Choosing a Blogging Platform
There are many options for hosting your blog. I’m going to cover the three main options:
Blogger.com: Google’s hosted blogging service
WordPress.com: WordPress has been the starting place for many of the biggest bloggers in the world
Self-Hosted Blogs: This is where most bloggers end up, it may look daunting and scary but I have seen (and helped) many bloggers make the move into completely controlling their blogs
If you write, or review, or take pictures or even just want to expose the crazed ramblings of your warped mind you should have your own space to do it. The best part is that it is very simple and free or cheap.
That is really your first question. Do I want to spend any money on this? It is an important question since it will determine how much control you have over your site and your content. Now don’t get me wrong both WordPress.com and Blogger offer great free services for hosting your blog. Both claim to be ok with adult content (more on that in a bit), both offer custom domain names (for a fee) but there are limits as well. I will now attempt to bullet point the differences (I may even succeed)
Blogger/Blogspot Pros and Cons
- Pro: Will accept adult content (with warning page)
- Con: Will delete or suspend your blog at the first complaint *examples and references available upon request.
- Pro: Free if you use a blogspot domain name and Google ads will appear on your website
- Con: If you decide to buy a domain name they use Godaddy as a domain name provider *Godaddy does not have a terribly good track record and their TOS are very vague on adult content.
- Pro: Part of the Google Cloud and integrates everything into 1 single Google ID, generally a gmail account
- Con: Part of the Google Cloud and integrates everything into 1 single Google ID, generally a gmail account and if they decide to turn it off, they often turn it all off and getting it back is nearly impossible.
- Pro: Part of the Google Ecosystem which means that it is easy to add to Google Analytics
- Con: Can be difficult to add other Analytic packages
- Pro: Built in commenting system
- Con: To avoid excessive spam you generally need users to login to comment
- Pro: Widgets and Gadgets available for additional functionality (Twitter and Facebook connections, subscriptions, RSS Feeds and Etc.)
- Con: Since it is Google Hosted not all scripts widgets or Html code is allowed
- Pro: Many themes and styles available and can be customized to some extent
- Con: Because it is Google Hosted not all code customization will work.
As a final note about Google is that their motivation for offering all of their services is to make you, and your readers part of the Google Empire… and as has been said many time before. If the price is free… you are the product.
WordPress.com Pros and Cons
- Pro: Will accept adult content
- Con: You must register your blog as Adult Content or you will receive a warning
- Pro: Free if you use a WordPress domain name and ads will appear on your website
- Con: If you buy a domain name for your WordPress hosted site it will cost you $24 a year plus an additional $15 a year for Name Privacy. You really really, want Name Privacy. Read BadKitty for more information.
- Pro: Signing up with WordPress.com gives you access to the WordPress.com support pages and WordPress Themes for your blog
- Con: You are limited to WordPress approved themes and some customized code won’t function.
- Pro: WordPress requires a separate sign up that can provide another layer of anonymity since unlike Google they do not require a Real Name for sign up (They do want a first and last name, it just doesn’t have to be real)
- Con: You have to remember a different Username and password because it is not integrated into your gmail.
- Pro: Part of the WordPress Cloud so it is very resistant to downtime and WordPress has a vested interest in your site being up.
- Con: If your site does go down there is no one you can call and find out what is going on. Your support is limited to email or forums. (not that Google is any different)
- Pro: One of the largest blogging systems in the world with lots of built widgets and lots of layouts
- Cons: As with Blogger there are many type of code that will not function and some that are only available as paid extras
- Pro: A kick ass Spam prevention system that allows anonymous comments without burying you in Spammers..
- Con: Sometimes it can be a bit aggressive on filtering comments that it thinks are Spam so you need to look through and make sure nothing important was caught.
My final note on WordPress.com is a semi positive endorsement Molly’s original site ran there for 2 years flawlessly and it wasn’t until we wanted to some very specific plugins that we felt we had to move. It’s not perfect but it is a great place to start.
Pro: Install whatever CMS (Content Management System I.E. WordPress) You want. *except for Blogger, they used to offer the software but stopped long ago
Con: There can be a bit of a learning curve for new bloggers, and it costs money
Pro: Do whatever you want (so long as it is legal in the country you buy hosting in.
Con: You have to learn how to do whatever you want and actually decide what you want to do because you are no longer limited by someone else’s rules, and it costs money
Pro: You can buy your Domain Name and Hosting package from whomever you want
Con: You have to do some research and read their Terms of Service to make sure about their reliability, their reputation and how they feel about Adult Content, and it costs money
Pro: You are completely in charge of your own site, how it looks, how it works, and what it says.
Con: You are completely in charge of your own website so if you break it you (mostly) have to be the one to fix it.
This is the option I will recommend almost everytime, even to a newbie. There is no substitute for being able to have your site just the way you want it. And there is nothing more satisfying than learning how to do it yourself. I know I said over and over during the self-hosting pros and cons that it costs money, but let’s look at how much it really costs.
You must buy a domain name, this can run from as low as $1.29 to as much as $24 the average is about $12 per year.
You really want Domain Privacy to keep your name and address out of publicly available records that service generally runs about $15 per year.
Then you need a hosting package. A web hosting package with unlimited sub domains, add-on domains, unlimited bandwidth and unlimited disk space costs us $7.96 (we run 5 websites on that package), now let’s add all of that up.
Domain Name $12.00
Domain Privacy $15.00
Hosting Package $96.00
Total Costs per Year $123.00
Cost per Day $00.34
I think that 34 cents a day is a very reasonable price for having complete control.
Now of course you can spend more, you can buy a theme, pay for pro features in plugins as well as many other extras. Why you can even pay me to help you set it all up
I hope that this has shown you some of the options available to you for starting your very own blog. The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. Many people (myself included) are happy to help and offer support.
For more useful information and links visit me at Subtle Mark or follow me on twitter @Domsigns