Blog Software and Platforms
Blog Software? Which One Should I Choose?
One of the most common questions asked by those wanting to start a blog is where should I start and what blog software or platform should I use? Should I use a hosting service, download my own blogging software and host it myself, or do something in between the two?
Well, everybody writes blogs for different reasons, so there is no one software package, hosting site, or platform that is perfect for all bloggers. However, understanding all three types of blogging platforms may help you decide which direction you want to go. That said, the three most common blogging platforms are:
- Blog Hosting Service
- Self-Hosted Blog Software
- Something in Between the Two
Blog Hosting Service
Far and away, this is the most simple and popular type of platform used in blogging. This platform is perfect for beginners who want to get started right away and don’t care too much about all the bells and whistles of blogging. In this platform, you can simply go the blog hosting site, sign up for an account, choose a template, and begin writing.
You don’t need to know HTML, you don’t need to download any software, you don’t need to purchase your own domain, and you obviously don’t need your own server to host the blog on. Some great examples of this type of platform include: TypePad, LiveJournal, ModBlog, Xanga, BlogDrive, and BlogWare. All of these hosting sites will provide you with your own personal domain, and the hosting is done for you. All you need to do is blog away.
Self-Hosted Blog Software
This type of blogging platform is pretty much the opposite of the first. You not only need to download and install software, you also need to find a host and a domain for your blog. This type of platform is for the more technically savvy blogger who wants more control over how his/her blog looks, and what features it includes.
Typically, you will go to a site where you can download the blog software of your choice (some are free), check the requirements of the software, download it, and finally install it on your web host. Also, if you have both a domain and web hosting on hand and are thinking about starting a blog, you‘re all set.
If you don’t have a domain or web host, you will need to purchase them before downloading any software. Many web hosts charge under $20 per month, so it’s not too expensive. A lot of businesses opt to choose this type of platform as they want it to look as professional as possible and have the freedom to customize any part of the blog at any time. Some examples of this type of platform include: WordPress and Movable Type.
Something in Between the Two
As I noted earlier, there is another option that lies somewhere in between the previous two. This type of platform may seem more confusing, but it really isn’t. Blogger.com is the perfect example of this platform. Basically, you can sign up to use Blogger just like you would a regular hosted blog service. However, you have the option of hosting the blog yourself instead of having Blogger host it for you.
Either way, you are using Bloggers' built-in blog software package, but instead of having a domain that looks like this: www.nameofblog.blogspot.com, you can have a domain that looks like this: www.nameofblog.com. This means you can market your own domain name rather than your Blogger domain name, and your readers never have to know that you are even using Blogger.com.
This type of platform is best for those who want some control over domain and hosting, but don’t want to go through the trouble of downloading and installing any blog software. If you want to make the switch, Blogger.com will tell you how to do so. A lot of technical phrases are involved including FTP details (which you will see over and over), but Blogger will guide you through it. Blogger.com is the only website I would use if you want to make the switch.
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