Published By Janet Gershen-Siegel at June 16th, 2018
We can help you with starting a company blog.
Written by Janet Gershen-Siegel
Starting a company blog may seem daunting. It can seem like an extra you don’t need. We break down the benefits – you will want a company blog!
As your business progresses and you get more clients, you may find certain questions keep coming up, over and over again. They are too long for Twitter and too generalized for Facebook. Or they might be the kinds of questions or information which could help to spur sales.
Another thing might be where you want to explain who you are and what your expertise is, but you don’t want to keep on repeating yourself, or even provide photographs or other supporting documentation. Or you could even want to provide some semi-enduring recognition for customers, or comment on news which affects your industry.
Every one of these topics is prime company blog content.
There are a few separate platforms which exist for business (or any other type of) blogging. Some will be more user-friendly or less expensive or will evoke more professionalism. Still others might come with semi-built-in audiences. Here are the main ones.
Blogger is a somewhat older platform but it has one big advantage: Google backs it. If you are already signed into Google for any other purpose (such as Gmail or to access Google docs), then if you navigate to Blogger it’ll just open up a dashboard for you. If you have read other blogs on this platform, then they can show up in the dashboard as well, under ‘Reading List’.
Blogger is free but it also looks it. There are virtually no templates or themes, so you’re on your own for making it pretty.
If you are artistically talented or have coding chops, then that shouldn’t be a problem. But if you really need it to look good but don’t have the time or skills to do that, then this is really not the platform for you.
Another free platform, Medium has the advantage of having some serious cachet these days. However, it’s not really for a company blog. Instead, it’s good for hobby and personal blogging, and you can give it an artistic look and feel. But I wouldn’t try to sell anything through it.
Medium also, technically, most likely ‘owns’ your content, in the sense that it is its own site and not, say, an internet service provider. If Medium closed tomorrow, your content would be destroyed right along with the website.
More of an all-in-one software company than a true blogging platform, Squarespace has a pricing plan of $8 or $18 per month and a number of templates. They are good for out of the box work, where you want to get your website up and running yesterday, but still want it to look decent. With templates, you get a site which looks good. However, you also get a site which is constrained by templating.
If that doesn’t bother you, then Squarespace can be a good idea. They are decent for creative folks and for absolute beginners.
Note: their number of templates is pretty small. And also note: their website looks great – but that’s because the photographs they have on it are smashing. Imagine not so great photos in their place and see if you are still interested in this platform.
Tumblr is kind of an odd duck. The site’s users have a good gender mix (e. g. it’s not too heavily skewed in one direction like, say, Pinterest is), and they are reportedly very loyal to the platform. Getting traction on Tumblr means interacting – a lot – with other Tumblr bloggers. And even then, there are no guarantees you’ll get an audience for your work.
Selling on Tumblr is probably not going to happen too often, although you could potentially get people to follow you on Tumblr and click through to your website.
Another disadvantage to Tumblr is – much like is the case with Medium, they technically own your content. If Tumblr closes its proverbial doors, your content will go with it.
Wix costs run from free to $25 per month, and that includes hosting. There are a few hundred templates (about ten times as many as Squarespace has) and they include templates for creating an online store. They also have an ‘arena’ where professionals advertise their wares in case you need to pay for pro help with your site.
When you purchase hosting, you are buying your domain; WordPress will not give you a domain. If you do not purchase hosting, you can still have a free blog with WordPress but the URL will look like yoursite.wordpress.com, and that’s not very professional.
Instead, you should pay for hosting. But if you have a professional website already, then you are already doing this.
With thousands of themes and plugins, WordPress is ultra-customizable. It is, however, the hardest to use of all of the platforms. The good news, though, is that there are tutorials all over YouTube, plus you will learn by doing and by practicing.
In Part 2, I’ll talk about what to actually put in your company blog. Check out how this will help your company leverage the power of the internet and social media.