If you’re new here, you might not know that Think Traffic launched just two weeks ago. Since then, this blog has already attracted more traffic, subscribers and comments than my first blog did in two months.
This time around, I studied successful launches, gave myself plenty of time and asked friends for advice and input. I’m really happy with the way the launch turned out, and I want to share some of the strategies I employed so you can use them for your next launch.
Here are my tips for launching your next website or blog with a bang:
- Define, Differentiate and Go Narrow
- Get a Good Design (First Impressions Matter)
- Include the Right Hooks for Sharing and Subscribing
- Build Cornerstone Content Ahead of Time
- Create a Giveaway for Subscribers
- Get the Word Out Ahead of Launch
- Make Your First Post a Viral One
- Leverage What You Already Have
- Work Nonstop Before and After Launch
For this blog, I knew I wanted to pick a topic that I was passionate about, that was different from other blogs and that was laser-focused. That was something I learned from my last blog, other businesses I’ve started, and from countless advisers.
When you differentiate yourself and deliberately choose a narrow topic, people are more likely to understand what you’re about quickly (crucial for keeping new visitor’s attention). You also give people a reason they should visit your site instead of your competitors (because you’re different).
By defining what you’re all about in a narrow way, you greatly increase your chances of having a big launch. After the dust settles and you have some momentum, you can always start to expand your topic as necessary.
For my last blog, I started with an amateurish initial design. It was clean and functional, but probably didn’t make the first impression I was looking for. This time around, I spend much more time and effort on the design.
You have to make a good impression on new visitors if you want them to stick around and come back. Design is one of the things that sways someone’s first opinion of your site most.
I’m not necessarily talking about a flashy or cutting-edge design, either. You want something that is highly usable, directs people to the information on your site that matters, and conveys the fact that you’re serious about your site and the quality that goes into it.
If someone likes your site, don’t make it hard for them to subscribe or share your content through social media. Make sure options for sharing and subscribing are clearly visible (but not obnoxious) from the day you launch. You don’t want to miss out on some repeat visitors just because your site wasn’t totally put together by launch day.
When you launch, you want to have more than just a couple of posts ready for people to read. To make the best first impression, you also should have some cornerstone content for your visitors to consume.
Ideally, the cornerstone content should demonstrate your expertise within your topic. A continuing series that goes over the basics of your topic is a great way to do this. I started Think Traffic with the 8-part Website Traffic 101 series ready by launch day. The response to it was fantastic and definitely gave visitors an idea of what the site was about immediately at launch.
To get people signed up for our email newsletter, I created an incentive in the form of a free video that explains how to make a traffic breakthrough for your website or blog. Getting more email subscribers was one of my goals for this blog, and the ratio of email subscriptions to RSS have been double that of my other blog (30%).
Long before I started this blog, I got the word out to other bloggers by asking for input about the concept, design and initial content. This helped me tremendously in a couple of ways. First, the bloggers I asked truly helped me refine the idea to become something much greater than I started with. Second, many of those bloggers helped spread the word on launch day.
I didn’t worry about password-protecting the blog or anything before launch. Instead, I simply put a welcome message (for any inadvertent visitors to read) that welcomed them to the blog, told them it hadn’t launched yet and invited them to sign up to be notified when it did launch. Conversion on that notice was over 10%.
This is a crucial element of my launch strategy. Instead of launching with a boring “welcome” post, I wanted to give the blog a kick-start. To do that, I carefully planned a viral-ready post that included input from some of the world’s most popular bloggers.
The strategy worked, and the post became popular on both Twitter and StumbleUpon. It also attracted a lot of initial comments. The post also caught the attention of another blogger I admire and respect who asked me to contribute to a big upcoming project.
Of course, much of the success of this launch wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for what I’ve already built at my other blog and in social media.
That’s why I encourage people to start building community now, even if you don’t have anything to promote. Then, when it comes time to launch a new project, leverage what you’ve already built to give your new site a boost.
If all of this sounds like a lot of work, that’s because unfortunately it is. But preparing for a launch is one of the most crucial times for your new site, and it needs your hard work if you want it to succeed. Be ready to put in extra hours both before and after the launch. Once you gather some momentum, you can take a break and enjoy what you’ve achieved.
I hope these tips help you with your next launch. What other tips for a successful launch can you share? Please tell us in the comments!
photo by Temari 09