Consider the following two scenarios; you are a regular person who is suddenly interested in blogging and having your own Website but you don’t know where to start or you are an experienced blogger who has been blogging for quite some time but want to change your blogging platform for one reason or another. If the above scenarios seem familiar then I have good news for you. Since the advent of Web 2.0, there has been no shortage of blogging options. In fact, there are so many blogging systems, platforms, software, Websites (call it whatever you like) out there that this article cannot begin to mention them all. However, we have compiled a list of 7 (mostly) free blogging platforms, in no particular order, for you to consider should you be attracted to blogging.
This is arguably the most popular blogging platform out there especially when it comes to self-hosted Websites. However, for those without their own domains, WordPress.com provides a free and open source blogging tool based on PhP and MySQL with several plugins available in its repository. Apart from the availability of plugins, the wide range of themes or templates, widgets and multi-user/multi-blogging functionality are just a few reasons why WordPress is so popular. TIME, CNN, TED, Boing Boing, and TechCrunch are just some of the popular Websites hosted on WordPress.com
Blogger, also known in some quarters as Google’s answer to WordPress.com, is a blog-publishing Website that supports private or multi-user blogging. Blogs hosted on the Google Blogger service are often hosted with a subdomain of blogspot.com. If you decide to use Blogger, you will be able to take advantage of their template designer which will allow you to edit your blog’s appearance. Furthermore, Blogger’s simplicity, integration with Google accounts and ability to set up custom domains are some of the reasons why users may be attracted to it.
Founded in 2003, TypePad is another blogging platform that non-technical users might be comfortable with. TypePad comes with several features including multi-author support, photo albums, technical support, fully customisable themes and mobile blogging. Furthermore, it is available in several countries and languages around the world. Whilst TypePad come in three different subscription levels (Plus, Unlimited and Premium), each package is also available on a 14 day free trial period. Popular TypePad users include ABC, MSNBC, CBC, BBC and Sky News.
With over 4.2 million Websites, WebEden offers users a free Website builder to build their own sites in minutes. While most bloggers, particular newbies may not be worried about having their own domain name, WebEden will provide a unique opportunity to get started and hit the ground running. Similarly, those who are considering progressing to self-hosted blogging could find WebEden useful through WebEden’s Website builder which includes a free domain name, free email, free hosting and a free Google AdWords voucher. Users are also not required to have any technical knowledge of terminologies such as web hosting, ecommerce, ftp, php, and cgi.
Tumblr is another popular (micro)blogging platform. It allows users to post multimedia and other content in a direct and straightforward manner. Extremely easy to use, users with existing domain names can link their Web URL to a Tumblr-hosted blog without any hassle. Perhaps one of the most prominent features of Tumblr is the Dashboard interface in which post content and those of followed blogs are displayed. Furthermore, Tumblr users can not only select from multiple free and premium templates but can also update social-media feeds such as Facebook and Twitter via direct integration.
Funded by Y Combinator, Posterous began in 2008 as a simple blogging platform which allows users to publish blog posts via its rich text editor. Particularly useful in mobile blogging, Posterous was acquired by Twitter in 2012 and will be closing down on 30 April, 2013 following an announcement on its Web site. Current Posterous users can back up and export their contents including photos, videos, and document to other blogging platforms via the following steps:
- Go to http://posterous.com/#backup.
- Click to request a backup of your Space by clicking “Request Backup” next to your Space name.
- When your backup is ready, you’ll receive an email.
- Return to http://posterous.com/#backup to download a .zip file.
Meanwhile, Posterous founders have opened a similar but paid service called Posthaven with a vow never to be acquired. Some of the popular Websites who have used Posterous in the past include MailChimp, TweetDeck and Airbnb.
LiveJournal (LJ) allows users to blog through its free and open source server software. Founded in 1999, LJ also functions as a social-network which displays each user’s recent posts and comment pages on their profile page. Through its popular friends list, a blogger’s most recent blog entries can easily be collected and displayed on his or her friends profile. This makes it possible for users to easily communicate and interact with others. Presently, LJ offers free and paid services.