In this post, I talk about how to launch a blog successfully, and how to start over and relaunch if your blog has been dormant for a while. Dive in!
☀️ The Purpose Blog is powered by DreamHost, & 17thAvenue (afflinks). This means I may earn a commission if you purchase their product/s through my link without any extra cost to you. By supporting my affiliate partners, you are allowing me to keep creating content that aims to empower bloggers like you to live a life of purpose. Thanks!
Funny it took me this long. The truth is, this whole process took longer than 2 weeks. The blog you’re seeing right now is more like 2 YEARS in the making, if you’re going to count the time the idea was first conceived.
It took me so long to realize (and accept!) that it was time to rebrand and to begin with a clean slate. More so, it took me so long to really get back in the groove of blogging. (Too long, if I’m honest.)
But as soon as I made up my mind to launch a brand new blog, I was on a roll. In two weeks, I registered a new domain, migrated old posts (the ones I wanted to keep), installed a new WordPress theme, set up all the essentials, and.. voila, here we are now. Welcome to The Purpose Blog.
So before I talk about the relaunch process, here’s a little backstory. (Assuming, of course, that you didn’t know me from Chasingdreams.net.)
From Chasing Dreams to The Purpose Blog
Chasing Dreams is my 9-year old blog that, at my convenience, became everything I needed it to be.
It started off as a personal blog, which somewhat became a lifestyle blog when I started attracting brand sponsorships; and then it became a portfolio that I used to score freelance projects; and then it became a Boutique Design Studio when I started offering branding and web design services; and then it became an online shop when I started selling merch; eventually transitioning back to the family and lifestyle blog that it is today.
By the way, the beauty of self-hosted blogs as opposed to social media pages—your blog is yours! You can do whatever you want with it, and you can turn it into whatever serves your purpose, whenever you need it.
So while all of that was happening, I was also gaining a lot of professional experience in digital marketing. (Read more of my backstory here.) I didn’t really take it seriously in the beginning but people come to me for advice on blogging and digital marketing-related topics, and I realized that I actually enjoy sharing what I know.
It grew in my heart and burned inside of me, the desire to teach blogging as a way to create meaningful content, to inspire change, and to make a living.
Little by little, I started publishing blogging resources on ChasingDreams.net. I launched a free 7-Day e-course on Blogging with Purpose and had an entire content editorial calendar on this topic.
For a short while, this blogging resource site resided in a small section in ChasingDreams.net, which I somehow knew from the beginning wouldn’t hold for long. It has to have its own space, its own identity, its own purpose.
So I registered ThePurposeBlog.com and in 2 weeks’ time, this website was up and running. *victory dance*
You want to start blogging again? Go for it!
This post will start to get technical in a second, and maybe you don’t need to go through this whole process like I did.
Maybe you don’t need to start a new blog or relaunch an old one. Maybe you just need to start hitting “publish” on your blog again after not updating it for months.
Maybe you need to stop saying “I miss blogging” or “I want to blog again” and just start blogging already.
Maybe you need to stop saying “someday” and just start doing something TODAY.
If there’s one thing I hope you’d take away from this post, it’s to JUST DO IT.
You’ll never know what you’re missing unless you make the first step.
In case you want to tweet that—Maybe you need to stop saying SOMEDAY and just start doing something TODAY. You'll never really know what you're missing unless you make the first step. Click To Tweet
New blogger? Check this out instead:
How to Start a Blog: A Guide for Creatives
How to launch a blog successfully in 2 weeks!
This guide is for you if:
- You have an old blog that doesn’t resonate anymore with where you are in life and what you want to pursue moving forward.
- You have an old blog that you stopped updating for some reason, you want to get back to blogging, and you’re wondering whether you should continue your old blog or start a new one.
- You have a blog that you don’t necessarily want to change, BUT you’re experiencing technical difficulties that are slowing you down and affecting your creative process in major ways that you’re on the verge of quitting.
- You’ve been blogging for a while, and you love it so much that you want to level up your blogging, monetize your content, and possibly make a full-time income from it.
I was all of the above at certain points, and there were a lot of questions going on in my head: Should I change my domain name? Do I keep my old web host? Do I change both the domain name and web host? Should I migrate (and rebrand) old content or just start fresh?
There’s no one way to do this process because we’re coming from different situations. But for this post, I’m using my own experience as the starting point.
For me, specifically, the scenario looked like this.
- I needed to replace my web hosting provider since I was experiencing a lot of server issues with the previous one.
- I decided to register a new domain name to separate my personal blog from this new blog project.
- This also means I needed to migrate some content (not all!) from the old blog into this new one.
- Lastly, I intend to have income streams integrated into this new blog, which means I’m also more than willing to put money into tools that will make this space run efficiently.
That said, here’s my step-by-step, 2-week relaunch process.
Disclosure: This post may have affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.
Day 1: Moving Into the New Space
1. Sign up for a Dreamhost plan starting at $2.59/month
I’ve used many web hosts in the past 20 years of blogging and based on my personal experience, Dreamhost is the one that stood the test of time.
I feel so strongly about this because I can attest to how important it is that your blog is hosted on a fast-loading, high-performing, and secured webspace. It makes a lot of difference to your creativity, your website’s performance, and your time management too. There’s more to blogging than you want to spend your hours on, and server problems are unnecessary baggage you don’t want to be carrying around.
If you’re having issues with your web host right now, I highly recommend you move to Dreamhost.
Or, even if you’re not having problems with your web host (in case you’ve practically abandoned your old blog anyway), I suggest you start clean with Dreamhost too.
2. Register your domain name
Should you register a new domain name or not? You could be asking yourself this question for days, for months even, and still find yourself undecided. I personally had to think this through for a long time.
There are a few reasons why you’d want to keep or let go of an old domain name.
When to keep an old domain name
- You had the domain name for a while, and domain authority matters to you. Specifically, in the eyes of Google, a domain’s age can be an indication of authority. So if you had the domain name for, say, more than 5 years, AND you’ve been consistently promoting and publishing content on it as well, you might want to think twice about letting your old domain name go. However, consider also if it satisfies #2.
- Your old domain name still reflects the vision you have moving forward, maybe you just need to restrategize, reorganize or redesign your blog.
When to register a new domain name
- Your old blog is hosted on a free space, i.e. blogspot, Tumblr, or .wordpress.com. Without a doubt, you should get yourself a domain name and self-host your blog, stat.
- Your old domain name does not anymore reflect your season in life or the direction of your blog. For example, you have “mom” or “mother” in your old domain name but you don’t really want to target just moms, you want to target women (or vice versa). Or, your old blog’s name is too broad and you want to make it more targeted.
- Your old domain name is less than 2 years old, you have not created a lot of content, your website is not ranking in Google for any relevant term (or you don’t even bother checking). In other words, you’re not really losing any SEO juices here. Let it go. 🙂
- You don’t want to bother with migration! You don’t want to keep any of your old content. You want to treat your new blog as an entirely new project.
- Fresh start, fresh start, fresh start.
3. Install WordPress
Once you’ve signed up for a Dreamhost plan, installing WordPress is a breeze!
Option 1: From the dashboard
Find the WordPress dropdown from the menu and click “Install WordPress”. Follow the trail from here.
Option 2: Select WordPress Hosting
If you selected WordPress Hosting in step one, your Dreamhost plan will come with an out of the box WordPress installation. Use this option only if you intend to have only one WordPress blog. If you intend to add more domains/websites in your website plan the future using different CMS integration, choose Website Hosting instead.
4. Migrate old content to the new blog
Dreamhost makes is super easy to transfer old WordPress blogs to their server with a Dreamhost-exclusive plugin. Take note that some web hosts (like InMotion Hosting and Bluehost) charge a fee if you want to transfer your old website to their servers. Dreamhost does this for free.
I used the Dreamhost migrator for ChasingDreams.net since I intended to keep ALL of my old content and files. If you have 10+ years’ worth of blog content and photos to transfer (like I did), migration can be super stressful! Dreamhost makes this seamless and painless, with little to no downtime! Epic.
That said, I only transferred a few pages from ChasingDreams.net to ThePurposeblog.com. Naturally, I only transferred here the posts that have to do with blogging.
How to migrate specific posts
- On your old blog’s WordPress dashboard, manually place the posts you want to migrate under a unique category.
- Using WordPress’ built-in Export functionality (Tools > Export), choose the category to migrate and download the export file.
- On your new blog’s WordPress dashboard, use the built-in Import functionality (Tools > Import) to run the importer and upload the exported file. —
Feeling overwhelmed by the migration process?
Seriously consider restarting on a clean slate
Migrating websites can get really overwhelming. This is why starting on a clean slate may be a wiser and more practical option for you. Think hard about how truly important your old posts are to your new blog. Are they relevant to your new blog’s purpose, topic-wise?
Sometimes, it’s hard to let go of these old posts (trust me, I know!) even when they don’t have any real value to your bottom line. For all you know, these old irrelevant posts might cause your website’s performance and visibility more harm than good. I personally deleted and removed an enormous amount of old content (the LiveJournal-esque ones LOL) from my old blog. Sure, I kept a copy of them for posterity’s sake. But they don’t have any purpose anymore moving forward so it was easy for me to let them go.
Think about it! Consider starting fresh.
Days 2-3: DIY Blog Design
5. Create a simple blog style guide.
It gets tempting to dwell on this stage but I say, don’t spend more than 2 days on your blog’s design if you’re doing the DIY route.
The best scenario, of course, is to commission a professional Website Designer. If you have the budget for it, by all means, go for it. But if you’re bootstrapping and doing DIY, you only have to consider the following design elements:
First, a text-based logo
I used to spend so much time designing my own logos, but now I’m more appreciative of simple, minimalist, text-based ones.
My current straightforward logo design process? Pick a font, apply kerning, done!
Yep. Take that from someone who used to offer branding and web design services. *ehem*
Your branding, after all, is not your logo. Branding is the overall vibe of your blog, how you present yourself through your content, and what other people talk about you when you’re not in the room, so to speak.
When it comes to blogging, especially if you’re in the early stages, the best way to establish your brand is first and foremost through content.
So don’t stress out over your logo, really.
Second, the web-font / type combination
Less is more when choosing web fonts. Having too many font types all over your blog can be stressful to the eyes, so don’t go beyond 2-3 font types for your blog.
I personally like using a serif + sans serif combo, as you can see here at The Purpose Blog. Example:
DM Serif Display
Brandon Grotesque for subheadings
EB Garamond for body texts
The good thing about investing in a premium WordPress theme (step #7) is that they already come with professional-looking font combinations and plugins that make customizing and switching fonts super easy!
Choosing logotypes and web fonts
For designing logos and blog headers, I like investing in premium fonts. Creative Market is a good place to find affordable font types you’d like to keep using across the board—from your branded Pinterest covers to your blog pages to your social media channels.
Confession time: I have a thing for this font type called BRANDON GROTESQUE. If you’re a design or typography enthusiast, I’m willing to bet it didn’t take you a second to notice Brandon Grotesque all over my website/s and designs. I can not help myself, you guys. I’ve been using this font type for… 10 years now and I’m still in love with it until now. I might as well be married to it, haha.
But this font is a bit pricey too, and I’m glad there are new fonts that are available today that are more affordable.
You can also choose display fonts for your logo or for words that you want to pop up on your graphics. Creative Market has an insane amount of beautiful display fonts you can choose from, such as these:
[button url=”https://creativemarket.com/fonts?u=rhizaoyos” target=”_self” size=”medium” display=”inline-block” float=”none”]Shop Fonts at Creative Market[/button]
I hope you find a font you’d like to marry too. Haha.
I recommend investing in a display font to use for your logo and choosing a sans-serif or serif combination from Google Fonts for your web content. Again, Google font types are usually plugged into a premium WordPress theme already.
Next, the color palette
Applying color is one way to give your blog pages some form of continuity and personality. It’s also nice to look into color psychology if you want to be more intentional in choosing colors.
When deciding on your color palette, I recommend choosing one accent color and one neutral color. You’ll need this color palette when you’re planning out your visuals across your blog and social media.
6. Invest in stock photo bundles
I couldn’t stress enough how important visuals are in blogging, especially for creatives. And even more essential if your target readers are also creative people.
Good visuals attract people to your blog and make your pages look more professional. They also play a huge role in your brand strategy, specifically in the way photos carry a consistent vibe across your blog pages and social media channels.
That being said, I also know how time-consuming it is to squeeze in a photoshoot for the purpose of taking branded photos. For sure, if you have the extra time, publishing original photos on your blog is still the best option.
However investing in stock photo bundles is proving to be a cost-efficient alternative today. Especially when you’re relaunching a blog, you will need photos on your main pages that would look uniform across the board.
There are so many good premium stock photos available online and I like getting mine from Creative Market.
[button url=”https://creativemarket.com/search?q=bundles&categoryIDs=6?u=rhizaoyos” target=”_self” size=”medium” display=”inline-block” float=”none”]Shop Stock Photo Bundles at Creative Market[/button]
I also love Moyo Studio, and if you look around this website you’ll see hints of Moyo Studio here and there too.
[button url=”https://thepurposeblog.com/moyostudio” target=”_self” size=”medium” display=”inline-block” float=”none”]Shop Stock Photo Bundles at Moyo Studio[/button]
The good thing about buying a stock photo bundle, aside from saving a ton of cash, is that you get a set of photos that have a unified look for such a small price.
More so, because these stock photo sellers are professionals themselves, they know exactly what you need as well. They apply the best practices in styling photos and dimensions. They’ll provide you with horizontal, vertical and square formats that you can use for your Pinterest covers, social media posts, and blog images.
I like using free stock photos too, and I use Unsplash for that. There are downsides to using free stock photos all the time, though!
Also, for the purpose of a blog launch, I’d definitely spend a little extra on visuals. 😉
7. Install a premium WordPress theme
As a Web Designer and a creative, design is something I don’t take lightly.
As a creative person, I find that having a blog I love looking at helps me in my creative process. Not to mention, a good aesthetic attracts readers and keeps them on your website too.
But I also know that hiring a web designer can be costly. So if you don’t have the budget yet for a web designer, investing in a premium WordPress theme is your next best option.
What’s nice about using a premium WordPress theme is, the theme developer already takes care of the plugins that you need to make it look functional, professional, and pretty.
This is my ultimate favorite WordPress theme resource:
If you love classic and sophisticated, 17th Avenue is for you. This was actually a recent discovery for me but already a favorite! Highly recommended for lifestyle and beauty bloggers, as well as for personal blogs. Chasingdreams.net is designed with a theme from 17th Avenue, as with this blog you’re reading now. 😉
Some sample WordPress Themes from 17th Avenue:
How to install your WordPress theme
Installing your WordPress theme is as easy as uploading a zipped folder and clicking on few links.
What I love about 17th Avenue is how easy they make it for you to install their WordPress themes. Once you purchase your preferred WordPress theme, you will also receive step-by-step instructions on how to install it.
Days 4-5: Plugins & Pages
8. Write and set up your main pages
Make sure you’ve written out and set up the main pages of your blog before you launch. Here are the essential pages you’d want to prioritize:
Consider your home page as your main entrance. Depending on what your purpose is for your blog, your home page should be able to tell your visitors what to expect and where to go. Do you offer services? Do you have a shop? Make it easy to navigate.
Most bloggers already have their blog posts on their home page, but if you have other information on your home page, a separate blog page keeps all of your posts in one place.
The About page is one of the most important but often neglected parts of your website. This is one of the most visited pages so don’t take this one for granted!
Have a page where all your contact details (email address, social media pages) can be easily found, BUT of course without disclosing your actual address and phone numbers.
Sample cost estimate of WordPress blog setup
Total Investment: $90.08
Days 7-13: Content Creation
11. Implement your blog content strategy
If you followed the above process, you would have a fully functioning and professional-looking blog in one week! This means you can dedicate the entire second week to the actual creation of content.
Assuming, of course, that you started the relaunch process already knowing what your direction is for your blog. Establishing your blog content strategy is important because this will set the course for your content creation process and blog monetization moving forward.
If you haven’t done this yet, you can do a quick run of my e-course, 7 Days to Blogging with Purpose.[button url=”https://thepurposeblog.com/blogging-with-purpose-ecourse/” target=”_self” size=”medium” display=”inline-block” float=”none”]Join the 7 Days to Blogging with Purpose[/button]
By going through this e-course and its accompanying workbooks, you’d be able to identify your goals, target readers, unique niche, and blog categories. Towards the end of this workbook, there’s also a page where you can dump blog topic ideas. List down those topics you want to work on and prepare to start writing!
12. Build up your repository of content
For 5 days, focus on just writing content. That’s roughly ONE WEEK, and I challenge you to create one piece of content per day for 5 days.
If you have existing content that you can update or repurpose, you can add this to your repository of content too. The main idea is, you want to be able to schedule content in advance, pre-launch.
I had about 8 blog posts published by the time I launched ThePurposeblog.com—half of them repurposed content, and half of them brand new. That’s enough to go around for my first readers, and enough to capture some subscribers right out of the gate.
Day 14: Blog Launch
Start making noise, your blog is live!
My launch plan was really simple. I prepared an email series to let my subscribers (from my old blog) know of this new blog. Also, using some of the stock photos I bought, I prepared a series of photos for social media.
And there you have it, my 2-week blog relaunch process.
And now it’s your turn! Happy launching!