Sunday, March 21, 2010

Reasons to Consider Blogger for Your Business Blog Host

I have used Blogger on and off since high school and even though it doesn't always work right in Google Chrome (which is ridiculous considering Blogger is now a Google product), I still highly recommend it for artisans looking for a free place to host their blog.  Here's why:

1. Everyone else is using it.  Okay, that's a bad thing to say generally in life, but when you're talking about building a following it makes sense.  Tons of people you know or should know are already on Blogger, can see your latest posts right from their Blogger homepage, and can easily subscribe to your blog even without Google Friend Connect or RSS.  I've been to WordPress hosted blogs before that didn't have Google Friend Connect and ended up never going back because I couldn't find a way to subscribe without creating an account or getting an RSS reader - neither of which am I ever going to remember to check.  Also, people tend to like what they're familiar with.  If your blog is a Blogger blog (that's a mouthful) the potential subscriber is likely already familiar with the format and style and is comfortable knowing how to find you easily again.  Blogger is sort of it's own little community and that sense of belonging is always beneficial to your business.

2. There is a post scheduling feature.  One of the things I love about the Twitter app Hootsuite is that I can schedule tweets to send when I'm away from the computer and continue to get traffic to my blog, Treasury, website, etc.  Blogger does the same thing with posts.  I can blog about my opinion on something and schedule it to post the next day or a week from now, spreading out my posts evenly and providing steady, fresh content without being chained to my computer every night writing.  It's especially great if you have a weekly feature like I have with the EB Friday Hotlist.  I can start writing my post whenever I want and lets say I finish on Wednesday.  I can set the post to publish on Friday at 8:00 am (or 5:23 pm, it doesn't matter) and my post will automatically appear at that time.  In order for this to work correctly, make sure you set your time zone when you configure your account settings.  You can also save posts as drafts for quick posting whenever you need some content.  It's good to have timeless posts (posts that aren't time sensitive, this would be an example of one) in reserve in draft mode so that when you hit a mental block or you can't find the time to write, you can just schedule one of them to publish and move on with your day.

3. It's idiot proof.  In this world of technology and funky things like CSS and FTP and a bunch of other acronyms I only sort of get, Blogger lets me take a break and take it easy.  I can see the HTML code and edit it if I want to, but if I just want to format my post, add some links and pictures, and adjust my font color, I can do that without any knowledge or application of computer code whatsoever.  It's a very user friendly site and it's easy enough even for the computer challenged to get the basics down.  I promise, if you don't get Blogger on your own, someone can teach it to you and it will be one of the easiest things you learn to do online.

4. It's customizable.  No not like WordPress - I think they have Google beat with customization.  But again, for those of us using free templates or simple custom designs, Blogger is perfect.  You can set up a 2 or 3 column layout (with a little bit of effort if the goal is 3) and add links, graphics, HTML code, Etsy minis, widgets, Google Calendar, webpages, etc.   You can also set how many posts you want to appear per page.  I recently realized my blog was loading so slow because it was set at 7 posts per page instead of 3 like it is now.  I use pictures and tons of text in my posts, as you know, so having the ability to choose how much shows up when someone loads my page can be the difference between a reader and someone clicking the back button on their browser because it looks like a dead site.

5. It's convenient.  As a Google user, having a Blogger blog is really just the easiest for me.  I get an email every time someone posts a comment which makes it easy for me to respond to each one without missing a bunch.  I don't have to create an additional account, I just sign in with my Gmail information.  Google Friend Connect allows people to sign into my blog with an AOL, Twitter, or other social networking accounts and I can send out polls or newsletters to update my subscribers on what's going on with the blog.  I had a WordPress account previously and never remembered to use it, but since I'm already an avid Google user it's super convenient for me to pop on over to Blogger and update.

Now if you already have a successful blog on your ArtFire page, I don't recommend stopping and switching to Blogger.  Having a blog on your studio/shop webpage is a great idea because it allows you to draw people into your store very easily when you post good, relevant content. This recommendation of setting up Blogger is only for those who don't already have a successful blog somewhere else.  Also make sure you note that Google hates duplicate content so don't just copy and paste from one blog to the other either or you'll be lowering your search engine optimization.

Do you have a Blogger blog?  Post your link in the comments!

Until next time,


juliecache said...

i have blogger and wordpress, and blogger is easiest. wordpress is not intuitive and harder to work with, but the flexibility and gloriously large photos are nice. then there's following and the community you feel with blogger. those are missing from wordpress. so it depends on what you want -- distance or not from the reader.

Elle said...

Interesting perspective on Wordpress vs. Blogger. Thanks for sharing your insights!