Jul 30 10

How To: Choose a Blogging Platform for Your Organization

by Jeremy Williams on July 30th, 2010

A colleague at a local Convention & Visitor Bureau (CVB) recently mentioned that their office wanted to include a blog in their social media strategy, and she wanted my thoughts about which blogging platform they should use.

Here is a brief rundown of some of the most popular blogging platforms, as well as a few up-and-comers, along with some of the benefits and drawbacks of each platform. I’ll just cover free blogging platforms today, there are plenty of other paid platforms, including TypePad and Compendium.

WordPressWordPress.com

WordPress.com is a hosted blogging solution. That means that when you create a WordPress.com blog, your address will look like: YourBlogName.wordpress.com. I switched from Blogger to WordPress.com several years ago as I wanted more control over what my blog looked like.

Here are the WordPress.com features available for bloggers.

WordPress.com Features

WordPress.com Drawbacks

FREE Unable to use any javascript with free package – i.e. can’t embed widgets
Nearly 100 themes to choose from Unable to further modify your theme through CSS without purchasing add-on
Many themes have flexible customization options Very robust options may be a bit intimidating for a first-time blogger
Dozens of popular plugins/widgets to use Your website won’t benefit from the SEO component of blogging, because your blog isn’t hosted at your domain.
Very robust and easy to manage options
Ability to add multiple accounts to your blog – mange
Integrated blog stats
Integrated Spam catcher (Akismet)
3 GB of storage space
Strong support community, you can get the answers you need quickly
Easy import/export to and from other blogging platforms

BloggerBlogger

Blogger is another popular hosted blogging platform. It’s been around since the late ’90s and was purchased by Google in the mid-2000s. Blogger is where many of today’s blog authors got their start. As one of the first free hosted blog platforms, Blogger is, at least in part, responsible for what blogging has become today. It tends to be the blog platform of choice for many first-time bloggers.

Here’s a full list of reasons to use Blogger.

Blogger Features

Blogger Drawbacks

FREE Even with the new templates available, blogger blogs still have a similar feel to them
Simple to set up Less robust post and page management system
Choose from dozens of templates, or make your own using the Blogger Template Designer No integrated blog stats
If you’re a bit more web-savvy, you can include your own custom CSS at no extra cost Your website won’t benefit from the SEO component of blogging, because your blog isn’t hosted at your domain.
Embed widgets and videos (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) with a simple copy and paste No built-in spam filtering
Full integration with Google’s Picasa photo-hosting site
Easy import/export to and from other blogging platforms

tumblrTumblr

Tumblr is a relative newcomer to the blogging world, but with more than 6 million users, it’s made quite a splash lately. Tumblr’s strength lies in microblogging. You can very easily post short updates, photos, videos or audio on the fly. Tumblr’s “Reblog” button allows you to re-post someone else’s Tumblr post on your own account with all the ease that you would Retweet a post on Twitter.

Here’s a full list of reasons to use Tumblr.

Tumblr Features

Tumblr Drawbacks

FREE Your website won’t benefit from the SEO component of blogging, because your blog isn’t hosted at your domain.
Nearly 500 themes to choose from – some free, some paid Less suited for true full-length blogging
Very simple to use Less professional feel than some other blogging platforms
If you’re a bit more web-savvy, you can include your own custom CSS at no extra cost Relatively new on the scene, support community isn’t as developed as Blogger or WordPress
Baked-in ability to automatically sync with your various social media accounts
Easy publishing via email
Use Tumblr as a central repository for all your other social media/blogging initiatives
More suited to “microblogging” – posting short updates, photos or videos
Easy import/export to and from other blogging platforms

posterousPosterous

Posterous is another relative newcomer to blogging. The Posterous platform was built on the idea that anyone can blog and it’s as simple as sending an email. You can create new posts via the Posterous back-end as well, but Posterous wants blogging to be as easy as sending an email to your unique account. This enables more on-the-fly posting and doesn’t require nearly as much prep time for posts. However, if you’re crafting a blog for your company or organization, you may want more crafted and detailed posts as opposed to on-the-fly, short posts.

The official Posterous blog has a ton of posts about why you should switch to Posterous.

Posterous Features

Posterous Drawbacks

FREE Your website won’t benefit from the SEO component of blogging, because your blog isn’t hosted at your domain.
Create blog posts easily by sending an email Less suited for true full-length blogging
Very simple to use Less professional feel than some other blogging platforms
If you’re a bit more web-savvy, you can include your own custom CSS at no extra cost I’ve found Posterous’ back-end to be the most confusing of these blogging platforms – not very intuitive
Baked-in ability to automatically sync with your various social media accounts
More suited to “microblogging” – posting short updates, photos or videos
Easy import/export to and from other blogging platforms

WordPressWordPress.org

WordPress.org is one of the most popular and widely-used blogging and CMS platforms on the web today. If you already have a blog on WordPress.com, it’s an easy upgrade to WordPress.org. You’ll have the most flexibility by using WordPress.org, but you also have to have your own web host and, while the setup is relatively straight-forward, you might want to ask a tech-friend or your agency to help you with the initial setup on your server.

Since WordPress.org is free open-source software, the possibilities of what you can do with WordPress are nearly limitless. This WordPress.org features page is a bit more technical than the others, but here it is.

WordPress.org Features

WordPress.org Drawbacks

Platform is FREE, but you have to pay for web hosting. Platform is FREE, but you have to pay for web hosting.
Thousands of free and paid themes to install Must update software from time to time as new versions become available
WordPress can even be used to power your entire website – it’s more than a blogging platform and is a great CMS Requires that you are a bit more tech-savvy, or that you have an agency that can manage some of the work for you
Uses the same interface as WordPress.com
You receive all the SEO benefits of blogging because you can host on your own site
WordPress 3.0 offers very easy updating on of themes and plugins
You have the ability to customize WordPress to fit the look and feel of your site
Thousands of free plugins you can use
Extremely helpful and robust support community
Easy import/export to and from other blogging platforms

Conclusion

In the end, the blogging platform you choose is completely up to you and should be based on the goals your organization has for blogging. If you’re looking for a fully-functional, SEO-friendly blog that you have complete control over, you’ll probably want to use WordPress.org. If you’re looking for something more casual, maybe a blog devoted to pictures from in and around your location, Posterous or Tumblr might work best for you.

Regardless of which blogging platform you use, blogs are becoming an important tool for businesses to utilize when reaching out to existing and potential customers.

Have you used any of these blogging platforms? Which do you prefer? Is there anything I missed in this post? Let me know in the comments!

7 Comments
  1. I want to create blog for my company. as it is for company blog i need to optimize it so that it can get more traffic. I never know about SEO friendly blogs. Thanks for posting this article. now i can select appropriate blog as per my use.

  2. Femblejobs permalink

    Thanks for sharing such meaningful information…
    Regards..

    Jobs Forestry

  3. choose wordpress

  4. Bert permalink

    OK, i just needed this to choice what cms i will use, i will replace my old site to WordPress, follow me on my work http://www.banenbijbedrijven.nl

  5. Anonymous permalink

    Things have changed. Now, blogger has statistics and spam protection for example

  6. Thanks for commenting. You’re absolutely right. Blogger has indeed beefed up their offerings and they now have stats and spam protection. I’ll update the post to reflect that.

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