It doesn’t feel like 30 days have passed since I launched. There has been code to edit, deadlines to meet, and always, posts to write… but I’ve enjoyed it every step of the way.
Below I’ve listed the specific steps that I’ve taken so far to building a solid foundation for a successful blog. I’m sure your strategies will vary from mine, but I hope this inspires you as you dive into your first month.
First Month Overall Focus:
- Regular, Quality Content- It is important that you start your blog out by posting frequently and regularly. I published a total of thirteen posts, (three per week). The more often you can publish quality posts, the faster you will attract traffic.
- Organization, Flow- Functionality and an attractive design will help you appear professional, and build credibility, subscribers, and inbound links. I decided to spend time configuring plugins, experimenting with WP settings, and customizing design (categories dropdown, default avatar, about me pix, layout of comments).
- Attracting Search Engines- For the first month, I focused on writing specific tutorials to pick up a steady flow of traffic through searches. Posts like Think Producer, Kick Consumer are not as likely to get a relevant audience through searches since they are not directly related to blogging. Before I published my first post, I installed the Google XML sitemap plugin. Every time I publish a new post, this plugin automatically updates an XML file containing links to each page and post. The Google bots see the update and crawl my site which helps me get ranked faster in Google search results.
- Sharing via Social Media- Blogs can receive more traffic from social media than from search engines. As people find a new post that they like, they can publish it on their favorite social networks. If they share your post with 300 friends on Facebook, Twitter, etc., you can imagine how many people can see your post. For Bookmark My Blog, I decided to use Sharebar because it is always visible to the reader. Your post might get shared less if people have to scroll to the bottom or top of the page to share your post.
Second Month Overall Focus:
- Search Engine Optimization- I just installed my favorite SEO plugin, Headspace 2. If it seems to advanced or overwhelming you may want to try All in one SEO. It is much easier but not as customizable.
- Connecting with Readers- If you head to my Twitter page, you can see that I started tweeting my posts a few days ago. I am going to use Twitter as a place to connect with all of you on a more personal level. If you have any questions about blogging that don’t relate to any of my posts, feel free to mention me on Twitter. Since many people still like to use Facebook to follow and connect with businesses, I may set up a Facebook page next month.
- Gravity- No matter what goal you have for your visitors (buying a product or service, signing up for your newsletter, clicking on ads, commenting and interacting, etc.), the longer they stay on your site, the bigger chance they have of becoming a customer/subscriber/etc. I just added two plugins WordPress Popular Posts and WordPress Related Posts. If someone lands on a post that is similar but not exactly what they are looking for, you should show them what else you have to offer.
- Encouraging Comments- One of the most exciting things about blogging is reading and answering your comments. Even though I have only had a few comments so far, it has been exciting getting feedback and connecting with you! To encourage more feedback, I installed CommentLuv on my blog as a way to “reward” you for taking the time to interact. CommentLuv is a free plugin that will add a link below each comment to the commenter’s most recent post. When a post title catches someone’s eye, they can click on the link to see your post. I also made the links Do Follow so that these links will increase your Google page rank. Try it out in the comments below.
- Inbound Links and Online Branding- This month I am going to comment on other blogs that are similar to Bookmark My Blog. Some of them use the CommentLuv plugin, others simply make my username a link to my website. By posting quality comments on similar blogs, I will increase my brand recognition and hits. When you comment on other blogs, don’t say things like “Great Post! Check out my blog at (website here)”. Most likely, this will get you marked as a spammer. Instead, add value to blogs that you comment on by posting friendly, informative, and personal comments.
What do you guys think? Which steps did you/will you take as you start your blog? Share your story.