Social media is changing the advertising landscape making it easier and more difficult to reach your target audience. With that in mind, blogging is still the number one avenue to market your business.
Blogging creates a relationship, builds value and trust in your brand and lets you show off your thought leader skills. Basically, it’s a channel for your clients to get to know your business in a personal manner.
But if you are new to blogging or are considering a website update, the blogging platform choices can be overwhelming. This list offers an in-depth look into the top 5 blogging platforms with small business in mind.
First, let’s consider a few statistics. Over 45 percent of businesses blogs 2-3 times a week, 60 percent of US consumers have made a purchase based on a blog recommendation and 80 percent of US online consumers trust blogs.
Blogging platforms are numbers in order of popularity.
Blogger is owned by Google, so it’s not disappearing anytime soon. It features analytics, social media integration, is developer hosted and costs nothing. It does not offer themes, but gives users full rein when it comes to designing their template. Choose colors, fonts, layout, upload a background or use the Advanced design option to add custom CSS.
The platform offers a drag-and-drop feature to let you easily decide where your posts, archives, profiles and others should live. Plus, the Mobile BlogSpot makes it easy to upload posts, pictures or videos on the go. Or posts can be emailed if SMS/MMS is not available from your mobile carrier.
Blogger is simple, straightforward and perfect for people who want a blog, but don’t want the fuss. However, Blogger won’t be the right choice for every business. Photographers, Authors, or Food lovers may be the best choice for this low-key, but resourceful platform.
Blogger user, Michael Hudson says, “I’ve used Blogger for four years now and have appreciated how easy it is to use. It also offers reasonably stylish designs. I also appreciate the basic but very adequate analytics that allow me to see how many reads I’m getting every day, week, month, etc. I’m quite happy with Blogger.”
Check out Michael’s blog.
If you have not heard of WordPress, I might be scared for you. It’s everywhere and there’s a reason for that. WordPress is a blogging platform, but it has become one of the best Content Management Systems (CMS) available due to its large open source network of developers and resources. If you’re a newbie, that means an entire website can be built around your business blog.
It features thousands of free and paid templates, excellent traffic analytics that can tell you everything about your audience, offers thousands of plugins to personalize your blog, social media integration, is offered as a developer hosted platform (free) or non-developer-hosted (paid). The paid packages range in price, but are very affordable. It is also multilingual, offering over 50 languages, minimizes spam and updates regularly to keep security tight.
And when it comes to mobile, WordPress is on the ball. You can publish from any mobile device, tablet or cellphone.
WordPress is the ultimate selection for anyone looking to blog, update their website or create a website for their business.
WordPress user Blake Jamieson says, “I use WordPress to power my own blog, and have used it to build 20+ websites for clients and friends. I love it because I can use a WordPress Theme to get a professional looking site, without having to touch a line of code. Also, there are plugins for just about anything you want to add to your site.”
Look at Blake’s site, here.
Tumblr has been gaining in popularity over the last few years and some say it’s set to catch up with WordPress, but I disagree. Although there are a few reasons, the largest is the difference between the type of professionals Tumblr attracts and the industries it can serve.
Anyone can have a blog, but a business blog is different and you must consider what is best for your industry type. Designers (of all kinds), developers, fashion bloggers, photographers, crafters – people of the non-corporate type dominate Tumblr’s community. If you fall into these categories, then Tumblr rocks and its minimalist overtones will have your biz looking ultra savvy in no time.
Features include pre-made templates, developer hosting (it’s free), social media integration, easy sharing options, and theme customization. It’s available in 12 languages, can post via email, edit multiple posts at one time in the Mega-Editor, make audio posts, houses keyboard shortcuts and offers extra apps like Bookmarklet which lets you share anything you see on the web with a click of a button.
Tumblr user, David Hoang says, “I’ve been using Tumblr since August of 2008, and it’s still my favorite platform to share on. There is something about the community and the brevity of using it. For me it is the best way to share content (connecting it to Instagram, Path, ex.fm, etc.) in one place. I have actually made some very close friends on Tumblr, and I think it is because people seem to be more open (or share more about themselves) on there.”
Scope out David’s Tumblr, here.
Similar to Tumblr, TypePad isn’t for everyone, but for those it caters to, it’s special.
It is developer hosted, but TypePad is not free. It offers a 3-tiered pricing subscription level that offers features like pre-made, customizable templates, social media integration, Google analytics, very high security, and is available in many languages. Plus, you can upload posts from your computer, mobile device or thru email.
It’s an excellent platform for selling products and services and boasts the very best in customer service which promises to handle your issue within 24 hours and keep your blog secure.
TypePad’s target clients are those involved with crafts, food and style.
5. Movable Type
If you’ve never heard of Movable Type that’s because it’s ‘mostly’ undercover. However, they power some of the world’s largest media companies and Fortune 100 businesses, like the Huffington Post. But they still work with small businesses and bloggers.
The platform is more high tech than its predecessors, so having a bit of technical know-how will make it less painful. Features include a range of packages for bloggers to agencies (free to paid), the ability to host multiple weblogs and standalone content pages, templates and trackback links, a WYSIWYG editor, universal template set, a community buzz feature that shares which comments and content has been recommended by visitors, fully customized member registration panels, built in RSS/Search options and “Priority Technical Support” for the paying customers.
Bottom line: if the likes of Conde Nast, NBC Universal, Harvard Business Review, Sony Pictures and Nike are users, it must be good.
I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know the Top 5 Blogging Platforms for Small Businesses. If you have a favorite to add to the list, please do so!