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February 17, 2009

Choosing a Platform for Your Blog

There are a number of things that should be taken into consideration when you are choosing a platform for your blog. Here we will cover some of the issues that must be considered when you are making this decision. Some of the questions that arise when starting a blog are whether or not to choose a free blogging service or to use one that is hosted on your own domain. Users want to know which direction will best suit their needs. Should you start on a free blogging platform and then change to a hosted domain later as your blog expands?

There is no one good answer for many of these questions. A great many of these decisions will be arrived at according to the goals that you have for your blog. So, to find the best answer to these questions, it is important to ask yourself some questions first.

For many people the decision to start a blog is a big decision. With that in mind, you should expect to take some time with the decision on your platform. There are a number of platforms out there for you to choose from and that can complicate the situation. Of course, you are always free to upgrade later, but there are some important considerations with that decision as well. If you make a good decision now, you may avoid some of the costs associated as well as the impact on your search engine traffic when you make a transfer.

The first question that you should ask yourself is what your goals are regarding your blog. If you are just starting out, to fully answer this question, determine if you plan to be blogging for the long term. Also, ask yourself what the purpose of your blog will be and whether there are any professional aspirations with your blog. Many people blog as a hobby and that is perfectly fine, but your platform choice will be impacted by the answer to this question. Also, try to decide whether you will be putting advertisements on your blog in the future.

These are a good starting point for your blog decisions. There are some platforms on the market that will be great for a hobby blogger, but not well suited to a professional application of the blog.

There are also some blogging platforms that will not allow you to monetize your blog. This will impact your decision a great deal. Make sure that you check out the platform thoroughly before you make any decision about your professional blog. If your ultimate goal is to make money with your blog, you will want to be careful that you don’t select a blogging platform that will inhibit your ability to run ads on the blog.

Your budget is another important consideration when you are choosing your blogging platform. With all of the platforms that are available to you on the market, there are some that are free and others that are more costly. Some of the things that you might have to pay for with your blog are the hosting, your domain name, and the blog platform itself. Different blog platforms will have different pricing arrangements. Determine how much you will want to spend on these items when you are choosing your blog platform.

Consider your cost to design the blog as well. You will most likely get a free template with your platform, but if you want something different, you will have to pay for it or design it yourself. Also, there are some tools that you might have to pay for to help your blogging. You might not know what you need in the beginning, but a little research will show you what you will need in the future.

Consider how technological oriented you are. There are some blog platforms that are very friendly to the non technical blogger and others will require you to have some technological knowledge to use. If you have never set up a blog or website before, you might have to hire someone to help you or learn the basics on your own.

When making the decision between a standalone blogging platform or a hosted one, the above questions should get you started thinking about your options. When choosing a hosted blog platform, you will find it much easier and cheaper to get started. Many of the popular hosted blog platforms are free to use. A hosted blog platform is one that is provided by a company that hosts your blog on their domain. Some pros to this type of platform are that it is easy to set up, free or cheap, simple to operate, and they are indexed in the search engines fairly quickly. Some of the cons for this platform are that they are limited in the design choices, less control and your URL is not your own.

With a standalone blog platform you will be hosting your blog under your own domain. Of course, there are some pros and cons of using this blog platform as well. The pros for using a standalone blog platform are a more control over the design of your blog. You will be able to use your own skills to design the blog that you want and not be limited by templates and design limitations in a hosted blog platform. The blogs are more adaptable and you will be able to take advantage of the plug-ins that are developed all the time. The cons for using a standalone platform are the difficulty in setting it up, the cost and the complication of updating your blog.

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