I have been asked by Crème de La Catering to find a blogging platform that will help them show online what they do. They are a small retail and catering business that sell kitchenware, preserves and store-cupboard foods from Leeds, UK, but they also do catering services. In order to find them the best blogging platform for their company, I have had to look at the blogging platforms that are currently available, because “your website reflects you as a business owner and professional” (Baroncini-Moe, S) so the right website is key.
“Blogs are a tactic that can help you reach your communication goals. Through blogging, your company can build goodwill, attract new business, improve customer relations, enhance your brand, recruit the best employees, weather a crisis, and build support for initiatives.” (Holts, Shel 2006) This is one of the main reasons why running a successful blog is vital for your business to grow in this day and age, with businesses having more and more online presences and a staggering 8 million people running businesses online (Winch, Jessica 2013) you have to keep up to date with the new technologies and social platforms in order to grow, and get more business and customers.
The first blogging platform that I will be looking at is WordPress. WordPress is a very popular blogging platform at the moment with roughly 74million users worldwide. (WordPress, 2013) The main reason that WordPress is so popular amongst bloggers right now is because you can personalise your blog much more than you can with other blogging platforms. This website allows you to change things such as your theme and the widgets you have, which would all help a catering business greatly. The different themes that are available means your blog can have a look that fits your purpose completely, you can make your blog look different and unique which is key, because it will make people interested in your company and what you have to offer, and will give your business’ blog much more traffic. These themes can have backgrounds and layouts that suit your company’s style, this level of personalisation means that Crème de La Catering would be able to show its followers their products and services perfectly. Widgets are a very important part of running a successful blog, a widget is a small programme that appears on a website, like a twitter feed or an RSS widget to let your customers receive updates from your website. WordPress allows you to customise what widgets you have featured on your blog page and this will enhance your blog greatly, this is one of WordPress’ best features that makes it one of the better blogging platforms out there. Widgets will allow the viewers of the Crème de La Catering blog to follow you on Twitter or like you on Facebook with one simple click, and by doing this WordPress will drive more traffic to all of your social media websites, and in turn gain you more business.
WordPress has been around since 2003, but this means that the website has next to no kinks of flaws in its operating system, it is also updated regularly which means you as a user are given the best possible blogging experience. (Jagged Edge, 2013) Beginners and experts can use the website with ease and run successful blogs off of this platform; the size of your blog doesn’t matter either. One of the biggest ‘pros’ of WordPress is that it is an ideal platform for a business that wants to share recipes, their services and sell products because it runs smoothly no matter that amount of pages you have; whether it is a small blog of 10 pages, or a very successful blog with over 2000 pages WordPress is designed to handle any amount of pages, this means that there is no limit to what you can post, which is beneficial when trying to get business and customers to your company. WordPress also allows for scheduled blogs that can be posted in the future or in the past, and you can have the option to password to protect your posts if needed, these kinds of features are available with Tumblr via the #queue method, but it does not work as well. These features mean you can write a post on an upcoming product and not post it till the day you want, allowing for complete control over your blog and what you post.
Scheduling posts on WordPress and Tumblr:
Another popular blogging platform that is available is Blogger. This platform has been around since 2003 after it was purchased by Google, and is a rival to WordPress because it is somewhat much simpler and less complex than WordPress. Blogger is a platform that is good to start on when you are just starting your first blog, it is again a free service that is easy to customise and ‘make your own’. One of the features that Blogger has is the ‘earnings’ tab. If you have a Google AdSense account then this feature makes AdSense detect the subject matter of your blog and then produces adverts that will appear on your blog page, people that visit your blog can then click on these ads if they wish to and then this in turn makes you money, this is a unique tool that will allow you to make a little bit of easy money just from having the adverts on your page. Although the adverts can put people off your blog and then your business and make them not interested in what you have to offer because it can look like you’re just trying to make easy money off of all of your followers.
Blogger ‘Earnings’ feature:
However, it has quite a few downfalls that don’t come with other blogging platforms. One of the problems of Blogger is that it has a limited amount of widgets that your blog can have, which isn’t the case with WordPress, another one being the lack of themes and community that WordPress has, Blogger has a much smaller community base to it , it is much harder to find posts or answers to questions if you’re stuck, which isn’t ideal if you’re trying to run a successful blog for your business. The lack of community means that there are less people who will comment on your posts, and then less people for you to comment to which could then mean that you will get less followers. This blogging platform is much better for laid-back casual bloggers it isn’t designed to make you money or drive traffic to your business.
The third bogging platform that I’ll be talking about is Tumblr; Tumblr is again a very popular blogging platform that has generated 156.9 blogs worldwide (Tumblr, 2013) since 2007. Yahoo now founds it and whilst it is very popular amongst the younger population with 37% of their users being under 35, (Gaille, Brandon 2013) it is still a successful blogging platform for businesses and many of the blogs on Tumblr are used for business purposes such as clothing companies and independent companies. Tumblr has excellent customisation features like Blogger and WordPress, there are thousands of themes available that all do and show different things so you can personalise you blog to show exactly what you want. It has much more customisation than WordPress and Blogger because most of the Tumblr users create their own blogs with themes for you to use for free. Another feature that Tumblr has that makes it an appealing blogging platform for a business is that it has a lot of loyal visitors and it was found by the CEO of Tumblr that users spend more time on it than they do Facebook, “Tumblr users spend an average of 14 minutes per visit” (Karp, David 2013) This would be beneficial to you as a business because if you kept your posts constant and interesting then people would spend much more time on your blog everyday, and give you solid business. Tumblr is a brilliant platform to host images and lots of texts, which is ideal when posting recipes and photos of the recipes or preserves that you want to sell, but with the audience that Tumblr has that is getting younger and younger, it will not be the best platform for Crème de La Catering as the products and services this company has to offer won’t be able to reach the right audience.
Integration with social networks is a very important part of running a successful business and blog; with 500 million people now using Facebook (squaremelons, Inc. 2013) social media platforms are great ways to get your business seen by lots of people. Now almost all of the blogging websites that are available have the option to share your posts on social networks, or have widgets to bring your social network profiles to your blogging page. WordPress is one of the best websites for social network integration because of the widgets that allow you to put your Facebook, Twitter, and other social network profiles on your blogging page for all of your visitors to see. This allows the viewers of your blog to see all of your pages straight away instead of having to search the Internet for them; it makes your business more appealing and shows everything you have to offer straight away. Blogger does have the widget feature but it isn’t as good or effective as WordPress’ feature because it is very limited and has much less to offer than other blogging platforms. Whilst Tumblr is a good blogging website, it is unfortunately much harder to bring your social network profiles to your blog, the way in which you do this with Tumblr is to Google HTML codes for specific things like a Facebook or Twitter widget, and then you embed code into the HTML theme of you Tumblr blog, this is quite tricky and takes a lot of practice, so it is not the blogging platform to go to for a successful business blog.
Widgets for WordPress:
Search Engine Optimisation is also a key component to think about when picking the right blogging platform. If you are trying to run a successful blog then it is vital that your blog appears in a search engine, and isn’t left in the background because if you’re blog doesn’t appear in Google then there isn’t much point in having it. This is where WordPress again succeeds; WordPress blogs are very popular with Google in particular. “WordPress websites can often rank well even if they are fairly new with little effort, which is a big bonus for small businesses. There are even SEO plug-ins which help you make your site even more effective.” (Helen, 2013) This quote is just one of many that show that WordPress is a great platform to use if starting up a business blog. Tags, Categories and popular titles of blogs are all ways in which WordPress allows you to increase your chances of appearing in a Google search. Tumblr has the option to increase the SEO of a blog, but it is a lot more work than other platforms; This is done by using certain HTML codes on your blog, but you can also add keywords to your post which is the easier option.
Difficult HTMLS for Tumblr:
After looking at a few of the current blogging platforms that are available, my recommendation is that when setting up a blog for a small catering and retail business such as Crème de La Catering then WordPress is the blogging platform to use. It may be complex, but after you get used to it the blog you end up with looks professional and expensive, and is customisable in so many ways that you can make the blog fit your every need. When using WordPress and everything the site has to offer your blog has a higher chance of appearing in a Google search and in turn getting more business and clients to your company.
- WordPress Proven as the Most Powerful Blogging Platform (business2community.com)
- Why A Good Web Site Matters To Your Business (www.lifehack.org)
- Pros and Cons of a WordPress Website (www.figcreative.co.uk)
- Astonishing Tumblr Demographics, Trends and Stats (http://brandongaille.com)
- How to increase you Tumblr SEO (nerdramblings.tumblr.com)
- How Many People Use Facebook 2013 (http://visual.ly)
- Users Stay Longer on Tumblr Than Facebook, Says David Karp (http://mashable.com)
- Tumblr.com. 2013: About (www.tumblr.com)
- Wikipedia. 2013. Blogger (service) (http://en.wikipedia.org)
- WordPress.com. 2013. Stats (http://en.wordpress.com)
- 8m Britons run online businesses from home (http://www.telegraph.co.uk)