launch, there’s a good chance something will go wrong (it’s Murphy’s Law). If you have at least a few blog posts already written and ready to go, you’ve got a great backup.
Having posts in reserve also takes a bit of pressure off and won’t leave you with that stressed ‘what am I going to write about today’ feeling!
3. Have 20 Blog Post Ideas Brainstormed
One of the hardest parts of creating regular blog posts – particularly in the early days – is coming up with ideas of topics to write about.
As a result I highly recommend doing some brainstorming before you launch, when the pressure is off. Put aside time to come up with as many blog post ideas as possible by what ever means suits you.
I personally like to use Mind Mapping to come up with blog post ideas (I’ve written about mind mapping here and here).
Keep your post ideas handy and add to them regularly, and you’ll find you are never stuck for something to write about!
What I’ve Actually Done
OK – so the ideal theory I’ve outlined above is all good and well – but the reality is that I don’t know a whole heap of bloggers who have always stuck to their launch strategy, including myself.
My own experience is that often, when starting a new blog, excitement and adrenaline kicks in. When you’re passionate about your new project, it’s easy to be more impulsive!
Here’s the brief launch story of my two main blogs:
ProBlogger – I launched ProBlogger in September 2004 after writing about blogging tips and making money blogging on my personal blog, in a category dedicated to the topic.
When I launched ProBlogger.net, I brought all of those posts that I’d previously written so when I launched there was already 60+ posts live.
I remember doing some brainstorming of post titles but I didn’t have any posts saved as drafts. Instead, I was so excited about starting ProBlogger that I published 40 posts in the first 10 or so days!
In hindsight – that was too many. I was naive, but I was so excited!
Digital Photography School – when I launched dPS back in April 2006, I set out with a year and a half of extra experience and so I decided to take things slower.
The dPS blog was something of an experiment and I didn’t know if it was going to be much more than a hobby. But I decided to create more content before launching and went through the brainstorming exercise, with mind maps that I linked to above.
I had 20 or so post ideas mapped out and even wrote a couple of posts that I’d published before launching – but didn’t have too many posts written as drafts on launch.
My plan at launch was to only post 3 posts per week while I got going but again I got a little excited and in the first week I published 6 posts and from then on it was pretty much daily!
Can you see a theme here? I tend to get very excited with new projects and holding back and being measured isn’t always easy for me!
How About You?
I’d love to hear about your blog launching strategies? Do you publish many posts before launching or have posts ready to go? Any other tips for new bloggers?
And if you are looking to launch a new blog – check out ProBlogger’s Guide to Your First Week of Blogging for more tips and exercises to help you get your blog launched with the right foundations!
Having a blogging schedule is probably the most important part of a plan for starting a new blog. New bloggers should have at least a couple of weeks worth of posts worked out before they go live to give them a chance to work out the bugs that are sure to arise in the initial stages of a new website.
A tip I’d give Darren is to keep a file of ideas for blogging.
For example, I have a file for each of my blogs. I tend to be a wordy writer and ideas come to me fast, so when I’m writing one post, I may come up with two or three ideas for different posts that are off-shoots of the one I’m working on.
I’ll jot these down with the tag, “Post Idea” in front of the potential title. And if I come across links or thoughts about a subject I know I want to write on later, I just open that file and throw all of that in there. This way, when I sit down to write, I have not only a multitude of ideas to write on, I have a lot of the research right there in front of me too.
I’ve found over the years that if you don’t jot down ideas, you tend to lose them. This strategy helps me to always have something to write about.
Wow, this is a great article, the most significant thing that I have learnt, well wholly overlooked until I read your post was have some posts in drafts. Like yourself, I have launched a range of websites/blogs and never had the high sight (Nive I know) to have some content in the background just in case like you said I get distracted by something else or the excitement of launching. Plus will make people/search engines come back because there is regularly posted content.
Great post. My new website and blog will be launching on January 1st 2018 and was planning to have ten posts ready to go right on that day and then post every Monday and Thursday after that. I have a total of about 25 posts ready to go. 21 of them are going to be transferred from my old blog.
I usually always try and stick to my posting schedule now whereas in the past I was a bit erratic. What do you think about my plan?
Thanks again for the advice.
Having a few drafts written and ready to post is definitely great advice, though I wouldn’t think that its usefulness would be limited to when you’re just launching. It’ll always be helpful to be prepared and have posts as back up as you’ll never know when something might come up!