A blogging platform recommendation for a small business

I have been asked by a small catering company, crème de la catering, to recommend a blogging platform that I feel would be the best for them to use, in order to publicise what the company does.

There are so many blogging platforms available online all with various positives and negatives, however I feel there are a few blogging sites that excel in what they offer. Blogger, Medium and WordPress provide platforms for users that not only allow them to express their passion, it can create a livelihood and income for many.

Medium-Logo

Sites such as Medium, I feel aren’t as well established as WordPress and with an aim of creating a blog that will grab a lot of attention from the public, it would make sense to use the platform with a large amount of users. Medium also doesn’t allow users to separate themselves enough to give individuals the chance to have their own original identities. There is also the problem of being unable to add widgets to your blog, widgets that could prove crucial, such as; your twitter feed or those allowing viewers to see your other posts. Overall I think Medium is focussed on allowing users to have a place to write and not a platform to publicise themselves on, therefore impractical in this situation.

blogger_iconBlogger is a site practical for the purpose at hand, however I believe it doesn’t allow users to have as much control over their site as WordPress and for this reason, I am choosing WordPress as my recommendation.

The features page on the WordPress site claims “Wordpress combines simplicity for users and publishers with under-the-hood complexity for developers” (WordPress.org, 2013), and this could allow ‘Crème de la catering the opportunity to choose whether to use the Pre-set templates available through WordPress or have more input, deciding and designing just how their blog will appear and work, something that could require the further help of experts, but could pay off massively to have as much control over their site as WordPress and for this reason, I am choosing WordPress as my recommendation.

wordpress

WordPress being simple to use is definitely a positive for those from ‘Crème de la catering’ who would be responsible for the blog, once you know where to find everything you will be able to run your blog with ease. WordPress also allows a quick post option that could prove useful for ‘Crème de la catering’, for example when posting an update on an offer the company will be able to use the feature to quickly insert the title, main body of text and add an option picture in a few minutes and the post will be ready.

However, if you are looking to post something such as a recipe, the normal ‘new post’ feature will be ideal to use as you will be able to spend time on the layout of the post and add multiple images, videos or sound clips. The preview button is available to select in order to see how your post will appear on the blog once published. Other options the company will have when using the full ‘new post’ option include; saving a post as a draft, which can then be finished at any time. The save draft option is also available in the quick post option if you decide you would like to spend more time on it, or even if you just decide more information could be added at a later time.

As a company, Crème de la catering’ may want to post exclusive offers or news that can only be seen by loyal customers as a thank you, for this, the password protection option is available on chosen posts, then allowing the passwords to be sent to those selected who can then see the post. However, there may be exclusive offers and news that the company would like to be viewable by all but not until a certain date and time, in which case the schedule option is another of WordPress’ great options that would be available to ‘Crème de la catering’. The post can simply be created in spare time and scheduled to post automatically at the chosen time, saving the company the possible hassle of ensuring an individual is available to publish the post at that time. Scheduling posts is a great tool as multiple posts can be created at one time and scheduled to post at regular times, keeping the blog active and making the presence online increase.

Although WordPress offers a huge range of themes that would be available for the company to use, Crème de la catering may have an exact idea of how they would like the blog to look, in which case WordPress.org as opposed to WordPress.com will provide the company with the ability to have more control over the blog looks with customisable themes and an individual domain name. WordPress also offers a lot of support to help along the way.

Apart from the features that WordPress would make available to ‘Crème de la catering’ there are many things the company can do to take advantage of the WordPress platform available to publicise themselves.

The first thing would be to create the blog with the desired theme, something that can be changed at any time, and make sure it is appealing for visitors. ‘Crème de la catering’ could add more pages to the company’s blog to separate things such; recipes kept separate from items for sale etc. This is something that would make the blog easily navigable for visitors to the blog.

categoriesCategorising every post published by the company is also a simple, yet crucial task to carry out with every post before publishing as this is an effective way of bringing publicity to the blog and company. In the book ‘Everything is miscellaneous’, David Weinberger writes “Hanging a leaf on multiple branches makes it more findable by customers” (Weinberger, 2008), which in relation to how ‘Crème de la catering’ could use WordPress for publicity explains how adding all posts to as many categories as possible will increase the chances of the post being seen and read by many. Categorising your posts will also allow users to find the specific posts they intend on seeing. One advantage of categorising on WordPress is how easy it is to do so. Going back to the full ‘new post’ feature, when creating your post there is an option for categorising which will list all of the categories you have used so you can just tick the categories you would like the post to appear under, or there is the option to add new categories.

tags1Tagging, something often confused with categorising, is also an extremely useful tool that can increase the chance of your blog being visible, and again is made easy using WordPress. Just like categorising, WordPress will allow you to add tags simply by selecting from ones previously used, or add as many new ones as desired. Adding as many relevant tags to ‘Crème de la catering’ posts as possible will reach more users who search for posts including any of those tags and allow them to see your post. WordPress will also suggest tags for some posts, and these tags should be considered as they will likely be tags that users are searching for.

WordPress is a useful platform for ‘Crème de la catering’ as it allows the opportunity to gain feedback without paying for surveys etc. WordPress will allow you to decide whether users can comment on your blog posts or not, for those posts that users are able to comment on, the comments may include; opinions on products or recipes, ideas for products to stock, or simply replies showing their like or dislike to the post. No matter what it is, it will provide ‘Crème de la catering’ with information that they can use to monitor the success of the blog and work on continuing to give the customers what they want. WordPress also allows you to reply to comments, something that I believe customers appreciate hugely and is an opinion I feel is agreed on by Shel Holtz and Ted Demopoulos in the blogging for business book in which it says “Companies with blogs— a channel a growing number of customers understand and appreciate— will find themselves attracting customers who are fleeing from competitors that make no effort to re-engage with them.”  (Holtz and Demopoulos, 2006) This is an advantage of WordPress that ‘Crème de la catering’ could benefit from as replying to customers would make a lot of them feel more valued and Holtz and Demopoulos also explain in their book how, building a relationship with those viewing the blog, who are essentially your potential customers, will allow them to feel they know you and “Once they get to know you, they’ll be more inclined to keep your blog on their must-read list of feeds and link to your blog whenever you write something that resonates with them” (Holtz and Demopoulos, 2006), something that in time would prove beneficial for sales and publicity.

Monitoring success is something that ‘Crème de la catering’ need to do in order to be sure that the blog is bringing the right traffic to the site and that what is being posted about, is worth the companies time and possibly money, if any costs are involved. WordPress offers a brilliant feature for free, which will allow the company to monitor the blog success without spending a lot of time researching. Using the ‘Stats’ feature, ‘Crème de la catering’ will be able to see information such as; basic amount of visitors and views the blog has had that day. As well as this, there will be lots of further detailed information, including; how many users from different countries have viewed the site and what countries, which posts have had the most views, and the referrer site that people have clicked to the ‘Crème de la catering’ blog from, all this information allowing the company to possibly branch out into those countries, learn what visitors are enjoyed from the most popular posts and what sites to use to share blog links etc.

Stats

‘Crème de la catering’ will be able to use WordPress and integrate it with a range of other social media platforms in order to effectively and quickly share the blog posts with those on the selected social platforms. Integration with other social networks will bring users to the site who aren’t necessarily usually WordPress users. Finding a demographic on other social media sites that are interested in the company, then allows you, with social media integration to link those individuals to the company’s WordPress blog, instead of them missing out.

The final important positive to WordPress is the ability to blog on the go using the WordPress application, available on multiple devices, ‘Crème de la catering’ will allow the company to continue blogging any time and from anywhere, something that is useful for quick important posts that may have been forgotten about or for replying quicker to visitors comments, again making them want to visit the site regularly.

WordPress is a platform that can help ‘Crème de la catering’ rise to the top and be extremely successful for what they do, on a large-scale, if all the features available are taken advantage of. The right posts and having a regular active presence online with the help of WordPress will have a healthy return on investment for ‘Crème de la catering’.

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One thought on “A blogging platform recommendation for a small business

  1. Pingback: The gift of a tag | Madeline Scribes

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