Ready to start blogging, but don’t know where to start? Try WordPress.
WordPress is an open source blogging software tool which affords pretty much anybody with basic computer skills to blog their way to stardom! Well, maybe not to stardom, but it an easy to use, easy to learn content management system…and it’s FREE!
I’ll get into some of the features and benefits in a second, but here’s some steps and considerations you want to take first.
1. Do you want to tag your blog onto your existing site or setup a new domain name?
There are two schools of thought on this one and both are valid. Tagging it on to your existing site most certainly has it’s benefits such as just having one set of logins to remember. It can get a bit tricky with 404 errors if you don’t know what your doing in the configuration stage, and you may lose some of the external linking benefits if you’re looking to increase your rankings on the search engines.
2. Do you want your blog to match your existing website’s look and feel?
Designing a customized blog with a new look and feel is basically easy to learn and there is a ton of support out there for even the novice PHP and CSS code writer. If you don’t have the time, or have no hair left to pull out after designing and managing your existing site, you may consider outsourcing your blog design. Costs on that can range from $50 to several thousand dollars depending upon the sophistication of your blog’s functionality. Check out http://www.blog-template-layout.com for some ideas and links to themes and plug-ins.
3. What is the purpose of your blog?
It’s a good idea to map out on a piece of paper, a cocktail napkin or whiteboard what exactly you want your blog to accomplish, how many hours a day do you or your staff have available to accommodate fresh content, promotion and optimization. Blogs can help you create a social network, act as a customer service tool, an internal employee communications vehicle, generate new members, customers, supporters, sales, donations, you name it. It’s important to do a bit of a core dump in advance and set some goals and timelines for implementation. Remember, your blog is a living organism and new features and plug-ins are always coming online so be flexible to change.
4. How much do I have to spend?
Figure hosting (if you need it) will cost around $10-15 a month on the high end. A new domain, anywhere between $2 and $20 (beware of cheap domain name registrars that won’t let you point the domain to your nameservers of choice and sucker you in with $2 domain name registrations only to stick you with an expensive hosting plan). Design, if you don’t do it yourself will cost between $50 and several thousand dollars for a massively feature rich content management system if you are a membership organization, a mid-size business, a media concern, have a ton of existing content you wish to leverage or just want to dominate your market space.
WordPress Features and Benefits
- Easy to learn
- Easy to Post, Edit and Manage
- Lots of cool plug-ins (be careful if you don’t know basic PHP, they don’t all work)
- Open Source (lot’s of smart people making a better system)
- Build a subscriber database
- Easy to do basic customization
- Easy to setup
- Lots of hosting companies already support it (see Fantastico)
- Great support forums
- Pretty much search engine friendly
- Pretty stable
- Pretty secure (beware of some PHP formmailers)
- Did I mention it’s FREE?
So, if you’re ready to start blogging, check out WordPress, make a list of objectives, set some goals, do a content inventory and get started. And keep an eye out for more articles on blogging, or subscribe to http://blog-template-layout.com/feed/ and get the latest delivered via your favorite aggregator.
Author – Christopher Conlan is Managing Director of Kaboodle Ventures (the company that owns this blog www.blog-template-layout.com)