Four Things to Consider When Choosing a Blogging Platform

Four Things to Consider When Choosing a Blogging Platform

A blog is an essential business tool that will not just attract potential clients to your website, but that will also help you connect with your current clients. If you’ve been thinking about starting a blog for your small online business, you will first need to decide on which blogging platform to use. After all, the blogging platform that works for one particular company may not necessarily work for your company.

Here are some of the things you need to consider:

1) Your Budget

If you’re just starting your business, it may be difficult to estimate how much incoming cash flow to expect. Many blogging platforms are available at absolutely no cost, although you are often only given access to very limited features, and may not be able to customize it as much as you would want to. Other platforms charge a monthly fee, but come with many more features. Also, if you’d rather host your own blog on your own domain, then you’ll need to purchase the domain and pay for the hosting.

2) Your Skills

Do you have experience with coding in PHP or CSS? If the answer is yes, then you may have an easier time finding a blogging platform that you can work with. If you’re new to blogging, then it may be best to find something user-friendly and easy to understand. If you seem to find a particular platform confusing to use and workaround, then perhaps that platform is beyond your specific technical skills.

3) Theme Options

While blogging platforms generally offer several theme options for you to choose from, not all platforms offer themes that are appropriate for your needs or line of business. Some allow you to customize your own theme, although you might have to pay extra for such feature. If you aren’t familiar with coding or can’t afford to hire a website designer, it may be best to find a platform that comes with an available selection of themes.

4) Available Features

One thing you seriously have to consider are the features you’d like to add to your blog, both now and later on. This includes the ability to use Google Ads, compatibility with Google AdWords, and extra functionality like forums. Some blogging platforms do not allow users to host advertisements, and so it is essential that you identify your blogging goals and how exactly you plan to achieve them. It would be a shame to spend so much time fixing up your blog, only to find out that you’ll need to export it to another blogging platform later on.

How To Monetize Your Blog and Earn Passive Income Using E-Commerce

Having been a work at home graphic designer for 6 years now I’ve learned a thing or two about how to earn passive income. While it’s true you can earn ad revenue from your blog you could also monetize your blog and earn passive income with e-commerce. With the right product and a bit of strategic marketing your blog could be earning you a steady stream of consistent income while you are off doing other things.

With the recent surge in e-commerce plugins it is now possible to set up a simple yet effective e-commerce solution right from within WordPress. I have run e-commerce stores using complicated and sometimes frustrating software solutions such as X-Cart and Zen Cart. X-Cart while a very robust system does not come out of the box with many of the features i’d need to run an e-commerce and has cost me into the thousands to modify. Zen Cart while free was just way too difficult to navigate on the back end for my needs.

Looking to start a new dot com and in the need of a quick e-commerce solution I decided to opt for WordPress. In earlier days if we wanted to sell from our blogs we could add a PayPal button to a page. While that is still an option your needs will most likely be greater than that. Now it is completely possible to set up a full e-commerce store by simply installing a plugin. Previously scarce the options for WordPress e-commerce solutions are now plentiful. Here are some of my top picks.

E-Commerce Plugins For Word Press

WooCommerce –  WooCommerce would be my first choice in plugins. Though I orignally test drove WooCommerce and found it to perfect in most every respect I ultimately did not choose it. I needed the option to assign multiple files to a single product and at the time this was not possible with WooCommerce. However I just got word yesterday that upon their next rollout they will be releasing the next upgrade with that feature. When that happens I fully intend to switch over.

JigoShop –  My next choice and current e-commerce solution, Jigoshop was actually born off of the WooCommerce platform. Many of the features are the same on the admin side but WooCommerce seems to be a bit more stylish. Jigoshop does allow the sale of downloadable goods and is even toying with the idea of allowing multiple files per product. I in fact am beta testing their version of multilple files per download and seemingly it works pretty well. They have just released their latest upgrade and surprisingly this feature was not implemented. Not sure why that is or when it will be added but here’s keeping my fingers crossed for that.

E-Junkie –  E-Junkie is a subscription based service. Monthly fees are based on how many products you have and/or how much storage space you need. E-Junkie allows the sale of digital files and gives you the option to host the files on your server or theirs.

PayPal –  PayPal has evolved and offers options for adding buttons to your blog for accepting payments. The benefit of using paypal is that they are highly recognizable and well trusted. You can accept credit cards without having to go through the hassle of setting up an account with the credit card companies. To use this feature you will need a business account with Paypal.

If you don’t happen to have any products readily available or are unsure as to what you could even sell here are some ideas. I made certain to list plugins that allow the sale of downloadable goods because that is the truest way to really make passive income.

Here are some of the top E-Goods that may be lucrative for your blog:

  • E-Books
  • Software
  • Music Files
  • Digital Art
  • Website Templates

If you don’t have any of these products to sell you may want to consider partnering with or becoming an affiliate for someone who does. Of course you could always sell any of your own products be they digital or even physical if you desire. Another option to consider is drop shipping. This allows you to offer a variety of tangible goods on your website but all of the shipping and product handling is done by a third party company.

Naturally the key to keeping this truly passive is to opt for as little effort as possible. The products I’ve mentioned require no maintenance or upkeep and there is no shipping involved. Your greatest effort will be in setting up the initial product in the store. Once that’s done you are free to sit back and let the passive income flow.

How To Monetize Your Blog and Earn Passive Income Using E-Commerce:

Here’s how to get started.

  1. Install a WordPress blog to your website.
  2. Select the right e-commerce plugin for you and install it.
  3. Choose a payment gateway, this is essential for getting paid! Sign up for a service and then enter your user information in the designated area of your plugin. Popular gateways include, PayPal, 2Checkout, Google Checkout and a wide variety of other services.
  4. Choose your product.
  5. Brand, package and upload your product to add it to your store. You will be able to do this through your WordPress plugin or you may need to use FTP depending on the file size.
  6. Add product to your store. Typically this is just like adding a post depending on the solution you choose. Be sure to assign the file for download or the customer will have nothing to download.
  7. Check and recheck! Be sure to check all product descriptions for accuracy. Doe the product image match the product description? Does the description text accurately portray what is being sold? Log in as a guest and purchase the products. Even have a friend do this as well. Did the payment process correctly? Were the files delivered properly? Ask your friend how the process went for them. Test your store on different browsers. Be sure everything is running smoothly before you open your doors to the public.

Though getting your e-commerce store set up can be simple, and maintenance will be minimal be aware there will be some maintenance.

  • Customer Support: For obvious reasons most downloadable goods come with a no return policy. But you will still need to offer customer support if you want repeat business and referrals. Be sure you or someone qualified is available to answer any customer inquiries or concerns.
  • Website Maintenance: Keep your website up to date! Pay attention to update alerts and keep all versions of your blog and e-commerce plugin up to date. Failing to do so can cause great security risks!
  • Marketing:  Plan a strategy for getting the word out. You’ll want to have some type of promotion in place to let visitors know about you and your awesome product. Take some time to promote your site and your product. Doing so will reap great rewards.

Follow these guidelines and you’ll be raking in the passive income with your blog.

Author Bio:

Veronica Spriggs is a full time graphic designer working from home creating photographer album templates. She is also an amateur photographer always looking for the perfect shot. She has a love of art, music, movies, food and all things beautiful. She enjoys educating others and offers many helpful photographer tutorials on her blog.