Bespoke blog design
A blog is usually written by one person and updated at regular intervals. Blogs can be written on a specific topic, although some blogs can simply be a collection of life experiences or discoveries. Many companies or organisations have a blog as part of their web pages. This type of blogging is usually slightly different as it forms part of your company website and is usually part of a Social Media Optimisation strategy.
What features do most blogs usually have ?
Blogs usually do not have as many features as a website. They can have various effects but are not usually as interactive as some websites can be. Usually most blogs have the following :
- Archives - Blog archives are where most of the entries of your blog are stored. This is usually due to the fact that the main page of most blogs only feature up to the 10 most recent blog entries.
The archive is a great method to both index the blog entries in chronological order and by category. These archive form a library of entries that can be read at any time by your visitors.
- Comments - A blog is not always meant to be a 'monologue' but a conversation. It is quite common to find comments posted after blog posts. This further develops the conversation and allows you to interact with your visitors. In a business setting this should be carefully controlled as you may not wish to allow some comments to remain on your blog pages, particularly those with links to web pages you may not wish to be associated with.
- Social Media - Social media links to sites such as Reddit, Delicious, StumbleUpon, Facebook or Twitter allows your message to be further broadcast by both you and your visitors. This can be very powerful as you never how far information from or links to your articles will travel around the internet. This can work in reverse if you are a business and someone makes an unfortunate remark on your companies blog or social media pages. This can then be broadcast and re-broadcast around the internet very fast, almost before you have a chance to realise it is happening and attempt to stop it !
- Tags - Tags are keywords or key phrases that can associated with each blog post. These tags allow your visitors to search for posts that contain similar tags. This allows the visitor to read blogs that are contained in different categories easily. Some blog platforms help you to create tags for each of your blog posts.
- RSS Feed - Most blogs allow you subscribe to a RSS feed from their blog. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, and it is a data feed to allow your visitors to read a quick summary of your new posts and visit your site to read the full article. To read a RSS feed you would need a RSS reader, feed reader or aggregator which are either web based or desk top based. For more information regarding RSS feed please visit our RSS feed page.
- Search - This does exactly what you'd expect it to do and allows your visitors to search for articles on your blog based upon their chosen words or phrases.
- Widgets - Quite often you'll see a widget on a blog! A widget is simply a reusable piece of software (or computer code) that provides a graphic user interface to allow you to achieve something more easily (a bit like 'Apps' for your blog!). In this case it is common to see youTube, flicker or a photo gallery widget on a blog. Obviously your choice of widget will be based upon the suitablity for your site. Business blogs tend to have less widgets.
Which blog platform should I use ?
There are many different 'Blog Platforms', Wordpress is arguably the most well known and has the largest range of add-on modules which you can think of a bit like 'apps'.
Most blogs can be split into two categories. Those that you can host on your website server and those that you can't. Wordpress is one of the blog platforms that can be used either way, however to enable you to have almost unlimited control you will need to host it yourself. This has the added advantage that it can be inter-woven into your website making the join as seamless as you wish.
If you choose a blog platform that is hosted for you , i.e. not on your website the website address or URL (universal resource location) will be different.
For example, if you host the blog you could use the web address : www.acme-sheds.com/blog
However if you use a hosted solution you may have to use something like blogspot.com/acme-sheds,
sometimes this can also be written as : acme-sheds.blogspot.com
Either way, the difference is minimal - the real question is "do you want full control over all aspects of the blog including the web address ?" If so then a hosted solution may not be best for you.
Can my blog design match my website ?
The simple and quick answer is 'YES'. It really depends upon what you are trying to achieve. You may decide to use Wordpress to build your website, due to it being a quite relaxed magazine style format. In this case due to the nature of your site style you may really only have one or two pages of blog content, with everything using the same overall design. However if you were a firm of solicitors your main site may need to be more formal in design and the blog therefore could benefit from a lighter more relaxed feel to the design.