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Best blogging platform for a small business


I have been asked by a small retail and catering business- Crème de La Catering -to write a recommendation for a suitable blogging platform which will allow them to publicise their company. They’re looking to share recipes and tips on running good events; they also want to feature their suppliers so people know where their products are from.

There are many blogging platforms available on the internet, for example; Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, Ghost and a more recent blogging platform Medium. I will be discussing 2-3 of these and then discussing the final, chosen blogging platform, which I will recommend to Crème de La Catering in more depth.

Blogger logo

Blogger is a blog hosted platform which gives the option for its user to create an account for free. Blogger allows its users to design their own blog; you can choose from templates which have layouts and backgrounds which can easily be altered to make your blog appear unique.  As well as this Blogger also allows its users to create a custom domain which would allow businesses, such as Crème de La Catering, to be found and followed easier.

As Blogger is owned by Google it allows you to connect seamlessly with Google+ , helping you reach new readers and participate in conversations your posts inspire(Blogger, 2013) meaning if you share your posts you will create conversation about the topic of your post. This is a positive for a small business as creating conversation about your businesses helps to expand your audience reach. Although Blogger seems like a very good blogging platform I don’t think it would be suitable for Crème de La Catering as it seems like a very visual blogging platform, so may not be suitable for posts with a lot of text. However, this would be a good platform for posting pictures of Crème de La Catering’s products, food etc.

Tumblr Logo  Tumblr is a micro-blogging platform which is a very visual platform used, predominantly, by teenagers to post and reblog their friends and people they follow. Although you are able to share your posts on other social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook etc. I don’t think Tumblr would be suitable for a business to use. I believe this because the people who use Tumblr are, mostly, teenagers and as Crème de La Catering don’t specifically target teenagers, but a much wider audience, I don’t think Tumblr would be suitable for this small business is to use as their blogging platform.

WordPress Logo

What is WordPress? “WordPress is a content management system. It’s basically a platform that…makes it insanely simple to create websites” (Wolfe, M 2012).

WordPress.com and WordPress.org; what are the differences?

Well, WordPress.org is “the self-hosted version of the platform” (Wolfe, M 2012) which allows you to host and own your own account; it isn’t hosted on the WordPress server so you have to pay for it. On the other hand WordPress.com “is hosted on WordPress’s servers” (Wolfe, M 2012) meaning that your account is not only free to setup but it is also free to use!

WordPress, like Blogger, allows you to choose custom themes, which can be customised and widgets can be added to make your blog unique and do what you want it to. ‘Widget’ stands for ‘web gadgets’ and help to improve the look and functionality of your sidebar. For example, you can add RSS feeds and Twitter feeds; as well as being able to link your blog to other social media sites, i.e. Facebook and Instagram. There are many widgets available, however not all themes have the same widgets, so you may have to sacrifice a beautiful theme if it doesn’t have the widgets suitable for the purpose you intend.

Widgets

Businesses, in particular small businesses, should blog because it helps your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO); as Google displays the most recent content, therefore if your content is the most recent then you’ll be most searchable. WordPress takes care of 80-90% of the mechanics of search engine optimisation for you(WordPress, 2013). This is so that you don’t have to worry about posts being invisible on Google; if they’re up to date and your blog is updated regularly your post/blog will become even more visible in a Google search. Also, as WordPress takes care of the majority of SEO then you don’t have to spend as much time marketing your business online; it allows you to spend more time within the business while it’s being marketed for you. If you would like further help with searchability there are plugins available on WordPress. Searchability is vital, especially for a small business like Crème de La Catering, as it helps the businesses online presence grow and, therefore the people who buy products will grow. There are many ways which SEO can be improved without installing plugins, for example using; keywords, tags, categories, linking back to yourself, search friendly URLs and fresh, original, up to date content!

Keywords

Keywords are useful because they help your blog and its content to be more searchable. For example, if Crème de La Catering wanted to post a recipe on their blog it would be vital to use keywords which relate to the type of recipe. Say the recipe was a cheesecake recipe keywords used would be “cheesecake” and “recipe” as this clearly states what the post is about, also it will help the business’ SEO because if these terms were Googled then this article would appear. This is easy to do on WordPress as you just decide on a title, or phrase, which is popular on Google and this can be used as the title as WordPress will make it visible in Google.

Tags and categories

Tags and categories should always be used in every WordPress blog post; as categories and tags offer an opportunity to increase traffic to your site via search engines(Ewer, T 2013). They also help to organise your blog so people who read your blog can, for example, click on the “recipe” category and know that they’ll be able to just look at all the recipes Crème de La Catering have published. This makes it easier for your readers to find what they want, thus, hopefully, making them want to come back to your blog as it’s easy to use and navigate around. However, don’t go overboard when categorising posts, as a post shouldn’t be in more than 2 categories. Tags are useful because they enable you to “refind sites…you just click on the list of tags displayed on your own page…and it shows you a list of all the sites you’ve given that tag” (Weinberger, D 2008). Both tags and categories are simple to create on WordPress. Categories can be created either in the main dashboard or whilst creating a post. Tags are added to the bottom of each post so that the tags are relevant to your post.

Creating categories & tags
 Tag cloud

Linking back to yourself

Linking back to yourself is an important way to keep an internal link in your blog, it also helps to drive traffic to other posts in your archives. For example, if Crème de La Catering were to post a new recipe they could link to previous recipes they’d do; encouraging viewers to look around the blog and follow it. WordPress allows you to do this by linking text to an internal or external URL or by putting your own article in the ‘related articles’ section; both these way link internally to your blog creating more traffic to more of your blog posts.

Search friendly URLs

Search friendly URLs are important when creating a blog because it’s, for instance, it is easy to understand what ‘www.cremedelacatering.com/recipes’ would contain. However it isn’t easy to understand what ‘www.cremedelacatering/58302’ would contain. Therefore, to make your site easy to remember and easy to predict the content you must have appropriate custom URLs. When setting up your WordPress account it is vital to choose an appropriate name which reflects what your content will be.

Content

Content, yes it may be an obvious one but it’s where people fall down when it comes to SEO. Creating original, fresh and up to date content is key in an online world; as everybody expects to be able to find out the latest fast! Therefore, to make a blog post about last week’s news it wouldn’t be appropriate, because this has already been and gone. So, to create ‘good’ content which will (we hope) become popular it needs to be current! This would work to the advantage of Crème de La Catering because all of the information posted on their blog would be up to date and current; as businesses are always changing, developing and having new ideas. So, Crème de La Catering would be able to inform their readers of this and also share their recent recipes, products etc. with the people reading their blog.

WordPress allows you to do all of the vital things which help towards a good blog post and also to good searchability. Therefore, I would recommend WordPress because it is versatile; you can add or remove plugins and widgets wherever you’d like, dependent on what the theme you’ve chosen allows you to do. However, most themes allow you to have most widgets and plugins which are available to improve the functionality of your blog. As well as this WordPress allows you to add additional pages to your blog. It is important to have an ‘about’ page which is additional to your blog post page, archive etc. so that your readers know what your blog is about; the about page can also be used to add links to your other social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook etc.

Taxonomy is the way in which data is organised, this would be used on Crème de La Catering’s blog by either using ‘sitemaps’ or categories; which are the most common way of organising your blog posts. “In classification systems, an overstuffed miscellaneous category can be a sign that the system isn’t using all the relevant information” (Weinberger, D 2008), meaning if you “overstuff” a category  it isn’t using it to its full advantage; therefore to use a category correctly you must be specific about what you want in your categories so that you don’t ‘overstuff’ them. Folksonomies would also be used to help the SEO of Crème de La Catering’s blog by using tags as explained earlier.

In conclusion I wouldn’t recommend Blogger and Tumblr to be used by a small business because they are too visual and aren’t versatile enough. However, I would recommend WordPress because it is a very versatile blogging platform which allows the use of taxonomies and folksonomies; not only on the blog but on individual blog posts. As well as this WordPress can be customised and widgets and plugins can be added to make the blog function as you need it to, in order to suit the needs of your business. Overall, WordPress is a blog which allows you to do pretty much anything, although you have to pay for some themes, plugins etc. it isn’t impossible to create a very good, popular blog with a free WordPress blog; as it is (I would say) just as good as the version of WordPress you pay for.

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Blogging Platforms


So, for my course assessment I have to research and write a 2000 word blog post recommending a blogging platform for a small retail or catering business. I have decided to write a blog as part of the research; so it’ll help me decide what blogging platform I think will be the best.

First of all, there are many blogging platforms – from WordPress to Blogger to Ghost and to micro-blogging platforms such as Tumblr. There are many different types of blogging platforms, for example self-hosted and hosted sites. WordPress is both a self-hosted and hosted blogging platform as it allows you to create your own domain where you own the website (i.e. the paid version of WordPress). However, it’s the free version of WordPress (WordPress.com) which is a hosted site; as your website is hosted through a third-party website (for example, jessicaleeman.wordpress.com). Tumblr is also a popular example of a hosted site, as your website is hosted through Tumblr (i.e. your domain would be – yourblog.tumblr.com).

WordPress

Why is WordPress a good blogging platform for businesses?

  • Can be used for both your blog and your main site as a content management system  (self-hosted version).
  • You can enhance the look, design and functionality of your blog with the many themes, plugins and widgets available. You can make your blog look exactly how you want it to look and make it do what you need it to, i.e. by adding widgets. Themes are limited to users of the hosted version of WordPress, however there’s still a good range of themes, plugins and widgets available.
  • Can re-blog other peoples posts, therefore people may re-blog you and so expand your blogs reach.

Blogger

Is Blogger a good blogging platform for businesses?

  • Free hosted platform; owned by Google.
  • Possible that the more accounts with Google you have, the higher up in search rankings you’ll appear. So, as Blogger is a ‘product’ of Google it doesn’t hurt to set up and account on Blogger..
  • Can use themes which are outside of ‘Bloggers’ systems; i.e. external themes which you can import. Also, you’re able to (if you know how) to slightly modify the themes codes to suit your needs depending on what your blog is for.
  • Add-ons and widgets, i.e. sharing buttons to Twitter, Facebook etc. can also (like WordPress) be ‘added on’ to your blog. Adding different ‘add-ons’ will make your blog stand out from other blogs.

Although, there are a vast number of blogging platforms available I have summarised two just to get an idea of what different blogs can do! I will be going into much more detail about my chosen platform for my assessment.

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How I Intend To Approach My Research..


I will be posting a 2000 word blog post recommending a social media website for a chosen case-study. The case-study I have chosen to write a recommendation for is… a recommendation for a blogging platform for a small retail or catering business.

For my course assessment I intend to carry out research on different social media websites which will be useful for small retail and catering businesses to use as their blogging platform. I will carry out research online to find out what social media platform has been most successful for existing small businesses, i.e. finding research online which has already been done to back up my reasoning for the use of whichever blogging platform I decide is most suitable. I will do this because then I have some external links; this doesn’t just back up my recommendation,  but also helps me to create a better structured blog with some existing information.

Also, I will look at what the blogging platform can be linked to in terms of social media platforms, for example can you link your blog to Facebook or a Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram etc. I will look at the types of social media platforms which can be linked to the blogging platform as the more social media platforms can be linked the bigger the reach will be for the retail/catering business. I.e. linking your small businesses blog to Facebook, Twitter etc. will allow you to share your posts onto more platforms and so reaching out to more people.

I will look at how affective each social media platforms are at marketing the blogging platform; this will help me weigh up the pro’s and cons of each blogging platform. Therefore, to begin my assessment I will discuss various blogging platforms, such as; WordPress, Blogger, Blog.com, Ghost, Tumblr etc. before coming to a definite decision about which blogging platform I will choose to recommend to a small retail/catering business.

Social media- good or bad?


Social media involves interacting with people to create, change, share and exchange information with the online community.

There are many examples of “social media” websites, for example; Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr. These are all popular websites used in people’s everyday life to share information with the online community that they’re building up. Social media is a brilliant way to build friends and gain contacts, i.e. for business, which could be very beneficial for you.

Once an online presence has been created it isn’t always easy to build up an online ‘community’ of people, an audience, you want to reach out too. People spend a lot of time trying to build this ‘community’ which is why people would argue social media is negative. People seem to be spending more time creating an online ‘community’ than building up relationships in reality i.e. distancing themselves from family and friends.

However, there are infinite opinions about social media, such as this video on YouTube which is a great insight into social media.

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