-By Mike Mulhall, The Entrepreneur
People start blogs for a variety reasons. Some start out of personal passion; many businesses create blogs to engage their existing customers; some seek to generate revenue. Blogging is an integral part of any social media marketing strategy for a brick and mortar or virtual business.
However, you can’t simply start a blog and expect a translation to sales overnight. You have to first assess your goals and then compose a plan that entails more than a stream of thought post about the features of your company.
Personal bloggers will love the features of Tumblr or Posterous (a great mobile blogging platform). Simply sign up for an account and you will be blogging in less than two minutes. Seriously! Unfortunatley, if you’re looking to generate revenue, these sites won’t serve you well for several reasons. Due to their lack of flexibility they are difficult to monetize because they fail to:
- Optimize well with search engines
- Allow for design customization
- Feature add-on applications/plug-ins
If you’re serious about blogging as a business, I would suggest checking out WordPress. WordPress is a blogging platform that requires more work and effort, but offers a lot more flexibility and potential. Here’s a simple breakdown of what you need to do to create your own self hosted blog:
- Choose a hosting service. I use Godaddy, but there are a lot of these types of services out there. Mary uses BlueHost, for example. Both are reliable one-stop shops.
- Choose a domain name. I think people over emphasize choosing a name for their website sometimes. Create good content and people will find it no matter what. Food for thought: Myspace was actually a furniture website before becoming a social network and Google was supposed to be spelled “Googol.” They messed up the spelling when registering the domain. Oops!
- Install WordPress. If you don’t use Godaddy, you’ll have to install WordPress. Go here for simple installation instructions.
- Choose a theme. This is the fun part. WordPress is incredibly flexible. Check out Themeforest, Rockettheme or WordPress Themes. You can choose any theme you want for your blog and it requires no programming and little design work on your part.
- Get some plug-ins. WordPress has thousands of free, easy-to-install add-ons that range from creating a chatroom on your blog to adding a shopping cart to automatically optimizing your site’s SEO.
- Start writing! – And that’s it. Check out Mary’s post, Blogging 101, for great tips on how to successfully engage your readers.
For a great comparison of different blogging platforms, check out this article as well. It’s clear and concise.
Now get out there and start sharing. And if you need any help, don’t forget I’m always just a click away.