So, you’ve decided to join 20 million other people out there and start a blog. Good for you! Where do you start? Well, first things first. You need a publishing platform. Not surprisingly, the choices are endless; so here are the industry big dogs and how they break down.
Movable Type is an open-source blogging and web content management system platform.
Moveable type is free to users again, and involves a fairly simple build and CMS capability. However, the support network for this tool is significantly smaller than other online communities, and it is more difficult to add features to this tool without an advanced knowledge or workability of web development.
LiveJournal is a privately hosted but publicly accessible blogging community.
Ah, LiveJournal – the dinosaur of blogging tools. Interested users can start up a blog for free, paying a little bit extra for a free account (which means: fewer ads). The nice thing about LiveJournal is you have more of a built-in community. You can read all your friend’s updates in one easy swoop. You can join a group and watch your friends-list grow. While the support communities of the other major blog types are great, they don’t innately come with the vibrant communities that LiveJournal does. If you’re starting a blog to be a part of a social network rather than to espouse about specific information, I’d recommend starting here.
Blogger is a privately hosted but publicly accessible blogging platform.
Blogger was purchased by Google in 2003… and it hasn’t really changed much since. What’s going on Google? You are supposed to be the best at EVERYTHING!!! While Blogger is a perfectly acceptable blogging platform, it’s not very flexible when it comes to look and style. Plugins? What’s a plugin? There’s a little bit more of a community in Blogger… but not much.
Either Google has strategically decided that this is a battle they are not going to fight, or they are simply dropping the ball. I’m pretty sure it’s the former for now… because I really do expect more from you, Google. We all do.
WordPress.com is a publicly accessible blogging platform privately hosted by wordpress. com.
Pretty flexible themes. Built-In functionality. WordPress.com is everything you need to get a soli d blog up and running very, very quickly. However, as awesome as wordpress is, it’s not a perfect system. No plugins (security issue) and because it’s hosted on wordpress’s servers, you’re vulnerable if they start trying to charge, tweak the advertisement spaces, etc etc. It’s really just renting vs owning. So if you really want perfection, you only need look a little bit further …
“Wait, I don’t get it. Didn’t you just talk about WordPress?”
Yes Grasshopper. But that was WordPress.com. This is wordpress.org. I understand your confusion. Let me break it down for you.
WordPress.org is a publicly accessible blogging platform privately hosted by YOU. That means ultimate ownership, flexibility limited only by your own skill and imagination, and plugins, plugins, plugins!
It’s owning your house vs renting it. While there are of course pros and cons to that model, we think the pros far outweigh the cons. WordPress.org is by far the best blogging platform out there, because it serves just about every blogging need – from weekly webcomics to photoblogging. When Bicycle Theory creates a blog for a client, wordpress.org is our go-to platform, as it is for many small businesses using their blog as a primary website.
And it’s highly customizable. You can create an out-of-the-box blog without much effort. Or you can work with a designer, as we did with Peace Coffee, to come up with something very strongly branded.
Well, there you have it! The biggest blogging platforms (as we see them) in a nutshell. Moveable type, Livejournal, Blogger, WordPress.com, and WordPress.org (our favorite here at Bicycle Theory.) Any questions?
Jamie Schumacher is Bicycle Theory’s Internet Marketing & Nonprofit Strategist. She’s also our resident blogging expert! To find out more about creating or improving your blog, contact Bicycle Theory!