When I started my online career, I was faced with an important question, the same one that you already faced. However, we are coping as we speak!

Should I set up my site as a blog? But do you have a “normal” website?

I didn’t realize it at the time, but that’s really a false distinction. A blog can really be designed to look the same as a traditional website, only it has many, many favorable advantages compared to a traditional website based on html, xml or css. In fact, ANY website you are accessing right now could be based on blogging software, and you wouldn’t even know it. Even a site like cnn.com could be set up as a blog. The biggest thing that stopped me from doing it right away was simply fear, and trust me, don’t let that be what stop you. Honestly, the learning curve isn’t that steep. However, if you start off badly, you may lose some time. I myself probably lost 2-3 weeks of work for not getting it right from the start. Here are the top 5 advantages as I see them:

  1. Change design and functionality with the click of a button. Not knowing css when I set up my original website, when I made a style or template change that affected many or all pages, I would have to make the change INDIVIDUALLY, on every page. And I had to go into html encoding to do it. Gross! With blogging software, you can log in and make changes to the entire site, whether in appearance or functionality, with the click of a button. Impressive!
  2. Add high-tech features WITHOUT knowing any programming. This is another great WOW. You can do really cool and pretty complicated things just by adding “widgets” to your blog. This is a functionality that some smart programmers create, and you simply go to your blog and use it. Very useful.
  3. Have a community of smart people to help you. With blogging software, you can take advantage of the efforts of others WITHOUT having to be a technician or a programmer, and usually without paying for it. Or you can get themes and widgets that are just plug-and-play, but very professional, at a very reasonable price.
  4. Search engine (SEO) friendly. By adding a plugin called “all in one seo” and setting a few options there, your blog will be search engine friendly. Of course, you’ll still want to brush up on SEO basics and do proper market research and keyword research, but many of the technical elements will be taken care of for you. Plus, search engines like Google just LOVE blogging, as long as you post frequently (at least once a week or so) and consistently.
  5. Community building. If you are passionate about what you blog and offer good information, people Will follow you. By encouraging people to comment and participate, you can foster ongoing discussions that help everyone learn more effectively than you could alone. It’s a great way to make new friends at the same time! And there are several quick and easy ways to encourage participation.

I hope you now see the tremendous benefit of using blogging software to configure your site. Even if you already have a site now, you can convert it to a blog with some ease. But, if you’re just starting out, it’s definitely best to start as a blog from scratch. And best of all, it’s free!

And last two quick tips: I would highly recommend using wordpress. That’s the most popular (so it has the most support and resources) and the most functional. You could also use the best! If you have your hosting through a place like godaddy, you can set up your blog in minutes. And lastly, buy your own domain name and add your blog to that. WHOSE just use a free site to set up your blog. You have a lot more control over it that way.

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