Blogging initially sounds exciting. You’re sharing your thoughts and expertise with the world. You may be wondering how you’ll launch the blog, how you’ll attract readers, and how you might make money from the site. But the challenge for many is selecting the best blogging platform for your needs. In this article, we will give you a few pointers on how to select the right blogging platform for you.
Some blogs are as convenient to use as a word processor. Just write the content and hit a button to publish it. You should look for blogs that make social media sharing and site management easy as well. If you can share the blogs on social media with only a few more clicks after you publish it, you’ll be better able to attract readers. If you want to use more advanced features and functions without having to break out the manual, go for a user-friendly site.
Another thing you should be looking for is hosting. Sure, hosted sites might be good if you’re getting started, but they do have their share of limitations as well. For instance, if you go with a WordPress.com site, then your domain will always have a “wordpress.com” as part of its domain. This can be a serious issue when trying to brand yourself.
But if you get your own hosting plan and install WordPress on your server instead, you’ll get much more advantages. For instance, you’ll get:
- More flexibility
- Better performance
- More SEO friendly
- Allow you to control how you display ads and monetise your site
- Back-end features and more customisation
In other words, if you’re trying to be serious with your blogging, then forget hosted sites. But if it’s simply for a hobby or a personal blog, then a Tumblr, WordPress.com or Blogger site might do.
Some blogging platforms are intended for the general blogger, those who intend to post personal opinions and experiences. Not all blogging platforms will support a business blog. For example, not all blogging platforms streamline the integration of e-commerce into the site. Another problem is credibility. Your business looks less credible if you’re putting a business site on a free blogging platform.
You may want to be careful of posting a business blog on a web host that would put ads on your site to pay for free hosting. These sites may not let you post other ads to generate revenue. That is aside from the fact that ad-free, clutter-free sites are more attractive to readers. A professional site will go a long way to building trust and credibility.
Conversely, a blogging platform that enables integration with search engine ads with your personal blog could let you make money from that ad revenue with no further effort on your part. On a paid web host, you can have that clean, ad-free website you want or the ads of your choice.
The first factor to consider here is how easy it is to set up the site. Free blogs are generally straightforward. You typically have to fill out a few fields like the blog name, the topic, your goal, and your contact information. You’ll be given a few free themes to select from to tweak its appearance.
Paid blog hosting will take more steps to get up and running but offer more control as well. You’ll need to select a cheap web hosting service and make sure that you pay for it. After you’ve paid for the hosting service, you’ll need to install the content management system. You’ll have to download the essential plugins and themes and get them working together. When choosing a web host for your blog, make sure that it offers:
- Good customer service
- Good security features
- Reasonable plans
- Multiple backup options
- Add on domains and emails
- Respectable uptime, performance, and reliability
If you have problems with your blog during the setup or any time thereafter, you should be able to get help 24/7. Note that support can take different forms. Most providers offer phone support and live chat with tech support. Others will refer you to discussion forums and tutorial videos. This can fall short if you’re running into problems not answered by their support forums and articles. Research what the web host would have you do if your free domain is hacked or you’re having a challenging problem not resolved by the free resources. Some web hosting services would require you to pay for the premium package to be able to call them for assistance.
Security isn’t something you should overlook on a blog. For example, if the blog doesn’t have a spam blocker to prevent comment spam, you’ll need to invest more time in moderating the comments. There is always the possibility that your blog could be hacked and infected with malware. The solution is to search for blogging platforms that offer free or paid security plugins you can install on the blog. A plus for those who want to monetise a blog is a blogging platform that already securely processes payments.
Themes and Plugins
Themes affect the appearance of the blog. You want themes on your website since it gives your blog a personality above and beyond the content of the words you post. You can find plugins for things like:
- Collecting email addresses
- Checking content for readability
- Improve the security of your site
- Aid search engine optimisation
So, choosing a platform with a wide variety of plugins is always a plus. Read the reviews and ratings of various plugins and themes. Also take the time to learn how often they’re updated since plugins need to be updated to ensure the security of your blog. Free blogging sites usually don’t allow for as many plugins, if any at all, so you should take that into consideration as well when choosing a platform.
There are many blogging platforms out there you can choose from, some better than others. Whatever you do, make sure that you pick one that will be able to grow with you and fit your long-term objectives.