Sunday, November 07, 2004

Promoting with Blogs, Part 2

In my previous post about "promoting Vinyl Banners with new blog site", I outlined the basic strategy I decided to pursue to use blog power linking as a general promotional tool, and, specifically, to promote our full color vinyl banners.

As part of my more general Blog Experiment I first had to nail down answers to the two most important questions: "Where was I going to put my blogs?" and "What software I was going to use?"

These are not easy questions to answer for the novice blogger. I had done some initial work. First, I had created this site (Marketing B.S.) at Google's a couple of weeks ago, and had some limited experience with making posts. In this limited time I have found blogspot easy to use, but because I wanted to create an initial 4 or 5 blogs, and eventually more, I thought it might be nice to have a more powerful program.

Two possibilities:

1. I could create 4 or 5 different blogs at different locations (free blog hosts?), using different software packages. This would help me address the questions "Which blogs sites are most effective?" and "Which blogging software has the most advantages?"


2. I could use software that allowed me to create a number of integrated blogs all within one "shell" (as it were). This would have the advantage of easier setup and shorter learning curve. But it might have other disadvantages I will leave it to you to think of...

Given the ridiculous amount of hands on work I have recently been doing developing new sites, entering articles, creating posts, and now creating these new blogs, I decided I would restrict my "research" to doing some very cursory initial checking on (a) blogging software and (b) free (or paid) blog site hosts.

My search for "blogging software" turned up an interesting website in which the author compared most of the leading software packages. The bottom line was that he recommended Wordpress. (more about this below)

My search for "blog hosting" turned up any number of possibilities. But after about 10 minutes I concluded there was no way I could draw any meaningful conclusions or make any useful comparisons without actually trying them out. All of them use different software, modified for their own application. If I wanted to create 4 or 5 blogs, I could end up using 4 or 5 different hosts and running 4 or 5 different software packages. Not a happy thought.

Plus there was the potential cost. I already have 3 hosting sites where I can register my own domains, and create virtually unlimited sites (including blog sites). So why wouldn't I just use my own resources?

One reason is that I felt having links pointing in to my sites from "outside" would be more powerful than having them pointing from "inside". But I quickly dispensed with this objection. First, since I have three different hosting alternatives of my own, if I stick my blog site on one of them, then this is "outside" to the other two already. This was part of my rationale in the first place for getting more than one host -- to let me spread my sites around at different ip addresses.

Second, one of my web hosts has ready-to-install scripts just sitting there waiting to be used -- for free. Installation is virtually brainless. And included among the available scripts are various blogging scripts -- including Wordpress (mentioned above as a preferred package), and b2evolution. So why wouldn't I go this route?

I would. And I did.

I registered a new domain especially for "business blogs", and was almost in business. Now I had to decide which software to install.

In fact I had already installed Wordpress on one of my sites to see if it would work. It did. But I didn't like it. I'm sure it has many features I am not aware of (remember, no time to do the proper research), but I wanted something that looked a bit more "dense".

That turned out to be b2evolution -- also available for free from my host. The big advantage for my situation is that it allows you to create numerous blogs right within the same blog site. You can then access them all from the same admin panel, and integrate the posts from all of them in one "master blog" which I call "Biz-Blogs".

So that is where things stand at this point. I have registered a new business blog domain name and created a site for it. I have installed b2evolution, and I have created 4 new blogs:

Trade Show Buzz
The WeekEnd Golfer
Inside Real Estate

In my next post (Part 3) I will describe how I am going to approach creating "promotional posts" without turning them into Link SPAM.