Last week I briefly went into some of the benefits that having a business blog can hold for you and your business.
Although there are a number of perks that come hand in hand with maintaining a blog, it truly is one of the best measures that you can take to humanize your company for your target audience. However, you want to make sure that the blogging platform that you choose allows you to showcase your strengths.
So is there one blog hosting platform that is better to use than others?
In my opinion, the answer is YES!
WordPress is the cream of the crop when it comes to blogging.
“Why?” you may ask…I’ll tell ya!
The first thing that you need to know about WordPress is that there are two different versions: wordpress.com and wordpress.org. Although they have a lot of similarities, there are a few differences between the two that are important to understand before creating your blog.
WordPress.com is a website where you can create your blog, and your blog address is going to be a wordpress.com address. In other words, not at your own domain – not at yourbusiness.com. This impacts your ability to brand yourself.
So WordPress.com is good for bloggers who do not have their own website/domain. It allows you to create and maintain your own site on their platform.
However, if you already have a website, which as a business owner YOU SHOULD, wordpress.org is a better choice for you. Not only does downloading the software version allow you to use it on your own website, but it allows you to use your own custom domain name or url as well.
This is extremely beneficial with respect to SEO (search engine optimization) and it will make it easier for people to both find and remember your site.
Aside from that obvious benefit, there are many other reasons why I recommend WP as a blogging platform as well.
For one, it is 100% FREE. Why pay money for something when you can get it for free? Especially when it offers essentially everything you could ever need for your blog.
Oh, and…it is constantly being updated and enhanced to better meet your wants and needs.
Compared to most other blog hosting platforms, WP is super versatile. You can customize it to fit your needs and business in a number of ways.
One of the first things that you do after you install your new WP blog on your domain is to pick a theme or template that will be the base of your blog. This is the visual layout of your blog, which of course needs to be attractive and engaging and represent who you are and how you want your audience to perceive you.
Not only are there thousands of premade themes – many of them free, and some of them paid – but you can create your own if you have the skills, or you can outsource the task to someone fairly cheaply on oDesk or http://www.fiverr.com/ if you like.
With most pre-designed themes, once you have installed it, you can customize it by putting in your own pictures and ideas.
What’s more, if there are certain aspects of a theme that you don’t like – say the contacts form- there is usually a plug-in (or add-on) that will allow you to change it. There are thousands of plug-ins that are easy to install and that serve as easy to use tools to help you create your ideal blogging site.
You also have a lot of choices about the organization of your blog site. You can choose which widgets – which are essentially helpful tools – that you want to incorporate in your sidebar.
If you blog often, it would be a good idea to include the archive widget, which allows readers to pick a month and see which posts you have written during that month.
If you are familiar with a lot of other websites that you know would be beneficial to your readers/clients, you can include them in your blogroll.
Again, one of the best things about WP is it is so customizable and can be manipulated to showcase you and your business in exactly the way that YOU want it to. It does require a degree of expertise to design new templates, etc., but as long as you don’t want to go too design-crazy, the basic functionality is easy to use.
Although the steps and concepts that I described above may sound complicated, WP is set up in a way that is really straight forward, and easy to use and understand.
Trust me, when I first decided to install WP in order to create my first blog, I was terrified that it was going to be overwhelming and that I would have to hire someone just to set everything up the way I wanted it. I am not exactly the most tech-savvy person when it comes to website design and coding and all of that jazz.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have gotten some help here and there. BUT, for the most part I was pleasantly surprised by how easy the whole thing was, and I’m confident you will be too.
And of course, that means it’s easy to train my interns to use the blogging platform as well – that’s important because they generally come in with no WordPress experience at all.
Another bonus is that when you are confused or have questions, WP has some great resources available to clear them up. WP has a huge archive of tutorials that cover a ton of different concepts.
If you don’t understand how to install a plug-in, all you have to do is go to the search bar, type in what you need to know, and a ton of articles will show up that will cover everything you could ever possibly want or need to know about plug-in installation.
It makes solving a problem really easy and it can be done in a snap.
If for some reason you can’t find what you need to know in any of the tutorial articles, the WordPress team is at your disposal as well. All you have to do is join the forum, which takes about two seconds, and then post your question. You can expect a reply within a day or two.
They are the techno-geniuses, and are there with the very specific purpose of helping YOU. When I was having a difficult time understanding the process that I would have to go through to change some visual elements of my blog, they not only told me what I would have to do in order to make the changes, but were very willing to provide coding help. Their confidence and willingness to help allayed my fears, and strengthened my own confidence.
The main dashboard is extremely straightforward, and it will notify you automatically if there are new comments for you to moderate or if there are any updates for the software or plug-ins. You can easily access every aspect of your blog site from the dashboard.
When writing posts, there are a number of options for you. You can either save your writing as a draft, schedule it to be posted at a certain date and time, or post it on the spot.
The tools bar at the top of the post makes it simple to add pictures, videos and hyperlinks to your post. And what’s more, WP uses the same shortcut commands as Microsoft Word does, so you don’t have to learn any new methods in order to quickly customize and change your fonts.
Another advantage to WP is that it is very SEO friendly. Not only is it keyword oriented, but WP make it really easy for Google to rate your content. The “category” option for each of your blog posts, the ability to name your links, and the inclusion of keywords makes it much easier for Google to find your posts and to rank them higher on search results pages.
Overall, WordPress is an awesome blogging platform. It exceeds expectations where many other blogging platforms are lacking.
So if you feel like you want to incorporate a blog into your business website, keep WordPress.org and their downloadable software on the top of your list of blogging platforms.
Do you have any WordPress stories of your own? Are there things that you just don’t like about it? Let me know your thoughts by clicking on the talk bubble icon on the upper right hand side of this post or by leaving a comment below.
Take the world by storm – why not? It’s yours!!
Make it Great!