How to Avoid the Number One Mistake New Bloggers Make
One of the most common questions we get from new or aspiring bloggers is this:
When should I launch my blog?
It’s not a dumb question. Blogging, especially in the beginning, can feel pretty overwhelming. There’s so much to learn and we tend to think there’s a million and one things we need to do before we can “officially” launch our blog, but having that mindset is one of the biggest mistakes that a blogger can make!
Raise your hand if you’ve ever said anything close to the following:
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“I need at least 30 posts saved up and ready to go before I can launch my blog!”
“I just have to do X, Y, and Z… Then I’ll be ready to launch.”
“I need to figure out my long-term strategy before I can officially launch.”
“I’m waiting for the perfect time to launch my blog.”
If your hand is up, then we have some really important news for you.
There is no perfect time to launch.
There’s no magic formula that says “X number of posts written + Y tasks completed + Z blogging materials read = ready to launch.”
The best way to launch our blogs is to just START.
And one of the easiest ways to get ready to launch is by enrolling in our FREE Build Your Blog Bootcamp. This fun 5-day challenge will give you all the support, encouragement, and technical instruction you need to get your blog off the ground, and it is the perfect way to supplement what you’ll be learning in our blogging made simple training. You can join the bootcamp HERE.
The reality is that no matter how prepared you think you are, your blog will change over time. Who we are when we launch isn’t who we’ll be a week later, a year later, or five years later. And that means we don’t need to have it all figured out from day one. It’s a process of evolution, and as we grow and change, our blogs will grow and change right along with us.
Seems pretty simple, right?
But what we’ve found is that thinking we need to have all our ducks in a row before we launch our blogs is holding a lot of us back from actually getting out there and doing it.
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So consider this your permission: you don’t need to “launch” your new blog. You just need to start.
HOW WAITING FOR THE RIGHT TIME TO LAUNCH IS HOLDING US BACK
If we wait for that perfect moment to launch our blog — the moment when all the stars align and we feel completely and totally ready to put ourselves and our blogs out in the world — we end up stuck. We’re so caught up with getting things “right” and “perfect” that we never get any of our content out there. And that puts us at a huge disadvantage.
We Miss Out on Feedback
When we keep our blogs in our pocket and hold back on releasing our content, we’re missing out on a huge opportunity to get real-life feedback from our readers.
We might think we know what we want to write and who we’re writing for. But there’s no way of knowing if that content will connect with those readers until we… you know, let them read it.
When we put our content out into the world, we get the opportunity to connect with our readers and hear what they have to say about what we’re writing — straight from the horse’s mouth. For example, maybe we find out that our audience really likes the topics we’re writing about but wants them to be structured differently. Or maybe we discover that the tone we’re writing in feels off-putting to them and we need to soften our language.
When we get that direct feedback, we can use it to mold and shape our blogs in a way that truly serves our audience. But if we spend months getting things ready before we launch, that’s all feedback we miss out on, and we have no way of knowing if what we’re creating will serve our readers or just fall flat. And if it falls flat? That’s a lot of time and energy wasted.
But the good news is, we can avoid wasting too much time and energy by getting feedback as soon as possible.
The quicker we know how our blog is being received, the quicker we can make the changes we need to make in order to make it a slam dunk for our audience.
We Get to Know What We Don’t Know About Our Audience
When we’re getting ready to launch our blog, we think we know who our audience is. We create our avatar, and we can see so clearly in our minds who our reader is and what they want to read about.
But until we actually put our content out into the world and see who’s reading it, we don’t really know.
Once our content is live, we might be completely surprised by our audience. Maybe they’re asking questions we never would have expected, which takes our blog in a new and unexpected direction. Maybe they want to learn more about something we thought they’d be completely disinterested in, and maybe something we thought we wanted to write about every day is met with a lukewarm response.
But there’s no way to get to know our audience and what they’re looking for until we actually start posting. We can plan all we want — and we can think we have all the answers — but the only way to get the answers is by interacting with our audience in a real way.
WE SPEAK FROM EXPERIENCE…
If you’re reading this and thinking, “Easy for them to say!”, let us tell you — we speak from experience.
Obviously, we’re a fan of planning (we’ve created a best-selling planner for goodness’ sake!). And, like most of you, when we first started out, we thought we had to be perfect before even launching!
But as we read that sentence today, it just makes us laugh. We can’t even tell you how much LWSL has changed over the years! In fact, let us just show you:
And believe us — we never would have anticipated all of those changes. We thought we knew exactly what path we needed to take, exactly who we were writing to, and exactly what they wanted to read about.
But all the time we spent planning and trying to get things “perfect” ahead of our launches, it wasn’t exactly the best use of time. Once we actually launched our new blog designs, products, and even podcast, we got so much feedback, it made our heads spin! Those comments and feedback are what allowed us to grow and evolve into what we are today: resources that serve our audience.
That doesn’t mean it was always easy! In the early days of Living Well Spending Less, we wrote about organization, and that post ended up being shared on Facebook. We weren’t really aware of what people were saying about the blog and we were always looking for feedback. Well, on this post, we found it.
A woman left a comment on Facebook (on a post related to the original share) that said, “This gal is writing about organization… but her blog is the biggest hot mess I’ve ever seen.”
We were mortified. Talk about hitting you right where it hurts!
But you know what? She was right. With that one little piece of feedback, it was like the wool was pulled back from our eyes and we was able to see LWSL blog from our reader’s perspective. And it WAS a hot mess. It was messy and busy and confusing and lacked any organization whatsoever, which we realized must have been super frustrating for my readers.
So thanks to that piece of feedback — which we never would’ve gotten if we hadn’t put ourselves out there — we were able to make the changes to the blog that were necessary to make it a better experience for our audience. And we continue to make improvements and changes based on that feedback to this day.
If we had waited to launch until we thought our blog was “perfect”, we would still be waiting. Every decision we’ve made, every article we’ve written, every product we’ve created — they’ve all been a result of putting our stuff out there, seeing what people like, getting feedback, and figuring out the next steps as a result. All of our blogs are a constantly evolving process, and the only way to evolve is to get out there and make it happen.
Or, in other words, when it comes to blogging, it’s about the journey, not the destination. And we can’t start the journey — and we’ll certainly never reach the destination — if we never launch. So, if you’re waiting for the “perfect” time to launch, let me be the first one to tell you — that time is now.
Starting imperfectly is how most paths begin. Of course, do our homework, but writers write, artists create, and bloggers blog. Doing so with the intention of improving, learning, and committing to this thing we say we want to be/do is the way forward. We take the first step, and then the next, and the next. Nobody’s perfect and it could always be better. That’s the exciting part. The scary part isn’t failing, it’s not respecting yourself enough to try.
There is a big difference between a traditional business launch and a blogging business launch.
In traditional business, we need to be prepared before launching the business. But, when it comes to blogging, we don’t need to be perfect before launching. We just need to start somewhere. And if things go wrong, we can modify them later, we can tweak them.
That’s the beauty of blogging.