You know you need a blog, and you’re ready to commit to it, so now what? Well, the simplest thing to do is to get your web developer to get it all set up for you, but what if you don’t have a trustworthy web developer, or are more a “DIY” type?
Getting a blog these days is one of the easiest things to do online, and you have several options. You can use a free service, where your blog is hosted on their servers, or you can have your blog pages on your own website domain. I have a clear preference, but will talk about both options.
Absolutely the best thing to do is have your blog hosted on your own domain name. Quite simply, you are generating valuable content which will draw visitors and increase your search-engine exposure. You want the traffic to come to your website. If your blog is a section on your main domain (example: http://blog.mysite.com or http://www.mysite.com/blog, etc.), that means your main site will get the increased PageRank and traffic that your blog generates. If your blog is hosted on another domain you own and control, and you put links on your blog that point to your main “sales” website, you can also benefit directly. Both of these are good options.
If you are ready to set up your blog on your domain you generally have two options. You can use a service which will display your custom domain name, though the actual content is hosted on their server (Blogger can be set up to do this). All you need to do is set up a Blogger account, and put in your custom domain information. This is a very fast and simple option, and is especially good if you are comfortable using the Blogger interface.
The other option is to install the code and pages for your blog right on your website domain. Which blogging software you use will depend on what technology is available on your web host, generally Windows or Linux. If you are looking for a Windows solution, BlogEngine.Net is a good one. Wordpress is a popular option for Linux webservers, but might also be available on your Windows hosting account as well. You will probably want some geek to help you with installing your own blog software, but it isn’t a very complicated operation. There are also other blog software packages, a Google search would turn up more choices than you would ever want to consider.
My least favorite way to see a business set up a blog is one that is hosted on the blog service’s domain. It is totally possible to sign up for a free blog service and use their servers to host your blog. (Both Blogger and WordPress have this option, along with Windows Live and a few others.) But other than the complete simplicity of it, there isn’t much benefit to doing it this way. Quite simply, you don’t get to take full advantage of the search engine benefit of a blog that is not on your domain. Instead you are giving traffic to the service’s domain. If your blog’s address is http://myaccount.blogspot.com or http://myaccount.wordpress.org, etc. you are using the blog service to host your blog. I really recommend you look into transferring your blog to your own web server. This is something that a web professional will be able to help you with.
When you set up your blog you will have the option to choose a template that is already available, or create your own design. If you are trying to get set up quickly, just pick a decent-looking template and start blogging, but eventually, you are going to want to customize it to match your company branding.
Web Action Steps
- Ask your web developer about what your blogging options are, based on your web hosting
- Choose a blogging platform
- Sign up for any necessary accounts or download and install the blog software
- Customize your design, or have a professional do this for you
- Blog away!
Getting your blog set up isn’t that difficult, and once it’s installed, you won’t need to do much to maintain it, just keep adding exciting new posts!
If you need a web developer to help you get your blog set up, moved to your own domain, or customized with a design that matches your business branding, contact me for assistance.