As a small business owner with an online site, I think it would be nice to have a blog that draws people to my online store. I have reviewed my options for writing, posting and displaying the blog and evaluating its performance. I want to incorporate the blog into my content marketing strategy and I’ve looked at both static site generators and help authoring tools.
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Evaluating these tools
- When I began looking at these two tools, I looked at Jekyll first, which is a static site generator. For an internet store owner with a few coding skills (okay I speak a bit of Perl), Jekyll’s pros and cons for me were:
- Jekyll does not seem to do a default optimize for search engines. According to Brett Hardin it takes a bit of work to figure out how to get it to do the optimization.
- Jekyll’s site does not tell me much about what I can do with the program.
- With Jekyll, the ideal place to host it is on Github, which disables Jekyll’s plugins.
- I would need to learn a whole lot more coding than I currently know before I could install or use Jekyll.
- Jekyll says it is simple to use, but I find its instructions about as clear as mud and will probably need to take a course in programming in order to implement it properly.
- I don’t seem to have found any pros about Jekyll.
- Next I looked at Madcap Flare, which is a great example of a help authoring tool and I got a bit excited because of its features and its descriptive web site:
- Madcap Flare says it is content management, authoring and publishing software.
- With Madcap Flare I can have topic-based authoring. This means I can create different versions of the same article, like a beginner version and an advanced version. I can create employee handbooks online for different types of employees.
- With its project-based templates I can create an online Knowledge
Base, e-Books, user guides, and slideshows.
- Flare files are separate and can be opened in any editor, making changes easy to do. I can outsource the writing of my blogs to a writing company and they can upload directly to Flare with my password.
- The contribution and review feature allows me to have oversight into the outsourced blogs so I can approve (or reject) them before they go live after they are uploaded.
- The WYSIWYG editor is one of my favorite features. It lets me write without having to code everything into HTML. I can use regular programs like Microsoft Word and I don’t have to use my HTML editor.
- Madcap Flare also offers a demo tailored to my needs.
After reviewing these two types of programs, I am definitely leaning toward implementing the help authoring tool over installing the static site generator. I am also thinking about getting some further training in coding so that I can be able to implement other technology on my site.
With the help authoring tool I can easily create help files that integrate into my site’s shopping cart, and I can create my blog, update it, and then take it to the search engines so that it can bring more traffic to my site.