There are a number of popular blogging platforms available on the internet, both free and paid. Popular blogging platforms include WordPress, Blogger, Typepad and Yahoo360. The two most popular of these are WordPress and Blogger which both offer free blog hosting. Blogger is generally considered easier to set up and use for new bloggers, however for serious bloggers WordPress is the preferred choice. This is because WordPress offers upgrades that allow you to host your blog on your own domain and to access a significant range of plug-ins and tools that are not available on their free service or at Blogger. However, even the free service at WordPress provides more service, templates and plug-ins than Blogger does.
An additional benefit offered by WordPress is that you own the blog and can transfer it wherever and whenever you want. This is because WordPress is a complete program which you can upload onto your own server. By contrast even if you host a blogger blog on your own domain, only the data is actually stored on the server. Everything else is still controlled by Blogger which means less flexibility than offered by WordPress.
There are many advantages of using WordPress over Blogger. Here are five of them:
1. An extensive choice of thematic blog templates.
2. Wordpress allows for automatic tag creation.
3. It provides the ability to use PHP coding
4. It offers social networking plugins rather than having to manually code/use 3rd party widgets
5. It offers spamming protection and contact form plugins
If you are serious about building a professional blog, it is important that you host your blog on your own domain and own it. This way as you optimize and monetize your blog and generate blog traffic, you will own your own work and the page rank you will earn will be yours. Basically, you will have a business to sell should you wish to do so. The inability for you to do this is a serious downside of Blogger.
Once you have chosen your blog platform, you need to spend some time planning the blog itself. The most effective and successful blogs tend to have a single main theme which allows them to target a particular niche audience. Focusing on one main topic area also means your blog will be easier to locate social bookmarking and blog directories. This theme should also influence the design and layout of your site. What is the impression you want to give visitors to your blog? For example, a corporate blog will look different to an artist's blog. The color, style and layout of your blog needs to support the theme of your site.
After you have decided on the theme and design of the site, it is important to organize your blog page for easy navigation. Unless you make it as easy as possible for readers to find information they are seeking, they will move on quickly. An effective way to keep a visitor engaged on your blog is to provide links to related posts at the end of every blog post. An equally successful strategy is to provide links to your most popular posts on the sidebar. According to experts, these articles are by far the most read on many websites. Another helpful decision would be to put a Google search bar on your blog page so that visitors can search for information on your site. You can also provide additional value to your visitors by linking to other blogs and websites in a blogroll (permanent sidebar).
The titles or headlines of your individual posts (as well as your overall blog) need to be carefully considered. It is not only important that they appeal to readers, it is also necessary that they are written to appeal to search engines since you will be largely dependent on search engine traffic for the success of your blog. Furthermore, different blogging platforms use your blog title as a part of the filename in which they store the post. Search engines take file names into consideration when they calculate page ranks making blog titles even more important than otherwise.
As well as the choice of blog platform, theme and layout, a very important element of any blog's success is the knowledge and skills required to maximize its potential. A coaching club or mentor can be extremely beneficial for people desiring to learn how to create a successful business blog. Of course, all due care should be taken to select a reliable support system at an affordable price. However, as anyone who has spent countless hours trawling through the internet looking for information on how to successfully market and monetize a blog will tell you, the right advice at the right time is priceless.
Many people are profiting from cleverly using blogs to market products and services. Far more are failing. The difference between success and failure lies in making the right choices and decisions which in turn are the result of having the right information. You now have information that can set you on the path to blog success. Choose a good mentor and your pathway will be all the smoother.