PDP – Short for Professional development and placement.
This module aims to prepare me for the working world, and gain important knowledge, skills and experience in the professional workplace.
My first lecture was the introductory lecture – In January I will be going on a 6 week professional placement and so the information given in my lectures is important in terms of; finding a suitable placement, preparing myself for that placement and picking up key skills along the way to help aid me in successfully finding a career once I finish my degree course at University.
I have been asked to recommend a blogging platform for the small retail and catering business, “Crème de La Catering”. The company wants to use the blog to share recipes and tips on running good events, and feature their suppliers of locally and ethically produced products. I have put much thought into which blogging platform to recommend to suit the needs of the company. In this blog post I will be discussing two possible options which I feel would be ideal for the company to use to set up their blog. The first option I will be discussing is ‘WordPress’, the second option, ‘Blogger’. I will weigh the pros and cons of each site and give my own overall opinion on the two.
The first blogging platform I am going to discuss is ‘Wordpress’. WordPress is an excellent site to use to set up a blog. You have the option of either setting up your blog free of charge on ‘wordpress.com’, or paying a fee on ‘wordpress.org’ in order to purchase your own custom domain name. For the purpose of my recommendation, I will be referring to the free option, ‘wordpress.com’ throughout this post.
WordPress, described as a ‘free, open platform software’ is a very popular and widely used blogging site. According to web analytics site, ‘alexa.com’, WordPress is globally ranked as the 17th most visited site in the world. This in itself shows how hugely popular it is, and from making the choice to blog on WordPress, you will instantly be at more of an advantage, simply in that it generates such a large amount of online traffic already. This is always something to taking into consideration when setting up an online blogging platform for a business, it is hugely important to reach as many people in as wide a range as possible, to maximise your chances of generating more business.
One huge plus of WordPress as a blogging platform is its ease of use. As online entrepreneur and blogger, Matt Wolfe states, ‘[…] anyone can have a website online within minutes without knowing anything about design or HTML code.’ All the user needs to do is register with the site, decide an appropriate blog address, and then the site is created for you. In terms of publishing and editing posts, WordPress is relatively straightforward, once you know how to navigate around it. One negative side to WordPress is that, to a beginner, it may seem quite complex to use. However, the website does have a section with relevant help pages, and step by step guides on how to use its features. One notable feature of WordPress is how the creator of the blog can make it accessible to mobile platforms. The Adobe 2013 Mobile Consumer Survey, revealed that, of those surveyed, ‘71% reported using their mobile device to access social media.’ With this in mind, it is clearly important that the creator of a business based blog makes their blog accessible on a mobile device. WordPress offers this option, which is one of its great features.
Once the blog has been created, the user can then go ahead and customise their blog according to how they would like it. WordPress is great in that it has a wide range of themes, though not all of them are free, there are still many excellent choices. In terms of tailoring your blog to suit your business, WordPress offers many professional looking themes, free of charge. The majority of WordPress themes are designed so that the creator of the blog can have an ‘about’ page. This is going to be vital for any business setting up a blogging platform, as often the about page is one of the first pages a visitor of the site will go to. It gives the creator of the site the opportunity to inform visitors about their business, and give their relevant contact details.
In terms of the posts that the catering company want to produce, it is going to be essential for them to be able to categorise their content. WordPress offers this as a feature, allowing users to add their own categories to use for their posts. The user can create their chosen categories, and then when editing each post, can simply select from a drop down box which category they want that post to be published into. This is an important feature for the catering business to have, as it makes their content more readily available to the viewers – if the viewer can quickly and easily find what they are looking for in a certain category, they are more likely to stay on the blog, and continue to browse it’s content. For example, if the viewer is looking for the recipes that are available on the site, then they could simply click on the category ‘recipes’, and they are then able to browse whatever posts have been posted into that category.
For an online business blog to thrive online, it is very important that their content is visible. One way of doing this is by ‘tagging’ posts with various keywords which both relate to and also describe the content of the post. This then makes it easy for the public to find your content, as they may type in a certain keyword (or keywords), for example, ‘local produce’ and then in their search results they would find a list of posts which have been tagged with those words. Wordpress offers this as a feature, allowing for the publisher of the posts to quickly and easily create a list of tag words relating to their post. When composing the post, there is a box located right next to it, which is dedicated to adding tags for the post.
The second blogging platform I am going to be discussing is ‘Blogger.’ Blogger is another free blog creating tool which allows users to create their own blogging platforms. Blogger, also known as ‘Google Blogger’ is hosted and owned by Google. Therefore, if you already have a Google account, you can easily integrate your account with your blog. You don’t need to sign up or register as the site will automatically use join your Google account with your blog.
According to ‘alexa.com’, Blogger is ranked globally as the 49th most visited site. The rankings for Blogger are not as promising as those for WordPress (ranked as the 17th most visited site) and so this does need to be taken into account. As a business, it is important to reach out to as many potential customers as possible, and so by taking note of what blogging platform appears to be more popular, you are ensuring that you are staying on top of what is ‘current’ and where the potential customers are going to be.
One major plus of Blogger is how easy it is to use. This makes it ideal for any beginners who have limited experience with blogging platforms. All of the features of the platform are laid out very simply for the user to see and access. Everything is kept on one page which makes it all the more simple and accessible for the creator. However, one major downside to Blogger is that the user has to have a prior knowledge of HTML scripts in order to be able to access and create certain features within your posts. To the beginner, HTML scripts can be quite complicated, and even if you have a prior knowledge of them, it is still a lengthy process to go through to create certain aspects of your posts. For a business, time is an important and valuable thing and so to have to spend extra amounts of time when creating blog posts can be a hindrance. In comparison, the features of WordPress have been designed so that the user does not have to have any knowledge of HTML script. The features are that much easier to use that blog posts can be created on the go, via mobile within minutes.
Blogger allows for the user to add all of their social media links, i.e. Twitter, Facebook and so on, on to their homepage. This is an important feature to have for a business as it ensure that your customers can easily contact you, or keep up to date with the content that you put out. The links can be arranged so that they are clear and obvious on the homepage, which ensures that all of your social media links are brought directly to their attention.
Similarly to WordPress, on Blogger, you can add ‘labels.’ These follow the same concept as tags do in that you add labels to each post which correspond with the content within the post. This, again, helps to ensure that you as a business, and your content are searchable, as this feature increases the chances of customers finding your content. One drawback of Blogger however is that it does not have the option of putting posts into categories. As mentioned previously, this is an important feature to have for a blog which is promoting and advertising a business. ‘Crème de la catering’ wishes to use their blog in order to share recipes, tips, and feature their local suppliers. With this in mind it is vital for them that they categorise their posts, as they may end up being so varied from one another.
To sum up, there are many different features which are important for a blogging platform to have, especially if it is going to be used to business purposes. The whole point of creating a blog is to reach out to as many viewers as possible, and connect with them. It is therefore important that the blogging platform is chosen very carefully so as to accommodate the purpose of the blog. Although I do like the simplicity of Blogger, and how it is connected automatically to your already existing Google account, I feel like there are too many drawbacks which would limit the user. As ‘Crème de La Catering’ wish to create a professional blog, it is important that they use as many features as possible which will help them to create their professional content. I feel that WordPress accommodates this far more. It gives the creator much more control over their content, allowing them to choose from a wide range of themes, add categories, tag their posts, allow their content to be viewable on mobile devices and so on. I think that WordPress would be the most appropriate and effective blogging platform to use.
I have chosen to write a blog post recommendation for a small retail and catering business.
To do this I will look at the way in which similar small businesses use online tools and platforms to promote their business. From this I will then make my own judgements as to what seems to be the most effective methods for those particular businesses and then I will choose which methods to recommend in my blog post. I will also look into the kinds of things that small retail and catering companies want to promote, and try to find out why they may want to use online platforms to enhance their business. From this research I will then try and tailor my advice to suit what those businesses need, so that the advice is as helpful and useful as possible.
1. A hoody.
Be it an official hoody from your University, or that old favourite you always grab when walking out the door your chosen hoody will be like your new best friend whilst at Uni. The fleecier, the bigger, the softer… the better.
2. A huge winter coat. Picture this: you’ve just walked out of the door, bleary-eyed, not quite sure if you’re walking in a straight line (possibly hungover) heading towards the bus stop/ train station/ campus and that all too familiar winter chill we Brits know so well hits you like a hole in the head. What’s the first thing you’ll be wanting? Well, your duvet probably. However unless you want to drag your duvet around with you everywhere you go a great substitute is a huge, thick winter coat to wrap around you during those cold times you spend waiting around for your transport to arrive.
3. Any comfortable shoe. (Preferably not Uggs) Though this one is mostly a self explanatory and fairly obvious fashion item it’s still important to mention that during Uni you will be doing a heck of a lot more walking; to and from lectures, to and from the bus stop/ train station, up and down countless steps and stairways. Hence, your choice of shoe is going to be important. Any kind of plimsoll (think Converse, Vans, Primark knock-offs etc.) is ideal and will go with any outfit. However, please, no matter how tempting it may be to grab them from the back of your wardrobe… Do not. I repeat: do not go for your Uggs. Think soggy shoes, wet feet and just general miserableness and this will be your fate if you decide to go for them.
4. An oversized bag Be it a satchel, a shoulder bag or a shopper bag, no matter what you want to choose one with loads of space and pockets inside for throwing in all your pens, random sheets and folders last minute without having to worry about organising it all neatly so it will fit.
Note: (Take it from my previous experience) – Go for one with sturdy, thick straps and a zip lock. Last thing you need is all your stuff falling out or your strap breaking when it gets caught as you’re stepping out of the train. Not good. Really not good.
5. A final and general note. As the weeks go by at Uni I can almost guarantee that you’ll care less and less about what you actually wear, and more about how you feel. Comfort is key at Uni so try and have items you can just grab-and-go. Over-size jumpers, jeans, wooly scarves and t-shirts are the way to go.