Future of blogging platforms and tools

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Future of blogging platforms and tools. Advice for selecting your blog platform. Course lecture for Aalto University course (Blog Or Die). How to select between building your own website or going inside some social media site or media website?

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Future of blogging platforms and tools

  1. 1. Future of blogging platforms Perttu Tolvanen, Web & CMS Expert 1 North Patrol Oy 2013 / 2013-10-21 / for Aalto University
  2. 2. Security agency for web projects 2 © 2013 North Patrol Oy
  3. 3. Agenda Technical definition of a blog 3 North Patrol Oy 2013 Overview to different tools and advice to selecting the right tool Future trends of blogging tools
  4. 4. Speaker’s blogging history • Vierityspalkki.fi, the #1 web design blog in Finland – Editor-in-chief, ~500 published articles since 2007 – Over 3000 Twitter followers and over 1000 Facebook fans – Over 20 000 visits per month • Also other expert blogs and guest articles, eg. http://intranet-ostajanopas.fi • Latest project: – Buyer’s Guide to Web Projects: http://www.northpatrol.com/blog/ • Total: Blogging since 2007, published around 700 articles since then 4 North Patrol Oy 2013
  5. 5. What makes a blog from a technical point of view? 5 © 2013 North Patrol Oy
  6. 6. Technical definition of a blog • Fairly simple content website • Stream of articles, no hierarchy between articles • Articles have tags and/or categories • Navigation is based on tags/categories • Readers can comment articles and comment moderation is a big part of management duties • Readers can easily follow the stream of new content via RSS, email or social media channels • Simple content publishing interface 6 © 2013 North Patrol Oy
  7. 7. What makes blog different? • Typical characteristics of blogs: – New content is added often – Blogs are interactive, especially comments add update frequency which is valued highly by Google – Blogs link to other blogs and websites which make them more semanticly rich for Google for example • But… – The web has learned a lot from blogs – and blogs are not that different anymore. Why should they then require different tools? 7 © 2013 North Patrol Oy
  8. 8. Overview to tools and advice for selection 8 © 2013 North Patrol Oy
  9. 9. Short history of web publishing tools • ”Web content management systems” (CMSs) have always focused more to managing content instead of publishing content. • Blogging tools have therefore been able to differentate because they have been more focused to easy publishing, comment moderation capabilities and integration with social media services. • And the situation is still the same: Every CMS in the world can power a world-class blog, but having a specialized tool just makes running a blog much more easier. 9 © 2013 North Patrol Oy Advice: The more integrated the blog is to other websites of the company the more it makes sense to use the same CMS for all websites, including blogs. Remember: In the end this is always a concept design decision!
  10. 10. Owning or renting your platform? • If you are a media company and your business is selling ”eyeballs” and managing ads you have to own your platform (and domain). • The more commercial your goals are, the more important it is to own your platform and have the right the sell ads and do whatever you want. No media company can use Google’s or Facebook’s platform for this reason! • Remember: Free blogging tools will never allow bloggers to monetize their traffic. 10 © 2013 North Patrol Oy
  11. 11. Owning or renting your platform? • If you are a media company and your business is selling ”eyeballs” and managing ads you have to own your platform (and domain). • The more commercial your goals are, the more important it is to own your platform and have the right the sell ads and do whatever you want. No media company can use Google’s or Facebook’s platform for this reason! • Remember: Free blogging tools will never allow bloggers to monetize their traffic. 11 © 2013 North Patrol Oy Examples of platform choices of media companies: 1. Drupal (most common, but also complex and expensive to build and maintain) 2. WordPress (for smaller brands, also getting popular with bigger brands) 3. Other choices: eg. eZ Publish
  12. 12. Owning or renting your platform? • If your goals are something other than directly converting your traffic to money, then you have a lot more choices. • For example General Electric has a popular Tumblr blog that showcases machines that GE builds: http://generalelectric.tumblr.com/ • Richard Branson blogs inside LinkedIn platform and has almost three million followers. http://www.linkedin.com/influence r/204068115-Richard-Branson 12 © 2013 North Patrol Oy
  13. 13. Owning or renting your platform?
  14. 14. Owning or renting your platform? Remember: This is typical for large brands that are not in the media business. For media corporations this is pretty much impossible since they are in direct competition with these platforms.
  15. 15. Advice for platform selection 1. If you know from the start that you want to monetize your traffic and you are going after high traffic you should own your platform from the start. – 1) Pick a domain and 2) hire a skilled web designer that knows WordPress. 2. If you want to start cheap, but aim high in the long-term you might choose renting the platform for the start. – WordPress.com is an easy way to start a great blog (and you can even use your own domain) and then if success hits you can move to your own server (WordPress.org version). – WordPress.com offers a guided transfer option to your own installation and you can also buy redirects from the old address (if you used yourblogname.wordpress.com option). 3. If you are just aiming for popularity (person or brand) you might choose going inside some social media platform. – Facebook works well for artists and consumer brands. It also has a pretty good ”Follow” system for public pages. Just be prepared to pay Facebook in the long term – it is a business after all! – LinkedIn is building the same system for the business world. Richard Branson is one of the first that have been accepted to the platform. Also many media companies are competing for this same idea. Eg. Kauppalehti. 15 © 2013 North Patrol Oy
  16. 16. Advice for managing your own platform • Be prepared for these: 1. You have to be somewhat technical person to successfully manage your own blog. Even with good technical support you have to understand how articles are pushed to social media services and what each platform update effects to your publishing system. 2. You have to learn new tools all the time and be able to coordinate how they work together. This takes time and it’s away from writing. 3. Success comes slow. You have to be really, really patient. Running a successful blog platform will require usage of different tools and understanding how different social media platforms work. 16 © 2013 North Patrol Oy
  17. 17. Advice for selecting a rented platform • Three big questions: 1. What platform are your most potential readers using right now? Does that platform offer blogging tools? 2. Which platform makes following and reading blogs easiest for the reader? 3. Which platform makes sharing and commenting most influential and meaningful for the reader? And are you going for traffic or interactivity? Eg. YouTube or Instagram might be a good choice for traffic, but Facebook is great for interactivity. And can you escape the platform if something bad happens? (Currently the answer in most cases is: ”No.”.) 17 © 2013 North Patrol Oy
  18. 18. Safe and fairly effective choice right now: WordPress.com
  19. 19. Future trends of blogging tools 19 © 2013 North Patrol Oy
  20. 20. The race for the best ”Follow” button • Big question: What becomes the best way to follow blogs? Currently following blogs is a mess. • Right now building your own platform is actually a pretty safe choice since you can adapt to changing situations. • Unfortunately it’s also the most complicated choice. 20 © 2013 North Patrol Oy
  21. 21. The race for the best commenting system • Big question: What becomes the best way to comment blog articles and be notified of new comments? Currently Facebook is leading the way, but Google+ and Twitter are also additional ”discussion worlds”. • Right now trying to get readers to comment on your own platform is pretty hard. It’s just easier to have discussions in Facebook or Twitter. 21 © 2013 North Patrol Oy
  22. 22. Summary • If you are not a media company you should always aim for the rented platform option. Richard Branson and LinkedIn are a match made in heaven. You should aim for that also! • However, if you want to build something that lasts and can be monetized you might want to start with WordPress.com and test if your concept works – then you can move to your own platform later. 22 © 2013 North Patrol Oy
  23. 23. Thank you. 23 North Patrol Oy 2013

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