Chapter Three: It’s Time To Get Your Hands Dirty!
This is the part where ‘Blogging For Your Business’ starts to get really exciting. In this chapter, you will embark on a wonderful learning experience that will take you through a little bit of WordPress knowhow, significance of Blogger and TypePad.
In addition to the above platforms, you will also learn a great deal about writing, sentence structure and various interesting things to get your hands dirty in a nice way. Remember, it’s the first step that seems a little hard – the rest of the journey is all about patience, consistence and following a timetable.
1.1. Which Blogging Platform Is The Best?
The “Best Blogging Platform” debate always takes a wild turn because there are self proclaimed gurus who’d love to misguide new bloggers. Every person is entitled to his, or her, own opinion. It’s another thing when someone tries to talk about a particular blogging platform in a condescending manner – so much so that new bloggers are psychologically forced to go for something they never liked in the first place.
Here’s a million dollar question which every new blogger asks himself: “Which blogging platform is the best for me?”
Well, according to the scope of this book, you will be running your own blog, without the interference of sub domains and anything like that. Sub domains are something like this: www.MainDomain.MyDomain.Com; something, which is eventually going to be a lot of hassle for you in the end.
Perhaps another answer to the million dollar question is the amount of money you are willing to spend. Assuming that you have signed up for a Hosting account at BlueHost or HostGator; you’re going to have to shovel your pockets for $60 / 6 Months. It’s a rough estimate and the amount significantly varies from one hosting company to another hosting company.
Now there is an additional $9 to $10+ fee for buying a domain name, which stays valid for one year. Are you willing to spend this meager amount of money at the start of your blogging career? It’s a very serious question. Think about it. This $70 is more like an investment for you. Believe me, during 6 months, you will end up making a lot more than your initial expenses.
Look at it from this perspective: You spend a lot more on movie tickets, concerts, reunion parties, dinners, outdoor activities and etc. Compared to that entire expenditure, $50, or $60 is nothing. Also, paid platforms come with a very good 24 Hour support. You get stuck at any point, feel free to call your hosting company directly, or talk to a CSR agent through Live Chat support.
Let’s take a look at these three platforms and their limitations.
– TypePad Micro:
- Some people call it TypePad mini. Both ways, it’s free and ready to be used at any time. All you have to do is get registered at the TypePad website to get started as soon as possible.
- It’s Free!
- Ready to Install Templates
- Easy to Understand Visual Interface
- Up to 3GB of Storage Space! Woot!
- Posting is Limited
- Limited Number of Features
- Handful of Customization Options Available
- What’s The Point of 3GB Space When You Can’t Use It?
- Only Customization Comes With Background Image Options and Banner Placement…
– Blogger Blog:
Powered by genius minds at Google, Blogger is a free and highly competitive platform. There was a time when Blogger was actually famous because it seemed like the most obvious and first choice to all B2B owners, ranters, aspiring bloggers and online entrepreneurs.
Before the birth of WordPress, everything at Blogger was going fine. The concept of Widgetization was almost non-existent and writers were just getting by with what Blogger had to offer. Over the past few years, Blogger’s interface hasn’t changed much.
- Its Free! Duh…
- 1 GB of Storage Space
- Customization Available for Banner, Footer, Background Images, Posts
- HTML CSS Compatibility Available.
- Difficult to Use. Don’t Trust Me? Try Adding a Few Widgets at Custom Places
- Short Code Limitations
- Limited Support for Adding Email Subscription System
- CMS Limitations
- Who Will Teach Me CSS and HTML?
- Might Take a Week, Month or a Year to Apply a Simple Custom Button!
Another good thing about Blogger is a space upgrade option. Yes, for $5, you can add a 20GB free space to your Blogger account. This amount of space will let you in on adding audio feeds, podcasts, expanded Vlog archives, videos and so much more. But the limitations are numerous and most of the stuff has to be done manually.
On the bright side, the “Ease of Use” is one particular characteristic of Blogger, which is sublime. Because of an instant availability of essential buttons and links, a newbie can create her first blog post almost instantly. You don’t have to have a prior blogging experience to use Blogger. Maybe Google made it so easy because they wanted retain people as much as possible – who knows…
But if you have to do a little bit of advanced customization, it’s not going to be easy. A lot of female bloggers bicker over the confusing, and equally irritating, limitations of this infamous platform. Try performing a CSS upgrade to add a few cute buttons for your baby products, apparel inventories and etc.; you’ll be clueless for months.
– WordPress (Paid Version):
The free version of WordPress is pretty much similar to Blogger and TypePad. You will take off with a limited free space, a small room for readjustments and a bit of widgets to play with. It’s the actual version, and a long list of compatibility options that make WordPress a rocking experience.
Not to mention the fact that WordPress has a vast library of Ready-To-Install plugins, which literally match your requirements – if you are looking for them at the right place. So what makes WordPress so awesome? Why did I bother to praise it as compared to the former two platforms?
- Widgetization Makes Blogging and Your Life Easier
- Customization Options Are Mostly Taken Care of Through Plugins
- Now You Can Add Buttons Through Short Codes! (It’s Just One Way Out of Many)
- Auto Updates (Plugins, Themes, WordPress Itself)
And that’s not the half of it. Some of the reasons as to why experts like WordPress, more than any other platform, are:
– SEO Friendliness: All thanks to permalink structure, you can customize the essence of your URLs and keywords in one shot. Dated URLs, codes and keyword rich URLs are all at the disposal of the post creator. Search engine crawlers can easily index and identify URLs that are easily understandable to them.
– Tag Creation: Tags act like small flags for an entire blog/ website. When you are done creating a post in WordPress, you will be asked for tags. If it’s a post about latest technology products, your tags will be “Technology Products, Main Product Name, Company Names and etc.” These tags help search engines and surfers to scroll through different webpages of the website.
– Cross Connections: For easy SEO, content links from one page to another, can serve a great purpose. For readers, connecting a post to another relevant post on your blog makes it easy for them to follow the trail. Whereas, search engines recognize these connections as link juice.
– Google XML Site Maps: Google XML Site Maps is one of the hottest plugins in WordPress archives. Besides giving numerous indexing and sitemap creation advantages to WordPress users, the plugin is also loaded with auto notification options concerning Yahoo and Bing. In other words, half of your work regarding sitemap creation and pinging is done by this awesome tool.
The above figure shows some of the features of Google XML Site Maps. In this image, the results are pointing out creation of sitemap, addition of the map to the WordPress back end directory, and a couple of notifications that the plugin made on its own, to various major search engines.
This plugin is easily available at this link. You can either download it directly to your hard drive, or install it automatically through WordPress’s ‘Add New Plugin’ option (One of the many benefits of using WordPress).
– Categories: This is another fine option for people who want to create categories in their blogs. You will need categories because sooner or later, you are going to have to consider the scalability perspective of your online blogging business.
1.2. Template Designs – How Important Are They?
Okay, so far we have talked about three different platforms, importance of web design and significance of color themes when writing posts. To some degree, if you have signed up for free services, you will get the option of applying templates/ themes of your own choice.
Since, I emphasized on going for paid WordPress blog, you will get to know about the importance of templates a little bit. Quite often, it is seen that people download WordPress themes from 3rd party websites. They look cool and most of them are safe, but then again, you are always exposed to hackers.
The biggest risk of applying 3rd party templates, usually through search engine downloads, is a threat of virus attacks and malicious Java scripts that eventually play an important role in compromising WordPress admin account security. That being said, you should consider downloading, purchasing or ordering custom WordPress templates because there’s nothing better than having things set your way.
– Illegally Downloaded WordPress Template Issues:
- Usually, there is an advertisement link in the Footer. This link is permanent, and it will appear on all your blog pages. The only solution is to manually edit the Footer HTML code, through WordPress Admin panel> Appearance Editor options. If the code has been encrypted, you won’t have much luck decrypting it.
- A poorly coded WordPress theme will create problems concerning the PayPal, or any other Shopping Cart implementation. By the end of this book, you will be running your own business on the internet through blogging. Do not forget the importance of paid WordPress design templates, or the ones that come from a legit source.
- A lot of template and theme developers, who put their stuff for free on the internet, only do so because they are in the middle of a learning process. They don’t seem to understand the concept of creating perfectly coded templates, so they start promoting whatever they’re equipped with. Would you risk losing your Blog’s integrity to a theme, or a template, that isn’t secure in the first place ?
If you are having trouble implementing code snippets, or you simply don’t like the way your WordPress blog looks, don’t hesitate in contacting this online company for subservient solutions.
This article is part of my ‘Blogging for Your Business’ free eBook series. You can read the first post here. Don’t forget to share, Like and spread the good word if you learned anything today.