So, you’re planning on launching a blog?
While many people blog for personal reasons, blogging can also prove beneficial for business owners and entrepreneurs. It will allow you to reach a larger audience; connect with your readers on a more personal level; and generate more sales/conversions. However, there are a few things to consider before starting your blog.
Content Management System
One of the first steps in launching a new blog is to choose your content management system (CMS). Granted, you can create a blog (or any website for that matter) using nothing more than Notepad or Microsoft Word, but doing so is a tedious, monotonous process. A blogging-oriented CMS, on the other hand, will make your life much easier by streamlining the process of creating and editing posts. Some popular CMS platforms used for blogging include WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and Blogger, with WordPress being the most popular.
Why is WordPress the most popular? Great question. While CMS platforms such as Joomla and Drupal may be just as dynamic and flexible, they are simply not as easy to use. It’s also worth noting that Drupal is not as widely supported as WordPress; it’s more of a niche programming platform and that can cause a lot of grief for bloggers who need help or support.
Domain or Subdomain?
Do you plan on using a dedicated domain name or a subdomain for your blog? Using a dedicated domain name means you’ll have to register a new domain, which will cost you both money and time. However, the cost is marginal and you should definitely stick with a dedicated domain if you plan on creating a blog with any kind of authority. A dedicated domain name is a key part in building your online brand which will help you reap the benefits of more returning visits, which should encourage higher search rankings.
This is where many first-time bloggers experience trouble: niche selection. In other words, what do you want to blog about? If you are blogging for commercial purposes, then perhaps your blog should be focused on your business. But if you are blogging to gain exposure, you’ll have more freedom regarding niche selection. Use the Google Adwords Keyword Planner Tool to identify high-traffic, low-competition niches.
How do you plan on producing content for your blog? The most obvious answer is to “write it yourself,” which is perfectly acceptable in many cases. What typically happens is that you run into a serious lack of time to sit down and write great content; which makes it exceedingly difficult to keep your blog fresh. Another possibility is that you choose a niche that you are unfamiliar with and you may have to seek the services of a ghostwriter or guest blogger. Of course, there are other ways to generate content as well, such as embedding YouTube videos, allowing visitors to submit articles, and hosting contests.