If you want to start a blog, whether for personal or business reasons, the first thing to ask yourself is, “which blogging platforms can I use to get my voice out there?” The truth is, in this day and age, there are various potential blogging platforms (with little-to-no differences), making it tough and often negligible to choose which one to utilize. So here are a few tips, highlights and examples to guide you through your choice.
Why Are You Starting a Blog?
The obvious question here: what’s the purpose of the blog? If your goal is to update your friends about your activist trip to Ethiopia, then you might want something catered more toward long-form copy. Think about looking into Blogger (Google’s platform) for this. This one isn’t super customizable, but its posting interface is really basic. What I like about it is that it puts the post front and center—no real emphasis on site navigation, no quirky theme generators, etc.
If, however, you own an air conditioner repair company, and you want to start a blog that’s really interactive with your customers, then you might look into Tumblr. This platform is admittedly not a straight-ahead blogging engine as much as it is a stream-of-consciousness, “this is a cool thing, but it’s too long to post on Facebook” engine. In the A/C example, your goal is engagement, so this platform is great because it incorporates hashtagging and encourages further interaction and sharing.
Blogging Platforms Themes and Customization
The second consideration when starting a blog is how you want itto actually look. If you want your blog to be super basic (as in my activism example above), then a platform with less customization would suffice. These are easier to use, but are definitely less developed.
However, if you want to treat your blog more like a half-website, half-blog, then you should look into WordPress. I could write pages (upon pages) describing the capabilities and benefits of this publisher. There are tons of websites and online magazines out there that use it as a full-fledged web development tool. Fortunately, the themes at your disposal are really exhaustive.
What’s more, there are tons of forums devoted to offering free themes to customize your WordPress account. Of course you can pay for a “premium” theme if you want, but I’ve found the free options are more than sufficient.
You should be aware, though, of just how complicated WordPress themes can actually get. As I mentioned, there are so many sites out there that use the blogging platforms as an actual development vehicle. So you could, theoretically, hire a web developer who’s familiar with WordPress and HTML coding (along with all the awkward plugins associated with it) to build you a website using WP’s engine as host. It’s kind of a one-stop-shop for the more complicated blogs.
Something people don’t often consider about blogging platforms is that many of them come with a community and audience built in and ready to find your content. Sure, you probably planned on writing blog posts, pushing them out to your Facebook friends, and emailing them to family. But if you use a platform like WordPress, you’ll find that users peruse WordPress’s many blogs, and might even find your blog under the “new and featured’ sections. It’s a whole new audience that you probably hadn’t expected.
Take Tumblr as another example. As I mentioned, hashtags are readily available (and frequently used) on Tumblr. While people aren’t necessarily interested in seeing long-form posts, they are used to discovering brand new Tumblr accounts to follow. Tumblr users are very dedicated users and will probably repost to their own friends—further amplifying your message.
It Can’t Hurt to Try Several Blogging Platforms
As a closing point, the best blog engine for you is the one that’s…well, best for you. I couldn’t possibly tell you which blogging platforms are the most ideal, (we use WordPress.org because of it’s flexibility and premium themes) because your situation is very specific. Thankfully, most of them are free. So just give them a try. Experiment with a few to determine which one you like best. The most important thing is you’re blogging, so you’ll be on the road to effective engagement in no time.
This website is created using wordpress responsive design, and can be viewed on any PC, laptop, smartphone and tablet. Remember that blogging requires consistent content creation to rise in search.
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