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McLaren

Page history last edited by PBworks 11 years, 9 months ago

Mark McLaren

McBuzz Communications LLC

 

Proposed Social Media Camp Seattle session topic:

"Using a Free Blogging Service (Blogger.com, WordPress.com) versus Blogging on Your Own Hosted Site - How to Decide which One is Best for You"


 

Questions or Feedback?

Please contact me by email: mcbz0207@mcbuzz.com

My website & blog: http://www.mcbuzz.com/

Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/mcbuzz


 

There are a number of Beginner-level topics I can present at Social Media Camp Seattle. The best one I can think of at the moment is "Using a Free Blogging Service (Blogger.com, WordPress.com) versus Blogging on Your Own Hosted Site - How to Decide which One is Best for You".

 

I don't see this as overlapping all that much with the basic "Blogging 101" topic that's also being proposed. Blogging 101 could cover a whole lot of different things, and since time is limited, there's no way the session can do justice to everything. At best it can be a helpful overview.

 

My topic would be one of the things that an overview might touch on, but that it would obviously not be able to go into much detail about.

 

Here are some of the things I will cover - if people think this topic is going to work:

 

General Intro

I will say what a free blogging service is and what a more-or-less custom installation or third-party hosted blog is.

 

I will also give basic examples of plugins and themes, since the degree to which you have control over these makes up some of the main differences between free services and third-party hosted blogs.

 

First Questions to Answer When You Consider Starting a Blog

Why do you want to blog?

What do you want to accomplish?

Who is your audience - or audiences?

 

(We will review the major reasons for blogging.)

 

What is your budget?

 

How much time are you willing to spend working on things like design?

Learning HTML & CSS?

Keeping up with the latest widgets, gadgets, etc.?

 

Answers to questions like these will help you decide if you should use a free blogging service or a blog on a third-party host.

 

 

Major Considerations

 

Ease of Use

If it's not easy, you won't use it. Totally defeats the purpose.

 

Features

Flexibilty

You want to be able to add new stuff and update stuff to increase stickiness and make it easy for users.

 

Sticky Design / Good User Interface Design

If it's not easy for your readers to use, they won't comment, link to you, subscribe, or come back.

 

Some features don't come with a free blog. I'll give examples. Good to keep in mind.

 

More Major Considerations - to be determined

 

With first questions answered and major considerations considered, we can take a look at two of the most popular free blogging services to see how they stand up to each other - and how they stand up to a blog that you host yourself on a third party server such as GoDaddy, Yahoo!, Hostgator, LunarPages, pair Networks, etc.

 

For the host-a-blog-yourself-on-a-third-party-server example, I will talk about WordPress (which is different than the free WordPress.com service), since this is the platform I am most familiar with. Note that you can either set up a blog yourself on third party hosting, or pay someone else to do it, or, in some cases like GoDaddy and Yahoo! the host will install WordPress for you.

 

 

  1. WordPress.com
  2. Blogger.com (owned by Google)
  3. WordPress software on a third party host

 

There are some things you can do on the free services that people may not know about, such as using your own domain name instead of the typical example.wordpress.com or example.blogspot.com This is good for a number of reasons, including search engine optimization and branding. We will talk about other things of this nature. There are other advantages to free services, such as the fact that they do upgrades of their software automatically so you don't have to worry about it.

 

There are also many advantages to using a third party host. Many of these relate to search engine optimization. Plugins and special widgets are also important. There are significant limitations to these when you use a free service. In general, you are limited in your ability to customize your blog when you use a free service. Since flexibility is a very important part of a good blog, this is one of the reasons I usually suggest that businesses use third party hosting.

 

I hope that by giving a lot of information to session attendees, they will feel empowered to discuss the pros and cons of each option. I will leave time at the end of the session for questions and discussion.

 

Mark McLaren

 

Once again, Questions or Feedback?

Please contact me by email: mcbz0207@mcbuzz.com

My website & blog: http://www.mcbuzz.com/

Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/mcbuzz