How do you set up a blog?
What is the step by step process to set up a blog and do you create it within your website or can it/is it better to maintain it independently? What sort of content should be on your blog and how much do you link to your business? I hear of a 80/20 rule where only 20% should be direct plug to your business and the 80% informative, industry related. What do you think?
As James says,
If you are building a standalone blog make it on WordPress.
It depends what platform your site is built on, some can be easier than others to implement a blog.
To be honest I run off maybe 90-95% information for my readers and possible 5-10% promotion of my services, you can run a banner on the site and have a services page linked via the blog.
If you are building a standalone blog make it on WordPress in terms of how easy and simple the set up and maitence is.
Great information Peter. Thanks. I'm sure we could all learn a LOT from your very considerable skills!
I've heard many people say your blog should be the 'center of your universe" - so to speak...and everything else feeds off it. The Blog is your Hub...and Linked In, Facebook, You Tube etc.....drive people to your blog where they can get useful information and enter your follow up system...assuming you have one.
For my business I operate two blogs, a main blog and a summary blog. My main blog is a WordPress site, self hosted and uses a different domain name from my main business. I was forced into this rather than choice as I operate an eCommerce site and back when my blog started I knew I would be changing eCommerce software in the near future. I changed from self hosted eCommerce to Shopify, so they host for me. Moving a blog across is do-able but seemed to add more grief than I needed moving product across. Having a seperate domain has worked well for me, there are lots of thoughts on blog within main and blog outside, I'm happy with the way mine work.
My self hosted main WordPress blog does have links to my store but I don't over do it, only one or two links are enough plus I also link to other relevant sites. e.g. I sell Olympus gear so I often link to the Olympus sites in AU/UK/US.
My second, summary blog is purely for SEO purposes. It's a blogger.com blog (owned by Google) and has a short summary of any article I write. I link from blogger.com to the main article and have found that doing this instantly gets my posts indexed.
My content relates to the things I sell, none of it is salesy but is informative. I write about common issues and questions that people have things related to my business and this works well. Blogging shouldn't be a chore, should be fun and something you enjoy doing. Giving away knowledge can be quite fulfilling.
Greg McKay owner at G K McKay Pty Ltd
I'll leave the tactical and business advantages of blogging to others better equipped to answer, but I would offer a word of caution on using Wordpress as a platform, especially on shared hosting.
Wordpress has achieved almost cult like status amongst it's user's, some of it deserved, but often the downside is glazed over.
Because it's easy to install and use by non technical users it's possibly the most popular blog engine come CMS out there (being free open source software helps too).
This popularity makes it a prime target for a multitude of malicious attacks, usually by automated bots and crawlers looking for "low fruit", if the site has not been "hardened" from a security point of view, as well as spotlessly maintained and upgraded, you may find your data and content evaporating into cyberspace.
Even with good security practice on the site itself, poorly run shared hosting (surprisingly common) can easily leave holes in the web server security. Once an experienced hacker gets in via the web server, anything you've done for security will be almost a waste of time.
I've personally had several Wordpress sites (well maintained and secured) taken down repeatedly by malicious attacks, where the attackers gained access via poorly secured shared hosting servers.
Wordpress at it's core is an excellent blog engine, but it achieves a lot of it's functionality beyond that using "plugins" written by third parties. There's nothing wrong with plugins or templates per se, but they are the most likely cause of a security holes (not just in Wordpress).
If you are looking for a "plug and play" solution and don't want to get your hands dirty in the back end maintenance stuff (or don't have the skill or time), I'd be looking at a Cloud hosted solution where all server side security and application maintenance is abstracted away from the publishing interface and managed by experts.
Platforms like Squarespace do this well ... there's others. I just happen to use and like Squarespace. I've had several sites running there for quite a while ... never done any maintenance, never managed a security patch, never had any down time, and never been hacked ... average cost per site $8 pcm.