Perhaps 50 years ago you could count on things to be clearly businesslike or not. There were no casual Fridays, guys wore ties and ladies wore dresses to work. Not only has the dress code changed, business environments have, too, along with the aims and goals of business people. Therefore, your business needs for your greeting card firm may be quite different than those for a pipe-fitting business. For all the various ways you need to communicate with customers, clients, vendors and others, modern technology has a range of tools. To augment your business site, most experts would advise that you have a blog. But which blog software best suits your business’ unique needs?
For some, the decision depends on which software offers the quickest postings with the least work. For others, the ability to customize the look and feel is most important. For yet others, great analytics are the sought-after gems in the blog comparison. Among the first decisions, of course, is whether to go on a developer-hosted site and platform or develop your blog in your own domain. Following this decision, it comes down to feature sets that work for you. Although there are a good 50 or 60 blogging tools (from leaders like WordPress and Blogger to startups like Elgg and Blosxom), a review of three types of blogging software should suffice to point you in the right direction.
LiveJournal is where many people posted their first blog, before deciding what the blog was even for, perhaps. Using their software and hosting your blog at LiveJournal is the only option, and your customization options are limited. Even the ones available may be too complicated for average users. Neither is there any simple way to program or implement any marketing strategies, meaning that LiveJournal and other journal- or diary-type package isn’t the best for business. If you have a strong social networking presence this may be a decent choice, but not for most businesses.
Typepad has introduced many business people to the benefits of blogging, and is similar to LiveJournal in a few ways, including a monthly fee for hosting and using the Typepad software. It is much easier to customize look, feel and actions with Typepad but still more limited than other packages. The Typepad site does make good use of widgets, and offers some that can enhance marketing (as well as monetizing) efforts.
Blogger is a Google property now, and is easy to use in keeping with the Google paradigm. While I have an account / profile there I don’t actively post in a blog there. You can post ads, which is essential to monetizing your blog, but Blogger suffers from frequent outages (remarkably, many are planned as opposed to unplanned). This amount of downtime is extremely detrimental to running a business. In addition, many users report that it is easy to exceed your assigned bandwidth by having too many blog readers. Success is not rewarded in this setup.
It is perhaps no surprise to hear that WordPress (WP) is the software that is best for business blogging. What some people do not know is that WP can be used in two very different ways. You can use it on WP’s community-hosted site, WordPresss.com, or you can install the software for self-hosting at your own domain. If you choose the former, using a blog page at WordPress.com, then there is no software to install. Just sign up, decide on a free theme and start posting your blogs.
Blogging on WP site: If you choose this option, you cannot use Google AdSense or post ads, and cannot set up automated lead capture forms. In addition, the software will add the links to other people’s blogs at the end of posts rather than at the relevant spots within that blog entry. There is also much less customizing available, and despite there being a number of free themes there are no premium ones.
Self-hosted WP blog: If your blog is a serious component to your marketing and business plan, this is the way to go. You have a wide range of customizing options, and average users can even handle it. There are literally thousands of widgets and plug-ins that are free to use, along with other tools for driving traffic, engaging your readers and capturing leads. Placing ads on your blog is entirely up to you, also.
You have lots of choices. If you need a business blog, it may be that you need less artsty-craftsy customizing than help with marketing or monetizing, so choose the tool that has the support and the options that will help achieve your goals. Do not forget that the actual content of the blog is what is important, not the bells and whistles of the blog software. Content is king, but the blog is the red carpet!
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