Writecombination Marketing
by Andrew Knowles

Your guide to choosing the best blogging platform

You’ve decided that it’s time to get your business blog up and running. But before you can reap the SEO benefits and the increased credibility that regular blogging can deliver, there are more choices to make.

One of the most important is selecting the system to host your blog posts. Three critical factors influencing your decision are convenience, cost and control.

1. Blogging convenience

If you’re like most business bloggers, you’re not interested in, and don’t have the time to learn, basic HTML or other technical aspects of posting material online. You want to write up an article, proofread it, add a nice picture, and hit ‘Publish’.

Most blogging systems make it easy to do just this. Using one of the two leading online systems, Blogger and Wordpress, you can set up your blog and have your first post on the web in minutes. If your blog is very visual, you may want to consider a relative newcomer, Tumblr.

If your business runs its own website, that site may be built in a content management system that includes a blogging function. Your site may even be built in Wordpress, one of the leading blogging tools. In this case, you’ll need to speak with your website administrator (which could be your web designer) to discover how to access and use the blogging functions.

Note about Wordpress. There are two approaches to using Wordpress. The quick, convenient method is to set up a Wordpress blog that runs from the Wordpress.com site. The alternative is to have your own copy of Wordpress running on a server of your choice. This often requires more technical knowledge to establish.

2. Blogging cost

It costs nothing (other than your time) to create and run a blog on Blogger, Wordpress.com or Tumblr. However, the blog’s web address will include the name of the blogging platform. For example, our blog would be www.writecombination.blogspot.co.uk on Blogger or www.writecombination.tumblr.com on Tumblr.

If you want your own custom domain, that is, a web address without ‘blogspot’, ‘tumblr’ or ‘wordpress’ in the URL, you need to pay. Not a lot, just a few pounds each year, but it’s no longer free. Each of these sites makes it easy for you to purchase a custom domain name.

More costs come if you want to run your blog from a computer of your choice. There are hosting fees, typically around £100 a year. If you want a specific look to your blog, you can buy templates, or even have a custom design created.

To ensure a high quality of blog posts, you may want to have your work checked by a professional proofreader or copy editor. You may even pay for some, or all, of your posts to be written by a copywriter.

Other costs of running a blog could include buying high quality images for your posts and paying to advertise your blog through Google Adwords or on other websites. Marketing your blog, to draw in readers, will cost time and/or money.

3. Blogging control

When choosing blogging platforms, there’s a trade-off between convenience and control. 

Blogger is perhaps best suited to the absolute beginner, being very easy to use. The novice user might be excited at the variety of features on offer, the choice of templates, and the easy access to statistics. But once you have a little experience, what seemed flexible could begin to feel restrictive, and you’ll start doubting Blogger’s statistics. Compare them with Google Analytics (which you can also use on Blogger) and you’ll see quite different results.

As a basic rule, more control over your blog comes with more costs. Many bloggers are drawn to Wordpress because they believe it offers maximum flexibility for minimum cost, but it still has limitations. For example, Blogger makes it really easy to add Google ads to generate revenue, but getting paid adverts on your Wordpress blog, unless you host it yourself, is much harder. It's also impossible to use Google Analytics on a free blog running on Wordpress.com.

Take your time making the right choice

Having read this far, you’ll understand that it’s best not to rush into choosing a blogging system without considering the implications of your decision. And whichever you select today might not be the best fit in a year or two.

If you’d like more advice on choosing a blogging platform, you’re welcome to get in touch with us.  Fill out our contact form or get in touch through TwitterLinkedIn or Google+.

You may find our guide to business blogging a useful read.

Which blogging platform would you recommend? Please leave a comment to help those trying to choose.

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For a no-obligation chat about copywriting and social media services, call us on 07970 108191 or email hello@writecombination.com