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.

Pros

  • Easy to get started
  • Huge user community
  • Very active development

Cons

  • 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.

Pros

  • The online help provided is excellent for newbies
  • Extremely customisable
  • You can embed pretty much any code in ¬†your posts

Cons

  • 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

Pros

  • Sophisticated and easy to use editor
  • Plenty of customisation possible

Cons

  • 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.

Pros

  • Very easy to get started
  • Extremely well integrated into other social media services
  • Email posting is excellent

Cons

  • 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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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?