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How to Choose a Blogging Platform

Feb 2, 2008
Blogging is one of the easiest ways to set up a website. Pick a topic, blogging platform, host and theme/template for your blog, and start writing. It's low cost and can be a lot of fun.

Picking a Blog Topic

Just about anything will do, depending on your goals. Blogs have become successful businesses on all kinds of topics.

However, your blog needs to be on something that you can write consistently about while maintaining your readers' interest. If you can only come up with a few post ideas you might not have the right topic for a blog.

While choosing your topic really has little to do with your blogging platform, it is so relevant to starting a blog that it is worth mentioning. It can also matter when it comes to deciding how serious you are about your blog, which can impact the platform you choose.

Choosing Your Blogging Platform

Blogger and Wordpress are the most popular options out there, but there are several others worth considering, such as Typepad.

Blogger is not especially flexible, but it's very easy for beginners to use. Some people like to just learn to blog with Blogger, then move on to more powerful options once they understand what they're doing. There's good and bad to this.

The good is that if you really mess up early on, it's easy to abandon the blog and start fresh. You can do this with other options too, but when blogging platforms have more options you're increasing your overall learning curve. Blogger also has an adequate number of templates available to you.

The bad is that if you want to get serious and move to self hosted there's no easy way to forward your traffic. Blogger also lacks a lot of functionality. You won't miss it while you don't have it, but if you someday switch, you will know the difference.

Platforms such as Wordpress, on the other hand, offer much more functionality and aren't really that much harder to learn in my opinion. You have a lot more flexibility when it comes to themes (what your blog looks like) and how it functions.

Choosing Your Host

Both Blogger and Wordpress have hosted options for blogs on their sites. Free hosting has the obvious advantage of free, but for blogs that you want to build a business with they are rarely the right option.

Wordpress in particular is picky about what you do with your blog when you're on their hosting. You're very limited in what you can do to earn money with a Wordpress-hosted blog. It's their hosting and they do delete blogs.

Blogger is less picky about advertising and earning money on their blogs, but they also have the right to delete your blog and it does happen. Most often is when a blog is reported as spam. If you miss that hint that someone has reported your blog, it can vanish. A good clue is if you suddenly have to fill in the CAPTCHA form when one was not present before.

In both cases, you also don't have your own domain name. This can make you appear to be less serious about your blog and make it harder to earn money from it.

Choosing the right host will make a difference. Hosting is very cheap these days, and you can get great hosting packages for under $10 a month. Domain names can be had for under $10 per year. It's an exceptionally affordable form of home business.

You want a host that has a good reputation. This can be difficult to figure out, since most recommendations will come from affiliates, and it's hard to come across genuine reviews. But most sites do have forums or blogs where they communicate with current and potential customers, and you can see how problems are handled there.

Most hosts offer one click install of the Wordpress software. Wordpress has no worries about how you use their software on other sites, only on their own.

Picking a Theme/Template

Depending on how you're hosted, you may have a lot of choices for blog themes or just a few. It also depends on how hard you research the matter and how much customization you are comfortable with doing.

Blogger has 30+ templates available on their site, and you can change them around to meet your own preferences. Wordpress offers a range of themes when you host through their site, but if you're hosting your own Wordpress blog, the number of themes available goes out the roof. You can even have someone design a theme for you.

Your theme should go well with your topic. The more relevant you can make it, the more appealing your blog will be visually to visitors.

Once you have your blog set up, it's up to you to fill it with content that will interest your visitors. Blogging can be fun, stressful, time consuming and sometimes even profitable. There's a lot to learn to make the most of it, but the best way to learn is to simply get started.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster blogs at http://www.aspectsofhomebusiness.com/blog/ about running a home business. If you want to learn more about starting a home business , she offers a series on that at her site.
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