Iâ€™ve been using Blogger for our personal Blog since we began our RVing adventure in 2003. It is drop-dead easy. When I started, it only accepted text â€“ no pictures, no videos. Over the years, theyâ€™ve added many capabilities while continuing to keep it drop-dead easy. At times, Iâ€™ve toyed with the idea that you could use Blogger for a regular business website, but so far have always opted to advise the use of standard Website building methods, or WordPress.
Now I can recommend Blogger for a small business website.
The last few months have seen enhancements in Blogger that I think make it a viable choice for a small business who wants to do their website themselves. Iâ€™m not talking about a business Blog. Iâ€™m talking about a full-blown website. Probably the most important new feature making this possible is the addition of â€˜Pages.â€™ You see, a Blog is made up of dated entries called Posts. Whenever you write a post, it is automatically put in date order with all the other posts. If you wanted to have one page where you listed all your products and prices, you donâ€™t want that page to be dated and published in order with other posts. You want a page to be outside the flow, to stand on itâ€™s own, and to be accessible from a menu. Another example is an â€˜About Usâ€™ page.
Blogger calls that a â€˜Pageâ€™ as opposed to a â€˜Postâ€™ and it has been available since late 2009. What was still missing was any way to customize the design of the site so it didnâ€™t look like everybody elseâ€™s Blog on Blogger. Bloggerâ€™s new Template Designer fills that hole. It is still in draft, but Iâ€™ve tried it and it seems to work great while still being very easy.
A business also wants to know if anyone is visiting their site. Blogger now has their own â€˜Blogger Statsâ€™ that is much more informative than just a hit counter.
When you create a Blog using Blogger, you get a web address (URL) that ends in .blogspot.com. For example, MyRVStuff.blogspot.com. Most people with a small business donâ€™t want an address like that. They want MyRVStuff.com. You can do that. Itâ€™s called a Custom Domain. If you own the domain name e.g. MyRVStuff.com there is a setting in Blogger to make your blog use that address. And, if you donâ€™t already have your domain, you can buy one thru Blogger for $10 for a year.
Your blog/website will be hosted on Bloggerâ€™s free servers, but people will get to it by typing the custom domain name. Your viewers will never see .blogspot.com. They type www.MyRVStuff.com and they will see the website you created with Blogger.
Will it Look Professional?
Well, that depends on just how picky you are! Using Bloggerâ€™s new Template Designer, you can certainly make it look very nice. But, if you have specific ideas of exactly how you want your website to look, this probably isnâ€™t for you. You may find a third party Blogger template that will work for you, but it has been my experience that once you use features that arenâ€™t part of Bloggerâ€™s direct offerings, you may lose some of the functionality that Blogger offers. There is a LOT of offerings though in third party templates, you might find something perfectly suited to your design needs.
If you donâ€™t find anything in Template Designer or in Third Party Templates to suit your needs, then you need a Web Designer, and that can get very expensive. Iâ€™m a believer in a small business starting up with what they can afford, and at $0, Blogger is something you can afford. I say, build something that looks nice and is functional, for free. When the business can afford it, you can get fancy!
Show-Me-How Videos on Blogger that apply to this article:
- Add a Photo to your Blog Header (Members Only)
- Blogger Stats (Free)
- Blogger’s Template Designer (Members Only)
- Changing Template â€“ using 3d Party Templates (Free)
- All Blogger Show-Me-How Videos If youâ€™re not a member of Geeks on Tour, you can Join Today! Itâ€™s only $39 for a year of access to all the videos in our Complete Learning Library.