If you read my last post, you now know why your business needs a blog. Today, I’m sharing my three preferred blog platforms & a few prompts to help you write your first blog post!
Which of the following scenarios best describes you?
I have a website & want to start a blog:
If this is you, we recommend that you start blogging within your current website’s platform, whatever that may be. It will make navigation through your site and to your blog way easier. Most platforms offer a blog page template, so add a blog page and start tapping that keyboard. Look at you — you’re ahead of the game! You can skip the next section & scroll down for seven prompts to get started writing your first blog post for your business.
I don’t have a website & want to start a blog:
If you don’t have a website or the one you have is cumbersome, hard to edit, or is totally controlled by a 3rd party service, definitely consider investing in a website that you have full control over. I happen to know two great designers who can help you with that. (Us. We can help you with that.)
In the meantime, I’m going to compare three blogging platforms below to help you find the right fit for your skill level & business scenario.
A Guide to Three Blog Platforms
WordPress is for the more advanced tech-user who wants a website with an integrated blogging platform.
WordPress (my personal favorite) is definitely the most popular platform with 35% of the web using it, from hobby blogs to the most robust websites. WordPress is open-source software used to build websites and can be found at WordPress.org. “Open-source” is a nerdy way to say that the developer code is available to be modified so that you can customize your website in literally any way possible.
If you choose WordPress, you will need to set up the hosting service yourself. Think of hosting as renting space on the internet for your website to live.
Pros of WordPress:
- Full control over all aspects of your website
- Thousands of free & premium themes & plugins available, allowing you to change the design of your website exactly to your liking
- Mobile Responsive (depending on the theme used)
- Compatible with most third party software
Cons of WordPress:
- You are responsible for your web security, backups, & updates
- A fairly steep learning curve
- You need to set up your own hosting
WordPress is free, but you will need to pay for hosting and your domain name. We recommend Flywheel to purchase web hosting and Namecheap to find your domain name. We don’t get a kickback for telling you about these two companies, we just genuinely really love them.
So, I just broke down the WordPress platform for you. If your brain is already winded after that mental jog, you’re probably better suited for one of our next two options.
Squarespace is great for the rookie tech-user who wants a simple, low-maintenance website with an integrated blogging platform.
Squarespace is a website platform where you can also integrate blogging, and has become super popular recently. Squarespace has drag & drop builder software, which is great for people who want to spend more time actually using the platform and less time learning how to use it.
Pros of Squarespace
- Easy to use, low learning curve
- Great for small businesses that don’t need robust blogging features
- 40+ well designed templates
- Mobile Responsive
- The Style Editor lets you customize a wide variety of features without having any prior coding knowledge
- Good built-in SEO tools
- Easy to migrate to WordPress if you need a more robust website down the road
Cons of Squarespace
- Limited features, themes, & customizations
- No dedicated mobile editor
- Plugins are very limited
- eCommerce store also has its limitations
Squarespace has monthly/annual plans, and there are no setup fees. A 14-day free trial is available and doesn’t require credit card details. Plans vary: Personal ($12/month), Business ($18/month), Basic Commerce ($26/month), Advance Commerce ($40/month). Unfortunately, there are no free tiers after the free trial.
The last platform is not ideal if you want a truly integrated blog within your website, but it is a no-risk, totally free blogging platform …
For the rookie tech-user who wants a free, easy-to-use blog.
There are only two scenarios wherein you should use Blogger:
- Your website is outdated & does not offer a blogging feature. You can rig this platform up to live alongside your website by linking to your Blogger in the navigation of your website.
- You’re a start-up & you want to test the waters before investing in a business website with blogging functionality.
If neither of these scenarios apply to you, we highly recommend you choose WordPress or Squarespace.
Now, back to Blogger. It’s the most popular free blogging platform, and it’s owned by Google. Blogger is extremely user-friendly, and it’s where I got my start in the blog/website world a decade ago. (Now, I’m all about WordPress.)
Pros of Blogger
- Easy to use, very low learning curve
- You get Google Analytics so you can track stats on your site
- You can use Google AdSense to monetize your blog
Cons of Blogger
- Options to customize are extremely limited
- While your main domain can redirect to your site, your site will reside at a domain like “yourblogname.blogspot.com,” which isn’t exactly pretty
Blogger is a free service, which is a great no-risk option for starters!
So, which is the best blogging platform? It depends on your skill level & your business goals. Whichever platform you choose for your blog, you need to have consistent, engaging content to grow your audience & make money. Now, let’s get to the fun part — writing your first post!
7 prompts to help you write your first blog post:
- Share the story on why you started your business.
- Solve a lower level problem for your customer.
- Educate your customer on why they have a problem, and explain the services you offer that can solve that problem.
- Compare solutions to your reader’s problem.
- Share an industry secret with your reader.
- Share a favorite tool or resource that might make your reader’s life easier.
- Share a testimonial about your service or products.
A blog is a great way to share your expertise and drive potential customers to buy your services or products. Maybe you know that blogging is important for your business website, but what you’re lacking is the time. That just means you’re in the perfect position to outsource, and we happen to know a great writer …