Effective Blog Writing Starts with Choosing the Best Blog Sites or Blogging Platforms for Your Message and Marketing Needs
People frequently ask what are the best blog sites and content marketing blogging platforms.
Blog writing has become an incredibly common business marketing tool. This includes creatives (e.g., writers, artists), and small press and independent publishers. Once primarily a way to vent or serve as an online diary, it is now a valuable content marketing and audience growth tool.
Blog writing commercially means using the medium as an effective marketing tool. Doing so requires being aware of numerous factors private bloggers can afford to give or take. Using a blog to sell your services or product means approaching commercial blog writing seriously. This process begins with choosing the best blog sites or appropriate blogging platforms for your needs and objectives.
How to Choose the Best Blog Sites for Blog Writing Marketing
Blog writing for marketing begins with sorting through the available blogging platforms and the best blog sites for your criteria. Marketing introduces factors that irrelevant to personal blog writing.
Personally, I prefer WordPress because it is highly customizable. There is a wealth of plugins that can help the uninitiated with blog presentation and promotion via automation and templates. However, WordPress is not the only blog writing option available. Each option’s specifics have been thoroughly evaluated by other blogs. As such, I won’t restate them here. I will offer some suggestions regarding what you should be looking for, though. This will help you choose which of the blogging platforms is best for you.
The following are some of the things I consider essential to successful content marketing blog writing. Let’s start at the same point your blog will need to begin: choosing the blog writing software/platform that will work best for you.
Integrated vs. Independent Blogging Platforms
The first thing to consider is what works best for you: integrated blogging platforms or those that are independent and external. So, what’s the difference?
If you plan on marketing anything, the best blog sites are hands down those that are integrated with your other web resources. Doing so makes the journey from your blog’s calls to action and their objectives faster due to not loading another website. You also keep all web traffic in one place, providing several advantages. For example:
- You can more easily “pull” your marketing goals into your blog. (E.g., use storefront or advertising plugins to display product alongside blog posts automatically.)
- Traffic can naturally wander onto other aspects of your site once they’ve read your blog writing.
- You gain tighter control over your branding, presenting a unified theme.
- Less time is spent managing and maintaining multiple websites.
- Not all blogging platforms allow custom URLs (e.g., including your company name), as does a blog hosted on your primary website.
- Socializing your blog writing doesn’t split attention between multiple website destinations.
- Your primary website is (or should be) more closely associated with your brand. This makes finding your blog easier.
- Benefit from the value typical website plugins/add-ons deliver to the site as a whole.
Independent blogging platforms, on the other hand, represent more work and headaches. They are yet another online resource to upkeep (and possibly pay for.) They don’t as wide a range of plugins and additional services and features because they are so focused on blog writing. Your conversion funnel relies upon two (or more) websites remaining operational instead of just one. And that’s just for starters.
Individual Blog Posts versus a Continuous Blog: What to Look For and Why
Your blog’s style is critical to your blog writing and marketing success. The particulars of how you present your blog can vary, especially the more you drill down into specifics, but there are essentially two major blog styles:
- Those that display blog posts individually and separately
- Those that display blog posts as a single, continuous feed
The first option typically has a single, shared “feed” page (e.g., “www.website.com/blog/”) where a set amount of individual blog articles on their page (e.g., “www.website.com/blog/unique-article/”) are excerpted and clicked to from. So, you can scroll through the feed until you find an article you want, and then read it by clicking on the banner image or provided link.
The second option typically posts the articles on a single page that requires you keep scrolling down to see new articles. The best blog sites of this nature moderate this output somewhat by only loading so much content at a time. They will automatically load more when you get to the bottom or provide a link to do so (e.g., “Click for more.”)
In my opinion, the former provides the best blog sites for several crucial reasons.
Reason 1: Tighter, Less Confusing Navigation
Separating blog posts onto individual pages makes post navigation easier. Content is contained in a relatively small area (unless the individual blog post is abnormally long.) You don’t have to keep scrolling down to find what you want.
Such a format provides easier and more reliable access to other information that frames the blog post itself. For example, you can more easily access sidebar links to other posts, advertising, and navigation menus.
Here’s how single, continuous feed blogging platforms compare: You have to scroll down quite a bit to see the footer if you have a long-standing blog in a continuous feed. Another long trip is necessary to get back to the top unless there’s a “go to” button provided. Even then, as with dragging the side scroll instead of using your scroll wheel, the refresh to the top can take a while as your computer renders any changed details.
Reason 2: Improved Performance / Quick Loading
From a performance standpoint, this type of blog pushes less content through the browser so it also tends to load faster. However, you need to load a new page when switching to a different article. If you’re already on a slow website, this also means (slowly) refreshing all the website elements framing the blog.
A downside is you must use the blog’s search function rather than the browser’s to find something among all the articles. You may end up waiting as you skim (and thus load) multiple articles to find the content you seek.
Some people like blog posts to be a continuous feed because it is easier to read from one post to the next. Doing so means more content has to load simultaneously, however, slowing down access to what you want to read. You may also end up having to scroll a long time if you don’t have an immediate link to a specific post (a common problem with older publications.) There is a benefit to searching for something specific, however. The continuous feed allows for using the browser’s search function to seek your desired word or phrase simultaneously across multiple articles.
Reason 3: Focused Readability
Isolating articles makes them easier to read. Some blogging platforms using a single, continuous feed do not adequately separate their various articles. This can lead to you ending the article you meant to read and starting on the next unintentionally. Simply put, the more focused your browser screen is on desired content, the easier that content is to intake.
When articles come one after another, quickly scrolling means you’re more likely to lose your place. You can unintentionally scroll to the next article. I tend to get frustrated as I scroll back to find my place, a process made more difficult by so much available text in my browser. Just think how your reading experience would change between reading the same content in a book with numbered pages versus a single, continuous scroll.
Reason 4: Concentrated Keywords for Search Engine Optimization
So far as SEO is concerned, continuous feed blogs are usually a nightmare. The massive amount of text on a single page at any given time dilutes the value of a particular keyword phrase for a specific blog post. Even if your blog writing platform uses the article HTML 5 tag around each blog post, some browsers don’t (yet?) recognize it as intended (or at all.) Isolating the blog posts to separate pages is the only way to (currently) be 100% certain each keyword phrase will have its chance to shine, as intended.
Most of these problems remain with a continuous feed blog that only displays a limited number of posts. (Displaying five or ten blog articles at a time, for example.) That’s still a lot of text being pushed through to a single page.
Reason 5: Unique Permalinks and Proper Search Engine Indexing
For usability, SEO, and memorability when it comes to blog article URLs, the best blog sites allow editable permalinks. Having a separate, static permalink for every blog article is ideal, which is the norm when articles are separated to unique pages. Continuous feed blogging platforms, on the other hand, use an anchor that jumps to the desired point among all the simultaneous content. This does not provide the same benefits as a static permalink, however. Indeed, such URLs can pose some of the same usability and SEO problems associated with dynamic links.
Continuous feed blog articles can also make indexing difficult. The best blog sites with continuous feed still allow indexing of individual blog posts separately. However, this can be unreliable or require paying for additional blogging platform features. When such blog posts are indexed, you’ll often find the lack of a unique permalink means the indexed URL will take you to the correct blog but not to the intended article. You must then waste time searching for the desired content. Such blogging platforms are getting better in this regard, but problems often remain.
Reason 6: Unique Featured Images and Banners
Separating blog articles into unique pages enables each to have an individual banner. (Often known as a “featured image.”) Another common feature is being able to assign unique images that are shared via social media. This can be the article’s banner or something else. This level of control allows for a more precise, on-target message and social media experience for each blog article. Continuous feed blogging platforms, on the other hand, rarely offer this level of control.
Instead of assigning featured images to articles, the blog’s overall banner typically accompanies social media posts instead. Some of these blogs may allow manually coded, inline images for sharing. However, this is comparatively rare compared to the former option. The best blogging sites of this type allow you to assign individual images to articles for sharing on social media. However, they don’t stand out as much as images in an uncluttered article feed.
Reason 7: Targeted Social Media Interactions
Successfully using blog writing as a marketing tool means being able to point social media towards specific articles. This becomes incredibly difficult if your blogging platform doesn’t allow each article to have a unique permalink. You absolutely must be 110% certain any social media traffic you generate goes to the intended article. If not, you’ll lose credibility (and your audience.) The best blog sites also allow the proper outbound use of social media.
Marketing from your blogging platform means finding ways to help your audience to help you. You must enable your audience to easily share your blog writing through their own social media channels. Isolating blog articles to separate pages makes this easy. Each article has its own set of social media buttons that share its unique permalink without confusion.
When your blog uses a continuous feed, social media options become more complex. What your audience shares becomes unpredictable if your social media doesn’t differentiate between articles. Furthermore, continuous feed blogging platforms don’t always provide control over which image social media shares. Instead, the software tends to grab the first image it finds in your blog’s code. The software then sends that image along with the social media post.
Reason 8: Isolated Call to Action
The best blog sites for content marketing allow one call to action per page. A call to action is most effective when it is the only link option. (Or at least the most obvious.) You want as few clicks as possible between your blog and objectives. Presenting individual blog articles means only one call to action at a time.
With a continuous feed, you’ll have as many calls to action as you have articles on the screen. Every additional call to action simultaneously displayed is an opportunity to dilute your intended click-throughs. Even continuous feed blogging platforms that separate articles for URLs (etc.) still result in multiple calls to action. As such, they present too many clicking options for focused content marketing purposes.
Maintain as much control and focus on your calls to action as possible.
In Conclusion …
Certainly, there are blogging platforms with continuous feeds that perform better than others for content marketing. They’ve sorted out problems with social sharing, unique URLs and images, and so on. However, they still suffer from loading a lot of content instead of just one article at a time. They remain more difficult to navigate due to their long scroll.
If you are serious about blog writing for content marketing, the choice is simple. Go with blogging platforms that serve blog articles individually if you want the best blog sites for successful outcomes.
Excellent list of blogging options. This is precisely what I was looking for. Bookmarked!