Choosing the Best Blogging Platform for You
Choosing the correct blogging platform is the first technical step in starting your blog, and there are some important things to know before you make your decision.
There are many different blogging platforms out there, but not all are created equally. In May of 2006 Online Journalism Review created a comprehensive blog platform comparison chart. When I began writing this post I tried to find a more recent version of something that resembled their chart. Then I quickly refocused on a core tenant of How-To-Blog.TV and decided to keep this simple.
The most popular blogging platforms are Blogger, WordPress.com, and WordPress.org. These three account for 85% of the blogging platform market. Since I’ve never seen a Super Bowl commercial for blogging platforms, we have to take a leap of faith and assume that they have earned their market share for providing users what they need. There is no platform that is the best blogging platform for everyone, but between the three platforms on this post you will likely be able to find a blogging platform that works for you.
Bloggermarket share: 29% type: hosted blogging platform
Blogger is a hosted platform owned and operated by Google. Google purchased Blogger in 2002.Pros:
Blogger is free, so you don’t have to worry about setting up or paying for your hosting or domain name. It is easy to use and navigate the dashboard of your blog. Cons:
If you do not want to have blogspot in your URL (i.e. http://yourblog.blogspot.com) you need to purchase your own domain name. Blogger does not have the options or features of WordPress.com or WordPress.org. Conclustion:
Blogger is a great product for learning the ropes, but its lack of features and options will leave you wanting more as you become an experienced blogger.
market share: 13% type: hosted blogging platform
WordPress.Com is owned and operated by Automattic. Automattic is a Bay Area company founded by Matt Mullenweg. Matt Mullenweg is the creator of the open source software maintained and offered at WordPress.Org. WordPress.Org is part of an open source software community. Automattic does not own it; yet, their developers heavily contribute to this open source community. WordPress.Com is a commercial website which has free offerings and affordably priced upgrades.
Free and easy to set up, and everything is taken care of: setup, upgrades, spam, backups, security, etc.
They provide 70+ themes, but you can only edit the style.css file, which means you can change colors and sizes, but you are not allowed to customize or hack the php code to customize your layout. You also can’t upload plugins.
Wordpress.com is great for the intermediate blogger, because it has more functionality and design options, yet is also free and removes the burden of you having to set up your own hosting.
market share: 43% type: open source software for self hosted blogs
WordPress is open source software that is freely downloadable at WordPress.Org. The software requires that its owner have a domain name and web hosting. WordPress runs on both Linux and Windows platforms. WordPress comes in two flavors. The most commonly used flavor is the single user version. WordPress MU is a multi-user version that supports large multi-blog installations. WordPress.Com runs on WordPress MU.
You have the option to customize anything, yes anything. The CMS / Blogging Platform is free, but you will need to get hosting and a domain name. You have the ability to run any theme or plugin, and since WordPress is open source, you can even create your own themes and plugins to provide enhanced customization and functionality.
You need to get hosting, which will start off at about $10 dollars a month, and the cost will rise with the amount of traffic your blog attracts. Managing your own WordPress install requires more technical skills to take advantage of the customizable features and you are responsible for backing up, upgrading, and the security of your blog. (Do take advantage of our 10% off GoDaddy Hosting promotion)
WordPress.org is the best option if you want to have complete ownership and control of your blog.
Choosing your blogging platform is the first step to being heard. When deciding on a platform make sure that you are honest with yourself in regards to what you will have time to do and maintain.
If you simply want to write and are not worried as much about the design or functionality of your site then a Blogger or WordPress.com blog will work for you. However, if you want to have a blog with design and functionality that stands out from the rest, then a WordPress.org blog is going to be your choice.
Yes, it can be time consuming and frustrating at times because you have both total control and responsibility, but running your own WordPress install is also the most rewarding of the three choices for the very same reasons: you have complete control to create exactly what you want.