The recent Blog4Writers survey indicated that Blog4writers readers most want marketing articles. A couple of commenters wanted to know more about blogging. Since promotion is a component of marketing, and blogging is a method of promotion, I’m sharing my blogging joys and frustrations today.
First, you must decide on your blogging tool. There are plenty of options, but WordPress is my favorite. I started by first blog on Blogger, but after experimenting with both, I chose WordPress. Back in 2008, I shared my evaluation of the two. Both have offered many upgrades since then.
Both Blogger and WordPress are free. I recommend that you look at this “Pros and Cons” article on RemindBlog.com. For those of you who don’t mind a little technical language, here’s an analysis comparing the two on Pulsed.com.
Whether you’re thinking of starting a blog or re-thinking an existing one, you need to ask yourself these questions.
Which is easier to use/learn? Well, that’s like asking how big your doghouse needs to be. It depends whether dog is a Chihuahua or a St. Bernard. If you are proficient with word processors and have some Web expertise, you should be OK with either. However, if you’re shaky on your skills, I think Blogger is easier to learn. There are number of tutorials onlne. Here’s a good one. However, if you are more confident with your Web skills, WordPress offers more design options and a few other features that give your blog a more professional look.
Do you want a unique design? I think many new bloggers get too concerned about the design. It’s the content that matters. Whatever design you choose, it should not be so busy or elaborate that it detracts from the purpose of the blog, which is—your writing. Blogger and WordPress both offer design variety and customization, although WordPress offers many more options than Blogger. To get a unique custom design, you will have to hire a designer on either platform.
Do you plan to upgrade to a self-hosted (paid) blog in the future? If you’re committed to blogging for the long term, I say, “Start with WordPress.” The same skills you learn for your free WordPress site on WordPress.com will transfer to the paid version that can be downloaded from WordPress.org. Transferring your content from WordPress.com to a self-hosted site is much easier. You can also keep your design if you want.
And finally, a confession: The main reason I chose to use WordPress and graduated to a self-hosted WordPress site was that I wanted to model my blog/site on that of Jim Watkins, one of my favorite Christian authors. I’ve learned and lot, but I still feel borderline incompetent sometimes. It’s a lot like walking a tightrope without a net.
Whatever you decide about your methods, concentrate on content. It’s easy to get engrossed design and structure, wasting time that could be spent writing.
Next week’s post will be “Blogging: Measuring Success.”