Choosing Your Content Management System
Welcome to “How to Create a Profitable Blog”! I’m so excited to help you take your blog from hobby to career. Today, we’ll talk about the differences between a hobby vs. professional blog, as well as choosing your content management system (CMS), aka the platform you’ll be creating your blog on.
A Hobby vs. Professional Blog
There are a few reasons bloggers fail to earn a livable income on their blog. For one, many don’t realize how much work it entails to build a successful blog (there’s a lot to do before hitting that publish button). Additionally, many know how to create great content but aren’t running their blogs like a business.
The latter is what will take your blog from hobby to professional.
Choosing Your CMS
Before you actually start creating content, it’s important to consider what CMS you’ll use. If you’re serious about blogging, it’s highly recommended to use WordPress.org (not WordPress.com).
Let me explain. WordPress.com is okay to start with if you’re unsure of what you want to blog about, or are positive blogging is not something you want to do long term, but once you decide that you do want to blog professionally, I recommend switching to WordPress.org.
Note that having WordPress.org does not mean you’ll have a “.org” at the end of your URL. Think of it as the “pro” version of WordPress, vs. WordPress.com, which would be the “lite” version. While WordPress.com is free, it’s limited as you can’t use plugins (pieces of software that easily add functionalities to your blog), have limited theme support, and aren’t in full control of your own website. On the other hand, if you use WordPress.org, you’ll need to find a provider like Bluehost, DreamHost, or MDD Hosting to host your blog, giving you full control. This is known as having a “self-hosted” blog.
Easy WordPress Solution for the Non-tech Savvy
One way to simplify the learning curve for WordPress.org is to use a drag-and-drop pagebuilder theme, like X theme. I use this for my tour company website and love its ease of use. You become a developer and designer without needing any knowledge. Additionally, they have a support forum, where the X Theme team typically replies within a few hours.
Options beyond WordPress
For those who are very nervous about the technological side of blogging, note that there is a drag-and-drop pagebuilder content management system called Wix, which is very popular. Here is a chart showing some major differences between WordPress.org and Wix.
To summarize, Wix is less technical, so there’s less frustration in the beginning. It also comes with a few built-in features, like an eCommerce engine for small shops and a community forum. That being said, while WordPress is more technical, it’s more robust. You can download plugins (many of which are free) or hire a developer to add any functionality you could possibly want—including a shop and a community forum. It’s also widely thought to be better for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which refers to ranking higher in Google search. We’ll be diving deeper into this topic during the class.
Your Turn: Research the different CMS options and decide which is right for you. Tomorrow, I’ll be back to help you flesh out your perfect blog brand.
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