We’ve been talking about blogging for the last week or so. We’ve covered various aspects of building a web site. Today, we’ll talk about blogging software.
I’m no expert on all the choices available in blogging software. One of the most popular options is WordPress, which you can get at www.WordPress.org. Note that if you don’t want to host your blog on your own site, you can host it at www.WordPress.com.
Installing WordPress is fairly easy, but you do need to follow the directions. You have to have a web site that lets you create a database. (Most all hosting services let you create an absurd number of databases on your site.) It’s easy to do–they provide a tool to create it. Then you just take the information that tells WordPress where your database lives on the internet and edit a few lines in the right file and post it to your web site. WordPress gives complete directions on how to do this.
Many hosting services give you a automatic installation option for WordPress, which makes the whole operation a five minute procedure that is supposed to be fail-safe. As Craig noted today:
As for getting a blog on your site,if your site has cpanel with Fantastico, then installing WordPress on your site is extremely simple.
Then you just configure the controls, and you have a great blogging platform right on your site.
WordPress gives you many different “themes” which let you customize the look and feel of your site. You can choose colors, fonts, graphics, and all that sort of thing. Or if you know PHP and CSS, you can hack into one of their themes to do whatever you want.
I know there are other blogging software packages, but it’s been quite awhile since I looked into them, and things have changed since then. WordPress has many “plugins”. These are extra little tools you can add to your blog to do special things. I don’t have a lot of plugins on my blog, but I am using the Akismet spam filter, which is extremely good.
Liz noted this:
BTW, there’s another option for blog hosting. I write my family blog on Blogger but then Blogger posts (publishes) it to my own website via FTP. All the blog content files live on my site; I can back them up, etc. Let me know if you want me to write down the specifics.
Randy sez: That’s very handy! That gives you the best of both worlds. You don’t have to install the blog on your site, but you still get the content there. I went to the Blogger web site but didn’t see any details on this. So Liz, can you give us some details? Is there anywhere on the Blogger site that explains how it works?
Gerhi pointed out something I hadn’t noticed:
Randy, Mary DeMuth’s home page looks great but it is not search engine friendly. If you look at the source code you will see that the only ‘content’ on her home page is in the meta description. That is not enough.
Randy sez: Yikes, you’re right! I didn’t look at the source code until just now (using “View Source” on my browser). Looks like there is some AJAX going on under the hood. I don’t know if Google can index this kind of content, but I verified that it does not index the content on Mary’s site. (I did an exact search for a long phrase that I clipped from one of her pages. There were no results on Google.)
That’s it for today! Tomorrow, I’d like to switch gears and talk more about what you do WITH your blog in order to use it as a marketing tool. (This does not mean that your blog is going to turn you into a shameless hussy. It does mean that your blog will raise your visibility in the world so that people who are interested in the kind of things you’re interested in will easily find you. That is marketing at its kindest and gentlest. I think it’s the best kind.)