One of the first questions new bloggers usually have is about which blogging platform they should use. I went round and round with this one when I was first starting up my Topsy-Techie blog. More about that later. But if you have read any blogs at all, you begin to become familiar with the addresses where most of them reside…”blogspot.com” “wordpress.com” or “typepad.com”. These addresses correspond to the Blogger, WordPress, and Typepad platforms – – the big three. There are many other smaller platforms as well, and you might have a specific reason to choose one of them, but for now, let’s focus on the threesome.
Blogger is a free blogging platform that has been around since 1999, and is currently owned by Google. As with most of the big blogging platforms, blogs on Blogger can be hosted on the Blogger server or at individually owned domains. If you are a big Google user, the Blogger platform might be a natural choice for you, because you can integrate your blog with your Google toolbar, easily add pictures with Picasa, or use Google’s Adsense program to earn money from your blog site. If you aren’t a Google person, you might find Blogger slightly annoying in that you must create a Google ID in order to open a blog account. On a personal note, I started out with Blogger, and got my whole page up and going when it suddenly disappeared into some deep dark Blogger Black Hole, never to reappear again. I doubt this happens very often, or Blogger wouldn’t be such a popular platform, but it did happen to me, and I wasn’t exactly super happy about Blogger for quite some time.
WordPress is also a free blogging platform, built a few years after Blogger. WordPress seems to be a continually updating software, with over four upgrades in the last couple of years. Like Blogger, WordPress blogs can be hosted at WordPress.com or on your own domain. WordPress’ focus is on being aesthetically pleasing, user-friendly, and easy to track statistically. WordPress has a very informative stats page, that gives good insight into who is visiting your blog and where they came from. On the downside, blogs hosted at wordpress.com cannot be ad-supported, and any upgrades you want, such as the ability to tinker with your CSS code or customizing your theme, must be purchased as an upgrade. After my own Blogger debacle, I landed on two feet at WordPress, and have been there ever since. I can’t say that there aren’t things about WordPress that irk me, because the lack of customization can be very irksome, but overall I have been happy.
Typepad is the largest paid blogging service out there, but before you roll your eyes and move on, there are several reasons that people are willing to pay to blog there. Typepad enthusiasts swear by its dependability – – it almost never goes down. It has a lot of help files to keep you on track, and real live customer service agents to help you when you get off track. You can easily display advertising on your blog, and integrate easily with 3rd party ecommerce sites like Amazon and Ebay. Typepad has also received a recent boost by becoming integrated with the Apple iPhone. I admit I don’t have personal experience at all with Typepad, so I can’t advise you one way or the other on this one, but if I compare the features, it seems to me that WordPress and Blogger have nearly as much to offer for free.
There are many other platform choices besides the trio listed above, and depending on your blog focus, and what you want to do with it, you might find that they are more applicable to your interests. Other well known blogging platform names include: Moveable Type, TextPattern, Serendipity, LiveJournal, and Drupal.
Whatever platform you decide on, we’d like to help you get started. Blogwritingcourse.com is offering a free blogging course, that you can sign up for today. You will familiarize yourself with what a blog is, and what it takes to start one, how to keep yourself safe in the blogosphere, and what all those weird blogging terms really mean. So take the plunge! Sign up today, and start blogging!