Setting Up Your Business Blog: How, Where and What to Call It

There are three things you need to consider before setting up your blog. They are:

  1. Where you will host the blog?
  2. What software you will use to manage the blog?
  3. What name you will give to your blog?

Where will you host your blog?

You have three choices on hosting your blog. If you’re unsure of the meaning of hosting, think of it as the place where all your blog files will be that are accessible to the Internet. People cannot (we hope) read the files on your computer so you want the blog files out where people can find them.

Choice One: The Free Hosting from the Blogging Software Site

This is the easiest and cheapest of the three options and can be done by someone with minimal computer skills. If you can email, you can do this. You can have your blog up and operating in less than half an hour. In this option, your web address will read something like: mycompanyname.wordpress.com.

  • Advantages
    • Quick and easy
    • Free
    • No major web or computer skills required.
  • Disadvantages
    • Some limitations on your name.
    • Is separate from your company website and may lose some of the advantages of having all that fresh material on the website.
    • Some limitations on the look of the site and the features.

Choice Two: Incorporating the blog into your website.
In this case, you set up a separate section of your website that contains the blog. You will need some help from your web designer for this. The URL (address) will be something like this: www.yourwebsite.com/blog. You can replace “blog” with “news”, “updates”, whatever suits your purposes.

  • Advantages
    • Adds new material to your website and so attracts search engines.
    • No additional cost for hosting.
    • More closely tied to your brand or company.
    • You have more control over the look of your blog.
  • Disadvantages
    • Extra work to set up and requires some technical skill.

Choice Three: Set up your blog on a separate website.
In this option, you will have to register a new name for your blog and buy some new hosting for your blog. You address would be something like: www.companyblog.com

  • Advantages
    • If you want to write about a variety of topics or brands, this might be better.
  • Disadvantages
    • Cost of registering the new name – about $15 per year.
    • Hosting Costs – about $20 per month.
    • Technical skill required.

What blogging software should you use?

I have used two different versions of blogging software, Blogger and WordPress. There are a number of other free and paid options out there. I greatly prefer WordPress. It has so many options to make your blog more attractive and likely to be found by search engines. WordPress makes it incredibly easy to add pages to your blog. In fact, I’ve started building whole websites from WordPress.

If you just want to add a one page blog to your website, then you might find Blogger a bit easier to use. Here is an example of a news blog integrated into a Canadian writer’s website using Blogger software. You can see an example of a freestanding real estate blog done using WordPress here. Here is a demo blog I set up using WordPress and hosted on their site: http://radiancedream.wordpress.com/

What name you will give to your blog?

If you add your blog to your website, then there are few or no limitations on what you can call it. If you register a new domain or select a WordPress name, then you are limited to names that are not already registered by someone else. That is, if someone is already calling himself sandiegoplumber.wordpress.com, then you cannot. That’s san diego plumber, not sandie go plumber. Be careful that your name cannot be misinterpreted.

Options for choosing a name include:

  • Choose a name with important search engine keywords related to your business. For example, abbotsfordorganic.wordpress.com.
  • Choose a name that is close to your business name. For example, samsorganicgrocery.wordpress.com.

It may be worth paying an SEO (search) expert to do a little research on what words are most searched for in your field. You want words that are frequently searched but also not too competitive. After all, you want to show up near the top of the search results.

If you decide to use spaces in your URL, then uses – (dashes), not _ (underscores). Search engines read dashes as spaces. For example, sams-organic-grocery.wordpress.com, which is read as sams organic grocery, not sams_organic_grocery.wordpress.com, which is read as samsorganicgrocery.

Some people recommend using a catchy name. This could be useful if your blog is more personal or general in nature and you are trying to build a reputation,but for your business, you are wiser to use your business name or keywords (important search words).

A last point on naming your blog. Give it lots of thought. Once you’ve built up a following, you do not want to have to change your name. Have some options ready in case your first choice is not available.

So, for tomorrow, have an email address and your blog name choices ready and we’ll set up your blog.

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