Before launching my blog Miranda Nahmias, way back in 2010, I started my very first blog, Biting Life, which featured lots of recipes and posts about living a healthy lifestyle. That blog lasted for three years and was sort of successful (Chobani sponsored a giveaway on my blog once), although never became a source of income for me.
My second blog, Tempest Books, mostly featuring Young Adult book reviews and book-related discussion posts, went much better and I was pretty well known inside my niche. But, again, I hadn’t able to monetize it, and ultimately ended up quitting after one year because I was putting tons of work into it without getting much of any compensation back.
Miranda Nahmias is my third blog — and, this time, I was hell-bent upon setting myself up for success.
Unlike before, I had a plan. And sticking to that plan is what allowed me to enter into this niche with such a bang.
The 5-Step Plan for a Super Awesome Blog Launch!
Step 1: Choosing a Niche and a Name
The only thing that I knew upon starting Miranda Nahmias was that I wanted it to be a blog that would make me money and allow me to work from home full-time (along with my freelance graphic design).
Originally, my idea was to have an ultra-feminine lifestyle blog geared towards fashion, beauty, and home decor. Allowing myself to fit under the umbrella of “lifestyle” was really just a safety net. I knew that I’d struggled before with staying motivated and interested in one specific topic. A “lifestyle” blog would fix that. Right?
But as I got closer and closer to my launch date, it suddenly hit me (especially after a very intense consultation session with Diana from The Coffee Date) that maybe I should listen to the little voice inside me that was being drawn towards the niche of entrepreneurs, blogging advice, and graphic design instead.
I’d always planned to run my graphic design business alongside my blog, so ultimately deciding to go with the design- and blogging-focused niche was actually kind of a no-brainer! So some important advice from me is: don’t be afraid to re-brand or change your niche. That was a huge decision for me, but I’m so happy with how everything turned out. Listening to your gut is really important as an entrepreneur.
Although it wouldn’t have been the end of the world to have had this revelation later, I am really glad that I figured things out before my launch date, and was able to re-brand without many people noticing or caring! Just another great reason why building a pre-launch plan into your schedule is so helpful.
Ultimately, I did still end up going with just my name as the title of my blog. No, it’s not the catchiest of names, I realize that. But I wanted to leave it a bit open, and give myself room to change and grow in the future.
Step 2: The Technical Stuff
After I picked my brand name, I quickly signed up with Bluehost hosting, bought myself a domain name, and set up my WordPress site.
Let me just say that installing Nose Graze’s Tweak Me v2 Theme was one of the best choices I made during this part of the process. Tweak Me has an awesome backbone and gives you an incredible amount of ways to customize the design according to your brand and personal preferences. It’s also super user-friendly.
I also set up Twitter and Instagram accounts, along with a Facebook page and a Google+. I made sure to use my blog name as the handle for all of my social media accounts, and even though I didn’t have professional pictures yet, I chose the same (decent) photo for all of them, so that people would recognize me.
Step 3: Find Communities Within Your Niche and Start Networking!
This is where the magic happens! Networking on social media is one of my favorite things to do. For me, it’s truly the fun part of having a blog. I mean, if I had to pick one 😉
But keep in mind that when I say “networking,” I don’t mean “spamming” or talking to people only in hopes of the conversation ultimately benefitting yourself. That’s simply not my style. Personally, I am all about helping others, even if I get nothing in return from it.
So I filled my feeds with bloggers in my niche and got to work! Very quickly, I was able to grow my Instagram by 400% in only 15 days, and my Pinterest and Twitter followers also started to multiply very quickly.
Basically, I just talk to people. And I promote their stuff. A lot.
Pretty much every time I see somebody tweet about one of their blog posts, I re-tweet it. And every time I read a blog post, I tweet about it and reference the author in my tweet. Like I said before, though, don’t spam people — use a Twitter scheduling tool like Hootsuite so that things don’t get too crazy.
On Instagram, I comment on people’s photos. A lot. And I leave personal, at-least-one-sentence comments. I don’t just say “cool” — I say “Wow, I love that sweater so much. It looks super comfy and perfect for this fall weather!” People appreciate that stuff. And most of the time, they appreciate it so much that they will comment back to you, like a few of your photos, and maybe even follow you back.
Step 4: Start Promoting Your Blog Launch
About two weeks into this master plan of mine, I finally started giving people little hints that I was going to be launching something awesome of my own soon.
I picked a firm date — December 1st (I purposefully picked a date that would be extremely easy for people to remember. I even had multiple people reference it in conversation — like, “Oh yeah, you’re launching on the 1st, right?” YOU WANT THAT).
I added bios to my social media accounts that promised a December 1st launch and described the topics I’d be blogging about. I posted a few pictures on my Instagram that were specifically launch-themed — like a shot of my out-of-control blog binder and pictures of me actively working.
Once my “Coming Soon” page (see a picture of that) was up and running, I added my website link to those accounts as well. Maybe if people just happened to click on the link, they’d just happen to sign up for my newsletter, too! Growing your email list before you start blogging is pretty hard, as you have no incentives for people to subscribe, but even just a few names is better than nothing!
Step 5: Launch that Sucker!!
*phew* Time to breathe a sigh of relief! After four weeks of prepping, planning, and educating myself, it was finally time to open my blog to the public!
I really did need all 30 days it took for me to launch, but actually launching was one of the best feelings ever. I was SO ready to hit that “Publish” button!
But the work isn’t over now! In fact, it’s just beginning.
Those first 4 steps only got you to Day One. So now it’s time to market the heck out of your brand-new blog and get some actual visitors! Post on Facebook groups, celebrate on Twitter and Instagram, and email everyone you know!
If you used a master plan like this one, you’re sure to have tons of new friends coming over to say hi.
But, truly, this 5-step process was so much more complicated and involved that I just made it sound. If you’re about to launch, or are thinking of taking that next step and starting your own blog, you need this comprehensive checklist in order to make sure that you start out on the right foot. First impressions are everything.