We talk about blogging as if it’s a single thing. But in reality, there are all kinds of blogs — among them, business, personal, news, special purpose.
I’ve found it helpful — for myself and my clients — to establish a blog where I post information related to my business. This is it. It doesn’t particularly look like a corporate blog, though it uses the same basic logo and name as my business. And because Facebook and Twitter have become our de facto public square, I can link blog items to Facebook and Twitter posts to reach a broader audience. My business blog at newmediarules.com rarely mentions my business per se, but it promotes it in a more subtle way. (Presumably, somebody might read an item and get an idea for a project on which I can be of service.)
Let’s say you may have a particular interest and wish to post information for a defined audience. Let’s say you’ve researched your family’s history and need a place where you and other family members can post documents, photos and similar information. There are lots of ways you can do this, but a blog serves the purpose nicely.
Sometimes you have things to say that just don’t fit on a business page, and they’d be hopelessly off topic on a defined purpose page. For me, that’s where the personal blog located at mediaguycarl.com comes in. I fought this idea for quite a while, but I finally applied the principle that lexicographers use to determine whether to put a new word in the dictionary: Whether we need it. I kept bumping across situations in which I had something to say that exceeded the 140-word (Twitter) and 420-word (Facebook) limits, yet was still general enough in nature that it didn’t fit anywhere else. If I want to take a photo of a cute puppy or funny sign, I can simply upload it from my Android to my personal blog in a minute or so, and it goes automatically to both my Twitter and Facebook accounts. Plus, I get around the word limits, and it lets me get the personal stuff out of my system without diluting my business-oriented blog.
Finally, note that a personal blog can be quite versatile if you use it right. For example, I have interests in woodworking and genealogy, and while I could set up defined purpose blogs for those, I’m planning to just integrate them into the personal blog.
There are lots of free blogging platforms available, and most are pretty good. I tried Tumblr and Posterous for my personal blog but came back to hosted WordPress. Do what works best for you.