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Setting Up Your First Blog or Website

Knowing the difference between a blog and a website and their respective uses:A blog or ‘web log’ is essentially like a catalog of content, which are organized in the form of posts that are added according to date and category. Each post has a comment form at the end that allows readers to provide their feedback to the author of the posts and interact with other readers. Blogs are usually like personal journals. Regular readers of a particular blog may subscribe to it by adding a functionality known as RSS feed, which allows them to take a quick glance at the blog headlines. To make a blog successful, it is important that you add new content on it on a regular basis so that the interest of your readers is sustained and your blog gets regular visits.

A website on the other hand is a collection of web pages that contain relevant content pertaining to a brand and its products or services. Website content, unlike blog content, is not organized by date. The success of a website also depends upon the traffic that it receives. More the traffic, better are its chances of appearing at the top rankings on Search Engine Page Results. Just like blogs, the content of a website is of great importance and in order to get crawled by search engines it is strongly advised to keep updating the website content so that it appears fresh and unique.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that although blogs may look fairly easy to design and manage, they are much more complex than websites. Blogs involve complex coding and using templates and child themes and you might need to learn CSS, PHP, HTML etc. to control or modify your blog’s layout. On the other hand, you can manage the entire design of your website using a software design.

A blog can be set up for free on extremely user-friendly platforms such as Blogger or WordPress. These platforms also provide editors to publish your content without using any additional software or applications. Websites on the other hand need to be designed, developed and hosted by professionals and involve a considerable amount of expenditure.

Finally, while a blog may or may not be for commercial use, a website is definitely the online extension of a business. In other words, the main aim of a website is to help its owner earn money, which may not always be the case with a blog.

Here’s hoping that you now understand whether you want to set up a blog or a website.  Let’s move on to the tips for setting up your first blog or website.

Tips to set up your first blog or website:Choosing a good design: Whether you want to set up a blog or a website, it is very important to have a super-attractive design and layout that attracts users. Website design or blog design is not restricted to the font, color scheme and lay out alone. It also involves navigation. Typically online visitors do not spend more than a few seconds on an online page – whether a web page or a blog page. Therefore, the design and layout foe website or blog that you choose must be able to guide them to the information that they are seeking in a quick and efficient manner so that they enjoy the ease of navigation. At the same time, it is also important to keep the design and layout simplistic. Do not cram your website or blog with too many colors, font styles or multimedia animation. Heavy pages, cluttered with design elements take a long time to download. This may irritate an anxious visitor! Do remember to include proper and visible links that further add on to the user-friendliness of your website or blog. The idea is not only to attract visitors but also retain their attention and prompt them to navigate your posts and pages further.

Incorporating relevant content: Online users visit a blog or a website to find information that they are looking for. If they click through your link that appears on search engine page results, and land on your website or blog page, they must be able to find what they are looking for in minimum time. Else, they will navigate away from your page and go to other websites, which may be that of your competitors. It is important to not just have relevant content but also organize it in a manner that is easy to find for your visitors. At the same time, also remember to highlight the keywords and even link them wherever applicable to guide your visitors to other pages on your website or blog that might interest them. Have proper and suitable headings or titles for your content, name your tabs on websites and categories on blogs correctly so that your visitors know what to find where. Present the content in small sections so that the readers are not overwhelmed with big chunks of information, get bored and move on to another website or blog.

Fresh updates: whether you are planning to set up a website or a blog, make sure you have something new on a regular basis for your target visitors. It is a great idea to use Google Analytics to study the demography of your target users or readers. The data and statistics you get from Google Analytics can come handy in choosing relevant topics for writing posts or updating information on the most visited web pages on your website.

Here’s hoping that these basic tips will give you many more ideas about setting up your first website or blog. Remember the golden rules of simplicity and relevance and you will surely get to experience great returns on your investment, literally and metaphorically, very soon!

This article by Frank Johnson is the fist in his series on ‘Setting up Your First Blog or Website’.  Frank is a regular editorial contributor on technology products and services. To know more about setting up your very first blog or website, you may interact with him here

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