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How to Start a Company Blog: Setting It Up
[Continuing our series on How (And Why) To Start a Company Blog]
Now you move on to the technical part of the process, actually setting up the blog, from choosing your blogging software to incorporating your blog into your overall web site.
(We’re not writing a software how-to manual, though, so we’ll cover this topic at a high level. You’ll need to consult your own friendly neighborhood IT guy or gal for the actual implementation.)
Choose Your Blogging Software
First, you’ll need to decide what kind of application to use to actually generate and publish your blog and its individual posts.Of the many brands of blogging applications, there are three that are most commonly used: WordPress, Typepad and Blogger. Each of them provides free versions of its software, and all of them offer the option of running the software on a blog they host, or publishing to your own hosting solution.
A number of articles have been written that provide detailed comparisons of these options. (This article, for example, gives a nice comparison of WordPress and Moveable Type/Typepad, as well as several others). A Google search for “Wordpress vs. Typepad” or “Moveable Type vs. Blogger” will yield many more.
A lot of them will advocate for one application over another; WordPress, for example, has legions of devotees. The choice, however, is yours.
Read the available information carefully and consider which features and functions are most compatible for your company’s particular situation, as well as your hosting preference. Also be sure to determine whether there is a cost involved for the option you prefer.
Finally, you’ll want to customize your blog to look like your web site (see Customize It, below). Because this step will involve your company’s HTML programmers, involve them in the software review. They may have more familiarity with one type of blogging template than another, which could impact your decision.
Set Up Your Blog
Depending on the application you’ve chosen, and whether you’ve decided to host your blog on your own servers (i.e. in the same place as your company site is hosted), your setup steps may vary. In all cases, you’ll need to create an account with your selected vendor. For self-hosted solutions, you may need to download and install the blogging software.
Account creation is straightforward, but for software installation, be sure to work with an IT resource, either at your company or at your hosting provider.
All of the blogging software options come with a set of default templates to help you get up and running immediately—but you don’t want your company or organization blog to look like Jane’s Knitting Journal, so a key step is to customize your template to give it brand and visual consistency with your web site.
As mentioned earlier, this phase will require the involvement of your organization’s design and technical teams: first to create the visual design and then to implement it within the blog’s template structure.
Incorporate It Into Your Site
Hand in hand with the customization step is the work to incorporate the final product into your company’s site—and it may actually take place in tandem.
Consider these questions.
- How will visitors to your site get to your blog?
- Will you make it a centerpiece of the home page, so new blog posts are displayed as primary features?
- Or will it simply be added to your site’s navigation and be treated as a related, but stand-alone component?
Don’t let technical restraints answer these questions for you. Return to your goals for creating a blog in the first place to help you determine your strategy for incorporating it into your greater online presence.
Now it’s your turn:
- What are your suggestions for getting a blog up and running smoothly?
- What software did you evaluate? Which one did you choose–and why?
Next week: Ready, set, go! You’ve started. How do you keep it going?