What the Heck is The Deal With All These New Blogging Platforms?
What was life like before the printing press? Pretty lame.
Let’s say you lost your pet cat in 14th century Europe and wanted to make some flyers to help people find it. You had to hand-write your message down hundreds of times. By the 50th flyer you made, chances are you misspelled something, got a hand cramp or grew mind-numbingly bored of the process.
Then our ol’ buddy Gutenberg came along and invented the movable type mechanical printing press and shifted the game.
While Gutenberg was pretty stoked on making his printing press, the technology behind it didn’t stop there. Something new always comes along – same goes with the Internet.
Considering that the Internet as we know it has been around for about 25 years, we’re only scratching the surface of what we can do with publishing online. New online blog publishing platforms are constantly bubbling up, and each has some pretty smart ideas in regards to sharing content.
So what the heck is the difference with all of them? And what are marketers and companies with blogs supposed to do? Let’s have a peek:
It’s no secret that Medium has taken off in popularity, and has brought some pretty polarizing criticism. Some people view Medium as a snazzy blend of platform and publisher. Some others view it as a well-designed content farm.
Medium’s platform, according to KissMetrics, is pretty cool for marketers and bloggers alike.
“(Medium is) inherently democratic; it seeks to give a voice to people who have something interesting to say, even if they don’t have thousands of Twitter followers, an active blog or friends in the right places.”
As a marketer, it seems like a great place to write since your content is shared among thousands of others, has a built-in analytics engin and a few other cool features. On the downside, none of the content you make is hosted (or owned!) by you once published on Medium, which doesn’t do your company’s search engine rank any favors.
What’s more lightweight than a ghost? An invisible airplane? A loaf of Wonder Bread? Not very much.
Ghost is a super-lightweight open source blogging platform that allows for clean, fast content creation; collaboration and more. Since it’s open-source, anyone can download it for free and install it on their own host, but that means you have to handle updates and code by yourself. (On the other hand, Ghost offers hosting and easy setup for a few bucks a month.)
For marketers, Ghost is an OK option, if you don’t mind handling the technical heavy lifting. Self-hosting will always trump outsourcing your host to a separate domain.
Svtble is pronounced “subtle,” which indeed it is. Billed as “a blogging platform designed to help you think,” this platform puts heavy emphasis on writing and reading, and very little emphasis on anything else. If you’re the type of blogger that has more ideas than time to flesh them fully out, Svbtle can work for you – it encourages you to dump ideas, links and thoughts into a flow of draft posts.
If this hyper-minimal aesthetic works with your brand, Svbtle could be a good fit. But, much like Medium, your content is hosted elsewhere, which won’t net you much traffic in the long run.
Well on the other end of the spectrum from Svtble and Medium is HubSpot. While other, more minimal blogging platforms may serve bloggers looking to make occasional posts, talk about sporadic ideas or organize their thoughts, HubSpot offers blogging as a part of a larger inbound marketing effort, which can give your business an incredible bump in business.
HubSpot considers blogging to be another tool in a whole marketing toolbox – not the toolbox in itself. If you’re using your business’ blog as a lead-generation tool, there’s no better platform. It’s customizable, has great support and offers a host of SEO and keyword tools to target your content.
Now more than 11 years old, WordPress has stood the test of time as the ubiquitous open-source blogging tool. As of August 2013, 23 percent of the top 10 million websites are WordPress-based. 74.6 million sites depend on it. There’s an incredible userbase that has made just about every site you can imagine, and templates are being uploaded every day to help create the ones you can’t imagine.
With a sea of plugins, marketers can make WordPress as simple or complicated as they want, and the content creation engine is smooth and easy to follow.
What’s the Best Choice for My Company?
Medium and Svbtle might be acceptable choices in slim circumstances, but not hosting (and therefore lacking ownership of) your content can raise some red flags, especially with search engine optimization. Heaven help you if one of those companies goes belly-up – your content will probably evaporate right with it.
If you’re looking to get started with a company blog, you can’t go wrong with WordPress. Slap a nice-looking template on your blog and get writing. But for marketers, HubSpot is probably the best way to go, but only if used as part of a larger inbound marketing engagement.
Choosing a blog platform for your company is a bit like shopping for running shoes. You can spend $50 or $500 on shoes (or go barefoot!), but those shoes aren’t going to get you in shape unless you run. Start blogging now and fuss with the details later.
What is your blog platform of choice? Leave us a comment!