Last week I ran the latest in a series of workshop events at the Corby Enterprise Centre, designed to get people up and running with a blog. WordPress is my recommendation to anyone thinking of starting to blog for business, for all kinds of reasons to do with quality, then there’s quality, oh and did I mention quality? You can’t beat it, in my opinion.
However, despite the billing WordPress gives, that it’s a synch to set up and run with as beginner, I’ve yet to come across anyone, who lacks some previous web development skills, who’s found it a breeze to run with ‘out of the box’. Hence the workshops I run, taking delegates through set-up and basics of running a WordPress blog, with a view to expanding it into a full website further down the line.
I run these business courses at the Corby Enterprise Centre every couple of months and always find, on checking the presentation slides with the latest version of WordPress, that something has changed. The last workshop proved to be no exception and it gave everyone the opportunity to experience several small tweaks that had crept in over the last few weeks. The changes, not to do with core functionality, seem to be to bring the overall Dashboard layout in line with other social media sites such as Google+. Those who had social media accounts such as Google+ or Facebook, found getting their heads around working ‘in the cloud’ easier than those who were new to the realities. Needing to save, before leaving a page being working on, is helped by prompts, but still takes some getting used to, it seems.
The actual ‘moving’ between site and control panel, Dashboard, always seems to cause confusion. I’m surprised that WordPress hasn’t just implemented a large button with the name of the site, rather than expecting people to focus on what’s essentially a small link at the top of the Dashboard. It’s the old story, if there’s too much to look at it’s hard to remember what you’re supposed to focus on.
By the end of the two hour session the workshop delegates had all got their own blogs up and running and had managed to publish several posts, upload images and share the results.
Although there’s quite a lot of intense concentration required during the learning process, I like to see the smiles on the faces of the workshop participants as they leave, fired up by the possibilities now they have the actual tools to get blogging.
Throughout the course I try to encourage the need to post regularly on blogs if they want to see results an grow regular followers. The need to use social media channels such a Facebook, Twitter and LnkedIn is also talked about. Workshops specifically dealing with setting up and running Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will be published in the next week. Dates being finalised as I write.
I read, only the other day that companies that blog get 55% more website traffic than companies that don’t. There’s no doubt in my mind that blogs offer opportunity to not only publish fresh content, but personable content. Blogs are about ‘here’ and ‘now’, whereas website content tends to rather static and more ‘statements of fact’ about a business. A blog was originally an online diary and in many ways the best ones still are.
Blogging helps you get found in search engines, but shouldn’t be the main reason to start a blog. In fact too much emphasis on running a blog for SEO, search engine optimisation, purposes can lead not only a lack of engagement with readers, but penalty points from search engines like Google, which are getting ever more sophisticated in their detection of content formulated purely for SEO purposes. All to the good, in my opinion, because there’s nothing like finding a blog post that reads as if a real person has written it, warts and all.