I'm new to blogging, and have only used blogger and wordpress a little bit. What is the best platform to publish my blog on?

6 Answers

Ben Mullard Profile
Ben Mullard , Founder of 24 Beers, answered

I wrote the software for the 24 Beers blog.

When starting a blog you need to think about what you intend to use your blog for.  Things to consider are how much functionality you need, security, whether you want to use the blog to push traffic to another web site, how much control of the software you need.

Both WordPress and Tumblr have great social features that make it easy for your readers to share your posts.  WordPress plugins enable you to add new features to your blog too, although some plugins could cause your blog to load slower.

To limit your exposure to security vulnerabilities, hosting headaches and bandwidth usage you could go with a hosted blog, such as WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, etc.  These all have the benefit of only needing to fill in a form and you're ready to start blogging.  You can also use your own domain name as the URL for your blog, such as "blog.mydomain.com".  The downside is that you cannot give it a URL like "www.mydomain.com/blog" so isn't good if you need to retain any SEO the blog creates within an existing web site.

WordPress have been in the new lately with a huge attack mounted on their web servers.  A company I previously worked with also had their blog server compromised when running WordPress on their own server.

The upside to downloading blog software and running it on your own server is that you have complete control over the software.  WordPress famously only takes 5 minutes to install and configure on your web server.  The benefit of running on your own web server is that you can host your blog under a subdirectory URL, such as "www.mydomain.com/blog", which is great for SEO.

Another option, which is what I've done at 24 Beers, is to write your own blog software.  It's only really a viable option if you have the skills to do it but, if you do, it's not that difficult.  The reason I wrote our own is we some very specific requirements:

  • the blog must be hosted under a subdirectory URL;
  • it must be very fast to load pages;
  • we must be able to integrate it into any of our backend datasources;
  • we must be able to develop new features and make changes very quickly;
  • 99% of the features of blog software aren't needed.
Take a look at what we do on the 24 Beers blog.

3 People thanked the writer.
Dan Banks
Dan Banks commented
Cheers Ben, really informative answer. I'm definitely going to look into other avenues than just signing up for WordPress or blogger now!

I would like to host one myself, but I don't have the skills to build the software (unlike you!), which approach would you recommend? Is the self-hosting version of WordPress good?
Ben Mullard
Ben Mullard commented
Self-hosting is pretty straightforward and the WordPress install really does take only 5 minutes. One thing I would recommend is to remove any plugins that you don't use and only keep those that you do. You can do that through the WordPress admin interface. Also keep on top of any security updates WordPress release.

When it comes to hosting, a whole other world of options opens up. The main choices are a hosted solution, which isn't really any different to having your blog on wordpress.org, a shared host, such as 1&1 where you'll probably just have FTP access to upload your files, or a VPS solution, such as Amazon Web Services.
Dan Banks
Dan Banks commented
Cool, thanks for all the advice!
Paul Airey Profile
Paul Airey answered

I really would recommend your own domain and space.

With a host with simple scripts installer (should only cost you about £3-4 a month) it is a piece of cake to install the wordpress software to start your blog, a nice theme and get used to using the software to blog. Also the advantage of being on your own domain and site is you are in complete control, which you don't get with blogger, Tumblr or the wordpress version of wordpress (does that make sense? It does to me..erm rather than blogging via the wordpress site you have your own but use their software..that's better) is that you can add advertisements. If you get a lot of traffic and get a lot of readers/comments and a good reputation and following then there is some serious money to be made.  My friend actually does it for a living and she does very well.

Some essential plug ins are Aksimet, Yoest SEO, Jetpack, Next Gen Gallery and Next Gen graphs, database optimization and W3 Super Cache (but that's a pain for a complete novice). The rest are just what you fancy really. My site is written using wordpress (think you've probably looked at it) and I use it to build sites for customers as it's probably the best way of content management (although, ironically, it wasn't started to be a CMS, it was supposed to be just for blogging).

Link your wordpress account to your site via wordpress and it's the same as blogging on there, i.e. You still get listed under the subjects if you have submitted your blog to them after you have published it on your own site.

Jetpack will let you publish everything to the social media. Google+ was a pain and I had to add a separate plug in but I noticed Jetpack has been updated a few times recently so I imagine that it's probably one of the share options now.

4 People thanked the writer.
Dan Banks
Dan Banks commented
Thanks Paul, yeah I'm starting to think I may as well get my own domain and hosting. Especially because I find putting .wordpress after anything extremely annoying!
Paul Airey
Paul Airey commented
Good man.
Melinda Moore Profile
Melinda Moore , Long-term blogger, lucky enough to have a fairly large readership, answered

I have always used Blogger to host my main blog, with very few problems over the last five years or so, apart from being hacked once - but even this proved relatively easy to resolve.

The site is fairly intuitive to use, and makes many tasks easy, from adding keywords, to automatically posting to other social media and blogging platforms.

It also makes it very simple to edit and schedule posts, and to add buttons and widgets etc.

Another key factor for serious bloggers to consider is that Blogger remains stable, even when there's suddenly a huge spike in readers trying to access your blog - such as can occur when the media draws public attention to your work, or when it is nominated for a major award.

I've never used WordPress for blogging, as I was put off by many of the WordPress blogs that I looked at when I was first starting out - so my criticisms below may now be out of date.

It may have been coincidence, but the WordPress blogs I looked at contained so many infuriating pop-ups, and other gimmicks, that it made focusing on the content difficult, and I always ended up running out of patience before I'd finished reading the blog post itself.

I also write several blogs which are more heavily focused on visual content than my main blog, (which only features text). For these, I found Posterous to be far and away the best site to use.

Sadly, the company was bought out by Twitter - apparently to be able to make use of the skills of the Posterous developers, rather than to continue running the site - as it was closed at the end of April 2013, much to its users' distress.

I do also use Tumblr, which is becoming ever more popular, but find it confusing and unintuitive, so I don't like it half as much as Posterous, or Blogger, and therefore don't use it as often as I should.

Taking all this into account, I suppose that, in the long-term, the real solution would be for me to employ someone to design and set up my own site, to be a cross between Blogger and Posterous.

Mind you, I'd then need to keep an expert on hand - to make sure the site ran smoothly and didn't crash too often, as I lack the skills to manage that myself...

Nickie Wren Profile
Nickie Wren answered

Great question and some useful answers!  I am an infrequent blogger and used Posterous which I found really easy to use.  When it closed, you could import your Posterous blog into Wordpress which I did to preserve it.

We use Blogger for our work blog but it's not great.  Still, it does a job for now!

Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered

WordPress is the best when it comes to blogging. Here's why:

1. It's beginner friendly

2. It's free

3. It's possible for you to build any kind of blogs and websites with WordPress

4. All blogs and websites that are created with WordPress are automatically mobile-friendly

5. WordPress is a huge community (consists of 100s of millions of people), so if you find yourself in a pickle, there's always a solution that you can find by a simple google search

6. SEO friendly. So don't worry about your blog or website not being listed in major search engines like Google and Bing

7. It's constantly improved. WordPress is updated twice a year to fit user's expectation

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