Got something to write about? Awesome! The Internet has made publishing and sharing your ideas easier than ever, but the sheer number of options for how to set up your blog can leave you with option paralysis.
So, we’ll take some of the guesswork out of it for you with this list of blog platforms, and who they work for. Of course, we have to start with our old favorite…
…which itself has two distant options: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Here’s the short version: WordPress.com blogs and WordPress.org blogs function on the same content management system or CMS. The CMS is the “admin” part of your website, and in WordPress it looks like this:
This CMS can be installed on any server space to create a WordPress.org site. The software itself is free, but you will need to rent hosting space, which can usually be acquired for very reasonable rates.
WordPress.com offers websites that are actually hosted by WordPress, so they are completely free to the users. The downside to a WordPress.com site as opposed to .org is that you can’t customize your theme or add plugins – two of the things that make WordPress so dang cool. Both versions of WordPress can, however, be correlated with a primary domain (i.e. yourdomain.com) but the cost of the domain is not included.
That said, WordPress.com does have lots of highly functional and beautiful themes, so if you find one that exactly meets your needs, you can enjoy the ease of the WordPress CMS without paying a cent. If you want a little more customizing power, it doesn’t get any better or user-friendly than WordPress.org sites.
If you’d go the WordPress.com route, Tumblr might be worth giving a shot, too. Like WordPress.com, Tumblr sites are remotely hosted and totally free. While there are lots of great premium themes, there is also a great library of free themes, so a Tumblr site can be completely free too. The user-interface is dead simple and there’s a built in social network. Basically, Tumblr is awesome for a single thread, regularly updated blog.
That said, Tumblr isn’t great for a multi-page website or a categorized, filterable blog. Consider if you want your blog to be more of a searchable, in-depth website or a stream of consciousness. If it’s the latter, Tumblr could be perfect, especially if you have great photos.
Now if you’re looking for something more text based, you might want to try to get in on…
This one isn’t actually open to the public yet. So, bummer. But Medium promises something interesting: a blogging platform with social media integration that shares the love between everyday bloggers and once-in-a-blue-moon bloggers, just based on what you have to say. That’s totally awesome and perfect for writers who want their words to shine.
Even though it’s not fully open yet, the beta wait time is short so the sooner you sign up, the sooner you’re in!
Oh Blogger, you old so-and-so. I remember the days we… wait. No. Blogger was good to us for a long time – their easy interface made us feel right at home in Internet publishing – but the Internet has moved on. Google hasn’t poured many resources into the Blogger platform and will probably retire it in a few years, if not sooner. Like they did with Reader. And iGoogle, Wave, Buzz, Desktop, Picnik . I guess my point is don’t start with Blogger now. And if you’re already there, start thinking about moving.
Ok, another bummer – this one isn’t open yet either. And worse still, there’s nowhere to even sign up for the beta. All the same, though, doesn’t it look so pretty?