Posts Tagged "blogging platforms"

The Ideal Blog for Your Website

Incorporating a blog into your web space is an excellent way to generate interest and let consumers into your world. However, there are blogs which engage readers, and blogs which send them clicking away as fast as they can. Here, we’ll review the best way to construct and maintain a blog which keeps your readers coming back for more.

Short and Sweet

You’ve probably received an email or a text message in the past which consisted of a giant block of text. If you’re like most, you found it difficult and frustrating to read. Blocks of text are not informative or entertaining—they’re irritating.

When you construct your blog posts, keep this in mind. Readers are most actively and easily engaged by shorter paragraphs. Bullet points or numbered lists, if complement your topic, are another excellent way to keep information separate and easy to read. You don’t want to bore your readers—you want to inform and entertain.

Punctuation and grammar are two important points which many bloggers overlook. In this digital age, shortened words, abbreviations and ‘text speak’ are becoming more accepted. However, they should be used sparingly, if at all, in your web space. Take the time to spell-check your posts, and have a grammar-savvy friend read them over if you’re unsure of your own grammar and punctuation skills. It takes a bit of extra time, but nothing screams ‘amateur’ like a poorly spelled or improperly structured blog.

Updating Regularly

A blog isn’t much fun if it’s never updated. You certainly don’t need to detail each day of your life. However, updating once per week is a fairly standard and acceptable time frame. It’s also a time frame which allows you time to think up quality content while keeping readers up to date.

Remember that this is your web space, so don’t be afraid to get creative and have fun with post topics. It’s even acceptable, on most blogs, to add personal stories. Some of the most successful bloggers frequently drop personal stories into their blogs, even radically off-topic stories. These glimpses into their personal lives allow their readers to get to know the blogger on a deeper level. They’re also a great option when you’re pressed for time and can’t think up an on-topic post!

Selling Yourself

Your blog is a place to express yourself, inform and entertain your readers and keep them current on your business. Don’t let the business aspect of your blog get lost in the rush to create entertaining content. You want to encourage customers to purchase from you again, and encourage new readers to become first-time customers. However, you also want to do it in subtle, engaging ways.

Pushy sales tactics rarely work. Instead, showcase your product or service. Include write-ups of new products on your blog, accompanied with pictures. Host a small contest with a reasonable, yet exciting prize. Do whatever it takes to get customers through your door, virtual or otherwise—just be careful not to push them away by trying too hard. A quality product or service, presented in an attractive and pressure-free manner, will sell itself. You can get started right away by checking out our top hosting pick and seeing how a well-run blog will enhance your web space.

Stuck for Blogging Ideas?

While blogging often looks ridiculously easy to readers, bloggers know that coming up with fresh, entertaining web space content on a regular basis can be downright nerve-wracking. If you’re feeling stuck, don’t despair—you’re not the only one. Writers’ block hits bloggers just as often as authors, and it’s just as frustrating. Here, you’ll find a few ideas to jump-start your brain and get those creative ideas flowing.

Simple Fixes

Sometimes, finding fresh inspiration can be as easy as reading. Pick up a few copies of magazines devoted to—or somehow related to—your web space content. You can browse websites as well, at no cost. If your web space is more literary, consider picking up a book in a related genre.

While it’s never a good idea to simply copy ideas, reading through related material can give you fresh ideas as to what readers are seeking. If you spot an article which catches your interest, changes are good that it will do the same for your audience. Read it carefully, paying attention to what you feel is wrong with it. Next time you sit down at the keyboard, spin those missing portions for a post which is entirely your own!

Going Way Outside the Box

If you run your own blog, it’s important to remember that you can do virtually anything you want in your web space. If an idea interests you, write about it! Even something totally unrelated to your typical subject matter can be entertaining if written in a fun, engaging way. Many of the most successful bloggers around occasionally drop in personal stories, and their readers it them up.

If you’re uncomfortable talking about personal life online, or if your blog is unsuited to anything too off-topic, get creative. Grab a topic—any topic—and twist it around until it relates to your web space content. This not only enhances your craft by forcing you to think outside your comfort zone, but it entertains readers by providing a totally unexpected take on a familiar subject.

An unfamiliar, exciting format or placement for your blog is another way to set yourself apart. You’ll discover some great options at our top hosting pick, as well as our other recommended hosts.

Something for Nothing

Everybody loves the chance to win something, and there are few posts easier to write than contests. Beauty bloggers, for example, have had huge success—and massive traffic increases—by offering a bundle of beauty loot. This basic concept can be applied to virtually any subject matter, and is virtually guaranteed to interest your readers. You don’t even need a physical prize—offering to feature a reader’s own writing on your blog is a completely free yet extremely attractive way to draw traffic.

Take It Outside

Blogging, especially as a job, can be draining simply because it’s an entirely indoor activity. Humans need a bit of fresh air every day, both for health and mental reasons. Sometimes that new idea you’ve been trying so hard to think up is—quite literally—just around the corner. Take a quick stroll and let your mind wander—you may be shocked at how fast the fresh ideas start rolling in.

As you can see, there are tons of simple, cost-free ways to increase your web space traffic and break through blogger’s block. Always keep this in mind, however—staring at your computer screen and willing an idea to come almost never works. Shake things up, look around and get a fresh perspective—you’ll see the results in increased traffic!

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org

The Two Versions of WordPress:

You actually have two options with WordPress: the self-hosted version (wordpress.org), and the WordPress.com version (wordpress.com). Each version has its advantages and disadvantages.

In the WordPress.com version, you just sign up for a blog very similar to the way you sign up for free email. You get an instant blog that is hosted on http://wordpress.com/.

In the case of the self-hosted version, the software is free, but you need a domain name and have to purchase web hosting so you can host it yourself.

Pros and Cons of the WordPress.com Version

It’s easy to start a blog or website with WordPress.com. All you need to do is register and then start working on your website. You don’t have to worry about hosting, setup, upgrades, security, backups, spam, etc. which are all taken care of by WordPress.com.

WordPress.com does provide many themes and a lot of features, but you are limited to only those themes. You can’t do any custom code changes and you can’t upload any plug-ins. So basically, it has limitations as far as the functionality and customization options are concerned.

There are other drawbacks as well. WordPress.com does not allow you to monetize your blog using affiliate links and pay per click programs like AdSense or Infolinks. Although you can have your own domain name, like yourbusiness.com for your website, a paid upgrade is required. If you want it free, you only get a subdomain, e.g. yourbusiness.wordpress.com.

Pros and Cons of the Self-Hosted Version (wordpress.org)

In the case of the self-hosted version, which you can get directly at http://wordpress.org/, the advantages and disadvantages are different. You get a free script that you have to install on a web server. You are responsible for maintenance aspects of your site, like hosting, installation, security, backup, and fighting spam. However, these are not difficult to do even with minimal knowledge about web hosting. Good web hosts, such as the ones recommended here, have a one-click install of WordPress, and after that everything can be managed from the dashboard. For any technical issues, the customer support team of your hosting provider will be able to help you, though this is rarely required.

If you have a self-hosted version of WordPress, you have complete freedom. There are no restrictions on what you can do with your website, except the reasonable restrictions that your hosting provider may impose. With paid web hosting, this is not something to worry about.

If you want to get yourself a web presence, then one of the best ways would be to find WordPress web space that allows you to do one-click installation. It’s generally better to use the self-hosted version rather than live with the restrictions of WordPress.com.

WordPress Web Space

With humble beginnings as a simple blogging platform, WordPress has since then grown into one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) in use today. WordPress web space is available on most web hosts and its many benefits make it the preferred CMS for not only blogs, but also for small business websites.

What You Can Do with WordPress

WordPress is a web application that manages all aspects of your website in the same way an operating system manages all aspects of your computer. It allows you to input the content you want to display on your website, specify how it should be displayed, and then displays it to your visitors. It also allows your visitors to interact with you and other visitors. It manages all the content including its input, storage, retrieval, and presentation.

WordPress was originally designed to be a blogging software and so it has all the features that a typical blog would require, such as making a new post, accepting comments from users, etc. It also allows you to create static pages on your web space which can be used to present non-blog content, for example, an About page or a static home page. All these can then be linked through customizable menus and widgets, and this makes WordPress very suitable for blogs as well as small websites.

Benefits of Using WordPress

  • It’s free. You don’t have to pay anything for the software. The only thing you have to pay for is the web hosting and domain name.
  • It’s easy to install. Our recommended web hosts all come with a bundled tool called Fantastico, which allows you to install WordPress easily from your control panel.
  • It has a user-friendly and intuitive interface. Once you’ve logged into WordPress, you don’t need any special training to use it. If you know how to use a web browser and a word processor, you already have enough skills to work with it. You won’t find yourself frequently running to the web for help even in the initial stages.
  • Help is always available. Even if you want to do something advanced, you’ll find a lot of help on the web. All you need to do is Google it. WordPress has a large following and an active online community.
  • It has lots of free and paid resources. WordPress functions can be expanded by using pieces of software called plug-ins, and the appearance of your website can be customized with themes. There are many plug-ins and themes available for you to choose from, and in most cases they’re free. Everything can be installed right from your WordPress dashboard. All updates to WordPress, its plug-ins and themes can also be done from the dashboard.
  • It won’t get outdated. Being open-source software supported by a huge online community has its advantages. WordPress is being continuously improved and new features are being added with each release. The themes and plug-ins are also being continuously improved.

Are you interested in WordPress web space? These web hosts allow you to install WordPress in just a few clicks.