One of the most common questions I get when I teach blogging workshops is, “Which blogging platform should I use?”
I’ll be honest. This is FAR from my area of expertise. There are tons of people who know more about website and blogging platforms.
But the place where I can totally help you is in figuring out how to make that decision.
How you decide is only partly about the information.
The other part is about you as a thinker. And this is where I see smart people totally overthink things.
So let’s dive in to how to navigate your own mind when it comes to making this decision so you can jump in and start blogging.
What Color Pen?
I like reading about how the brain and mind work. One of my favorite authors on this topic is Antonio Demasio. In his fascinating book Descartes’ Error, he explains why it’s a good thing that humans aren’t completely rational beings, and how emotions actually help us quite a bit.
(I promise you this is coming back to website platforms!)
In the book, Demasio describes a patient who’d suffered damage to the emotional center of his brain. As a result, the patient was very even keel and extremely logical. Think Mr. Spock. One day, at the end of an appointment with Demasio, the patient tried to schedule his next visit and couldn’t.
Why? He couldn’t determine purely rationally which day would be better for his next appointment — Tuesday or Thursday. And on top of that, he couldn’t decide which color pen to use to write down the appointment!
What Dr. Demasio describes is that this patient was missing the emotional input that in a healthy brain would have cued him that these decisions just weren’t that important.
For most of us, the decision of Tuesday vs. Thursday or blue ink vs. black is easy: At some point we decide it’s time to decide, and we do. After all, who wants to stand at the reception desk at the doctor’s office all day?
But somehow when it comes to our businesses, we often end up paralyzed in decision loops, just like the patient above.
Here are three core considerations that will help you make a good decision about your website and blogging platform without getting overwhelmed or feeling stuck in analysis paralysis.
#1 What Features Do You Need?
If I asked you, “What car should I buy?” you’d ask me what my priorities are — fuel efficiency, safety, sportiness, affordability, room for car seats, etc.
The only way to answer the question of which blogging platform is the best is to determine what you need from it.
The one thing you definitely need for a business blog is a website attached. That means you don’t want a blog on Blogger or Tumblr in place of a business website. Your blog needs to be a page on your website.
But even once you rule out those, you’ve got a lot of options. So the next step is to think like a car buyer: Ask yourself what’s important to you.
What are your priorities for a website platform?
- Ease of set up
- Ease of use
- Customization options
- number of visitors it can handle
- how it connects with other apps
- customer service / support
- built-in e-commerce
#2 How Do You Make Decisions?
Armed with your answers to the questions above, you can start to get recommendations. But from whom? Let’s think about you as a decision maker.
I’ll use myself as an example so you can see what I mean.
When I want a recommendation, I want to know about the person who’s making it. I’ll watch a Netflix series my sister recommends because I know her taste is similar to mine. Same for business tools. I like recommendations from people who have similar business personalities to mine. So when I need a recommendation for a tool, I’ll either go to a biz bud, or to a like-minded coach, blogger, or group.
If that’s not an option, I’ll watch a video review or read testimonials. I really need to get a sense of the person using the product to see whether it’s right for me.
If I’m totally honest, I make decisions emotionally. If I read a logical analysis of something that disagrees with an emotional decision I’ve already made, I ignore my head and go with my gut. That might seem foolish, but knowing it saves me time. I don’t waste my time gathering a lot of data if I know I’ve already decided.
What kind of input helps you make decisions?
- Testimonials and reviews from bloggers / experts
- Testimonials and reviews from people you know
- Side-by-side comparisons
- Consumer Reports-type write-ups
- Quantitative data, e.g., the percentage of 5-star reviews
#3 How Much Info Do You Need?
More information isn’t always better. Again, I’ll use myself as an example. I know I get analysis paralysis if I have too many options. (Ordering dinner at The Cheesecake Factory is traumatic for me. It takes me forever to decide, and then I always think I would have been happier with something else. Too many damn choices!)
When I have to make a decision, I limit the number of contenders. I’ll choose three or four options (that come recommended) and investigate those.
Is that how you operate? Do you prefer limited options? Or do you like to see a whole spread? If so, how many?
What parameters can you put in place so you can decide effectively?
- What’s your “sweet spot” for number of items to consider?
- What’s your deadline for making this decision?
- How much time and energy does it make sense to give to this decision?
- What strategies have worked for you in the past to make decisions?
Your Blogging Platform Decision Isn’t Written in Stone
It’s definitely worthwhile to think about what you need and want out of your blogging platform so you make an informed decision.
But you’re not locked into that decision for the rest of time.You can start out on one platform and move to another.
The fact that there are a lot of platforms out there might make you think there’s one perfect platform out there for you.
And certainly there are platforms that work better for certain personalities, experience levels, and business needs.
But they’re all good! It would be hard to make a bad choice. Seriously.
In my opinion, the much greater danger is letting the decision of how and where to start blogging stop you from actually blogging.
Sometimes the belief that we need to spend longer on making a decision is a manifestation of our discomfort with taking action!
Once you figure out how you’ll make your best decision, hop on over to my free writing community and start chatting with other bloggers and business owners about what’s working for them. You can tag me and I’ll be happy to share my personal experiences with various platforms.
Just make sure to answer these questions first so you know what you’re looking for!