When blogging started, subject experts used to write informative articles or a thoughtful person would write out his rants in the form of a diary. Now blogging has changed. Though there are still people who write articles with unique perspective, many write their life stories and still more use it as a tool to write out micro-thoughts – 140 characters long – called “Tweets”.
For the purpose of this article, let us concentrate on blogs that have well researched articles and thoughtful perspective on various subject matters.
If you wanted to start a blog, you might consider the costs of
- Blog platform – eg. Blogger, WordPress, Typepad etc.
- Web Hosting – for installing the blog platform
- Domain Name Registration – for a unique web address
Most platforms like WordPress.com, Blogger.com etc., offer the platform and hosting for free and you might register your domain name or use a subdomain name with the platform. E.g. yourblogname.wordpress.com or yourblogname.blogspot.com
You should look for the following features in a blog platform:
- Easy installation/set up
- Search Engine Indexing should be quick
- Adaptable to changing needs
- Should support a variety of editing tools
- Offer RSS feeds and syndication
- Tools should be available to measure blog metrics and statistics.
- You can post your article on most blogs just by emailing the article to the blog!
- Some common functionality like comments, rating, workflow, spam protection, captcha etc would be offered.
- Possibility to monetize the blog – offer products to sell or display advertisements, etc.
- Multilingual support
- Multiple blogs and author support
- Social networking and community features
Most popular blog platforms:
1. Blogger.com – Google.com acquired this tool from Pyra Labs in 2003. You can either install the tool onto your hosted environment or use https://accounts.google.com/ServiceLogin?service=blogger to set up the blog. It is popular because it is easy to setup, has umpteen number of add-ons, integrates many of Google’s products like Maps, Calendar, AdSense etc. easily and is extremely search engine friendly.
2. WordPress.com – WordPress is very easy to set up and start a blog but with a huge developer community support, it is fast moving on to be a lightweight CMS. Again, you can either install the tool onto your hosted environment from www.wordpress.org or you can use www.wordpress.com to set up the blog. Installing the tool on your own server means more flexibility and functionality. WordPress.com
3. MovableType.org – MovableType is based on Perl. It offers both open source and professional editions downloadable from its website, www.movabletype.org and offers free hosting on www.movabletype.com for non-profit and educational organizations. Business editions start from $395.95 for 5 authors.
4. Typepad.com – Beautiful templates, user friendly interface and easy to setup. Typepad offers plans starting from $8.95 per month, although if you pay $14.95 per month, you can create unlimited blogs. Website: www.typepad.com
5. LiveJournal.com – LiveJournal was one of the first blogging tools. It has a unique community and social networking features. Check www.livejournal.com. You can create a basic free account but blog without advertisements from $20 per month.