Self Development March 26, 2020

"Launching" a blog?

Kasper Brohus Allerslev @undreren

Hi hackers

I'm setting up a blog, and I want to "launch" it, but I want to make sure there's some content lined up first.

What are your experience with launching blogs, and how did you do it?
Care to share dos and donts?

  1. 4

    Create content people want and sharing is more than 50% of the work :)

    1. 1

      For sharing, what I have done before is find a list of places like Hacker News and certain Reddits where it is OK to post a link. Every time you write a blog entry and you are happy for it to be viewed, go through the list manually and submit to each site. Then be ready to respond to any questions on those places. You can probably get 100-1000s of visitor per post.

      For SEO - main things to concentrate on if nothing else are:

      1. Fast site
      2. Title and description tags - this is your "ad" in the Google search results, make sure it has a good descriptions for humans to make them curious to click. I prefer not to use clickbait but come up with a title that makes someone think "that'll be useful for my intent of ..."
      3. Keyword research - use ahrefs etc. if you can afford it. Otherwise look at the words your target audience use to describe things. Use those words in your article.
      4. Use semantic markup. Use h1 and h2 as intended to help Google know what you are about.
      5. Backlinks - I think the easiest way is to write really useful stuff that people want to backlink to. However it doesn't hurt to do a little bit of link building by reaching out to other bloggers etc.
      6. Install Google Analytics and use Google Search Console.
      1. 1

        I would never install Google Analytics, or any other privacy leech for that matter.

    2. 1

      That sounds like roughly 100% of the work. What else is there?

      1. 2

        Making sure the blog is fast, checking that page/content is SEO optimised, adding images, other designs, contacting people for quotes.

        List is never ending but no reason not to start asap :)

        1. 1

          The site is very performant, as it is statically generated with Hugo and no scripting (yet). But yeah, I can see your point about it all.

  2. 1

    What's the primary reason to start it? Is it a programming blog or a corporate blog? Who is the audience?

    Notes to self is already like my 4th blog (hopefully the last one!). I write things down for myself and to help others. What seems to work for me is to simply write things that I encounter in programming. Errors, patterns, how-tos, news. I don't "invent" articles.

    The main reason is that it takes the least amount of effort. The things I write about I already "solved" in my job or by working on a side project. This way I just need to write some text around it and it's done. This is important, because just writing can be a drag and it's not the reason I started it in the first place.

    Your reasons and approach might be different.

    1. 1

      My target audience is myself from when I had just learned Java, Haskell and JavaScript, but before I had professional experience with writing production software, software architecture and proper testing practices. So about 7 years ago.

      There's a big number of learners, who could benefit greatly from my professional experience.

      I was going to write posts mostly about coding gems, practices, principles and experiences, as well as some very straight-forward (but simply explained) theory.

      Maybe I should even write my blog posts as small letters to myself?

      1. 2

        Then you have plenty to write about! Good luck :)

  3. 1

    In terms of launching, I think the most important thing is to be prepared before you go live. Start with your content strategy.

    Know who your target audience is. What are their pain points. What are their motivations? What is their current knowledge level? Where else do they go for information?

    Research other blogs in your niche. What are the strengths and weaknesses? Are there any content gaps you could fill? How can you differentiate?

    Consider how you are going to promote your blog and start laying the groundwork as early as possible. There are a lot of ways to promote content, and what works best for some won’t work as well for others. You want to focus on what’s likely to work best for you.

    Consistency is one of the most important ingredients in a successful blog. Creating an editorial calendar can really help.

    Best of luck!

    1. 1

      Yeah, I really need a roadmap for my articles.

      What exactly do you mean with "editorial calender"?

      1. 2

        It's a planning tool for scheduling content.

        So let's so you plan on publishing two posts week, Tuesdays and Thursdays. You would write a topic or working title down in those spots for the upcoming month. That's the most basic example.

        It can get more detailed, too, if you find it helpful. For instance, you could break it down into steps, such as milestone due dates for drafts, editing and publication. This can be especially helpful if you plan on accepting guest posts or outsourcing any part.

        You could also incorporate larger concepts or themes by planning related content together. So April could be all about software architecture, for instance, and all the posts for that month would cover specific aspects of that topic. It's not necessary, but it is an option.

        Hopefully that makes sense.

        1. 2

          This sounds like a really great idea, one that I would definitely look at!

          Thanks!

          1. 2

            My pleasure.