Website or Blog, that is the question?

I have a very talented artist friend who has been staying at our gite in the South of France.

We got into conversation about his website and the fact that he would like to get more of his work onto the web without having to pay for updates to his website.

Well it seemed pretty clear to me that Billy was a prime candidate for using a blogging platform in support of his main website.

So what was my reasoning, Billy actually has a very nice website that he commissioned and provides a very good insight into his portfolio of work and demonstrates his very considerable talent.

In order to continually update his website he has to pay a third party to go into his website and make changes. This is because basically he does not have the skills required to make those changes and updates himself, he just isn’t a website designer.

I had a quick look at the source code on the website and saw that the design was based around nested div tags and CSS, a bit tricky to add to if you don’t know what you are doing.

Billy would be the first to admit, no matter how talented he is at art, when it comes to computer skills he has basic user capabilities.

So if he was happy to use a very basic free blogging platform which actually once set up only requires him to post blogs using what is effectively a word processor, then he is able to post his artwork as he completes each piece of work and can add to his portfolio of work whenever he likes.

With a simple update to his website that adds his blog via a URL link in the main menu, his blog becomes an extension of his website providing him with a tool that lets him publish new work easily on an ongoing basis.

That’s just what the search engines like to see, regular updates on the web with fresh and original content, there is also a good chance that given his mode of operation and with a little bit of promotion of his posts that it won’t be too long before he gets some form of page rank from Google which will help him get some traffic to his site.

I thought this was a perfect solution to his dilemma and the question then became which platform is best for Billy?

My recommendation would be that, if you can, you should register your own domain name take up some hosting, as recommended in some of my other posts and take ownership of your own blog.

In this instance however it was pretty clear that to meet Billy’s level of computer skills and keep costs to a minimum then using one of the free blogging platforms was probably always going to be the best way to meet his user needs, so then it became a choice of which one.

What were the options: –

Squidoo
HubPages
Blogger
WordPress

Both Squidoo and HubPages are excellent options for anyone starting to blog or write articles and who want to get onto the Internet to earn income from affiliate relationships or adsense income, but for Billy it would have given him limited options for presenting his artistic abilities.

Both use standard templates with little opportunity for changing them. So that left Blogger or WordPress as his options.

Both of these platforms give you opportunities to select from numerous templates and to reconfigure them so that you can achieve the look and feel that you want.

If I am honest I would have chosen WordPress but how it actually happened was that I was showing him some of the features of blogger and how it worked and before we knew it, there was a design in front of him that he was very happy with and which I thought looked pretty good for an artists blog as well. So having got that far there seemed little benefit in pursuing a WordPress blog given the way Billy was going to use it and his desire to keep it straightforward.

The reasons I would have chosen WordPress personally is because it is the industry standard for blogging, has huge levels of support, any number of plugins available and is an open source product. But then my requirements are very different to Billy’s and I could see for him what we had done just made sense.

So with a little bit of help from Photoshop Elements and about an hour of my time, Billy was blogging.

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