As I’ve mentioned before, my first exposure to the world of blogging was through Google’s free blog service, Blogger. Sign up was easy, the software was intuitive and super easy to follow. To get a Blogger blog up and running requires no more skill than it takes to send an e-mail and within minutes you can be writing your most intimate thoughts about the day’s trash and uploading pictures of your kitty.
As I learned my way around the blogosphere, I learned that Blogger isn’t the only game in town. There are tons of free blogging services out there like WordPress, Typepad, LiveJournal and many more. It really is easy to get started with a free blog. Blogger is dead easy for the neophyte, while WordPress takes a little bit of getting used to. I’ve never used any of the others, so I can’t really judge them.
What you want to accomplish with your blog should impact your decision on which format to use even in your early days. If you are blogging strictly for personal pleasure and to share with friends and family, then any of the free services will serve you quite nicely.
If you have visions of your blog being a world stage, or promoting your business, or even becoming your business, then you need to put a little more thought into your choice. Search engines do not give much weight to free hosted blogs as compared to those which are hosted privately with their own domain name. What this means is that you might write great content about garden gnomes, but your blog will remain buried deep within the 2 million pages Google has with information on garden gnomes. What does that mean? It means your visitors will range from few to none.
If indeed you have aspirations of growth for your blog, then you need to think about using WordPress. A very large segment of the blogging world works with WP and for good reason. First off, the software is free. Being open source, WP has developed a huge community of bloggers, developers and design types that are more than eager to help the newbie. Want a great looking blog? No problem, there are literally thousands of WP themes that have been developed by enthusiastic WP users who want to get others drinking the same cool aid they are. There are hundreds of great plugins (add ons) that have been developed to help make your blog great. Most of them are free.
At some point, you will need to decide upon and register your own domain name. I’ll attempt to cover domain names in a future post.
Blair Valley Media uses WordPress for all of our blogs. For this reason I’ve started Blogtater on the WP free service. After we get some of the blogging basics out of the way, I’ll be switching over to the blogtater.com domain on it’s own dedicated host.
For now, get registered and start getting familiar with your choice format.