Last week we offered five tips on how to get a company blog started. Today, we’re going to offer five tips on how to choose what blogging platform you’re going to use. There are a lot of considerations as you make this decision, so this will just be enough to get you started.
1. Decide whether you want to use an actual blogging platform or an alternative like Google Plus
Some companies and individuals have found that Google Plus, the social network Google launched about two years ago, is a good place to write blog-length posts. The posts are easy to share, there’s no character limit like on Twitter, and anyone with a Google Plus account can comment. With blogging platforms, your comments section may require that a person have an account with your blogging platform or your comments platform and that can cause frustration. One disadvantage to this approach is that if someone likes your post and wants to see what else you’ve written, they can’t simply scroll through your blog-type posts. They would have to scroll through all of your updates whereas on a blog they could simply scroll through your archives.
2. Determine whether your blog will be self-hosted
We alluded to this last week, but generally there are two options when planning your blog. The first is to host your own website, and the second is to post your blog to a platform external to your website or company domain. If your blog is self-hosted, your URL can be customized, so it could be yourcompany.com/blog or blog.yourcompany.com. Self-hosting your blog can also boost your SEO because you are regularly adding content to your site. If people link to your blog post it can also add incoming links to your site. Externally hosted websites do not offer these benefits.
If you are not self-hosting your blog, there are three other primary blogging platforms that are commonly used.
3. Decide whether you want to use Blogger
Blogger is a product of Google. This means that you can access your blog from your Google dashboard, which is convenient if you also use YouTube, gmail, or Google Drive (the document sharing application Google offers). Because it’s part of the Google “family,” Blogger can help you with SEO keywords and Google may favor Blogger blogs over blogs on other platforms. Blogger is a great platform if you are just learning how to blog because it is easy to use and there are not as many templates and other options to choose from. We shifted away from Blogger because we found that social media sharing was not as effective on that platform. Additionally, most Blogger blogs necessitate logging into your own Blogger account in order to comment.
4. Decide whether you want to use WordPress.com
WordPress has two different arms. WordPress.org is what many companies use to build a self-hosted blog on their site. It is a software solution versus a platform. WordPress.com, where you are as you read this post, is a free blogging platform. We like WordPress.com for a lot of reasons. Namely, there are a lot of customizable templates available, SEO is easy to build into the blog posts, and social media sharing is easy to integrate into your site. There are a few disadvantages as well. For example, the free site does not enable you to block random Google ads that can appear on your site. There is a fee to block those whereas a self-hosted blog automatically blocks those kinds of ads.
5. Decide whether you want to try other blog platforms
There are of course a wealth of other platforms you can explore. Tumbler.com is a popular one but it really is ideally suited for graphics heavy blogging. TypePad has also been around for awhile and is an effective platform. The most important thing as you go through this decision process is, as always, to determine how you want people to approach your blog and what you want to accomplish. Matching your objectives with what a platform is capable of can make your decision-making process much easier.
We hope this offers some guidance in what can be an intimidating decision as you begin your blog. If you have any questions just let us know!
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jakecaptive/3205277810/ via Creative Commons