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Selecting a blog platform – Part 7: The bottom line

Posted on Aug 19th, 2009 by

Making the choice which blog platform to use? Ask yourself: “Do I want to selfhost my blog or not?”, “What functionality do I want?”, “How important are ease of use and support, design, layout and navigation features and customizability for me?”…

Looking at all of these factors, here are my bottom line recommendations:

Tumblr:

- only for simple blogs or if you want to use it as a scratchpad for your Internet clips (which it does very well)
- limited functionality, few templates and widgets, minimum support and no active user-based discussion forums.
- can’t be used for self-hosted blogs

Blogger:

- Recommended if you want to stick to the “writing” part of blogging, and don’t care too much about layout and navigation.
- OR recommended if you are slightly geeky and want to customize your blog at your free will without much support – other than an active user forum – but also without many technical limitations.
- It has an older user interface, lacks features and does not seems to be a product which evolves anymore.
- Use only if your blog is to be hosted by them.

WordPress.com:

- Highly recommended for the more serious blogger who does not mind his blog to be hosted by WordPress
- easy to use, letting the user concentrate on blogging
- limits what the user can do in customizing posts, widgets and templates
- inability to embed Javascript
- wide range of templates and widgets
- good support through their technical services and the active user community forums
- a small selection of standard templates and widgets
- lack of ability to install plugins

WordPress.org:

- The top blogging platforms using selfhosting
- easy to use both for writing blogs and for its administrative functions
- has features close to what a professional Content Management Systems (CMS) will offer you.
- offers the largest range of widgets, plug-ins and templates any blog platform has.
- Is for free, unless if you want to pay for support on top of the help offered by a very active user community.
- Only to be used if you want to host it on your own (rented) server.

Typepad

- Only offers the option where your blog is hosted by them, but then again, is the top blogging platform offering more features than the others in its class.
- Easily customizable and configurable with a wide range of templates and options.
- Provides more advanced navigation features.

Movable Type:

- a top blogging platform though not evolving as fast as WordPress.org.
- Free unless if you want to pay for support
- To be hosted on your own server.
- Harder to configure and customize than the others, more difficult to use.
- Only recommended for professionals, with high demands.

Comparing blog platforms – further reading

While I mainly based this series on my personal experience and input from Dave (see frame below), I still want to offer a selection of interesting posts which go more in depth of the comparisons and features of the different blog softwares.

Writing this series, I got significant help from Dave Barnhart, who filled in the blanks on Typepad and Movable Type.
Dave is a social media strategy consultant, founder of Business Blogging Pros, and a gourmet chef. He and his firm have been helping companies use social media since 2005.
He blogs at Business Blogging Pros and Fumbling Foodie. Check out some of the blogs he has created.
I also had valuable help from Andy Wibbels, with thanks!




2 Comments to “Selecting a blog platform – Part 7: The bottom line”

  1. Jacob Godwin says:

    I’ve used WordPress.com, Blogger and Movable Type. Of all of them, WordPress is definitely the most fun to use.

    However, there is one benefit to using Blogger than many of the other sites don’t have: They let you earn money from advertising.

    I know this is a non-profit blog, but earning money is one of the reasons I stick with blogger when I want to create a free website.

    But I believe a WordPress.org site hosted on a rented server can be altered to earn an income. Not 100% sure though.

    Nonetheless, very good tips you have here.

  2. admin says:

    @Jacob,

    Thanks for your comments.
    Indeed, WordPress.com (the hosted version of WordPress – on a rented server as you describe it) does not allow advertising.

    WordPress.org (the selfhosted version) allows you to do anything, so do Tumblr, Typepad, Movable Type (and Blogger of course).

    Peter

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