Aalto University, Finland, recently held a course on building successful blogging concepts. I gave a presentation about choosing a blogging platform.
The main message of the presentation was that you can run a blog with any CMS. Dedicated blogging platforms make your life easier, but they won’t decide whether you succeed or not. The best dedicated blogging platform at the moment is WordPress.com. Choose WordPress.com if you don’t have any special reasons to choose something else. You can even get your followers transferred from WordPress.com.
Key points to consider:
- You can run a blog with any CMS. Dedicated blogging platforms make your life easier, but they won’t decide whether you succeed or not. So don’t stress if your organization doesn’t allow you to pick your blogging tools. Even Drupal and many other multipurpose tools are OK for blogging. Social media platforms can be good choices, but remember that if you really want to make it big, you should avoid platforms that lock you in (such as Google’s Blogger, Tumblr, Facebook, LinkedIn).
- WordPress.com is the best hosted platform at the moment. You can use your own domain and buy redirects when you want to move on. Choose WordPress.com if you don’t have any special reasons to choose something else. You can even get your followers transferred from WordPress.com.
- Getting your first followers is the most difficult part. It can be easier if you build your blog on a social media platform (Tumblr, Blogger, Google+, Facebook). Remember, though, that moving elsewhere from those platforms is usually a painful process. You can’t buy redirects or get your followers transferred to the new platform. Also, on social media platforms there’s no way to monetize your blog.
- Registering your own domain and managing your blog yourself is the safest way, but also the hardest to build your audience. It also requires quite a lot of knowledge about different tools (email lists, web analytics, search engine optimization, RSS tools). Be prepared to spend quite a lot of time doing other things than writing.
- Following/reading blogs is a mess. RSS is pretty dead and depending on your audience, you may have to manage several social media channels to get visitors to your blog. Getting people to comment on your posts is also a mess. No real solution seems to be available in the near future, so just try to live with it.