February 7, 2012

Blogging Basics – Choosing a blogging platform

When I decided to start a blog, I had no idea where to start, so I researched various blogging platforms to see which one best suited my needs.  Here is a simplified look at three of the most popular blogging platforms.

BlogSpot/Blogger:  Blogger and BlogSpot are both services offered by Google.  BlogSpot is a free domain service provider, whereas Blogger is a free publishing platform.  Blogspot provides a subdomain if you are not using another custom (non-BlogSpot) domain, with the catch that the given subdomain will include a “.blogspot.com” ending, such as “example.blogspot.com”.  BlogSpot/Blogger has a limited amount of themes but it is relatively simple and easy to use when compared to wordpress.org.  You do not need any extra training to use the blogger dashboard, and the options are clear and easy to navigate.  You can monetize on BlogSpot by having AdSense ads placed on your blog. It’s important to note that on this platform, blogs can be deleted without warning.

WordPress.com:  Free publishing platform that anyone can use.  You will have a subdomain like (example.wordpress.com). It is easy to modify and has tons of glossy and professional looking themes and plenty of plugins.   There is no need to back-up your database regularly for safe-keeping.  You will have to pay for a Premium account if you want to monetize on WordPress.com. It’s important to note that blogs on this platform can be deleted without warning.

WordPress.org:  Self hosted publishing platform that allows you to have your own domain name.  You will have to pay for hosting if you want to use this option.  There are a number of very professional looking themes that allow you to have a great look for your site, and an exceptionally wide range of plugins that you can use to specialize the look and feel of your website.  A big reason why I chose WordPress.org, was that I am able to own all my content which isn’t possible on Blogger or WordPress.com.  Finally, on this platform, your blog will never be deleted without warning.

Another reason I chose to use WordPress.org was related to an analogy I read.  The writer compared Blogspot to a neighbourhood in which any resident can walk over to all the other houses and look inside at their leisure. The analagy continued that wordpress.org at least gives the blogger a little more control over who is able to view their site and posts. Having young kids, the ability to control content more closely in Wordpress was really the deciding factor for me because I wanted to protect them as much as possible while blogging. That being said, there is no right answer to the question of which blogging platform is the best. Instead, you have to weigh the options and figure out which platform works best for you.

So epic readers, which blogging platform did you choose to go with and what would you recommend it to others?

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