Business blogs attract search engines, display your startup's personality and encourage customer participation--a form of marketing that startups crave and money alone can't buy.
Free hosted platforms
These enable you to launch a blog in minutes, but limit your ability to customize it and host it in your own environment.
Premium hosted platforms
WordPress.com offers free and premium hosted solutions. Premium service is more customizable and allows your blog a unique domain name.
TypePad offers a free 14-day trial and simplifies setup, maintenance and customization.
WordPress.org provides free downloads of its platform along with instructions, templates and plug-ins, and user support.
Movable Type features a downloadable development platform as well as plug-ins and documentation.
But before you jump on the business blogging bandwagon, get familiar with the basics and choose a blogging solution that's right for you and your startup's goals.
Every blog needs a hosting environment and a content management platform. The hosting environment is the server connected to the internet that stores all your blog's files, code and content. The content management platform is the software used to post content, customize and organize its appearance and more.
Deciding whether to host a blog within your own hosting environment or link to an externally hosted blog depends on which blogging platform you feel is best for your company. Posting content to your blog is easy, but setting up and maintaining it can be a challenge, so choose a platform that's best suited to your startup's budget and technical expertise.
- Free developer-hosted platforms: These easy-to-use, low-cost options allow you to set up and launch a blog quickly, with features for customizing your blog's appearance, address and functionality.
- Premium developer-hosted platforms: Here, you pay the blog's developer to host and maintain your company's blog, and you use their online tools to customize its design and functionality.
- Stand-alone platforms: You pay to download a platform or use a free platform and host the blog yourself, typically on your own web server. While this option provides the greatest degree of customization, it's also the most challenging.
As you blog, keep in mind that content is king. Always post fresh, original and relevant content, and your blog will soon build a loyal following.
Mikal E. Belicove is a market positioning, social media and business management consultant specializing in website usability and corporate blogging. When he's not working or ghosting blog entries for clients, Mikal can be found musing about the world on belicove.com. Contact him firstname.lastname@example.org.