It’s time to get your blog live online
There are two major options here, your blogging platform & domain.
- Using the generic blogging program (sub name): Most blogging programs will assign a URL or Web address to a new blog at no cost. This is a great way to get started with a trial blog, but the option does have some disadvantages. The URLs of blogs completely housed within the blogging program’s servers tend to be extremely long. This can make it very difficult for readers to find your blog again, which is bad for branding efforts.
- Create your own website for your blog : This is a more time consuming option, but it does provide a way for you to have your blog reside on a URL, of your choosing. In this case, you would create your own website and get your blog set up like a plug in. Most Web hosting companies can walk you through the necessary steps to make it happen. When this option is exercised, your URL might be YourCompanyName.com. The advantage is a shorter, easier to remember address for readers to find. This also lends itself much better to other branding and marketing efforts. Basically, a cleaner, shorter Web site address is simply easier for people to remember and it can be particularly beneficial if the brand name is used in the address. It’s just one more way to get your brand name out to the public.
Get your blog to the point that you are “On the Internet” is the first part of launching your business.
Develop, design, & launch a website for your blog that will drive traffic & trust is essential for branding.
In order to get your blog recognized & your brand established you are going to have to build website, in addition to social site (be very clear). Choose to do the job yourself or you can hire someone, maybe a freelancer, to do the work.
Let’s look at both options more closely. Doing It Yourself
If you decide to create your own blog and/or Web site, you can. Today’s Web hosting and blog hosting companies have made it very easy for beginners to create their own sites from the ground up. Many, in fact, offer their own easy-to-use design programs that take care of all the technical programming. All you have to do is follow the instructions offered to build and launch your site or blog.
The basic steps involved in building a blog yourself include:
- Selecting the hosting company
- Deciding whether to write a freestanding blog or to include it on a separate Web site
- Picking the URL
- Following the instructions offered to build the blog and possibly the Web site
- Populating the blog with some starting content
Mapping out, building and populating a blog without any professional assistance is a cost-effective way to go. It can be done even by those with minimal technical savvy. This is thanks to the intuitiveness of many of the programs available for use. There are, however, some advantages to calling in pros to assist with the launch.
Hiring A Pro
If the idea of planning out, designing and publishing a blog meant to help brand your products or services overwhelms, relax. There are professionals who deal specifically with the creation of blogs. Some of the options out there to help you include:
- Full service companies – There are companies available that can build a Web site and a blog for you from your specifications. They can also assist with optimizing a blog for the search engines and may also work with you to map out a plan for content. Full-service companies tend to have designers, programmers and writers on staff or available to put professional projects together with expediency and skill.
- Design firms – If you don’t need or want help with the writing, but want a professional presentation, a Web design company can help you on the technical and visual aspects.
- Writers – If you don’t need assistance with actually building your branding blog, but you want help with writing, there are professionals who can assist. Professional writers can help you populate your blog with search engine optimized posts relevant to your niche. This is an option not only for establishing your blog, but also for maintaining it down the road.
Hiring professionals to produce a new blog and supporting Web site can be costly undertaking depending on who is hired. If reputable professionals are called in, however, there are some advantages that cannot be disputed. When experienced pros work with you to create a branding blog, chances are you will enjoy:
- A more visually appealing blog, which can be important for gaining repeat traffic
- Better positioning with the search engines
- More functional features and add ins that can make your blog and/or Web site more user friendly
Tips For Hiring Pros
There are some incredible professionals available to work on blogs and Web sites. Unfortunately, not all pros or companies they work for deliver what customers would like. To increase your odds of hiring the best, it is important to do a little research before making a decision on whom to go with. Some of the things to consider when hiring include:
- Pricing – Do have a target budget in mind when hiring a firm to help out with the creation of your blog. Keep in mind what you want the pros to do when you set your budget. If you only need a few starter posts from a writer, you budget doesn’t have to be large. Should you require a complete design job, programming and writing, plan on spending a fair amount of money. Skilled professionals will generally cost you a premium rate. While “budget” pros are out there, be careful when cutting corners if you are truly trying to create a professional presentation.
- Experience – Ideally, you want pros that have been in the business for a while and are very experienced with a variety of design and blogging programs. Pay attention to resumes here and look for companies or individuals who really know their stuff.
- Reputation – There are pros that promise the moon and stars and fail to deliver. Look into reputations and go with those who have customers that truly praise their work. Also pay attention to previous jobs performed to find professionals who have the kind of style you are after. If a pro has built 100 blogs and you only like the looks and functionality of two, chances are that’s not the pro for you.
Whether you hire a pro or go it alone, building the blog is only the first step in using this tool to your branding advantage. The message and overall theme of your blog will also impact your efforts greatly. You need to have a solid understanding of your target audience. You will also need to map out a content plan to guide yourself as you start to populate your blog with posts. If branding is truly your aim, you want to make sure content supports your mission and casts your brand in a positive light.