No discussion of commercial website design would be complete without mentioning blogs like Blogger and WordPress.
Blogger is a free web publishing tool from Google. It’s really a blog. What I like about Blogger is its ease of use. Next to more Web 2.0 type sites like Squidoo and Hubpages, I think Blogger is great for beginning internet marketers.
WordPress makes open-source, free blogging software. WordPress is easy to use and is essentially the gold standard for serious blogs. I would venture to bet that most of the top blogs out there that are custom made use WordPress’ software.
With Blogger you don’t have to have your own hosting. With WordPress you have to have your own web hosting account. Other than that, it’s super easy!
To start a Blogger blog, just go to their site (Google “Blogger”) and follow the instructions. You can use Blogger in a number of commerce friendly ways. I usually just put up a few pages about a niche I’m interested in and see what happens as far as traffic and sales are concerned.
WordPress is for more advanced internet marketers or bloggers. Since you have to have your own web hosting, I would recommend you use a free site first, in order to get the basic ideas down. Then you can graduate to WordPress.
Having said that, WordPress has great instructions and a great, very supportive community behind it. Most, if not all of the questions I’ve ever had, I’ve found the answer to by looking through their excellent support material.
Most reputable web hosts have software in place that makes uploading a WordPress blog a complete no-brainer. If you’re just starting out, then a quick email to your web host might be a good idea.
Don’t be frightened off from WordPress. It’s actually remarkably easy to set up.
WordPress blogs have what are called “themes”. A theme is a set of files that control how the blog looks. The remarkable thing about WordPress is its flexibility. You can take a look at various themes on their site. I’ll also list on of my favorites, here. There are a ton of free themes out there, but one of my favorites is the Revolution theme. Just Google “revolution theme” and you’ll find it.
Revolution’s website has both free themes and themes you buy. If you get into this in a big way, you’ll want to check out Revolution’s magazine theme.
I could go on and on and on about WordPress and themes and how to use blogs for commercial platforms. I could actually write a whole other e-book about this. (Maybe I should!)
Let me just leave you with this.
Google loves blogs! Blogger pages seem to rank well, but Google really loves WordPress blogs! Unlike static sites, blogs rank in the search results pages fairly easily. If you add new content from time to time, you can get Google’s spiders to visit on a somewhat regular basis. Thus allowing Google to update their index with your new content.
Either Blogger or WordPress blogs make great platforms for commercial sites when there are fewer than thirty or so pages and when there are only a few categories of things. If I were thinking about really building out a site and putting a lot of work into it, I would not do that on a Blogger blog. I would use WordPress and use my own web host with my own domain name.
I saw a great digital camera review site that was nothing more than a WordPress blog where the posts were digital camera reviews.
For a smaller commercial, internet marketing site you really might want to consider a WordPress blog with an appropriate theme.