Choosing a Blogging Platform – The Software that Runs Your Blog

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Now that you have your hosting in place, you have to think about what software you will be using for your blog.  Choosing a blogging platform is critical.

Think of it this way.  Your hosting is like your desktop computer at home and your blogging platform is like your windows, the software that runs your computer.  Your software is what will allow you to create a design and what people see when they come to your website.

If you look around, you can find a couple different popular blogging platforms.  I am not going into each one as I think there is only one option, WordPress.

WordPress offers so many unique features that no one else can come close to.  One of the best things about WordPress is that it is an open source software which means people can use develop programs for this platform. That’s why when choosing a blogging platform, it should be WordPress.

Why WordPress

  • Open Source Coding
  • Trusted by Millions of people
  • Long History
  • Regular Updates
  • Secure
  • Design your own theme
  • Thousands of themes to pick from
  • Thousands of plugins
  • Doesn’t use a lot of your hosting resources
  • The list goes on from here

So what does all this mean for you?  Simple, fewer headaches.

What is WordPress?

For me, WordPress is the end all.  First, it’s free, who can beat that.  The reason is it’s free is that it’s an open source code.  Now if you are like me and you hear the word free, you are probably wondering what the catch is.  Here is the

Since it’s open source, your imagination is the limits of what you can do with this platform.  You can create a blog, sell items, create galleries, really the possibilities are endless.

I could go on and on and explain what WordPress is, but it might just be better that you head over there and see everything it has to offer – WordPress.org

How Will WordPress Help Me?

As with the above, I could go on and on about what WordPress will do for you, but here is the most important thing to know.

WordPress will allow you to focus on your blog.

This is the plain simple truth.  There is a ton to WordPress, but the fact that you don’t have to worry about coding, updated, spam, you name it.  This is what makes WordPress awesome.

Imagine if you had a brick and mortar business.  Your goal would be just to market your business and help customers.  What if you had to worry about the plumbing, heating, fixing the roof and everything else, it would take you away from what you do best.  This is the same concept with WordPress.  You don’t have to worry about the heat, plumbing or roofing.

So here is what you need to know about WordPress.  There are thousands of themes and thousands of plugins.  This means you can create a website based on your needs and likes.

What are  Wordpress Themes?

So what is a WordPress theme?  Think of a theme like your house.  It’s what people see when they pull up and walk around your house.  It’s the color, the shape, the layout of the rooms and where yo place your pictures.  Do you want a second story or a ranch?  A WordPress theme is a complete design to your site and what people see and how they navigate it.  A theme is something you have to have in order for people to visit your site.  If you don’t have a theme, it would be like giving your address to someone and they pull up to an empty lot of land.

There are two types of themes – Free and Paid.  So which is better

Free WordPress Themes.

Free themes are obviously great because they are free.  In fact, when you install WordPress on your server, the basic WordPress installation comes with a theme.  The free theme is great as the designers do a lot to make sure it runs smooth.  You can make some changes to it.  If you are a coder, you can make a ton of changes.  If you are a basic person like myself, you can change the colors, fonts and other small things.

If you don’t like the default theme, there are thousands of themes to pick from

While it’s great to have free WordPress theme, you do have to be careful with some of them.  Some of the free themes do not get updated much, so you could have errors and other things behind the scenes you don’t know about.  The other downfall is some of the themes could have bad coding which could hurt SEO and other items with your site.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are a ton of free WordPress themes in the marketplace that works great, just make sure you research theme and now wat you are using.

Paid WordPress Themes

The downside to paid WordPress themes is you have to pay for them.  However, if you know my philosophy, you know I think it’s worth it.  Again, starting a business take a lot of money.  Considering you can start a business from your own home, it’s worth it to buy great hosting and buy a theme.  Again, all this means is you will have fewer headaches down the road.  You can buy a theme from $20 and up with the average price of about $75 per theme.  Not a bad investment that will last you a couple of years.

With a paid theme, there is a lot more research and understanding behind each theme.  Usually and I am mean usually they are clean code compared to free themes.  One great thing about paid themes is they have regular updates.  So as technology changes, the themes are coded for these updates

Here is what you should look for in a WordPress Theme

  • Clean Coding
  • Mobile Friendly
  • Easy to Design and change theme

There are other smaller things you want to look for, but these are the most important things.  If you can find these, the rest is easy to change.  There are a lot of paid themes that are great, but the two that I love the most are:

Both of these companies offer very clean codes which mean more speed and better-running sites.  Both of these have great customer support and awesome tutorials for their themes.  Both are geared around a mobile design.  Best of all, both of these companies have a program on the backend that will allow you to design your website any way you want without having knowledge of code.

Elegant Theme also has plugins, but from a theme aspect, I love Divi and I love Extra.

TagDiv offers two themes, but my favorite is Newspaper and that is the theme I am using on this website – GTToday.com

I am not recommending the following themes because I am an affiliate, I am doing it because I truly love these two companies and their themes.  Trust me, while I do get an affiliate pay from them, it’s not much compared to some of the other companies that offer a payout.  I just trust these companies to perform and create some of the top of the line themes.

Now that you have a theme in place, you have to install the theme.  Installing a theme is very easy.  Here is a link to a good DIY article on how to install a WordPress theme.

If you have bought either one of the two themes above, they both offer great tutorials on how to customize the theme.  One thing you want to consider before customizing the theme is how you want it to look and perform.  When considering this you have to decide what plugin to use.

What are Plugins?

Plugins are awesome.  Plugins tkae your site to another level.  As with themes, you can get free plugins or paid plugins.   For me, I am about 50-50.  I always try to find a free plugin.  I look at the reviews and go from there.  If I can find a plugin that is free or has a high start rating, then I will go the route of buying a plugin.

While plugins are great, there are two things you want to consider.  Not all plugins play nice with each other.  Sometime you will install a plugin and you will see your site acting weird.  So always check your site after you install a plugin.  Second is safety.  Most virus come in through plugins so get a plugin that is backed by updates.  The good thing about plugins is not only will you see a star rating, but you will see when it was updated last.

Try to keep your plugins at a minimal and only use the ones you really need.  There are a lot of plugins to pick from, but only get the ones that really help your site.  There are 2 plugins that I really like.

I will be covering a lot more to plugins as we could go really in depth.  My goa here is to introduce you to them and we can go from there.

Starting a site is pretty straigh forward once you know where to start and where to go.  The three main takeaways are:

  • Picking the right platform – WordPress
  • Picking the right theme for your needs
  • Using the correct Plugins

Once you get these in order you are set to move forward with the next step – Setting Up affiliates.

Next Step – Setting up Affiliates for Your Blog – Making Money Blogging

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I grew up in a small town in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. I worked my way through DePaul University in the construction industry. After college I worked in the financial industry and school system. I have also been in the technology field for a couple of years. Currently I write for GT Today and another power tool publication, plus I am a part time firefighter. My only hobby is spending time with my wife and kids.

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