I’m a huge fan of blogging. Over some 16 years of blogging, I’ve run hundreds of blogs. Yes, hundreds, literally. At least once a week, someone asks me about blogging for writers — which platform is best?
Of course, there’s no “best”. There’s what’s easiest, fastest, and the best option for you, at that time. Your needs will change, so it’s best not to be too wedded to any individual platform.
Over the years, I’ve become totally convinced of that. Some writer gets told “you must use WordPress, on your own hosting account”, and the poor writer never gets beyond that. He never sets up his blog, because there’s too much to learn.
TNW’s just published an article on the best blogging platforms:
“Here’s our ultimate guide to the best places for getting your blog set up for the first time, or as a new home for those who are tired of what they’re already using.”
That post gives you an excellent overview of today’s wide choice of platforms. They’re all good. You’re looking for the one that’s good for you, at this time.
Consider these tips before you choose.
1. Chose the simplest platform: only content matters (and content is portable)
You’re a Kindle author — or you aspire to be. You’ve heard that blogging helps you to make sales. (It does.) You want to set up a blog.
Or, you’re a freelancer who wants to get better clients. You need a blog.
Vital: remember that the goal of blogging IS NOT BLOGGING. (And yes, I’m shouting.) Your goal is selling Kindle books, or getting great clients, or whatever it is that you want.
So forget “the best” blogging platform. Choose the one that’s simplest. Currently, my own choice for a simple blog would be WordPress.com. Or Blogger.com. Here’s why. Both services make it easy to move your content elsewhere when it’s time to do that.
I like Medium. You create an account, and start blogging. However, it has challenges when it comes to moving your content easily and simply.
Its branding is overbearing too. Here’s my URL on Medium: https://medium.com/@angee Totally useless. (It uses my Twitter name.)
Which brings us to an important point: use your own name (or whichever pen name you’re promoting) in the URL of your blog on whichever platform you choose. Medium doesn’t allow that, as far as I know, which makes it pretty much useless as a promotional platform for writers.
Be aware that I’m not suggesting that you can’t use Medium. But be aware of its severe limitations too. Your aim with blogging is to promote your name (or pen name.)
2. Choose a FREE platform for your first blog (move elsewhere, later, and only if you must)
Generally speaking, I’m all for you spending money on domains and hosting, and other blogging essentials. However, that comes later, when you see what results you’re getting from a free account.
Once you know what your results are, you’ll also know what you need. It’s impossible to know what you need, before you’ve been blogging for at least six months, preferably a year.
You can move your content to your own host, when you have real and pressing reasons to do that.
Don’t be too eager. Hosting accounts bring their own problems. You’ve got to be careful of what you do. You can get spammed, hacked… You don’t need that aggravation, until the benefits far outweigh any aggravation.
Which brings us to…
3. Three words: audience, audience, audience!
You know I’m passionate when I use an exclamation point, because I hate them.
As we’ve said, blogging helps you to achieve your goals. You’re blogging for a specific audience, always.
If you’re promoting your Kindle books, you have an audience. You may have several audiences, across several topics if you’re writing nonfiction, or several genres, if you’re writing fiction.
If you stick with one name, stick with one blog. Your name needs to be in the URL, as we mentioned above.
Using a pen name? Create a blog for it, on a free platform, until you know your needs for that name.
4. Treat all blogging advice (including these tips) with suspicion
I started blogging when blogging was unusual for writers. I’ve never considered it “blogging”, as such. To me, blogging is always instant publishing. That point of view has worked for me. It helped me to ignore the shrieks of horror (“you’re writing for free, the world is ending”) in the early years.
It’s also helped me to ignore the constant unwanted advice — variations on: “you should be doing (whatever the new thing was at that moment)” throughout the years.
I know how blogging works for me. You’ll discover how it works for you, too. You’re a writer. Blogging is instant publication. It will work for you as a writer, as long as you trust yourself, and your writing.
Happy writing…. 🙂
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