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NetSpeak Solutions
153 Old Hedding Road, #36
Epping, NH 03042
Phone (main) 603-679-1698

Stephen Dow, President of NetSpeak Solutions: NH Website Design, SEO and Internet Marketing Services Solutions Company.

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Consideration for Setting Up a Blog

The first thing to consider (especially for a business) is to decide on the blogging platform that will work best for your needs. There are two main blog hosting categories;

1. Third Party Hosted Blogs

Third-party hosting of a blog is typically offered through free Web hosting sites like blogger.com - and others. Although these blog hosting services are free, and make setup simple (by require little technical knowledge to maintain), they present significant drawbacks. For example, they're often large sources of spam, and their ability for customization is typically quite limited. worse still, these services actually "own your blog" once it resides on their hosting site. They also provide the blog a sub-domain name of their choosing.

2. Self Hosted Blogs

The term "self-hosted" means a blog that is installed from within YOUR EXISTING hosting account. With this approach, you can use content management software (such as "highly touted" Wordpress®) instead of relying on what a third-party blog service "offers you". Although most blogging software isn't easy to use - since there is database interactions necessary to setup - it is "do-able". In fact, our NH website design and Internet marketing tips blog uses content management software like this.

In use, an assigned administrator can log-on and make posts, post updates (even after-their-posted) and/or approve and/or delete subscribers to the blog site. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to have a blog, but you DO need to maintain it! Assuming you already have a domain name and a website, you shouldn't be charged anything more for adding a blog, but you are responsible for configuring the blog, and customizing its "look". If you have a "good" hosting account, then they will have excellent tools to help you with the setup process too. For example, you should be able to setup a subdomain account with "one click", as well as have auto installation of major features - to save you time. Also, if you use Wordpress® for a blog, you can choose from a wide range of design themes (and use them "as is", or completely customize them - if you're a coder). Finally, most of the top blog software packages support numerous plug-ins - and they are IMPORTANT. These include spam protection, site analytics, feed syndication and more.

Under most circumstances, self-hosted blogs are the smartest choice for any small business owner who wants to use blogging as an effective way to "build a community". Another great point about self hosted blogs is that you won't have to use an unrelated domain or sub-domain not affiliated with your hosting company as your URL (e.g., blog web address). This is important because in this case, if you need to switch to another hosting company, you would lose all the "community traffic" you've worked hard to build. The blog will not migrate along with its original domain because a self hosted blog is tied to another top level domain!

Best of all. when your blog address is a subdomain of your main domain your business will look much more professional, and you will OWN your blog. It will help you brand your business more effectively too, and, you'll even be able to send and receive emails tied to your domain name!

Other Important Blog Considerations

Since blogs are becoming increasingly popular for the placement of online advertisements, you need to be clear on what you're entitled to if you want to have content related ads show up on your blog. With third-party blog hosting, the blog host (not you) is entitled to the revenue brought in by any advertisements that show up on the blog. However, with a self-hosted blog, you can take advantage of this potential revenue source. And if you plan on selling your business, a self-hosted blog is considered to be part of your company; since it's attached to your top level domain. It can therefore be sold along with the business.

Bandwidth Considerations

Will your blog contain images, videos or other graphics? If so, with self-hosted blogs your uploading space and bandwidth depends on the hosting package you have - and generally can be restrictive. You may also have to pay extra fees for exceeding bandwidth limits if your blog is popular.

Impact on Search Engine Rankings

Blog content changes often - and search engines like this. So if your blog has a strong community it;s also going to be appealing to search engines. But don't expect your blog to take over a competitors website spot on the SERP's. Instead, expect the impact to be on your main site ranking - from blog users who link to your site from their blog, forums and even their own websites. There are also quite a few blogging search engines that will help you grow your community and thus increase main site rank through in-bound back-links. Since Google and other search engines have said they intend to include more blog content on search results, it wouldn't hurt to apply some of the ranking tactics used for websites on your blog!

Final Comments

In order for your business blogging efforts to be a success, your blog will need to be up and running 24/7 – so it's available whenever visitors (or search engines) arrive. A reliable hosting company must be able to provide 24/7 technical support and uptime guarantees for any self-hosted business blog.