In the past few years, social networking has started to overshadow traditional blogging. However, some of the most influential websites on the Internet including TechCrunch and Mashable, got their start as a small blogs. Maintaining a blog in addition to your personal Twitter and LinkedIn account can be a low cost way to add a little something extra to your online presence. It can also help to supplement a growing online community, especially if you are looking to extend your following beyond Twitter.
But how is a would-be blogger to choose from such an extensive array of blogging platforms? After eliminate the numerous pay-per-month hosting sites like Squarespace and Typepad, the top three choices for new bloggers are WordPress.com, Blogger and Tumblr. I’ve provided a breakdown of each, including a brief overview, pros and cons.
Powered by: Google
Overview: Blogger is the most common choice for those who are still new to blogging and don’t need a lot of bells and whistles in terms of visual aesthetics. Blogger is extremely easy to use and allows you to post right away with virtually no assembly required.
- Easy to use dashboard interface for posts
- Integrates with Google Friend Connect
- Great for building community among users
- Allows basic template editing
- SEO optimization
- Must have a Gmail account to sign up
- Limited selection of templates and configurations
- Can only import content from other Blogspot blogs
Powered by: WordPress
Overview: While it is not quite as big as the Blogger community, WordPress.com is still fairly stiff competition. It can be a bit more complicated to use at first, but WordPress.com offers tons of theme choices for nearly any type of blog. While Blogger is great for personal posts, WordPress.com is excellent for building blogs about specific topics (i.e. garden, food, parenting etc).
- Gorgeous themes, plenty of selection
- Top posts get featured on WordPress.com homepage
- Related posts show up on other blogs which can help drive traffic
- Photo galleries can be added to individual posts
- Affordable upgrade options like domain mapping
- Import posts from any blogging platform (Blogger, Livejournal, Moveable type)
- Open Source
- No ads allowed
- Theme templates cannot be modified (however, stylesheet CSS editing is available as paid upgrade)
Powered By: Tumblr
Overview: Although Tumblr is still the new kid on the block, they are already boasting an impressive following. Unlike WordPress.com and Blogger, Tumblr is a microblogging service that always you to quickly upload videos, pictures or text. To engage with the site, Tumblr users “follow “one another and reblog posts that they find interesting.
- Undeniably easy to use
- Every theme looks clean, sleek and professional
- Well-liked posts quickly get reblogged throughout the Tumblr community
- Popular among twenty-somethings
- Great if you only plan to post a paragraph or two
- Free domain mapping
- Hard to build community if you don’t have Tumblr contacts
- Commenting features are awkward
- No stats, widgets or Google search optimization
Use Blogger if you….want to write a personal blog, run occasional ads and build a strong community among readers using Google Friend Connect.
Use WordPress.com if you….want a lot of theme options, like to obsess over visitor stats and don’t care about monetizing.
Use Tumblr if you…are on the younger side, have friends who also have Tumblr and are willing to devote lots of time to reblogging.