In business blogging, your platform is as important as the stage is in a public speech.
Setting up your business blog is exciting and a little nerve-wracking. Those supposedly “in the know” say it’s easy, while others say it’s very difficult unless you have technical knowledge. In my opinion it’s actually a bit of both, depending on the blogging platform and content management system (CMS) you choose. It’s worth doing some research into the different options (and there are LOTS!) before you rush headlong into setting up a blog that you’re going to struggle with forever.
Some of the most commonly-used programs for business blogging all offer similar features with a few differences, but it’s the user-friendliness that’s important—especially if you’re new to the task and don’t have time for a steep learning curve. So let’s look at what’s available before you decide.
Currently top of the CMS pops, WP is considered the most powerful and user-friendly of the business blogging platforms. You can use it for your entire website, if you’re planning to manage the process yourself. In spite of the hype around the “easy-to-use,” drag and drop templates available, however, if you don’t know what you’re doing you can spend hours and hours trying to figure out where to go to publish something. So, WP is great if you get a professional site or blog set up and then just upload the posts yourself. Don’t forget to have your All-in-One or Yoast SEO packs installed, otherwise your blog won’t be findable on Google.
Whether you choose a hosted or a self-hosted option, the main drawback with WP is the lack of technical support. If you’re stuck, you have to try and get help from the WP community of users or find an article written by someone who has experienced the same problem. Since nobody is getting paid to assist users, it can be a hit-and-miss approach. Having said that, if you google any “how to” question on WP you’re likely to find multiple results covering it, including YouTube videos with instructions. Hosted WP may come with tech support for the hosting but it’s unusual for them to help you with using the software.
Blogger belongs to Google, which some users believe gives you an edge in terms of web exposure and searchability. The use of the software is free and so is the hosting, which makes it ideal for anyone unfamiliar with the technical aspects of setting up a blog. It’s also very easy to manage and you can create your own blog domain without being forced to include the ISP’s name, as sites like Wix and Weebly do. It also synchronizes seamlessly with Google, which can only be a good thing. The drawbacks of using Blogger are:
- That it doesn’t have anywhere near as many compatible plug-ins as WP does, which puts a damper on design customization.
- Google officially “owns” your blog, which means you have to toe the line in terms of your blog content. You also need to do regular backups, in case Google discontinues the system at any time.
- Blogger offers limited template designs, so while you might find something acceptable for a personal or community blog, it doesn’t give you the best options for representing business bloggers.
Marketing software company HubSpot offers a fabulous, state-of-the-art platform that also lends itself to carrying your entire company website. It’s particularly great for blogging because it offers templates and statistics for lead generation, as well as the chance to research and set up lists of keywords right in the CMS. It even gives you keyword suggestions to use in your posts, although it doesn’t have an SEO Check like WP does. It also has a support team, which WP doesn’t.
The problem with HS is that it costs money, where WP is free unless you’re actually buying hosting from the company. This makes it more accessible to larger companies, and those that sell online and need a sturdy platform to carry the load. Both HS and WP “talk” directly to mailer programs such as MailChimp, Constant Contact and Google’s MailerLite, and you can also use the CMSs for email marketing direct from the platform.
A CMS along the lines of the original, database-driven systems, EE is quite well-developed these days. It’s partly open-source and partly commercial, but you still have to pay for a licence to use it. It’s a little more difficult than HubSpot and WP are if you want to change the design HTML, but still usable.
If you’re ready to get started with business blogging and need help setting up or populating your blog, contact us for a quote to help you.