There are a number of great options available now to start your own blog, for free, with just a few clicks of a mouse button. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses and here I run through five of the best ones.
WordPress is my personal blog tool of choice – I’ve been using it since 2005 and I’ve grown to love it. The free, hosted version at WordPress.com is great – easy to use with a whole host of features.
- Easy to get started
- Huge user community
- Very active development
- Feature-rich, or feature-bloated? For newbies there is a lot to learn
- Doesn’t do email posting as well as some of the competition
- Limited in terms of rich media embedding
- Theme customisation costs money and is limited
Blogger is pretty much the granddaddy of blogging platforms – it recently celebrated its tenth birthday. Interestingly, it was originally developed by Pyra Labs before Google bought it. People at Pyra later went on to develop Twitter.
Blogger was left on the shelf by Google for a long time, but just recently seems to be sparking back into life, which is good to see.
- The online help provided is excellent for newbies
- Extremely customisable
- You can embed pretty much any code in your posts
- Beige colour scheme for the editor looks hideous
- No static pages I stand corrected in the comments – Blogger does do static pages these days
TypePad launched in 2003 so has been around for quite a while, and is a mature and stable product. Like WordPress.com, it is based on an open source platform, Moveable Type. For a long time it was often the case that enthusiasts used Blogger and professionals used TypePad, but since WordPress came along that’s no longer really the case.
TypePad does cost money, though comes with a
- Sophisticated and easy to use editor
- Plenty of customisation possible
- It costs money, unless you go for the stripped down Micro version
Posterous is the newest service mentioned here, and it is making quite a splash for two main reasons: the ease of getting started with it (by simply sending in an email, you publish your first post) and the neat ways it integrates with other services.
- Very easy to get started
- Extremely well integrated into other social media services
- Email posting is excellent
- Not many options for customising the look and feel
- Very much built with posting by email in mind – web editor not the best
Tumblr is a blogging system which focuses on making it easy to share content you find on the internet, adding your own comments as you go.
- Super easy to post to, with a simple editor and templates to use depending on what media you are posting
- Some nice themes and designs to choose from, which you can customise
- Lightweight in terms of features – adding things like comments, tag clouds etc takes some hacking
- Obviously set up as a scrap-booking style of blogging, not really suited to longer written pieces
Which blogging service do you recommend?
13 thoughts on “Way to blog”
That’s a pretty good summary of the free blogs out there, and should give non-web savvy people a clear idea of their options. WordPress really has emerged as “the daddy” of the blogs now. I can’t remember where I read it, but WordPress is powering something like 8% of the sites on the internet now!
Tumblr is definitely dominating the micro-blogging world now too. For the casual, informal blogging it is easily the best option. Their system is really well designed, and it’s simplicity is probably why is it the leading micro-blog, and leading the way. Posterous has more features, but they are not necessarily features that the casual blogger needs.
Just a comment on blogger, it does now have static pages
I’m new to blogging and I’m using Posterous because you don’t need anyone’s help in getting it set up & you can email posts or photos from anywhere – so as long as you aren’t overly precious about look & feel, it’s very very easy.
Another thing I forgot to mention in my previous comment is that if you choose to use Posterous, there is a way you can set that up to automatically update various other social media blogs all at once! So, from sending one email to your firstname.lastname@example.org… you could update your flickr, tumblr, wordpress, blogger, twitter and youtube (and a few more I think)! For someone looking to manage a social media campaign it could be considered a pretty efficient way to keep your channels updated on the fly!
On the Web Design scene, a lot of the top niche industry Designers are actually starting to dabble in Tumblr theme design. A few of these celeb Designers have started to use Tumblr for their personal blogs, and have sparked a lot more interest in theme design for Tumblr. So this time next year there could be an abundance of new Tumblr themes, ultimately benefiting the users out there!
P.S. It may be evident now I spend too much time online. 😐
I am a big fan of posterous for small business bloggers. It’s very easy to set up, totally easy to learn and the photo display/slide show feature is beautiful.
I’ve got blogs on all the free platforms, and they each have strengths when you know what you’re doing – but posterous is definitely the easiest.