Have you ever wanted to start a blog but wasn’t sure where to begin? Well, look no further! Here is Hi-Tech Family’s review of the following blogging services.
- Self Hosted
Before we begin let’s tackle some popular misconceptions about blogging:
“Nobody will read my blog!?!” – If you share it social media and can write well enough, someone will read it.
“I’m not that great with technology” – You don’t need to be! Blogging is simple, especially if you can find a system that works for you!
“Can I make money off of blogging” – Yes, but it will take time to build a fan base and a captivated audience.
“Where do I begin?” – Keep on reading and you’ll be just fine 🙂
Let me start by explaining WordPress. WordPress is a content management system (or CMS for short). A CMS does exactly what is specifies. It manages content whether that is media, text or any other web based content. WordPress was created in 2005 specifically for blogging. Since then it has expanded and has become a majority of the web. More than 19% of all websites currently use WordPress. It is quite popular.
There are 2 flavors of WordPress, .Com and .org. WordPress.com is a for profit extension of the popular CMS. It is based completely on their own servers. They offer a free flavor of WordPress.com, the kicker is that it is yourdomain.wordpress.com. I’m sure that you have seen it before. WordPress.org is completely free but independent of WordPress.com. It is open source and can be ran on your own server.
Breaking it down:
- Free edition (yourdomain.wordpress.com)
- No Ads allowed on the site
- No Custom Themes
- No Unauthorized plugins
- Completely Free
- Host it yourself
- If you mess it up, you have to fix it.
- Customizable (Edit coding, change things)
Both have their pros and cons but ultimately WordPress is amazing. It is simple enough, yet advance enough.
Personal Note: I tested out Blogger and a couple of others but ultimately I fell in love with WordPress. WordPress.com offered the customization until I could expand into WordPress.org. The importer tools make is easy to transfer your WordPress database. WordPress.com is incredibly affordable for people that want to dabble in blogging, while offering the power and the tools of a full installation of WordPress.org.
Blogger was created back in 1999. Blogger offers a free yourdomain.blogspot.com. It offers an easy to use interface and customizable website. Blogger offers:
- Adsense integration. Integrate your blog with Adsense to make some extra money.
- PreBuilt Themes
- Easy to use interface
Personal Note: I have used Blogger before but found that it didn’t offer the customization that I was looking for. For a future blogger it may work well for you. The Google integration makes it simple to setup and easy to use.
Tumblr was big with my generation (17-24 year olds). Similar to Blogger, Tumblr is specifically built as a blogging website. It offers:
- Custom Domain Integration
- Easy to Use Interface
I have heard of people both loving and completely hating Tumblr. I have never used it personally so unfortunately I have no great insight on it.
Personal Note: I have used Tumblr but didn’t care for it. I felt that my blog was lost in the jumble of anime and fan fiction. It also lacks the umph that I was looking for. Don’t discredit it though. It is super popular and it may work just fine for you!
4) Self Hosted
10 years ago this would be a computer in your basement with a CMS on it but in this day and age security should be taken very seriously. Instead you can use a service like HostGator, GoDaddy or another of the hundreds of sites out there. This choices offers:
- Install your own CMS
- Fully Customizable
- Usually includes @yourdomain email accounts
- It costs. It costs more than a WordPress.com personal plan.
Personal Note: This website and many of my others are self hosted. As a tech guru I know my way around self hosting but for a tech novice this is not a recommended option.
Ultimately I can’t make the choice for you. I would encourage you to try out each of these blogging services and see what you think. Spend a couple hours with each one and decide on which one is the easiest to navigate.