Way to blog

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?

Easy blogging

Two services which aren’t very new, but which I only started using recently, are Tumblr and Posterous. They are basically blogging platforms, but in a different way to, say, WordPress, Blogger or TypePad.

It’s all about how you post to these services.

Posterous, for example, is almost entirely email based. You create your account on the service by sending it an email, and that’s by far the easiest way of posting to it – thought there is a web based interface if you really want one.

It’s brilliant at handling multimedia, especially photos and videos – just attaching one to your email will see it hosted at Posterous and embedded in your blogpost. Including YouTube URLs will embed the video into your post as well – it’s very easy. It’s also very impressive the way Posterous interacts with other social networks, cross posting nicely to Facebook and Twitter, and sending photos to Flickr too.

I use my Posterous as a personal blog, but one to which I post almost exclusively by email, from my iPhone.

Some of the other blogs that use Posterous that I read include:

Tumblr is a blogging system that is probably best described as an online scrapbook. Again, you could use it as a normal text based blog, but Tumblr really comes into its own by acting as a clipping service – you see a link, or a photo, or a video that you like online, and you post it to your Tumblog, perhaps with a bit of commentary added.

I’m using mine to clip videos I find interesting, or will want to save for later viewing. I never bookmark videos in Delicious for some reason, and this will make up for that!

Some other great Tumlr based blogs I follow include:

The key thing about both these services is the easy of use, and the way they speed up posting. I’ve never really kept a personal blog, but by being able to make quick, short posts on my phone, finding the time is a lot easier.

Perhaps if you are finding Twitter’s character limit a bit, well, limiting, but full blown blogging seems a little bit daunting, maybe Posterous or Tumblr can fill that gap for you!



Posterous is the easiest blogging platform in the world to use. No, really.

All you have to do to get started is to send an email to post@posterous.com – no signup needed to begin with. I have given it a go here, and am pretty impressed with the way it handled Gmail’s rich text emails. Attachments like photos are added to your posts, and audio can be played with a flash player that’s automatically embedded when you send an mp3 to Posterous.

Also, if you include a link to, say, a YouTube video, Posterous automatically embeds the video in your blog, rather than just linking to it. Find out more about what Posterous can do.

If you take the time to register with the site, you can add a profile and an avatar, which is quite nice. Posterous is a good alternative to quick blogging tools like Tumblr, for example, and given the ease of use, maybe even Twitter.

The only concern will be around security. The site reckons it can spot spoof email addresses, but there have ben examples already of people posting to other people’s blogs. Hopefully this can be ironed out in the future, because Posterous has real potential, I feel, not least because of it’s reliance on email, which for most people is work, while the web is playing.