Now that you’ve realized just how vital blogging is to your marketing plan, the next step is choosing the blogging platform that is right for you. There are so many viable options out there these days that choosing one may seem too complicated or too time consuming. I’m going to lay out the major players below with a short summary to help you out.
- WordPress. With WordPress you get two options. 1) The first service is called a “freemium” hosted service. This means that you can have a domain name for free as long as wordpress.com is included (for example deancantave.wordpress.com). However you can still pay to use your own domain. This service also offers limited customization. 2) The second service is an entirely free .org version which allows for you to host WordPress on your own servers with much more control. Basically, WordPress is the daddy of blogging. This platform powers almost 19 percent of the Web and has been downloaded more than 45 million times. The vast array of customization options can be dizzying so make sure that whoever is setting up your site and will be using it is educated in such matters.
- Blogger. Blogger is a free platform owned by Google. Blogger is popular because it’s incredibly easy to use. Blogger supports drag-and-drop template editing, dynamic updating, geo-tagging for location-based blogging, and easy publication from editing tools like Google Docs, Microsoft Word, and Windows Live Writer. Blogger supports up to 100 users, so if you grow your blog beyond single editorship you can expand without any hassle.
- Tumblr. Tumblr was the first platform to combine blogging and social media. Tumblr has a strong base of users mainly because with Tumblr it’s easy to reblog what other people have blogged. The majority of users tend to be on the younger side and they use the site to curate things they like rather than producing their own content. Known as short-form or micro blogging, the style of blogging on a Tumblr blog is focused on short and frequent posts that are normally longer (or more focused on media like images or video) than Twitter updates but not as involved and formal as a regular blog post. It’s a style that appeals to a lot of people and the ease of setup coupled with the informality of Tumblr is a winning combination for people who aren’t looking to commit to a blog as an involved and time-consuming project.
- Squarespace. Squarespace is a blogging platform designed with businesses in mind. Not only does it host blogging but it also hosts websites and e-commerce. Squarespace is a paid service that encompasses all elements of your blog or website including cloud-based hosting and maintenance.
These are the main players out there in the playground of the Web. There are several smaller and newer services that haven’t quite caught up to these but if you’re just starting out blogging for your business, it’s better to stick with something tried and true. Now you have an idea of what each platform is for and what it does, so you can pick the one you like best and research it more. Then you’ll be ready to blog away!