Blog Sites for Starters…
There are a couple of different ways to go about publishing a blog. You can either find a website that will host a blog for you, you can do it yourself by downloading software from a blogging software company and hosting the blog on your own server and domain, or you can do a combination of the two. There are obviously positives and negatives to each, and it’s up to you to decide what is best for you.
One positive note of using hosted blog sites is that it is quick and easy to start, making it perfect for personal use. Also, some are even free so you can literally start blogging without dishing out a penny. However, there are some negatives. With hosted blog sites, you will not have complete control of everything dealing with your blog, and some of the templates are rather amateurish. This is why many businesses use their own software. They want that complete control and professional look and feel. However, these two aspects come with a price and substantial start up time.
Whether you decide to choose from one of the hosted blog sites or your own software, your blog's appearance is dependent on a template that is either provided by the host or in the software package. Hosted blog sites templates are continuously getting more and more professional looking, so I recommend checking them out before you go ahead and purchase any software.
There are hundreds of blog hosting services available on the Internet today, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding one that fits your needs, at least to start off. Perhaps the best part, however, is that many of these blog hosting services are free. On top of that, they are usually extremely easy to use, and allow you to get your blog started right away.
So which one of the hundred should you choose? Well I’ll help you out with that. I have personally tried and used numerous blog sites, and have found these three blog hosts to be the cream of the crop:
Blogger is one the oldest and most widely used blog hosts on the Internet, mainly because it is free and you can literally get “blogging” in less than 10 minutes. And although Blogger is free to use, it has many impressive features. Here are a few that are unique:
This feature allows you to put audio clips of yourself on your blog by simply calling a number provided by Blogger. You can call at any time, leave a message, and it‘s on your blog. How neat is that?
Blogger actually lets you register and use your own domain name while still using all of their features and templates. This means you can market your own domain name rather than your Blogger domain name (www.blogname.blogspot.com), and your readers never have to know that you are even using Blogger.
Blogger has 33 easy to use templates to chose from, many of which are very professional looking.
Google bought Blogger in 2002, and integrated its Adsense program into the blogs. This means you can place google ads on your blog, and receive money whenever someone clicks on an ad. And remember, Blogger is free to use.
On the other side, there are some downfalls of using Blogger. If you want to make any changes to the templates, you need to know some HTML. Also, posts aren’t categorized by topic, only by the month in which they were written. That said, I still believe that no other free blog site compares to Blogger. Furthermore, if you are beginner and want to get into blogging right away, Blogger is perfect for you. For more information, visit Blogger.com.
TypePad differs quite a bit from Blogger. TypePad offers a more upscale and professional feel, and as a result, there is a monthly fee for using the service. However, TypePad offers three different levels of service in an attempt to meet the needs of every user.
TypePad Basic allows only limited design customization, and is pretty much what it says, basic. You can only publish one blog and it costs $4.95 per month or $49.50 per year. It is relatively comparable to the Blogger service, but it does include post categorization.
Plus LevelPro Level
TypePad Plus allows you to create up to three blogs and host them on your very own domains. It costs $8.95 per month or $89.50 per year.
TypePad Pro allows you to host an unlimited amount of blogs using your own domains, and gives you the freedom of creating your own blog design. TypePad Pro is ideal for business blogs and is perfect if you are thinking about running a group blog, as it allows multiple authors to write on the same blog. TypePad Pro costs $14.95 per month or $149.50 per year.
Whatever level you decide to go with, TypePad includes a feature called Typelists. Typelists allows you to build lists of any kind, whether it be a list of your favorite sports team or a collection of your favorite websites. You can get a blog up and running in less than 20 minutes with TypePad, and they do have a 30 day free trial to see if it’s right for you. For more information, visit TypePad.com.
WordPress is much like Blogger in that it is free to use and easy to start. In fact, you can easily get blog sites up and running in less than 20 minutes. Other features include:
This feature makes it extremely easy for others to find posts on specific topics.
The up-to-the-minute stat tracker allows you to see how many people are visiting your blog, where they live, and which posts are the most popular.
WordPress gives you the ability to import blogs that you previously had on Blogger, TypePad, and many other blog hosts.
WordPress also gives you the freedom to have as many blogs as you want, and group blogs are not a problem. Once again, if you are a beginner that wants to focus on a personal blog, WordPress is a great place to start. If you’re looking for a free blog host, you will have a tough time deciding between WordPress and Blogger, but whichever one you choose, you can’t wrong. For more information, visit WordPress.com.
Some of the other more popular blog hosting websites include:
- Movable Type
- Xanga…and the list goes on.
If you have a business blog, additional features may be required to maximize its marketing, public relation, and Search Engine Optimization potential. Follow the link to find out more about what I have to say about Business Blogs.
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