We’ve got the domain and now the name. It’s time to get serious about the blog. We’re still a long way from inviting that first reader to come see the place that we’re going to call our new home.
Organizing the Effort
Choosing a template or a design, determining the right content to launch with, hammering out the exact details, all of these are important steps, and really need to be done right, done well, and done once. Yet without an organized approach, we humans will focus on the parts we know or like, and other parts will be given less attention than they require.
In an effort to avoid this problem, you might consult the Blog Review Checklist I developed for reviewing existing blogs. However, the version below has the questions that need to be considered when launching a brand-new blog.
The Prelaunch Blog Review Checklist
1. Audience: How will your audience find your blog? What words will readers use to describe it? to search for it? What will they like best about your site? What about your blog will trigger these words? Where will they see themselves in the blog?
2. Author/Purpose/Authority: What is the purpose of your blog? Why does it exist? Where will the purpose be stated plainly so that your readers can see it? Who are you anyway? What is your authority? Why should any reader read you?
3. Content: What kind of content will support the purpose? How will you introduce your blog? How will new readers get introduced later? Is the content broad enough to last longer than 6 months, but narrow enough to be focused, relevant, and of a size that is useful to your readers? Is it a twist on the topic that you can stay infinitely interested in and write with passion about?
Do you know the topic well enough that you can build a brand with a unique value point of view — Do you know the content well enough that you can lead a conversation that people will look forward to reading each time you post? Please know that a blog is a conversation not a catalogue.
4. Design: How well does the look of the blog communicate the kind of blog it is? Will you use a unique design or choose a template and customize it? Are there visual symbols or values important to your customers or to you? How can you make navigation easy and intuitive? Do items flow naturally from the first to the next? How can the color palette, image, and type choices support the content and underscore what the audience wants to feel?
5. Posts: How will you schedule posting the information readers came to find? What writing/posting criteria will reflect the unique purpose and style of your blog? Is your idea big enough to offer variety and interest within your blog’s purpose and theme? What will characterize a usual post? How long will it be? What about it would I recognize even if it were removed from your blog and printed out?
6. Comments: Know and post your comment policy. It can be as short as, “This is my blog, I will treat you as a guest in my house. Please behave as if you know how a congenial guest would act.”
7. Technical Issues: Check your design and your load times in every browser. Choose for your readers not for yourself. Be linked in to the important indexes, have an RSS feed, know how to check links, and sign up for the key directories. Have you investigated and chosen a referral/stat program to help you gather information about your visitors?
8. Writing: Learn to write for the blogosphere. Have you found a clear, respectful, and authentic writing voice? Can you produce a message that normal readers in a hurry will find compelling and of value, so that they will stop to read?
9. Organization: Have you thought of how to plan your writing schedule, how it will fit into your day or week? Have you considered how you migth give names to your Categories readers will intuitively understand?
10. Social Business and Marketing: What will you do to let readers know that you exist? Have you included RSS feeds, a newletter link, and limited, strategic automatic posting to your readers key social networks or online groups? Are you listed in the right blog directories? Do you read and comment on other blogs within your readership? Will you write articles and guest posts? What corporate or personal resources might you use? Can you email a list of readers who already know you that the blog is ready to read?
Quite a few questions to consider. Even more things to do. Each one is a seed that will grow your blog into a valuable asset for you, your brand, and your business as investment in your virtual home.
This updated checklist was first published on: Sep 7, 2006 @ 6:55