Chapter One

Picking your Blogging Platform

Making a blog

These days it is possible to create a website, which has a blog function combined together as part of it. It depends on which platform you use for your website.

For example, my second  website was built using Webhealer.net. This is a website company that specifically designs websites for complementary therapy practitioners. The only downside, was that it came with a limited number of pages and also a limited amount of space on each page. When I tried to turn one of the pages into a blog and uploaded several articles, I soon ran out of space.

When I contacted customer support, I was told that I would have to use an external blog provider if I wanted to add a blog and then provide a link on one of my pages externally to it. So although it was a good website company for my business, it was not suitable for me if I wanted to add a blog that I was serious about.

At the time, I chose to follow this advice and use an external blogging platform but my blog never really got off the ground. I used Blogger – a free blogging platform. However, this was never a satisfactory solution for me, as I wanted to have a single centre of operations – one big website that could combine my business, sell products, provide free PDFs and other downloads and also have a blog.

For my current blog and website, I use WordPress.com. At the time of writing this guide, I am still working on my current website and blog and building it up. FYI, this is an affiliate link, so if you click above and buy the Premium Plan, I can buy myself a Cappuccino. I’ll talk about affiliate links later in this eBook.

The Big Guns

I was told by a computer engineer that these days, if you’re serious about websites, it’s all about WordPress. And when it comes to search engines, it’s all about where you place on Google. It’s true that these companies do dominate a large share of the online market, but they are not the only providers and search engines around. In fact some people are moving away from Google seeing it as too powerful. Nonetheless, the chances are, most websites you come across these days will be made using a WordPress template and most online searches are carried out using Google.

WordPress and WordPress

For your information, there are two WordPress companies: Wordress.com and WordPress.org.

There is a whole debate on the internet about which one to use, with many people recommending the .org version because of the greater freedom it provides. However, it does carry greater responsibility particularly regarding security. This is an important issue, especially if you are not so tech minded, as you don’t want to lose your work due to a hacker or malware.

Suffice to say, both are very popular and have their advantages and disadvantages. I currently use WordPress.com for several reasons, which I have written about in this article on my website.

If all you want is a free blog, it is worth using WordPress.com (free plan). If you go with WordPress.org, you will have to pay a small fee for hosting it.

Whichever provider you choose, depends on where you want to take your blog in their future. With some blogging platforms, you do have the option to switch from one website host to another at any time. For example, if you wanted to switch your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, you would be able to make the switch relatively straightforwardly, as the two platforms are very similar in structure. There are also plenty of free guides available on the internet teaching you how to make the switch.

If you do use WordPress.com, you may want to consider upgrading at some point to the Premium plan to buy your own domain name. Otherwise your domain name will have ‘WordPress’ in it, for example – ‘www.JoeBlogsMassage.wordpress.com.

It is better to get your own domain name, so your domain will be ‘www.JoeBlogsMassage.com instead. When you own your own domain name, you can take it with you if you ever change website companies in the future.

You can either buy your domain name through WordPress or you can buy it from a separate company like GoDaddy and then you will have to go through a small procedure to ‘map’ it to your website.

The advantage of using WordPress (.com & .org) is that you have the option to create a website and a blog together. You can choose a home page and other pages as well as a blog and it all fits in consistently with each other. This works better for me, then utilizing a separate website with an external blog as I had to do before. But you may already have a good website set up and you just want to add a blog. In which case, using an external blogging platform and linking it to one of your pages can work just fine.

If you are fine with connecting an external blogging platform to your website, then www.Blogger.com is an excellent resource. I used this previously when I had to connect my blog to my Webhealer account, and it is relatively easier to learn than WordPress. A lot of popular bloggers today use this platform and it is straightforward to set up. Alternatively, use WordPress.com

There is a learning curve to go through when using any new blogging platform. You will have to take the time to figure out how it works and if you are not too used to computers, it can be a little frustrating at times. Fortunately, there are a lot of free guides on the internet especially through Google and YouTube.

Also, some of these platforms, for example WordPress.com (on the Premium Plan) have 24 hour online helpdesks to support you when you get stuck. Or alternatively, if you know anyone who is computer savvy, this may be a time to enlist them. Especially any Millennials that you may have around you.

Mobile optimised

woman-smartphone-shower.jpg
After 2 weeks of non-stop social media surfing, Cynthia turned into a fish.

Smartphone Addicts

More and more people are using their smartphones to surf the net, far more than laptops and tablets. One simple glance at people on a train or in any kind of waiting area will tell you that people are more or less glued to their smartphones these days. I am too.

Smartphones have become a replacement tool for any occasion when you have time to kill. Like when you are in any public place and want something to occupy you, or so you can look busy. And of course, they are handy for whenever you want to do a quick search for important information like ‘how many kittens can you fit into a red telephone box?’.

We are only moments away from a smartphone, whereas a tablet or laptop takes a little more effort to pull out and use.

Mobile-friendly

With this in mind, your blog and also your website must be mobile optimised. This is absolutely necessary. If your blog is not, then you have to convert it as soon as possible. Mobile optimised means that you can read the text, clearly and easily on those tiny screens.

Most website platforms are aware of this and will design their themes accordingly, but still a few don’t. And if you try to read text on those screens, you are constantly having to swipe left and right to read it all the way through. This is enough to put people off from reading your content. There are also rumours that Google’s algorithms are moving towards favouring websites that are mobile optimised in the future.

In a way, a blog and a smartphone are a perfect marriage. I can think of many occasions when I have read through pages of someone’s blog that I found interesting, in the same way someone might read through a novel. Being able to do it on a smartphone is really useful because it means I can read it anywhere I want, such as when waiting for the washing machine to finish its spin cycle, or whilst cooking a meal. Or like the picture above – whilst in the shower.

If you are busy or have many demands on your time, the convenience of pulling out a smartphone and reading interesting content is invaluable. In some ways, blogs are like the equivalent of novels, magazines, gossip columns and other types of publications – all in one easily accessible format.

Bullet Points

So, to recap:

  • Decide on a Blogging platform.
  • Popular options are WordPress and Blogger.
  • There are two types of WordPress – WordPress.com & WordPress.org.
  • com and Blogger have free blogging options.
  • You can always move your blog to another platform in the future.
  • Your blog must be smartphone/mobile optimised so it is easier to read on a phone.

Chapter Two – Click Here

 


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