What Blog Platform should I use for my website?

shutterstock_56454184_resultA reader asks…

Hey there would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re working with? I’m going to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a hard time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique.

I don’t mind at all! The Practical Help website was created using WordPress, the most popular content management system (CMS) used on the internet. The other blog engines you mention are all fine, but in my opinion offer less value overall. That said, WordPress by itself doesn’t do everything for you – you need to extend the basic functionality by the use of two things:

  1. Themes: these are website templates that create a particular look and feel for your website design. WordPress.org offers thousands of free templates, but I’ve found that if you really want something that works well and covers a lot of your functionality needs, you should purchase a commercial theme. Most commercial themes are under $100 and licensed for use on a single website. That said, if you’re just creating a personal blog, then you probably want to only spend money on the most necessary of items. so…
  2. iThemes Security Pro Plug-in for WordPressPlug-ins: these are add-on products for your WordPress installation that extend the functionality. Again, WordPress.org offers thousands of free plug-ins, and I’ve found that for the best features and capabilities you want to pay for commercial products. For the new blogger, in particular you want to focus on getting a good security plug-in (like iThemes Security Pro, which I previously reported on here).

Responsive Website Theme graphic

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If you want to make sure your website looks good to anyone, you want a ‘responsive’ theme. I previously wrote about that here, so let me just say that when previewing possible themes for your website, look for the term ‘responsive’ in the description. This new ‘standard’ for website design builds each part of a web page as a block, so that as the screen size shrinks (from desktop all the way down to smartphone size), the blocks re-arrange themselves so everything is still visible, and the website fits on whatever screen size is used. This has become pretty darn important because more and more people are surfing the internet using mobile devices – tablets and smartphones. Within a year or two, the overwhelming majority of web surfing will be conducted on the small screen.

Feel free to tell me in the comments what types of website functionality you need and I can steer you toward some good themes and plug-ins. Creating a unique website design is easy even if using a template that’s also used by thousands of others – you make your site unique through the use of graphics and images, and by creating compelling content, e.g., the words you write.


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