B is for blogging platforms: the good, the bad and the awesome
Welcome back to part 2 of my Blogging Basics Series! Today I’m going to spend some time on a few different blogging platforms used by bloggers, and the pros and cons of using each platform. Whether you are a current blogger looking to switch platforms or just a beginner looking to start a blog, this article will answer many of your basic questions.
Rather than give you details on each platform – there are over 40 free platforms after all, not to mention countless other paid blogging platforms – I’ll just focus on the ones I’ve a personal experience. Why is it good? Because I used the shittest blogging platforms in my early days, and now I’m on the best, so this will save you precious mental resources.
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Okay, now for the big 3:
By far, the best blogging platform is WordPress.org, which lets you harness the power of WordPress software to build your website and blog. There are features available for WordPress that you won’t find anywhere else.
Good: Great 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: Requires some technical know-how of blogging platforms, and it is NOT free to use. You will need to pay for a domain name and inexpensive monthly hosting. If you pick a crappy host and run into technical issues that you can’t fix on your own, you’re pretty much screwed. I use Bluehost because it works seamlessly with WordPress, and the only issue I’ve had so far is a bit of speed throttling when my traffic is heaviest. They also have good support.
the awesome: If you are a serious blogger, you show potential advertisers that you are in it for the long haul and that you are serious about blogging as a business. You really own your blog and you don’t have to worry about your blog being censored, deleted or removed. Your blog is your own virtual real estate, and that feels really good.
WordPress.com is the second awesome site. You get all the benefits of WordPress software with just a few drawbacks.
Good: FREE blogging platform, and there are tons of cool features and plugins to experiment with. Once you dive into the world of plugins, you’ll never go back. Plus, you can open an account and blog in less than 10 minutes.
The bad: Unless you purchase a domain and yearly domain mapping, you will end up with rather long and ugly URLs. For example, it was mine before: http://amberr-ivyam.wordpress.com (see what I mean, not so pretty and very long). In addition, a bit of technical know-how is required.
The worst: if you decide to violate the WordPress Terms of Service, they can arbitrarily delete your entire blog, and that would be a nightmare, especially if you had been working on this blog for months or even years. Oh, and there are limits to the types of widgets and customization features you can take advantage of. There are pretty strict limitations, actually, and that doesn’t sit well with my inner rebel.
the awesome: Freshly squeezed potential and a HUGE blog network. If you write an amazing article or get lucky, your blog might get featured on the Freshly Pressed page, which will give you a ton of exposure for several days. Plus, at 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 to be too sexy for your shirt or to network with other bloggers. (I’ll give you a hint: very few of you are that sexy).
I will always keep a special fondness for Blogger in my heart, because that’s where I “cut my teeth” on blogging. I wrote about 140 posts with Blogger until I knew it was time to upgrade and move on. Blogger is great for a lot of things, but it’s definitely a cut below WordPress. Also, migrating my blog to WordPress kind of sucked.
Good: Sign up and you can publish a blog post in five minutes. Hosted by Big Daddy Google, you can have all your Google services nicely integrated, and you have some nice themes to choose from.
The bad: Even the best blogger theme will never beat a really good WordPress theme in looks and functionality. Also, blogger blogs are most strongly associated with these quirky mom bloggers, many of whom will blog for coupons for nursing pads and organic diaper rash cream, and call it “income.”
Also, if you choose not to purchase your own domain, you’ll be stuck with an unattractive URL. For example: http://mommybloggerloco.blogspot.com (see what I mean by ugly?)
The worst: If you violate Google’s terms of service, your entire blog may be gone forever. I wouldn’t be too worried about that, though, because I’ve seen some pretty shameless and controversial blogging in the blogosphere, but it’s scary to think about wasting 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 personalize it as much as your heart desires. It’s also easy to add Google Adsense ads (a crappy but viable option to earn some pennies).
This concludes my last segment, which is already longer than expected. Be sure to subscribe to my blog for the rest of the series, and if you missed it, check out A is for (Google) Analytics.
And you? Other than Tumblr, which IS pretty cool for creative media posts, which blogging platform do you prefer? Tell me in the comments!