Blogging for Nonprofits: Blog Platform Selection

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This is part two of a five-part series on how you can build a strong cause (brand) presence through blogging. We’ll talk about getting started, blogging platforms, idea generation, and distribution channels in the series to help you get started with blogging.

The best blogging platform for your nonprofit depends on several things: your experience with blogging platforms and content management systems, your budget, and your need for advanced features. In this post, we’ll be discussing the features of the most popular blogging platforms, and why you might want to choose them.

Many of the content management systems (CMS) are fully integrated with blogging capabilities. The examples below are blogging and sometimes CMS platforms for hosting ad-free blogs. There are content publishing channels like LinkedIn, Medium and Huffington Post, we’ll cover those later in the series.

Blogger

Google-owned Blogger is great for beginners to the blogging scene, as its CMS greatly resembles the Gmail user interface. Unfortunately, Blogger’s features are pretty basic, and the platform doesn’t allow for much in the way of future growth or customization.

Despite having (predictably) smooth integration with other Google services, sharing posts with Twitter and Facebook relies on the RSS feed and is far more complicated than it needs to be. With Blogger, the emphasis is on joining a community of blogs rather than building a workable website — which again makes Blogger suitable for casual, personal blogs, but not recommended for nonprofits interested in building their online presence.

WordPress

WordPress is arguably the most popular blogging platform, and it’s been that way for a while. It’s easy to get a website off the ground, is fully customisable, and allows plenty of room for future growth.

WordPress.org and WordPress.com are not the same thing. If access to plugins (pictured) for SEO, donations via Paypal, social sharing and analytics are important to you (and it should be), or if you want to create an eCommerce or business site, you will need to go with WordPress.org — and that comes with a much higher price-tag and will require regular tech support for maintenance.

Unless you know somebody who is willing to provide this cheaply, or have a volunteer of member of staff who can help, this may not be the best option for a non-profit in its early stages.

Movable Type

Movable Type offers special pricing for nonprofits and a CMS to rival WordPress in simplicity and ease of use. Movable Type is slightly more limited on the extendibility front, with only several hundred themes and plugins to WordPress.org’s tens of thousands.

Tumblr

Although ideal for sharing — both with other Tumblr users and with your other social media accounts — Tumblr doesn’t have the robust features of WordPress or Movable Type. You can embed your Tumblr blog on your website, but the integration is not entirely seamless.

On the plus side Tumblr does allow for Adsense, unlike WordPress.com — and you can purchase your own domain name, too. Tumblr’s tags work just like Twitter’s hashtags, and help other users to find and reblog your posts. If your nonprofit relies heavily on image-based content marketing, this could be beneficial.

Many nonprofits use Tumblr for image-based marketing, but also maintain a more traditional blog on their website.

Weebly

Weebly makes website (and blog) creation accessible to anybody at no cost for basic set sites. It works primarily on a drag-and-drop basis, has basic analytic features and an easy-to-use CMS. Post scheduling isn’t currently available, which may be an issue for nonprofit social media managers with limited time on their hands. And being found will be largely up to you. This is a simple “creation” tool, but requires quite a bit of marketing know how, which is hopefully something you have in excess!

Has your nonprofit tried more than one blogging platform? If so, let us know how you made your choice.

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