Choosing the best blogging platform for a beginner

 

In this article, we’ll help you choose the best blogging platform by going over the pros and cons of the most popular options.

How to choose the best blogging platform

Some of these you may already know and some perhaps not

WordPress.org
Wix
WordPress.com
Blogger
Tumblr
Medium
Joomla
Ghost

Choosing The Best Blogging Platform – What to Look for?

First you need to know what kind of platform you’re looking for.

If your a beginner, you’ll want a blogging platform that’s easy to set up, and doesn’t require any coding skills.

You’ll also need to think about what kind of blogs you will be creating both now and in the future.

As your blog grows, you may want to change the look of your site and add more features for your growing audience. That means it’s important to choose a blogging platform that’s flexible, with room to grow.

Starting off with the wrong platform can make it very difficult to switch later on.

Lastly, even if you don’t have plans to make money yet, it’s smart to make sure you have the option to do so in the future.

Ok  let’s compare the best blogging platforms for beginners.

1. WordPress.org

WordPress.org

WordPress.org is the world’s most popular blogging software.

(Note: It’s easy to confuse WordPress.org with WordPress.com, which is a blog hosting service next on this list.

WordPress.org is an open source software platform which allows you to build your website or blog on your own. It is a self-hosted solution, which means you will need to sign up with a WordPress hosting provider.

Pros

  •     WordPress.org gives you control over every aspect of your website
  •     You can grow your blog and add extra features like forums, online store, and membership options to it.
  •     There are thousands of free and premium themes available for WordPress.
  •     You also get access to thousands of free plugins. These plugins are like apps for your WordPress blog.
  •      WordPress is search engine friendly.

Cons

  •     Managing your own website comes with a bit of a learning curve.
  •     You will have to manage your own backups and security.

Price:

WordPress.org software is free, but you’ll need to buy a domain name and hosting.

2. Wix

Wix

Wix is a hosted platform to build websites. It offers an easy way for small businesses to build a website using drag and drop tools. You can also add a blog to your website by adding the Wix Blog app.

Pros

  •     You can customize your site using dozens of templates and third party apps.
  •     Build your site with easy drag and drop tools; no coding skills required.
  •      Setup is quick and easy for new beginners,

Cons

  •     The free account is limited and shows Wix branding and ads on your site.
  •     Once you choose a template you cannot change it.

Pricing

The basic Wix website builder is free. You can add a custom domain for a small fee.

3. WordPress.com

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is a blog hosting service offered by Automattic, a company created by WordPress.org cofounder Matt Mullenweg.

WordPress.com offers a basic blog hosting service for free. You can purchase additional options like a custom domain name, additional storage, and other premium services.

Pros:

  •     No setup required an very easy to use and manage.

Cons:

  •     Limited options to extend your site.
  •     You cannot run advertisements on your blog.
  •     You do not own your blog and WordPress.com can suspend your account if they find you are violating their terms of service.

Price:

The basic WordPress.com account is free, but it will have WordPress.com ads and branding. You can upgrade to their Personal plan  to remove WordPress.com logo and advertising from your website, and get a custom domain

4. Blogger

Blogger

Blogger is a free blog hosting service. Acquired by Google in 2003, it offers a quick and easy way to create a blog for non-tech-savvy users.

Pros:

  •     Blogger is free
  •     It’s easy to use and manage without any technical skills
  •     Has the added advantage of Google’s robust secure platform and reliability.

Cons:

  •     You’re limited to basic blogging tools, and can’t add new features as your blog grows in popularity.
  •     Design options are limited, with fewer templates available. Third party templates for Blogger are often low quality.
  •    Google can suspend your blog at any time, or even cancel the Blogger service altogether. (They have a history of abandoning projects without warning, such as Feedburner.)

5. Tumblr

Tumblr

Tumblr is a little different than other blogging platforms. It is a microblogging platform with social networking features including following other blogs, reblogging, built-in sharing tools, and more.

Pros:

  •     Tumblr is free and very easy to use.
  •     It has an integrated social media component
  •     As a microblogging tool, Tumblr makes it easy to quickly blog videos, GIFs, images, and audio formats.

Cons:

  •     Tumblr comes with a limited set of features that you cannot extend as your blog grows
  •     There are many themes available for Tumblr, but they can’t offer additional features.
  •     Backing up your Tumblr blog or importing it to other platforms is difficult

Pricing:

Tumblr is free to use. You can use a custom domain

6. Medium

Medium

Launched in 2012, Medium has grown into a community of writers, bloggers, journalists, and experts. It is an easy-to-use blogging platform with limited social networking features.

Pros:

  •     Medium is easy to use, with no setup required and no coding skills needed.
  •     It allows you to reach an existing online community of people of similar interests.
  •     You can focus solely on writing, instead of designing a website.

Cons:

  •     Features are very limited in terms of design or building a brand.
  •     Medium owns your audience, so losing your blog means losing all your followers.
  •     You cannot run your own ads to make money.

Pricing:

Medium is free to use.

7. Joomla

Joomla

Joomla is an open source software content management system, just like WordPress.org. It’s also a self-hosted solution, which means you will need a domain name and web hosting to use it.

Pros

  •     Joomla is extremely powerful and flexible, and can be used to build any kind of website or blog.
  •     You can choose from hundreds of templates to customize your site’s design.

Cons

  •     The Joomla community is much smaller than WordPress community, so there are fewer themes and addons than for WordPress.

Pricing

Joomla is free but you will need domain.

8. Ghost

Ghost

Ghost is a minimalist blogging platform with limited features focused on writing blog posts. It’s available as a hosted platform, and also as a software that you can install and host yourself. We’ll take a look at both options.

Pros

  •     Focused on blogging and writing.
  •     Clean, clutter-free, and intuitive user interface
  •     Written in JavaScript, so it’s super fast
  •     No setup required for the hosted version.

Cons

  •     Not easy to customize with apps
  •     Not enough themes to change appearance of your site
  •     Complicated setup if you install it yourself.

Businesshands blogs are only £125 for a professional blog find out more

Will Blogging Help With SEO?

Blogging does helps boost SEO quality by positioning your website as a relevant answer to your customers’ questions. Blog posts that specifically use a variety of on-page SEO tactics can give you more opportunities to rank in search engines and get customers to visit your site.
Search engine optimization is incredibly important for marketers. Optimizing your web pages — including your blog posts –makes your website more visible to people who are entering keywords associated with your product or service via search engines like Google.
But Google’s copious algorithm updates make this tricky. And today’s SEO best practices are all about relevancy and intent. Keep reading to learn more….
How do you know what matters and what doesn’t?
Confusion is a common issue facing digital content marketers — In this post, we’ll cover how to optimize your blog posts for the keywords you care about, along with a few other optimization tactics you should keep in mind.

1. Focus on 1–2 long-tail keywords that match the intent of your ideal reader.
Optimizing your blog posts for keywords is not about incorporating as many keywords into your posts as possible. Nowadays, this actually hurts your SEO because search engines consider this keyword stuffing (i.e., including keywords as much as possible with the sole purpose of ranking highly in organic search).
It also doesn’t make for a good reader experience — a ranking factor that search engines now prioritize to ensure you’re answering the intent of your visitors. Therefore, you should use keywords in your content in a way that doesn’t feel unnatural .
A good rule of thumb is to focus on one or two long-tail keywords per blog post. While you can use more than one keyword in a single post, keep the focus of the post narrow enough to allow you to spend time actually optimizing for just one or two keywords.
Why long-tail keywords? These longer, often question-based keywords keep your post focused on the specific goals of your audience. Website visitors searching long-tail terms are more likely to read the whole post and then seek more information from you. In other words, you’ll generate right type of traffic: visitors who convert.

2. Include these 1–2 keywords in specific parts of your post.
Now that you’ve decided on your one or two keywords, it’s time to incorporate them into your blog post. Where are the best parts of your posts to include these terms so you rank high in search results?
There are four essential places where you should try to include your keywords: title tag, headers & body, URL, and meta description.
by subscribing to Google’s official blog.

3. Optimize the meta description, and use all the space.
To review, a meta description is the additional text that appears in SERPs that lets readers know what the link is about. The meta description gives searchers information they need to determine whether or not your content is what they’re looking for, and ultimately helps them decide if they’ll click or not.
The maximum length of this meta description is greater than it once was — now around 300 characters — suggesting it wants to give readers more insight into what each result will give them.
So, in addition to being reader-friendly (compelling and relevant), your meta description should include the long-tail keyword for which you are trying to rank.

4. Optimize your images’ alt text.
Blog posts shouldn’t only contain text — you should also include images that help explain your content. But search engines don’t just look for images. Rather, they look for images with alt text.
Because search engines can’t “see” images the same way humans can, an image’s alt text tells them what an image is about — which ultimately helps those images rank in Google Images results. Alt text also makes for a better user experience, as it’ll display inside the image container when an image can’t be found or displayed, and can improve accessibility for people with poor vision who are using screen readers.
Technically, alt text is an attribute that can be added to an image tag in HTML. Here’s what a complete image tag might look like (bolding added for emphasis):
<img class=”wt-blog__normal-image” src=”image.jpg” alt=”image-description” title=”image tooltip”>
Adding keywords to your alt text may seem minor — and it isn’t going to impact your search rankings as much as other things on this list. But it is worth the extra minute it takes to change the name from “IMG23940” to something accurate and descriptive, like “kittens-playing-at-home:”

5. Link internally when possible.
Inbound links to your content help show search engines the validity or relevancy of your content. The same goes for linking internally to other pages on your website. If you’ve written about a topic that’s mentioned in your blog post on another blog post or web page then you should link to that page.
Not only will internal linking help keep visitors on your website, but it also surfaces your other relevant and authoritative pages to search engines.

6. It increases the number of pages on your website.
This is the real secret to SEO. The more content you have, the more the search engines will have to crawl and index. This helps give the crawlers a better understanding of just what your website is about, and which types of searches it should rank highly for.
It also gives you the opportunity to branch out on your keyword use. There are two main complications with SEO:

7.Use Google’s Search Console.
Google’s free Search Console contains a section called the Search Analytics Report. This report helps you analyze clicks from Google Search, and it’s useful to determine which keywords people are using to find your blog content

When you publish blog posts frequently and consistently optimize them for search while maintaining an intent-based reader experience, you’ll reap the rewards in the form of traffic and leads long-term..
We don’t expect you to incorporate each of these SEO best practices into your content strategy.. But as your website grows, so should your goals on search engines. Then you’ll be able to do some link building to get other websites to link back to your blog!

Businesshands

Get your blog on – a beginner’s guide to blogging

 

Better Google rankings, increased website traffic, improved conversion rates and growing brand awareness. These are just some of the benefits that a blog can give your business and so if you value any of the above, it’s important that you make time and effort to write and publish a blog regularly. But where do you start and how do you make sure, it’s not like 80% of the other blog posts out there which deliver absolutely no value to the reader and leave you clicking on the exit button before you’ve even finished the first paragraph? Well, here at businesshands, we write a lot of blogs for a lot of different clients so here’s our top 5 tips on how to produce a compelling blog.

Tip #1 – Understand who you are writing for

The first thing to remember when you are blogging is that you’re not writing for you. You are writing for the reader. Ask yourself what kind of person do you want to come to your website. What are their interests in relation to your offering? What questions might they have? What topics would they find useful? How can you educate them or excite them so that they go away thinking “I enjoyed that, I want to come back.” What value can you give them? Write down your thoughts. This should give you the basis for Tip #2.

Tip #2 – Write a content plan

So you’ve just completed a brainstorm about your ideal website visitor. You know who they are, what they like and what they might like to know. Now turn all of that into a content schedule. Build a list of weekly topics. Try to come up with an enticing title for each and underneath write a few bullet points to help frame what points you want to get across and any conclusion that is to be drawn.

Tip #3 – Structure your blog

Typically each blog post will contain an introduction, “the meat”, and then a summary / conclusion / call to action. Your introduction needs to be punchy, particularly in the first couple of sentences as this is what will appear in the preview when you post it on social media. For many writers however, it’s these first two sentences that prove to be the hardest to write. If you’re suffering a case of writer’s block, try pretending that you’re already two or three sentences in and start from there. You can come back and add the introductory first sentence later on, once your article is in full flow. If you’re truly stuck, and need the introductory sentence before you can get going, think about using a statistic and then building off it. For example:
“A recent survey found that 88% of B2B marketers see content production as the most important part of their marketing strategy”

Tip #4 – Pack it full of personality

The chances are, your company is not the only one offering the product or service that you do. As an insider in the company, you no doubt firmly believe you are unique, but to an outsider a hat shop is just like any other hat shop. A POS software company is just like any other POS software company, a legal or accountancy firm is just like any other legal or accountancy firm. It’s what you say (Tip #1) and how you say it that will make your business stand out so try and pull your writing away from corporate speak and give it a human touch. The more human and real you can be, the more powerful your blog will become. Don’t be afraid to share your own experiences and relate them directly to your readership… and don’t believe for a second that this tip is not relevant for the industry you are in. No matter how corporate or formal your industry is, adding personality and humanness to your writing will make the information you are providing far more digestible.

Tip #5 – Use great imagery

A good image can speak a thousand words and even if it doesn’t, it will be a powerful lure to bring more readers to your blog. It’s important then, to choose your image carefully. For many bloggers today, the standard practice is to use a google image search to find something they like and then use this on their own blog. But there’s a danger with this. Most of these images are not royalty free. If you are using an image without the consent of the image owner, you are liable and could face legal action or be forced to pay a fee for the use of the image. Better practice is to use a stock image or create one yourself.

Of course, there is a danger with stock images too… in that some of them look too much like a stock image. Shy away from bland, overly corporate or cliché images and try and find something unique that fits in with your topic. In our next blog, we’ll be providing a list of great websites you can use to get truly inspiring (and mostly free) stock imagery so watch this space.

So there’s five quick tips on how to blog for beginners… and here’s a bonus one which is probably the most important of them all.

Tip #6 – Content is nothing without distribution

You’ve done the hard work of writing and publishing your blog on your website but you’re not finished yet. Unless you promote your blog and distribute it to your audience, nobody will see it. A blog is typically distributed in one of two ways.

  1. Through a newsletter to your existing database
  2. Through social media – this can be posted on your company page and also be boosted to reach new audiences by turning it into an ad. Don’t forget with social media, you can post your blog multiple times, simply by changing the headline image and choosing a different message to display alongside the link to your blog

Thanks for reading. If you’ve enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it with your connections and if you would like to discuss any of the topics covered, don’t hesitate to drop us a line on +44 (0)203 458 4788 or email us at info@businesshands.co.uk.

How to maximise the potential of every blog post you write

If you’ve worked hard to write an article or a blog post, you want to make sure that it gets seen by as many people as possible. To do this, you need to do more than just post it on your website and hope someone sees it. Below we’ve put together a few simple ideas to help you maximise the usage of every article or blog post that you write. Let’s begin.

Post it on to your social media pages

Ok, let’s get the obvious one out the way first. Great content is nothing without a means of distributing it. That’s just as relevant for blogs as it is for paper flyers. Unless you already have excellent SEO and a large number of visitors coming to your website on a daily basis, it’s unlikely your blog will ever get read. The cheapest and most cost-effective way of distributing your blog is by posting it on your social media pages. Be sure to use a short punchy headline and always use a high quality image to go with it. Social media posts with images are about 5x more likely to get clicked on than posts without. Also, remember if you’re posting to Twitter, to maximise the reach of your post further using #hashtags.

Post it on to your social media pages (again)

That’s right. It’s amazing how many companies choose to post their blog just once. What a shame when you’ve invested so much valuable time in writing it. At businesshands, we would typically post the blog twice in the first week, once in the second, once in the fourth and then once a month for the next three months at least.  Try posting it with different titles, different excerpts and different imagery each time. Posting at different times of the day or alternating between weekdays and weekends is a good way of reaching different audiences every time.

Turn it into an email

A great way to build a relationship with your prospects is to send a regular email, but there’s no need for you to spend hours writing original content. Turn your blogs posts into an email campaign with a call to action at the end. We create e-newsletters for many of our clients and we generally create one email campaign for every 2 blogs. This gives us two great pieces of content for each campaign and by having a third sector focusing on the company or the offering, we’re able to provide our clients with a well-rounded, informative e-newsletter to send on to their database of prospects.

Make a statement

Business strategy planning

… and then post them to your social media feeds.

Consider publishing the blog in full on other websites

If you’re obsessed with your Google website ranking and already have a strong SEO strategy in place, then this probably isn’t something you should be doing. For the 95% of us that don’t however, posting your blog on multiple sites provides an opportunity to get your brand in front of a whole new audience. Platforms like Medium and LinkedIn’s Pulse are a great place to start.

Targeted Delivery

If your blog post solves a very particular problem, think about how you can send a link to your blog to the very people that are experiencing the problem. Platforms like Audiense allow you to data-mine your Twitter followers to find people with key attributes. You can then send them a personal, direct message with a link to the blog. Similarly, LinkedIn’s premium membership will allow you to search for specific people by job title, location, industry and even company size. Through LinkedIn’s Inmail you can then send them an introductory message with a link to the relevant post. LinkedIn’s groups are also a useful way to reach a more broader, targeted group of people.

Social advertising

Last but not least – use the paid advertising feature on whichever social media platform you use to turn your blog post into an ad. Doing this means you can reach out to thousands more targeted people each day, growing brand awareness and driving hundreds more high quality visitors to your website. If you’re looking to increase your website traffic, social advertising is a really cost effective way of doing this. It’s a useful skill to learn and the better you get at it, the cheaper your advertising becomes. We’ve ran Twitter campaigns for clients where the cost per click (i.e. – the cost to get a visitor to the website) is just £0.08. In those situations, a £500 spend can go a long way.

So there you go – just a few ideas to make your blogs go further. Of course, it’s not an exhaustive list. You’ll find advice on the web encouraging you to turn them into PowerPoint presentations, short video montages and a whole host of other ideas besides. The bottom line is we know the ideas above will genuinely deliver more traffic to your website (which is what you blog is about, right?). We know this because this is what we do for our clients. They are both time and cost effective and most importantly – they deliver results.

If you would like help with your social media, blogging or email campaign management – give the experts a call (that’s us by the way). We’re on 0207 458 4788 and we’d love to become part of your team and help your business reach new heights through our outsourced marketing services.

How to get people to read your blog

Investing time and effort into a good blog should be at the core of every organisation’s marketing strategy. Blog posts have the capacity to build trust, to educate your audience, improve your SEO and even increase sales… but for many organisations, this simply isn’t happening – so why is that? Here’s a look at how to get people to read your blog.

Choosing the right topic

The first thing is to choose a good topic. Sounds obvious doesn’t it? But what actually is a good topic? One thing is for sure – writing endlessly about how great your product or service is, is not a ‘good topic’.  Your target audience really isn’t that interested in you, they’re interested in themselves and so you have to think about the problems that your product or service solves. Think about the implications that problem has for the people who are experiencing it… money, time, business, family – how are they affected?

Blog content marketing services from businesshandsThink about the type of people that uses your product or service… what do they do, what are they interested in and how can you indirectly relate their interests back to your organisation or industry sector? A very successful way of finding a topic that works, is to take a popular news story and show how it relates to your values, your products or your services.  When Leicester City Football Club won the premier league for example, leadership development companies blogged about the virtues of good leadership, small business consultancies blogged about the ability to beat the competition with limited resources and accountancy firms about the need to manage your finances well.

But writing about things that are in the news today can be a bit of a challenge. It puts a writer under pressure and if you only have time to write once every couple of weeks, you might find it’s a slow news day when you put ‘pen to paper’ so you need to have another plan in reserve.

A good and equally successful idea is to think about what questions your target audience might type into Google to solve one of their problems… just like we have done with this post.

Having an opinion or at least a personality

Potential clients are not just looking to buy your product… they’re looking to buy into your organisation as a brand. That means that bland, instructional type blog posts are a complete no-no. Try to keep your writing relatively informal and personable, regardless of the industry. If you think you’re in a sector where being personable and informal doesn’t work… it’s probably one of the area it will work best. Accountancy, legal, finance… even funeral services. They will all benefit from posts that sound like they’ve come from a human being.

Getting the message out there

Get the message out there about your content marketing blog

For many organisations – this is where it their blogging process comes to a grinding halt. You publish the blog on your website and then you wait… and wait … and wait… and nothing happens.

Great content is nothing without distribution. Writing a blog post and publishing it on a website that gets 10 visitors (or even 1,000) per month is a pointless activity unless you let people know it’s there. You do this by distributing the post through as many mediums as possible. Social media is an obvious starting point… with any luck you already have a social media strategy in play.

Generally, over the course of a month, we’ll push out a blog post around 10 times… yes 10 TIMES on each social media platform we’re using. Choose different times of day, different lead-in images and a slightly different message each time to really get the most out of the blog post you’ve worked so hard on. As you write more blog posts, you’re likely to find that you have multiple posts in circulation and that’s when you really to start to generate traffic to your website. By sponsoring your posts through pay-per-click campaigns, you can reach an even wider audience and generate yet more, high quality website visitors.

If you have a database of customers or prospects, you should also think about turning your blog post into an email newsletter.

What about the conversion

So now you’re writing some great pieces of content and you’ve got multiple posts being circulated daily through your social media channels. It’s driving traffic to your website… just a few at first, but as time goes on – the numbers are getting bigger and bigger. What now?

Now you have to ask yourself… “what do I want my visitors to do?”.  If you want them to purchase an item, think about directing them to the product page at the end of the blog post and maybe including a time limited discount code.  If you want them to make an enquiry, have your phone number at the bottom and ask them to call you, or alternatively – have an enquiry form which the reader can fill in.

If you don’t ask you reader to do something, they won’t – it’s that simple.

First class content marketing service from businesshandsHere at businesshands – we offer a first class content marketing service. We write well-researched, compelling content for organisations across a wide range of sectors from healthcare, to finance and from architecture to I.T. and we can combine this with our unbeatable social media management services. It’s a winning combination that delivers great results.

If you would like to discuss this article or if you would like to learn more about the services we offer, contact us today on 0207 458 4788. We’d love to hear from you.

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