Setting up the Right Blog for Your Website

Blogging Platforms

Setting up a functioning active blog is just about the most important thing you could do in modern search engine optimization.  There are many benefits to posting current, constant, relevant content to your website.  That said, there are some basics you must get down first.

  • Do you have a brand new site to build?
  • What is the best blogging platform for your needs?
  • What if I already have use a site builder that does not have a blogging platform? (skip further down if this is your problem)

Before you get to writing your 300+ word posts, you have to figure out the proper platform for your blog.  If you have never set up your company’s website, this is something you should consider before purchasing your domain and hosting provider.  Many website builders do not allow for you to maintain a blog that keeps with the theme and outlook of the rest of your site.  The two basic site builders that we suggest to brand new website builders, depending on your needs, are either WordPress or Weebly.

If you are a local company, without much time, budget, or knowledge of websites, the drag and drop website Weebly is perfect for you.  Weebly allows for easy building yet still enables the user to access the CSS and HTML files while not requiring a separate hosting provider.  They also have the ability to host their own RSS feed, meaning you can keep your theme and layout when creating a blog.  From there, posting a new blog is extremely simple.  Even though you can still access the files, customization is limited on Weebly, and a more intricate website and blog can be built on WordPress.

WordPress, while not being a drag and drop site builder, is far simpler than most other builders and blog sites.  If you want to be able to customize your site, WordPress.org does require a third party hosting account.  There are basic themes you can work off of, and the entirety of the site is able to be customized.  Blogging is simple and can be optimized to its fullest for search engines.  That said, if you have never built a website before, it can be very difficult, time consuming, and eventually costly to have a professional looking site.  Many company’s charge thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars for websites built on WordPress.

The real question is;

What if I already built my website and the site builder does not have a blogging platform?

Sites builders such as Wix, and custom HTML sites do not allow for simple blogging.  This means that when you create a blog, it will not keep with the current theme of your website.  You can start your website from scratch, get a 401 redirect (if you can), and learn a lot of coding, or you can host your blog on a different platform under a sub domain of your current site.  While you may have a different theme for your blog than your original site, you will at least keep the authority that was racked up by your main site over the years it has existed.

When blogging, you want to be able to customize the ALT and META tags, as well as keep your same URL.  The easiest option for someone not familiar with coding is to create a sub-domain and assign it to your WordPress hosted blog.

We suggest WordPress because it is the easiest to customize to your SEO needs.  You can create a free WordPress hosted account at WordPress.com, or you can purchase a new hosting account through another provider and use the more SEO friendly WordPress.org.  You have the option to use Tumblr, Blogger, and a list of other blogging platforms, just keep in mind that they are very limited in your SEO needs (cannot edit ALT or META data, as well as a list of other drawbacks).  But if you are limited on time and money, Tumblr is a very easy to use site and will still help more than doing nothing.

There are a few steps in doing this.  Depending on who your current host is, you must first purchase a new hosting account for your WordPress blog.  You can sign up with justhost or Host Gator, and will often get a free domain in doing so.  Register your account with your new domain, scroll down on the cPanel to Site Builders, choose WordPress, and follow the instructions.  From there you will set up your WordPress blog, choose a theme, and edit it to your liking.

In order to keep the domain of your original site so that Google will index all of your blog posts properly, you will have to create a DNS record.  Within your cPanel of your new account, choose Domain Manager, then select the option to assign a domain.  You must follow the steps to verify ownership, likely having to choose the option to either add an A Record (most likely), or creating a CNAME in your original domain’s account.

Assign Domain: The Greenfield Group

What an average cPanel instructions look like to assign a domain

On your hosting site for your original website follow the instructions needed to edit your DNS records.  Add the either an A Record or CNAME for both www.blog.yourURL.com and blog.yourURL.com – pointing to your blogs host providers IP address or URL, depending on the instructions that your blog host gives you in the assign a domain section.

After completing this step, allow for a couple of hours for the DNS records to adjust, complete the assign a domain process with your blog hosting account, and check to make sure both www.blog.yourURL.com and blog.yourURL.com are properly forwarding to your new blog.

Only after this successfully works, go into the general settings in the dashboard of your WordPress Account.  Change both the WordPress Address and the Site Address to “http://blog.yourURL.com”.  After saving this, make sure your site loads properly and that all of the pages start with “blog.yourURL.com/”.  From here you are ready to blog and get some pages indexed by Google!

While this is not as ideal as setting up your website from scratch with the intention of blogging, it is best to do this as early as possible.  This will allow all of your blogging hard work to be easily recognized by Google, and increase your search engine rankings.

 

Author: Sean Aranda

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