Yesterday on Twitter I ‘soft launched’ a new blog – TwiTip.
The idea for the blog has been ‘brewing’ in my mind for almost as long as I’ve been experimenting with Twitter but I never had the time to dedicate to starting it up. Late last week I realized that if I was waiting to ‘have time’ to start it that I never would – so I bit the bullet and got it going.
TwiTip is a blog about Twitter. It’s a place that I’ll be posting tips, news and reviews of tools for those wanting to improve their use of Twitter whether it be using it for personal reasons, to expand their personal brand, to promote their business etc.
At this point TwiTip is firmly in ‘beta’ (if not alpha). It has a long way to go in terms of content, design and almost every other aspect of building a blog. I generally would get a blog in a much better state before going public about it (and I wouldn’t launch it on a Sunday night or on US election eve) – but I thought it’d be interesting for readers of ProBlogger to see the development of TwiTip from the ground up.
So far you have not missed much but let me give you a catchup on what I’ve done so far:
I’ve set it up on a very basic hosting package (GoDaddy of all places – I just wanted to get it up quick and as it grows I’ll move it to a more reliable service).
I’m using the Thesis WordPress theme (I’ve long wanted to test it on a live site and I have to say that it’s amazing).
My blog design skills are poor but Thesis is easy to set up and configure – it is also set up really well for SEO which is cool. I plan to give the design more personality in time (I’ll get a designer in to overhaul it) but in the mean time Thesis is a great option and will be a good basis for the design tweaks that will come).
So far I’ve developed a few WordPress ‘pages’ that take the design beyond the default set up. These include an ‘about’ page, contact page and a ‘write for TwiTip’ page.
I usually would have at least 5 posts live on a blog before launching it but in this case have 3 (including one welcome post). I would normally also have a couple of posts in reserve for the next few days. Again – I’ve gone public early as a bit of a case study but will get another post up in the next 24 hours to keep a little momentum building.
My plan with content for TwiTip is for it not to be a daily update initially. I’ll start out with 3 posts a week and work towards more as I find my feet (and perhaps as I bring on other contributers). My focus in the early days will be quality rather than quantity.
So far all I’ve done promotion wise is Tweet that I’ve launched TwiTip. That was a nice start because the audience on Twitter obviously have an interest in the topic and it was retweeted quite widely through the Twittersphere pretty quickly.
Other than the Tweet announcing the new blog (and now this post) my only other strategy for finding new readers has been more about on site ‘hooks’ – highlighting subscription methods and encouraging people to track with me on Twitter and RSS.
I’ve set up Google Analytics on TwiTip. While it is a little slow and not great for analyzing stats as traffic events are happening on your blog in real time it’s such a solid tool that it was a no brainer of a choice.
Setting Up RSS Feed
The only other task that I’ve completed so far is to set up the RSS feed over on Feedburner. So now the feed is not a ‘TwiTip.com’ one but a Google/Feedburner one. I find that it is best to do this on day one to keep eveyrone subscribing to the same feed. I’m yet to see how many people have subscribed and don’t plan to add a feedburner counter in the short term (in the past I’ve waited until subscriber numbers hit 1000).
Things Still to Do
I’ve done a few other miscellaneous things including adding a ‘subscribe to comments’ plugin, a ‘tweet this’ plugin and adding a sidebar polling tool. There is still a lot to do to get TwiTip up and running to a point that I’ll be happy with it! These include:
- RSS to Email Subscription Option
- Email Newsletter Setup
- Getting a proper design done (I won’t do a custom one in the short term but it does need a header/logo and some styling etc)
- Monetization – I’m not going to monetize this straight away but it won’t be far off. I need to consider my options here.
- Plugins – there are quite a few plugins that I want to get installed, test and use.
- Writers – I’ve had so many offers for guest posts already that I’m at a point of saying no to more as I can’t process them all. Over the coming weeks I’d like to develop a system for accepting and managing contributions.
This is just the beginning of the list (and I’m sure many of you will come up with other suggestions in comments below). The more I do the more I think of. For this reason I’m going to take my time with this launch. I’ll continue to document my progress here on ProBlogger as I go.
Update – a few people have been asking how readership has been so far. It’s a little difficult to tell at this point, I’m yet to see an update of how many Feedburner subscribers there are. Google Analytics shows around 1600 visitors for day 1 (but that’s not finished updating for the day). The vast majority of readers have come from my tweets (and the retweets of others. There have also been a few visitors from facebook (where my tweets get republished) and a few others from StumbleUpon where there are a few reviews/stumbles already). I’m yet to see full stats yet and will update it at some point.