Blogging Platforms: The Good, The Bad, & The Awesome
Today I’m going to spend a little time on a few different blogging platforms used by bloggers, and the pros and cons of using each platform. Whether you’re a current blogger looking to change platforms or simply a newbie looking to start a blog, this post will answer many of your basic questions.
Rather than give you details on every single platform–there are more than 40 free platforms after all, not to mention countless other paid blogging platforms–I’m simply going to focus on the ones I’ve dealt with personally. Why is this good? Because I’ve utilized the crappiest blogging platforms in my earliest days, and now I’m on the best–in regards to ease and efficiency–so this will save you valuable mental resources.
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Alright, now for the big 3:
Hands-down, the very best blogging platform is WordPress.org, which allows you to harness the power of WordPress’ software to build your website and blog. There are feature available for WordPress you won’t find anywhere else.
The Good: Terrific free and premium themes available to increase your blog’s visual appeal, and you have the freedom to do whatever you want–as long as it’s legal–with your blog.
The Bad: Does require some technical know-how of blogging platforms, and it is NOT free to use. You will have to pay for a domain name and inexpensive monthly hosting. If you pick a crappy host and run into technical problems you can’t fix by yourself, you are pretty much screwed. I use and LOVE Bluehost, because it works seamlessly with WordPress, and the only problems I’ve experienced thus far is a bit of speed throttling when my traffic is heaviest. They have excellent customer support, however, and the throttling issues have ceased.
The Awesome: If you’re a serious blogger, you are showing potential advertisers, sponsors, and brands you are in it for the long-term and are serious about blogging as a business. You truly own your blog, and you don’t have to worry about your blog being censored or removed or wiped out with a glitch. Your blog is your own virtual real estate, and that feels pretty damn good.
Second in awesomeness is WordPress.com. You get all the pros of the WordPress software with only a few cons.
The Good: FREE blogging platform, and there are tons of great features and plugins to experiment with. Once you delve into the world of plugins, you will never go back. Plus, you can open an account and be blogging in less than 10 minutes.
The Bad: Unless you purchase a domain and yearly domain mapping , you get stuck with rather lengthy, ugly URL’s. For example, this was mine previously: http://amberr-ivyam.wordpress.com (see what I mean, not pretty andtoo long). Also, a little bit of technical know-how is needed to maneuver this blogging platform.
The Worst: If you decide to violate WordPress Terms of Service, they can arbitrarily remove your entire blog, and that would be a nightmare, especially if you had worked on your blog for months or years. Oh, and there are limits to the types of widgets and customization you can do. There are pretty strict limitations, actually, and this does not appeal to my inner rebel.
The Awesome: Freshly Pressed potential and a HUGE blogging network. If you write an amazing post or pretty much just get lucky, your blog might be featured on the Freshly Pressed page, which will give you a ton of exposure for several days. Plus, on WordPress.com, you can network with 40 million other bloggers. As you may or may not know, the only way to be a successful blogger is by being too sexy for your shirt, or by networking with other bloggers. (I’ll give you a hint: very few of you are that sexy).
I will always hold some fondness in my heart for Blogger, because that was where I “cut my teeth” on blogging. I wrote roughly 140 posts with Blogger until I “grew up” and felt the pull to upgrade and cut the apron strings. Blogger is great for many things, but it is without doubt several steps lower than WordPress.com. Plus, migrating my blog to WordPress kinda sucked horribly.
The Good: Sign up and you can have a blog post up in literally five minutes. Hosted by Big Daddy Google, you can have all your Google services nicely integrated, and there are some pretty decent free themes to choose from.
The Bad: Even the very best blogger theme will never trump a really good WordPress theme in terms of look and functionality. Also, blogger blogs are most heavily associated with those quirky mommy bloggers, many of whom will blog for breast pad coupons and organic diaper rash creme, and call it “income”. Not every mom or mommy blogger fits into this box, so put the pitchforks and torches away and relax…
Anyhoo, I digress. If you opt to not purchase your own domain on Blogspot for $10 a year, you’re stuck with an unattractive, long URL. For example: http://locamommyblogger.blogspot.com (hideous, right?)
The Worst: If you violate Google’s Terms of Service, your whole blog can disappear forever. I wouldn’t be overly concerned about this for the most part, because I’ve seen some pretty shameless, raunchy blogs in the blogosphere, but it is way scary to think of losing months or years of hard work.
The Awesome: You can do whatever you want in terms of adding badges, widgets, etc. to your Blogger blog, and customize it to your little heart’s desire. It’s also easy to add Google Adsense or other ads, too.
This wraps up the blogging platform segment, but I hope I’ve provided some help for some beginning bloggers out there. If you currently have a blog, which platform do you use and what do you love/hate about it? Share it in the comments!
Please share this post with others who might need help choosing a blogging platform. Thank you!
Another helpful blogging post? A is for (Google) Analytics.
One other quick thing: I do recommend having a Tumblr, which IS pretty cool for creative media posts and other fun things.
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