It’s hard to believe it’s been over a decade since I wrote Corporate Blogging for Dummies! In that time, I’ve seen a transformation where blogs have become a feature of virtually every content or e-commerce platform. Blogging is still critical as companies require a simple process for quickly publishing articles, news, and building their content library.
Blogging Continues To Dominate Content Marketing
More than ever, consumers and businesses alike are researching their next purchase online. Most of the content we consume today from search engines is from blog posts. Blogging continues to be a powerful and effective content marketing and SEO strategy for companies. Here’s an outstanding collection of blogging statistics from Neal Shaffer:
- Approximately 572 million blogs exist on the internet in 2022.
- Nearly 9 million blog posts are published daily.
- Blogs are read by 77% of people on the internet.
- Blogging leads to 55% more website visitors.
- Companies with blogs produce an average of 67% more monthly leads than companies that don’t.
- Businesses that blog have 126% higher lead growth.
- Producing content costs 62% less than traditional marketing formats, but generates 3x the leads.
- Prioritizing your blog increases your chance of making money off of it by 13x.
- 61% of online consumers in the United States have made at least one purchase based on a blog post recommendation.
- 70% of people prefer learning about a company through articles rather than advertisements.
These statistics emphasize the significance and benefits of blogging in terms of audience reach, website traffic, lead generation, cost-effectiveness, and consumer trust. It highlights the power of blogging as a marketing tool and underscores the value it brings to businesses in driving engagement, conversions, and overall growth.
Key Features Of A Blog
The term weblog was coined in the late 1990s by Jorn Barger, a programmer and writer. He used it to describe a personal online journal where he collected and shared interesting links and information. The term was later shortened to blog by Peter Merholz in 1999. Merholz humorously broke the word into two parts, we blog, on his blog, creating the verb form of the term.
Some of the more popular characteristics of a blog (but not an exhaustive list) are:
- Posts and Entries: Blogs consist of individual posts or entries, with the most recent content appearing at the top. Each post typically covers a specific topic, idea, or story.
- Archives: Blogs typically provide an archive feature that allows readers to browse posts by month or year. It enables easy access to past content and helps readers explore the blog’s history.
- Content Categories and Tags: Blogs often categorize their posts to organize content by topic or theme. Categories and tags help readers navigate and find specific content of interest within the blog.
- Comments and Interaction: Many blogs allow readers to leave comments on posts, fostering engagement and discussions. Interaction through comments can enhance the sense of community and encourage audience participation. Over the years, though, this conversation has moved to social media channels, and commenting is less likely to happen on the post itself.
- Search Functionality: A search bar or search feature enables users to find specific content by entering keywords or phrases. This is especially useful for blogs with a large number of posts.
- Customization and Design: Blogs offer varying degrees of customization to reflect the blogger’s brand or personal style. Design elements such as themes, layouts, fonts, and colors can be modified to create a unique look and feel.
- Search Optimization: Blogs often provide options to optimize posts for search engines, such as setting meta titles, descriptions, and URLs, as well as incorporating relevant keywords and tags. This helps improve the visibility of blog posts in search engine results.
- RSS Feeds: Blogs may provide RSS feeds that allow readers to subscribe and receive updates when new posts are published. RSS feeds enable users to stay updated without visiting the blog directly.
These features collectively contribute to a blog’s overall functionality, user experience, and engagement. These features’ availability and customization options can vary depending on the platform used.
What Are The Best Blogging Platforms?
Having the right platform is crucial for success. Whether you’re a personal blogger looking to share your thoughts or a business aiming to connect with your audience, various platforms are available to meet your needs. In this article, we’ll explore the top platforms catering to personal blogging, business-based blogging, and accommodating both.
Personal Blogging Platforms:
- Blogger: Blogger, a free platform by Google, is known for its simplicity and ease of use. It’s an excellent option for personal bloggers who want a straightforward setup process and a hassle-free blogging experience, but lacks other publishing, ecommerce, and marketing features in other platforms.
- Tumblr: If you prefer a microblogging format where you can share short-form content, such as photos, quotes, and personal reflections, Tumblr is a popular choice. It allows you to publish and interact with a vibrant community.
- WordPress.com: WordPress.com offers a user-friendly interface and a wide range of customizable themes, making it an ideal choice for personal bloggers. With its intuitive features, you can easily create and manage your blog, focusing on expressing your thoughts and ideas.
Business-Based Blogging Platforms:
- Medium: Medium is not just a personal blogging platform; it also caters to businesses and professionals. With its built-in readership and easy publishing tools, Medium enables businesses to leverage their network and engage with a broader audience.
- Squarespace: Squarespace is primarily a website builder and offers excellent blogging functionality. It’s an excellent choice for DIY small businesses looking to create a visually appealing website with integrated blogging capabilities. They’ve also expanded into e-commerce and appointment scheduling.
Ecommerce-Based Blogging Platforms:
While many e-commerce platforms offer integrations to popular blogging platforms, there are really only a couple that have blogging fully built in as a feature.
- BigCommerce: BigCommerce is a comprehensive e-commerce platform that caters to businesses of all sizes. It offers robust features, scalability, and built-in functionalities like blogging. BigCommerce is known for its enterprise-level capabilities and strong SEO tools.
- Shopify: Shopify is a top-rated and user-friendly e-commerce platform. It offers a wide range of features, a vast app marketplace, and excellent scalability. Shopify is known for its simplicity, making it suitable for businesses of all sizes. My firm has even developed integrated product shortcodes and add-to-cart functionality directly into multiple clients’ blog templates.
Platforms Accommodating Both Personal and Business Blogging:
- Wix: Wix is a versatile website builder with blogging features suitable for personal and business blogs. It provides a user-friendly interface and many templates to effectively create and manage your blog.
- Weebly: Similar to Wix, Weebly offers a website builder with integrated blogging capabilities. It provides various customization options, making it a flexible platform for individuals and businesses.
- Ghost: Ghost is a modern content management system designed specifically for blogging. It is suitable for personal bloggers seeking a lightweight and customizable platform and businesses looking for an elegant blogging solution.
An Integrated Blog Is A Must Today
Having an integrated blog, hosted within the same domain as your website or e-commerce store, offers several advantages over having a separate domain or subdomain for your blog. Here are some key benefits:
- Seamless User Experience: With an integrated blog, visitors can access your blog content without leaving your main website or store. This provides a cohesive user experience and keeps users engaged within your brand ecosystem, reducing the likelihood of them navigating away to a different domain.
- Branding and Consistency: An integrated blog allows you to maintain consistent branding across your entire website. You can customize the design, layout, and navigation to match your main website, reinforcing your brand identity and providing a unified look and feel.
- Improved SEO: Hosting your blog on the same domain as your main website can contribute to better search engine optimization. Search engines tend to view websites with relevant and valuable content as more authoritative. By integrating your blog, you consolidate your content and increase your domain’s overall relevance and SEO potential.
- Increased Website Traffic and Engagement: An integrated blog can drive more traffic to your main website or e-commerce store. Blog content can attract organic search traffic, social media referrals, and backlinks from other websites. Keeping visitors within your domain gives you more opportunities to convert them into customers or subscribers.
- Streamlined Content Management: Managing an integrated blog is more convenient as you can use a single platform to handle your website and blog content. This simplifies content updates, analytics tracking, and overall website management.
- Cross-Promotion and Conversion Opportunities: An integrated blog allows easy cross-promotion of your products or services within your content. You can seamlessly link to relevant product pages or create call-to-action (CTA) elements that drive conversions. This integration enhances lead generation, customer engagement, and sales potential.
- Social Proof and Trust: An integrated blog adds credibility and authority to your website. Publishing informative and valuable blog posts can establish you as an expert in your industry, earning the trust and loyalty of your audience. This can increase customer confidence, improve brand reputation, and get you higher conversions.
While having a separate domain or subdomain for your blog may have certain advantages in specific cases, an integrated blog generally provides a more unified and seamless experience, strengthens your brand, enhances SEO, and maximizes engagement and conversion opportunities within your existing website or e-commerce platform.
Choosing the right platform for your blog is crucial to ensure a seamless and enjoyable blogging experience. Whether you’re a personal blogger, a business, or looking for a platform that accommodates both, the above options provide excellent features and flexibility to meet your specific needs. Consider your requirements, customization options, and the nature of your content to make an informed decision that aligns with your blogging goals.