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Author Topic: Blogs
Valentine014
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My boss has asked me to design a blog and I could use some recommendations for what site to use. I need something easy to use. What to you use and what to do you like/dislike about it?

Thanks!

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Farmgirl
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I use blogspot (blogger). And I'm happy with it.

But I really haven't compared it to anything else so I don't think I have a lot of opinion to help you with here. If I had tried several different sites, then maybe I would know how to make a comparison. But I have simple tastes [Smile]

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El JT de Spang
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What do you mean, 'design a blog'? Is he expecting you to integrate it into your company website?

Or does he just want you to sign up and customize one of the free online blogging services?

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Valentine014
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Just something free.
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El JT de Spang
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Blogger, Tumblr, Wordpress are the three I'm most familiar with.
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Valentine014
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JT, do you have a preference? What are the pros/cons of the ones you have used?
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CaySedai
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I have used Blogger at Blogspot and a hosted site in the past. I'm currently using WordPress on a hosted site. I'm thinking of going back to Blogspot for my personal blog and using my hosted site for design stuff.

With Blogger on Blogspot, I don't know of any way to create a static page - all you can do is blog posts. You can add stuff to the sidebar, top and bottom of the page. It does archive posts.

With WordPress on a hosted site, you can also create static pages. You can use tags, too.

The first question should be, what do you want to do with this? That will help you pinpoint what service is best. If you just want to get the company's name out there, you could even create a page on Facebook.

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Phanto
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Valentine:

If your boss wants to build business in a constructive fashion, then the best idea may be to incorporate the blog into the company website.

Don't muck things up to save money. If you have a product or service to sell, it makes perfect sense to pay someone for a quality product that will generate website traffic and new business.

Now, incorporating the blog into the site isn't a good idea if the blog is not something the company would want associated with it and if there is a "microsite" strategy (especially if the brands are different), but it's also hard to imagine a company that would want the free blog site style associated with it - it's simply not a typical professional presentation.

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Godric
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Wordpress.
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El JT de Spang
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Blogger is probably the most well-known, and is a tiny bit more user friendly than wordpress. I'd use wordpress, though, because it'll teach you how to use wordpress.

The advantage here is that wp software is free, and you can transfer a blog on their site to your site without having to learn a new backend. In fact, EI runs on WP. So it's a useful skill to have.

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Valentine014
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I am not entirely sure what they want to do with it, but I think she wants it to be a Q & A page that some doctor can put on his hospital webpage. He wants people to be able to submit questions and us to answer. These would be Medicare-related questions. I guess I was nominated because I seem to be the only one in the office who can operate a computer.

A little background on our organization: we are a very very small nonprofit ($145K annual budget) and our webpage is in a pathetic state right now. We have a volunteer "maintaining" it, but not really doing anything to improve it. She never responds to requests and the website has become more of a burden and embarrassment than anything, so we will probably not link the blog and the website, at least not until we can find someone to help us redesign the site.

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TomDavidson
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I know this isn't what you want to hear, but I guarantee you that it would be a better idea for you to find someone to redesign your site and incorporate a blog.
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Strider
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wordpress.

wordpress lets you do all sorts of interesting things to make it look nicer and function better. In fact, many of the web designers I know create sites off a wordpress backend because of the flexibility of using it as a content management system. they disable the comment functionality and most people don't even realize it's a wordpress site.

my first attempt at one was a while back, but this was the result.

I think in the long run, even if you don't do anything serious with it, the functionality and availability of neat plugins and widgets makes it totally worth your while.

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Strider
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oh, I also agree with Tom.
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Valentine014
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It is simply not in the budget to hire someone to do a professional looking webpage, and you have no idea how much that upsets me. I have attempted to find someone to do it for free (including students), but so far no one with any real talent or know how has shown interest.
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Strider
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oh, the reason i brought up wordpress, you can find many free "themes" or ones that can be purchased for approx. $50, that will look nice.

wordpress link
another site
and another

I just pulled the first few links. and those are all free.

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fugu13
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You say this would be for a FAQ that would be integrated into some hospital page?

If so, a blog may well not be the best route.

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Valentine014
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Oh, I completely agree that this is not the best route, but this is what my boss wants me to do and I can't see another way that is free.
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TomDavidson
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Would it be safe for you to tell your boss that a whole bunch of people who professionally design websites think his idea is bad? [Wink]
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fugu13
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What does the hospital think about the thing that's going to be linked to their site?

I think it is pretty clear you need something hosted; you don't want something that will be messed up by your webmaster, potentially.

Also, what is meant by "submit questions"? On the page in question, or just by phone and in person and by email?

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Valentine014
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This doctor has a blog hosted by his hospital and he want to link this blog on his site. It will just be a series of FAQs and Q&A about Medicare. He wants people to be able to email me to ask general questions, then me to put the question and answer on the site (from what I can understand).
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Godric
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Yeah, if the boss mandates it must be done, I standby my Wordpress recommendation. However, I'd like to note I agree with everything Tom has said so far.
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TomDavidson
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I guess another question is: why a "blog?" A blog is not necessarily the best format for a FAQ. What about the blog format is desired here?
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erosomniac
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Because if you put your FAQ in a blog, and you have a Facebook and Twitter, you defeat Web 2.0 and level up to Social Media Guru.

Also, if you PM me more details on your nonprofit, I may know people willing to help with your site.

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