In this video, I talk about the four things your website must have at launch. They include a minimum number of posts; boiler-plate content like a privacy policy, disclaimer and contact page; a decent theme (but not a perfect one) and lead capture (a list).

As always, you can watch this video directly on YouTube if you like.

[Transcript:]

I wanted to talk to you today about the four things that you need in order to launch a blog. I have a friend that I’ve talked about on the podcast come, his name is Brady, and he just recently launched a special interest blog, just something that he cares about over at HelpfulPharmacist.com. You can check it out, drop by and say hi, drop him a comment, he would love that.

What Brady wanted to do was write a blog that helps people that are having to use a pharmacist (and that’s just about everybody) and give them tips, ways they can save money, and help them to deal with their pharmacist and learn about medications and all of that kind of stuff. He’s doing that and he wanted to blog about that kind of stuff, so he launched this blog.

He has kind of the four fundamentals that I think you need in order to successfully get started.

The first thing he needed in order to launch the thing was four or five really good pieces of content. In order to launch a website you really need some content. I usually recommend that you target four or five really good pieces. Maybe your number is 10. I think one is not enough and 10 is maybe more than you need.

Just some really good content that people can sink their teeth into. That gives you the opportunity to launch the blog, share some of your content on social media, and when visitors get there it shows them that you have something that’s decent.

It’s also true that it’s favorable from a search engine standpoint if the crawlers have something they can chew into the first time they hit your site. We don’t have any real solid data on that, but it makes sense to me that Google would want to see that you’re serious about what you’re doing and that you have more than just one page out there. So that’s a great thing, content is number one.

Number two, have a reasonable theme. Not the greatest theme, not a theme that you went out and spent $200,000 on, but a nice mobile-responsive, pleasing, simple, easy to read theme that looks good so that when people get there they can see, “This looks nice, it looks pretty good.”

I think that makes a difference. It also is a counterbalance against doing something that is absolutely ridiculous and delaying the launch of your site by weeks and months because you’re worried about having a perfect theme. I’m not talking about having a perfect theme; I’m talking about a good enough theme, the minimum viable product that you can get out there and show that you’re doing the right thing.

In the Helpful Pharmacist’s case, he’s using WordPress and he’s using Bluehost to host that. (And that’s what I recommend that you use.)

The third thing that I would say you really need if you’re going to launch a blog like this – a blog for blogging, a blog for affiliate marketing, or a blog just because you’re trying to make the internet a better place – is you really need to have the basics of legal compliance stuff out there.

In the Helpful Pharmacist’s case that means a disclaimer to let everyone know that while the Helpful Pharmacist is indeed a real pharmacist, he is not your pharmacist, you’re responsible for your own stuff. A privacy policy, because Google wants that. A contact page, because real websites have contact pages. And a nice about page that says what this is about.

There is some pretty clear data that says that Google is looking for these kinds of basic boilerplate elements whenever they do site reviews, so I think it’s important to have these basic items there for your website.

Then the fourth item that I like is to see that mailing list, your autoresponder, right there in the sidebar so that those very first visitors can sign up for future updates on the site.

In the case of Helpful Pharmacist, he hasn’t had time yet to create a lead magnet and all that stuff, but let’s get the list out there because some of his best fans are going to end up being the guys that were there when the site launched. First fans, a lot of times, are going to be the most loyal fans. Five years from now there are going to be readers that he picked up in the first few weeks or months of launch that are going to still be with him and love the fact that he’s stayed in contact with them the whole time.

That’s why you want to get that list out there. Of course, if you have a budget that you’re worried about, you don’t want to pay for an autoresponder right out of the gate. That’s why I really like MailChimp. MailChimp is a great autoresponder and you can get started with your first 2,000 subscribers for free. Specifically the reason that I recommend them is they have all of the features that you need and you can get started absolutely free, which is just simply awesome.

Those are the four things that I think you really need;

  • Great content
  • Boilerplate and legal compliance pages
  • A nice design that’s great to look at
  • Autoresponder set up from day zero

I’ll give you a bonus item that I also think is great. You’ll notice that he has social media integration all set up on HelpfulPharmacist.com. You can click to follow him on Facebook and all of that stuff, he started that process down at the bottom of every post.

And every post has an image. Using the Yoast SEO plugin you can make sure those images show up, so when you share that post on Facebook you get a nice image with that Facebook post. That’s really good because we know people are more likely to share content that has images. After all, we’re visual people. You want those killer images. I happen to know that those images on Helpful Pharmacist are coming from DollarPhotoClub.com.

I hope that helps you out. I’ll see you next week.

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