If you’re anything like me, when I first set up my wordpress blog about a year ago, I had NO CLUE where to start. I had no direction and no one to show me how and where to start. What was the best blogging site to use? What was a better route to go, free blog or paid self hosted?
I assumed a blog was just a blog. Boy, did I learn otherwise!
After a lot of research, recommendations, and help from others (that’s the “Network” part of network marketing) I realized that I better go with installing WordPress for my blog.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with WordPress, it’s a blog platform that gives you a pre-built blog site for free. Without getting into too many details here, the self hosted option is the better route to go because of the flexibility and options you will have at your finger tips – literally.
As any smart marketer realizes – leave the hard stuff to the professionals. So that is why I outsourced my blog set-up (which included the graphics, RSS feeds, theme, and connection to all of my social networking sites) to THE professional blog set-up guru I know – Ms. Shannon Shubert at IM Group Marketing.
If you stop by their sites, tell them I sent you!
Here are my Top 5 Reasons to Use WordPress for your blog:
- Google Loves WordPress – If you’re using a blog for your marketing strategies, you’re probably interested in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – at least a little bit. If you’re into SEO, then you want and need Google giving your site “some love.” Now, I could go on and on and on and on and ON about SEO, but the idea is that you want Google ranking your site higher than your competition for any given keyword. Well, for whatever reason, Google loves WordPress. Period. Game, set, match! You need a WordPress blog if you are in SEO strategies.
Yes, you can use other blog sites and still get good ranking, but you typically have to work harder to get the same amount of “love” from Google as your competition. If you already have a different blog and are so far into it that it would hurt you more than help you, just stick with it and MAKE IT WORK. But AT LEAST have it self-hosted – which leads me into my next point.
- Self hosted – I have this in my top 5 reasons, well, for a good reason. (Oh man I’m witty!) You can use the free version of wordpress and have no problems and make that work for you just fine. But you could run into a few problems, the biggest of which is that your blog could be here one day, and gone the next. If you have a self hosted WordPress blog, no one can touch it. It’s yours. Yes, you’re paying a small monthly hosting fee (usually around $ 5.00 or less) but it’s WELL worth its value considering the thought that you might lose your blog otherwise.
On top of having your blog self hosted – I would also recommend getting a domain name that is specific to you. Mine is obviously www.LinusRuzicka.com. It looks a lot more professional that the generic site URL that WordPress gives your site. Having your domain forwarded is essential for branding YOU in this industry.
- WordPress Design Themes. Now , do you want the generic WordPress Theme that comes with WordPress, or a custom designed one that is specific only to you? The default WordPress theme is perfect if you’re just setting up a blog to have a blog. BUT, since you’re in this industry to make money and brand you, I suggest a designed custom theme. There are tons of people who design custom WordPress Themes that you can easily upload to your domain, to change the appearance and feel of your WordPress website. Some of the WP Themes are paid versions, but most of them are free.
There are more than 1000 themes loaded directly into the WordPress theme website, from which you can choose, although you are not limited to just the themes loaded into the WordPress website. Since I outsourced the design and feel of my blog, my designer and I talked bakc and forth for a week or so to grind out the details of what I wanted. The theme I chose is very SEO friendly (“Monezine” theme), but there are many other to choose from such as “Flexibility” or “Thesis”
- Plugins. Plugins are what soups-up your blog and converts it from a 1992 Ford Taurus, into a 2010 Chevy Camaro. The right plugin can save you time, make you money, and make your job a WHOLE lot easier.
Just like with the WordPress Themes, if there is a specific function you want your blog to do, there are programmers out there who have created WordPress Plugins that will make your job A LOT easier. Each plugin is designed to do a specific function to help improve the quality or “feel” of your WordPress blog.
When you find a Plugin you want, just click “Install” on that specific plugin page, and it will automatically download, unzip, and upload it to the right Plugin directory on your blog. After it finishes its upload, simply go to the backoffice area of your blog to “activate” the plugin.
- WordPress functionality – Now, I don’t want to lose you here on this one, so I’ll keep it simple. WordPress is an HTML based blog platform. The reason I mention this is that it allows you to use WordPress like a website and not just a blog. Your editing and functional capabilities are that much more increased. When you’re creating a post – you have the ability to add videos, pics, graphics, links, and audio all in HTML format. All this means is that you’ll be able to create and edit your posts in either basic HTML format (with code showing) or in a “What You See Is What You Get” (WYSIWYG) format. Or you can do HTML formatting – all with a click of the mouse and flip-flop back and forth.
While you’re editing your post, a Preview option is available to see what your blog post will look like to your readers and subscribers when they visit your blog.