I am currently in the process of launching a brand new blog in partnership with a friend of mine. This is the first project that I have shared ownership in - we both own 50% of the blog each. I thought it would make a good case study for people on WPLift to see how I build and launch a brand new blog. In this post I will go through all the stages of setting up the site and what plans I have for attracting traffic to the site - I will then do updates every 3 months or so to show you how the site is doing.
About the Blog
The domain is PhotographicBlog.com. It will be covering all things related to taking photographs, Photographic Equipment, Photoshop tutorials and examples of great Photography. The posting will be shared between my friend and I, he doesn't have experience with blogging but is an amazing Photographer so he will be contributing the various guides to taking photos. I have experience building blogs and know Photoshop inside out so I will be writing Photoshop tutorials and handling the site promotion.
Photography seems to be quite a saturated area when it comes to domain names, I will only ever launch a site with a .com so I spent hours trying to come up with something usable for the domain which was really difficult, domain squatters have taken anything half-usable. I then took to approaching people to see if they wanted to sell domains, I got a load of ridiculous prices back - $6,900 for an average domain. I made a post on the DigitalPoint forums asking if anyone was selling domains or sites related to Photography and someone pm'd be saying they had PhotographicBlog.com - an amazing domain for what we wanted! After some negotiation I acquired the domain for around $300 - a great price and perfect for what we need. I would say the domain is worth at least ten times that and will be great for the search engines.
I use Godaddy for all my domains - they are the most full-featured domain registrar. You can get .com domains from $7.49 per year.
I host all my sites on my own dedicated server so I didn't need to get new hosting for this site. If you need reliable hosting for your WordPress site, I would steer clear of HostGator & Godaddy ( they are good for domains, not hosting ). I have customers on these hosts and their sites are really slow. You need a good dedicated hosting company that optimizes for WordPress. I always recommend BlueHost to my customers, they are reliable and have no perfomance issues.
Choosing a Theme
After installing WordPress, I needed a good theme to use as I didn't have time to design and build my own ( this is something I will do in future ) so I decided to search on ThemeForest for something suitable. One of my favourite designers on there is Orman Clark and his Repro theme seemed perfect for what I wanted.
As you can see, we have 6 posts on there currently, I want to get at least 10 good quality posts on the site before we do a full - launch so that any traffic we get from the start could potentially convert into a subscriber. If someone visits an empty blog, it's not likely they will subscribe. If you are starting out - make your first blog posts the best you can so you can start building your subscribers from the start.
In the next post of this case study I will show you how I plan to attract initial traffic and share the stats with you - I will also cover how I plan to monetize the site.