WordPress is arguably the most popular and widely used blogging platform on the web today. It’s free and it’s used by millions of people worldwide. WordPress can be used for both your blog and your main site as a content management system (CMS). It has a plethora of themes and plugins that you can use to enhance the design and functionality of your blog with relative ease.
Matt Cutts, one of the search engine optimization authorities at Google, uses WordPress for his own blog and has said that “WordPress takes care of 80-90% of SEO.” So, if one of your goals is to do well in search engines, then this is definitely the platform to use. To see some examples of WordPress business blogs in action, visit the WordPress showcase.
WordPress does have a downside: it’s set in its ways as far as site structure goes. It’s hard to beat for displaying a chronological list of posts and for navigating by categories and tags, but if you want to highlight or allow easy navigation of older content, you might want to take a close look at the alternatives.
Joomla is an open source content management system that is used by 2.7% of websites online today. It’s easy to setup — even if you are not an advanced web user — and it will allow you to manage your main site’s content as well as your blog.
Just like WordPress, Joomla comes with a strong level of community support. If the base features of Joomla are not enough for you, there are thousands of extensions available in the Joomla extensions directory. Joomla is slightly less optimized than WordPress for timely news blogging SEO, but it allows for more customization in your site’s format and structure.
Joomla has over 2,500 sites featured in its community showcase, including several hundred blogs in its business section.
Drupal is the third most popular self-hosted blogging platform. Like Joomla and WordPress, you can use this platform for both your blog and your main website. It’s also open source (anyone can program new features) and caters to those who are looking more at functionality than design.
Drupal also has a large and dedicated user community. The platform supports a wide variety of themes and extensions to enhance the functionality of the base system. The downside is that it requires a little more technical know-how to deploy and manage than WordPress or Joomla.
While Drupal doesn’t have an extensive showcase, it does have a nice selection of case studies based on sites running the Drupal platform. Be sure to check these out and read the success stories to see if Drupal is the right platform for your business.
If you don’t want all of the responsibility that comes with maintaining a self-hosted version of WordPress, then the hosted version at WordPress.com is the choice for you. It works similarly to the self-hosted platform except that the number of themes is limited, and you cannot use plugins — the add-on applications that make the WordPress hosted platform so versatile.
That said, WordPress.com offers both a free and a premium version of the service. The latter offers additional features such as advanced themes and the ability to customize the look and feel of your website via custom style sheets (CSS). So, if you want more out of your hosted WordPress.com blog, you can always upgrade to the premium service.
WordPress.com also offers a VIP service with additional support and hosting features for larger brands. Here’s a list of the biggest brands using the hosted version of WordPress. Suffice it to say, WordPress has an option to suit just about any blogging need.
Blogger is a free, hosted platform owned by Google. Since it’s possible that having a presence on as many of Google’s properties as possible may help with search rankings, it certainly cannot hurt to set up a blogging base here.
One of the nice things about Blogger is that you can go outside of its system to find additional themes and templates to use for your blog (simply search”Blogger templates“). You can even do some minor modifications to Blogger’s coding to suit your individual needs.
For additional functionality such as social sharing buttons, simply look for any add-ons or widgets that have Blogger-specific code (like this “Add This” add-on). Adding some extra features and customizations will make your blog stand out from the rest.
Tumblr is a “quirky” hosted blogging platform in that it has some features that are different from the average blog. For example, Tumblr allows you to “re-blog” articles to share with your Tumblr following, while not allowing you to actually comment on those articles.
Tumblr has to be included in the list of useful blogging platforms though. Despite its unique features, it’s currently the third most popular hosted platform, jumping ahead of free, hosted platforms like LiveJournal. It’s chock-full of Twitter-like social features that aren’t present in some of the competing platforms.
Other interesting features include the ability to publish to Tumblr from your phone or AOL Instant Messenger, as well as the ability to push updates from your Tumblr blog to Facebook and Twitter. If the available templates are not to your liking, Tumblr allows access to its source code so that you can edit the templates any way you wish.
Do you use any of these blogging platforms for your business blog? Which one, and why?