How Many Blog Posts Should You Have Ready at Launch?

Launch your blog right!

[This post is part of the Ultimate Guide to Launching a WordPress-Powered Blog series.]

I’ve been asked this question more than a few times so I’ve decided to address it directly and simply via a blog post!

The question I get asked is simply about the number of blog posts someone should have ready to publish (or pre-published) before the public announcement and release of their new blog.

The answer, like many answers that I give, is simply this: It Depends.

But, that probably isn’t good enough for most of your inquiring minds! Here’s how to best decide for yourself the amount of blog posts that you should have ready when you launch that new blog:

Let Your Categories Guide You:

The first determining factor is simply your categories. At this point you’ve probably done at least some strategy (I would hope) about what your blog focus might be and as a direct result the number of categories you might have.

If you haven’t then you probably need to review this Blogging Starter Kit before you move forward!

The point is that you should have as many blog posts as you have categories at the ready. Practically, this is how this would look and why this is important:

  1. If you have 5 main categories I typically suggest that you have at least one post ready for each category – 5 blog posts at least.
  2. This way you can quickly launch your blog with those categories laid out for your community so that they can get a very good taste of what’s to come and what they can expect from a content coverage perspective.
  3. It also proves as a first line of defense as it relates to category bloat. If you’re having a hard time creating content for all of those categories then perhaps you have too many (or some are too weak for you to write about at this time).

This is typically a great starting point for new bloggers and helps give them something to shoot for just before launch.

Launching with One or Many Posts Published?

A follow-up question that I always get is whether or not you should pre-publish all of these posts before you publicly announce your new blog to the world. Here are my thoughts for your consideration:

  1. It depends on how often you’re going to publish. If you publish every day of the week then don’t pre-publish and just publish that ready-to-publish content every single day. You’re set!
  2. If you’re not going to publish every day and you’re on a much more long schedule (between posts) perhaps there is wisdom in you pre-publishing those first posts in each category so that your new audience can get a good feel for who you are and what you’re going to be blogging about. Go ahead and publish them and then announce!

Again, it’s totally up to you in the end but you’re going to want to consider ultimately what is the most sustainable for you!

I hope that helps and provides at least a framework for you to think in!

Your Turn: What did you do for your blog? What have you seen work?

[This post is part of the Ultimate Guide to Launching a WordPress-Powered Blog series.]

  • Eric Dye

    I had a lot planned out, but it’s taken a whole life of its own and started steering itself.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      is that a good thing?

      • Eric Dye

        Only time will tell!

  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

    It’s useful to note that you can retroactively publish in WordPress. You can change the date stamp to be whatever you want it to be. So in one day, you can launch your blog and just date stamp the posts as if they were posted in the past. That helped me.

    What I did was basically just to write 12 blog posts. Once I did that, I published the ten blog posts with a date stamp in the past. Then I had two posts ready to go as I began to promote and write more posts.

    If I had to do it again, I might even try to get even more ahead with the writing. For me, I’ve found it’s very helpful to have several posts ready to be posted. This way I can spend more time focusing on blog promotion at the beginning and know that I have content readily available.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      loren,

      love these tips. i think you’re right as promotion in the beginning is critical!

  • CreativeBlogger

    I conducted extensive research, developed my social strategy, and wrote an entire year’s worth of daily posts in preparation for the launch of CreativeBlogger … #Lie

    I kinda just made it live one day. #Truth

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      whoa. i got caught in that first sentence…!

    • http://www.graphicdesignboss.com GraphicDesignBoss

      Funny!

  • http://www.familysynergy.wordpress.com JD Eddins

    Before the launch of my latest blog I gave myself a month to do some planning and writing. I went ahead and wrote about 20 posts and had an additional 30-40 topics or post titles ready.
    My blog covers 4 specific topics under the umbrella of family and I planned to post everyday. So the first week I had an introductory post and then one for each of the categories. As the weeks have moved on I have tried to keep things balanced, but some weeks focus more on marriage or parenting than others.
    The great thing is, because of the preparation I did at the beginning I haven’t struggled to come up with new content.
    I think if you do go with the second option of launching with several posts at the same time that you need to make sure an include interlinks, making it easier for people to go back and read these posts.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      20 posts?!? WOW! that’s a lot!

      love the thoughts about “architecting” your blog posts. i do that a lot here on this blog!

  • http://www.bensayin.com Ben

    Although my blog is really a personal blog, I still wanted to take it serious. I wrote as much as I could for a couple of months before launch, to see what kind of categories I liked writing about, and once those drafts showed me the areas I liked best, I made those categories and started publishing. The weird thing is, I still have about 30 or so drafts from before I launched, and I’ve been able to write on most of the categories I set on a weekly basis.

    I kind of keep those drafts for a rainy day.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      that is great ben. is there any logic or pattern in your drafts?

      • http://www.bensayin.com Ben

        Nothing clear just yet, but the reoccuring theme of encouraging and challenging others resonates pretty loud after I post. As time goes on I believe it will become clear as day. I hope.

        • http://john.do John Saddington

          ;) i think it will!

    • http://newbloghosting.com Peter P

      I have about 30 drafts going back over the last 3 years.

      I never remember that I have them and always just write something new!

      DOH!

      • http://john.do John Saddington

        whoa!

  • ThatGuyKC

    I had this same question when I launched SomeWiseGuy. I knew of bloggers who launched with nothing and some who were amassing 20+ posts prior to their launch date.

    Since SomeWiseGuy has 3 primary categories that is what I launched with. My thinking was that if I launched with too much pre-published content it would be overwhelming or go completely unread. So far been pretty satisfied.

    Great advice.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      yeah. you’ll hear a number of different opinions, all of which i think are valid and true! gotta take it contextually!

  • http://alexspeaks.com Alex Humphrey

    The responses to this one are great! Everything from “I kinda just made it live one day.” to “I went ahead and wrote about 20 posts and had an additional 30-40 topics or post titles ready.”

    To answer your question, I only had two posts in the bag with about 10-15 topics ready to write on. This was mostly because I set a deadline for myself and even though I wasn’t 100% ready, I knew I’d never do it if I didn’t start.

    Now I am about 1-week ahead, though some weeks I don’t get that done. I am setting goals for myself to work through it and get ahead in my writing.

  • http://blogussion.com Derek Jensen

    John, a man by the name of Corbett Barr from ThinkTraffic suggests to his readers that you should write at least 10 posts that cover all different spectrums or angles for the content at your blog and release all of them. Then on launch have a round up post that talks about those posts (that you have spend a good amount of thought and time on) so when people come they see you’ve already established some content and they can figure out if this will truly be a blog they come to or are a part of.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      that can work but why 10? what if you just have only a handful of categories? definitely could work though… love that thought.!

    • http://www.adamlehman.us Adam Lehman

      Definitely going to use this method on my next launch. Coming soon….

      • http://john.do John Saddington

        sweet! ;)

  • http://newbloghosting.com Peter P

    I would suggest that if you’re not going to publish daily and are going to have days between each post, it might be a good idea to have two posts for each category, one which you publish at launch and one which you publish in the next week or so after.

    Otherwise, some categories could go without posts for a long time and will seem ‘dead’ to readers.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      that’s a good suggestion peter.

  • http://www.tillhecomes.org/blog Jeremy Myers

    John,

    Do you know how to get Google Reader to offer suggestions in the “more like this” drop down menu for my blog? I’ve tried to find out more about this online, but so far…nothing.

    By the way, your blog doesn’t have anything listed under “more like this” either.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      taht’s a great question….. i’m not even sure…! will take a look.

      • http://www.tillhecomes.org/blog Jeremy Myers

        John,

        Frankly…the reason I wonder is not so much that I want people to find other blogs from mine…but more selfishly, I want my blog to get listed when people click on “more like this” from other people’s blogs.

        I imagine you do too…

        • http://john.do John Saddington

          love for people to “discover” me by accident but i don’t bank on that and it doesn’t bother me. I honestly have a very very very simple strategy: create amazing content.

          and that’s about it. i think the rest falls in place… it’s worked so far!

  • Brandon

    Awesome tips! Thanks for sharing!

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      sure thing brandon!

  • http://www.graphicdesignboss.com GraphicDesignBoss

    I started off with 5 pre-written posts and just started posting day after day.

    I have a vague book outline that I’m writing to which helps give me ongoing editorial focus.

    My main issue is getting the look and feel I want on my blog with next to no money to spend! Writing is easy because its free!

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      love that. yes. free. i like that word.!

  • http://wpco.de Andrew

    Now going back over your posts while I look at launching my blog, I’m starting to see the benefit of having posts ready to go when I’m ready to launch the site.

    However at the same time I am thinking that it is probably worthwhile looking at not only having posts ready for launching, but also looking at having some posts up my sleeve to be published in the 2-3 weeks following launch, and having them all ready to go so that I can focus on promotion while I have new blog posts coming out regularly during the promotion period.

  • http://www.walkwiththewise.wordpress.com Gail

    The day I started my blog I had no pre-written posts. It never occured to me to do so. But it would have been useful to have some ready to go in advance.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      sure thing gail! i highly recommend this strategy.

  • James

    I am still building my first blog and it’s going to be about rock music. So far I have about 19 articles and I haven’t released it yet.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      sweet! that’s great!

  • Elle

    Good post! I’d add a couple of things:

    1. It is good to at least have one post per content focus (category) but I’d suggest at least two, so that if readers click on a category link they won’t be too disappointed or frustrated. (I’d also add tags to posts [if you're going to use them] but not display them in the templates yet.)

    2. When to publish them (or date them)? I think it depends on how timely the articles are. News posts should be dated or published accordingly, etc.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      great thoughts here! for sure have posts to fill out the categories!

  • Daniel

    great post and comments!
    I’m making my blog official in 3 days and have I think 18 posts published right now. At least 3-8 per category.
    Around 30 more ideas and rough outlines written down.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      awesome! way to go!

  • http://www.distillingwords.com Chris Lovie-Tyler

    I launched with five posts up (and a heap of partly drafted posts ready to go) and did pretty much what you’ve suggested, which was cover the main categories I was going to be blogging about.

    I only post once a week, so I wanted to give people a good taste of what was to come, without them having to wait another week to get another bite.

    It felt like a good way to launch, like I was on the front foot.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      sounds like a great strategy!

  • http://smsblaze.org Maria Bano

    Excellent post. You really dialed that in. It’s the simple principles that worked for people that have already been where we are heading and desire to be that we should pay close attention to.Thanks for keeping it real and I always look forward to your next post!