Is a WordPress Blog Platform Right for You?

Are you an artist or creative person who wants a blog? After reading, 5 Simple Steps to Start a Blog, you are now ready to begin.

But, there are so many blogging platforms out there…so, how do you decide which one is right for you? Below is a quick overview to help you decide…

Before we get started, I just want to say that I wish I understood the following information before I started blogging about 1 1/2 years ago!

I didn’t know that I should do the research and I jumped right in…this cost me some time and money. I switched templates, hosts and themes until I finally got it right.

But remember, just like with art, a blog is a work in progress!

I hope what I have learned during my short blogging career will help you…

A blog platform is the software that manages a blog’s content and publishing. Examples include WordPress and Typepad and Blogger. All blogging platforms have their pros and cons. There are no real rules, this is about personal preference. Therefore, as with any big decision, it is worthwhile to do a little research beforehand:

  • First, check out your fellow artists’ websites. Look at the blog features, functions and design.
  • Ask, what are your goals?
  • Is blogging a hobby or a possible profession?
  • Do you want to eventually monetize your blog and put ads on your site?
  • What is your budget?
  • Do you want to pay for a custom design?
  • Are you web/tech savvy?
  • What kind of blogging tools and plugins and widgets do you need?
  • Do you want to use a free hosted or self hosted platform?

Free Hosted:

  • This is a free service, and the posts have to be stored somewhere. These posts will be stored on the Blog server. But remember, you don’t own the server! Which means all your posts are owned by the Blog server.
  • Blogging platforms like Blogger.com and WordPress.com provide a free platform, domain name and hosting, these are the easiest way to start blogging.
  • This blogs are great to keep a record of your life or hobby. If you don’t have the time, money or interest in maintaining a blog, then a hosted option might be best for you.
  • Developers and vendors have released web templates specifically for reuse by non-technical people, including artists. (I will discuss some of these options for the artist in an upcoming post).
  • If you don’t have the time, money or patience for blogging, then a hosted option might work well for you.
  • These platforms will not have the same level of features as WordPress.org, but the set-up is fast and only takes 10-20 minutes!
  • These blogs are a great way to start although there are many successful blogs that have been hosted.

Self Hosted:

  • If you are blogging on your owned self -hosted server, all your posts are owned by YOU and only YOU. You can change it in anyway, delete it, copyright it, etc.
  • WordPress.org and a few others provide a free stand alone platform, which means you must find your own hosting and pay for your domain name. These platforms provide the user with more creative control which helps build your brand identity with a polished, unique look. They allow for ‘tweaking’ your blog which is part of the fun of blogging.
  • Unless you are tech savvy these platforms most often require the help of a webmaster and designer.
  • FineArtTips.com is a stand alone WordPress.org blog…there has been a learning curve involved, so I have a webmaster help me with the big stuff – but, I am really happy with my blogging experience.
  • This platform allows for more blogging tools, plugins and widgets.
  • Also, in WordPress, you can actually upload multiple themes and choose the one you like. Switching between themes takes just seconds.
  • Most professional bloggers (but, not all) use WordPress.org.

Check out these options for domain name and web hosting companies: Host Gator, Go Daddy and WebDog Services. (For great personal attention and service,I use WebDog – they are also my web-masters & designers.)

You might find the poll below helpful. Check it out to see which blogging platforms our fellow artists are using…This poll explores which is the most popular blogging platform for art blogs according to Squidoo.com.

Blogger 55%

WordPress 32.1%

something else 6.7%

Live Journal 3.1%
Typepad 2.4%

Squarespace 0.6%

Total Votes: 327

Here’s what Cory, my webmaster has to say about WordPress:

  1. In order to stay on top in regards to ease of use, SEO, appeal and attractiveness, many blogger/site owners have turned towards premium WordPress Themes. If a blog stands out from the rest of the pack, it can keep its readers coming back as well as attract new readers. One will not get that advantage from free regular WordPress themes.
  2. Premium themes are also ideal for large online projects whose success is measured by the number of people who visit their blogs or sites. Many blogs for big corporations and online magazines invest in Premium WordPress Themes because these themes boost their credibility and help sustain the interest of their readers.
  3. Blogs that use premium themes fare better than others when it comes to product placement and promotion. With the help of premium themes, blogs carry the image that they offer their customers something different from others. This leads to more sales and more satisfied customers.

I hope this information helps you on your blogging journey! For me, blogging is another creative outlet and a great way to connect with people like you. What platform do you like – please share your experience or thoughts in the comments! Thanks, ~Lori :-)

*****

You might like this related reading:

Why You Need a Webmaster for Your Art Business

Top 10 Up and Coming Women Bloggers

5 Reasons Why Artists Need Social Media & Eye Opening Stats to Back it Up!

For more information by the experts who helped me on this subject, I highly recommend reading: Problogger.com > Choosing a Blog Platform and Techaby.com > Self Hosted Blog vs. Free Blogger Blog and my good friend John Paul’s Blog, Money Dummy (a very helpful blog for bloggers).


About Lori McNee

Lori McNee is a professional artist who specializes in still life, and landscape oil paintings. She is an exhibiting member of Oil Painters of America, Plein Air Painters of Idaho, serves on the Plein Air Mag Board of Advisors, and is an Ambassador Artist to Royal Talens. As the owner of FineArtTips.com, Lori blogs about fine art tips, marketing, and social media advice for the aspiring and professional artist. As a social media influencer, Lori ranks as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women on Twitter, has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and named a #TwitterPowerhouse by The Huffington Post. She is a keynote speaker, has been a talk show host for Plum TV, writes for F+W Media publications including Artist’s Magazine, Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market, Photographer’s Market. Also, Zero to 100,000: Social Media Tips & Tricks for Small Businesses.

Comments

  1. Lori, What a good post!

    As both an artist and a web designer, I agree with your assessment of WordPress as a very powerful blogging platform. I love how flexible it is, and that it can be both website and blog, with beautiful gallery features, and lots of easy to add features.

    However, even as an experienced web designer, I found there was a bit of a learning curve moving from Blogger and standard HTML/CSS websites to understanding the underlying structure of WordPress, and how to design and code it. WordPress has just significantly re-structured the underlying code and templates again, making it even more flexible and powerful (and giving us more to learn).

    It is really fun to tweak it, if you are technically inclined. I am currently extensively “tweaking” (really redesigning the structure) of my WordPress art site design for the 3rd time in 1.5 yrs.

    I also design a lot of websites for artists, and have moved quite a few art clients onto WordPress, with me doing the design and setting up of the site, then training them to add their own content. It’s very empowering for my clients to be able to be in control of their own sites, and very gratifying for me to make my clients so happy.

    Thanks for your clear post about how to choose a blogging platform!

    • Hi Marilyn –

      Thanks for your comment. A few months ago, my webmaster helped me upgrade my blog to the new WP upgrades and revisions – it has made it even more easy to do a lot of the back end work myself. I really enjoy the creative freedoms that WP allows me. With that being said, not all artists want to deal with the learining curve of a WP theme and an artist platform might suit them better. I will be blogging on this subject in more depth next week.

      Thanks again for the comment and visit!
      Lori :-)

  2. HI Lori,
    Interesting to read your post on blog platforms. I”ve been posting on wordpress for about 4 years now, and like it a lot. I do have difficulty searching out other artists that blog on wordpress. It seems most of the artists i link to my site are those from blogspot. This creates problems for me when trying to leave comments on their blogs, often blogger isn’t able to process my comments. I’m not sure if that’s just because i’m from a different blog platform, or if it is the same for everyone leaving comments on their blogs. I’ ve run into this a lot and find it frustrating. I would like to find more artists who blog with wordpress, so that i can interact with them as it’s an easy format. I dont have a webmaster, i just plug away on my own, and i know there is stuff i dont understand, but overall i am happy with it.

    • Hello Sally-
      Nice to meet a fellow WP art blogger! I have run into the same problem when trying to post comments on Blogger sites in the past as well…I have found my way around the problems on most of the sites, but I can’t remember how I did it! I will pay closer attention next time.
      Most of the artists I know don’t want to spend the bit of extra time it takes with the WP learning curve to understand the ‘back end’ of blogging, so WP isn’t as appealing to them at first. As they become more sophisticated in their blogging, I bet we will see more artists switch over to WordPress…time will tell.

      Thanks again and keep in touch!
      Lori

  3. Lori,

    I am a singer/songwriter who fell of the face of the earth for several years. I have eight “cult classic” CDs that are loved by musical sophisticates who have been exposed to them. A social networker told me that if I would get a wordpress website and do some social networking that I could easily market my material.

    To further complicate things, I have another project that involves enlightening, educational entertainment whcih I call “Recovery Road”. I laced together songs from my CDs that loosely chronicle my own idiotic misadventures and self-inflicted foibles. It takes the audience from bondage to freedom, healing and ultimately recovery in one concert experience. I have strong interest from a couple key parties to help expose this with national attention and take it around the country. I have an email that I sent to a Palo Alto bigwig which I could forward to you that tells more. The point is that I need a “base of operations” site, (apparently a webmaster too) and as far as branding goes I don’t know whether to brand by my name (J. Frederick Millea) with Recovery Road and my stage name “L.A. Cowboy” as offshoots, or as L.A. Cowboy, with a separate site for the Recovery Road project.

    I would love to have some input from you. If you would email me, listen to the three sample songs from the concert, as well as two regular L.A. Cowboy songs, perhaps you would consider some level of involvement on this philanthropic artistic endeavor. A big part of the show is offering to help people permanently quit tobacco immediately after the show (I am an expert at this with a unique approach that breaks the disorder in their mind just by processing the information I give them).

    This is a mouthful, but if your heart is initially stimulated by this please get in touch and review the program. Some of the finest musicians in the country played on my CDs due to the caliber of my songwriting. I think you might find it somewhere between amusing and intriguing.

    blessings (either way – hear from you or not. I’ve certainly been blessed by these posts I stumbled upon),

    Cordially,

    frederick

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