Are you enjoying this week's Blogging For Business Tutorial? I will respond to comments or questions in the Comments section below.
Monday's post was all about the benefits of blogging. Yesterday, the tutorial continued with a post about how to know whether or not blogging would enhance your business. If you've decided to give it a try, don't shoot yourself in the foot by using a blogging tool that doesn't meet your needs. You have several options.
1. Free, Easy To Use, Hosted Blogging Platforms. Free blogging platforms are free and user-friendly, and that's reason enough to consider them. However, as with all freebies, a few drawbacks are worth mentioning. Typically, minimal support is offered. Also, there are few options to customize your blog and make it unique. For example, on Blogger, a popular free blogging tool, you can categorize posts by date but not by subject matter. This can be a drawback because blog readers often use Category links to look for interesting things to read. With free blogging tools, you will also enjoy fewer formatting options. For examle, you can bold or italicize text with Blogger, but you can't highlight or otherwise distinguish it without adjusting the style sheet (which topic is far beyond the scope of this post and my small mind).
Some popular free blogging options are Blogger (owned by Google), WordPress and Bravenet. In each case, blogs are hosted on their servers. Of the three, Blogger is probably the most popular and well known. My website designer and blog-o-licious Indie Kim Baron at Fallen Muse WebWorks describes Blogger as "blogging lite." WordPress has a few more features, but having said that, Google is investing substantial resources to upgrade its blogging platform so all of this may change soon.
2. Paid Hosted Blogging Platforms For The Technically Challenged. For under $20 a month at Typepad, you can enjoy a blogging tool with more flexibility than the free options. Typepad is owned by Six Apart, the company that owns Movable Type. Movable Type is a blogging program that's hosted on your server. Typepad is the version of Movable Type that is hosted on their servers instead of yours. Six Apart's founders launched Typepad because bloggers with no HTML or programming experience were crying out for a platform that was easier to use than Movable Type.
Indie Business Blog uses Typepad and I love it because I can focus on writing content and not learning HTML. (When I need that help, I ask my website designer.) Typepad has more formatting features than free blogging programs and the email support is outstanding. Another benefit of Typepad is that you can add individual pages to your blog. This is handy when you want to include things that don't fit into your blog "proper". Recently, Typepad announced a new feature allowing hosting of Internet radio shows at no charge. So many features, so little time!
Typepad's annual pricing ranges from $49.50 for Typepad Basic to $299.50 for Typepad Premium. At this time, they are offering a 14-day free trial.
3. Paid Blogging Software For The Technically Advanced. When I purchased Movable Type's commercial license in September 2005, it was $199. Today, the same license is $235.95, and that's with a 20% discount. Lower prices are available for non-profits and educational institutions. People who blog for non-commercial purposes can download Movable Type for free. Movable Type is a powerful blogging tool, but not for the technically challenged (like me). That's why I'm not going to say much more about it. One thing I will say is that professional bloggers who want to excel in the blogosphere almost always choose Movable Type. Maybe some day.
Since I first started blogging in September 2005, I have used Movable Type, Blogger, WordPress and Typepad. You can see my old Movable Type blog here. For my purposes, Typepad wins hands down. Movable Type was too complicated for me and I found myself paying my website designer to help me a lot. This put a crimp in my blogging style because instead of focusing on my thoughts, I had to focus on technical issues, not to mention waiting for Kim to fit my extremeley urgent and burning blogging issue into her already packed schedule. If she couldn't get back to me that day and I couldn't post without her help, guess what? No post that day. Not good for business.
Now you know the benefits of blogging for business, how to know whether blogging is for you and what blogging tools are available to you.
On Friday, I'll post the Now it's time to move onto the final installment on the very important topic of choosing blog post topcis.
Additional Helpful Resources:
How and When To Blog (IBN member sign-in required): http://www.indiebeauty.com/channel-members/ibnlive.asphttp://www.indiebeauty.com/channel-members/ibnlive.asp
Promote Your Business Through Blogging: http://www.indiebusinessradio.com/#sherman
To Blog Or Not To Blog?: http://www.indiebusinessradio.com/#hart
Is Corporate Blogging For You?: http://www.indiebusinessradio.com/2006_archives.html#weil
If you have some blogging program experiences, questions or comments, please share them. If you found this post helpful, let me know.