Always the first question any aspiring blogger asks, and possibly the most important one of all, after deciding what it is you're going to blog about perhaps (obvs).
Choosing the right platform to blog is essential for your sanity, because whilst you would think they would be pretty similar, they are not. Yes you can create posts, publish posts and be live to the internets using any blog platform but not all are created/set up the same.
I have used four out of the five big blogging platforms, which is crazy especially when you consider I've only been blogging for four years (fickle? me?), but I have reasons for my flighty nature and to be fair me and blogger were in love for three of those four years so I'm not a total blog slut.
I did think that this put me in good position to share my knowledge on what works and for whom.
- use this if you are a complete beginner and want a free, reliable and easy to use platform.
Owned by Google, blogger is really bloody good. Free and really bloody good. You simply can't go wrong with a blogspot blog. It's super easy to set up, it's free (did I mention that), there are loads of templates and designs you can use, it is simply blogging gold. You could be blogging in a matter of minutes, have as many blogs as you like and it's full of useful gadgets and tools to help make blogging easier and more pleasurable. I used blogger for over three years and it never once failed me, fast, reliable and brilliant. I would always recommend this platform for a beginner, heck I recommend blogger to everyone and I'm not even being paid by them to do so, that's how good it is.
- use this if you want to blog for free, however you might need a bit more experience to get the best out of this platform.
Wordpress.com is the free version of wordpress and just like blogger you can set up a blog and starting yakking to the world in minutes. It's great because you have access all all the awesome wordpress functionality but it isn't quite as easy to use as blogger, technical know-how is required, I'm not kidding. A beginner can quite easily make a blogspot blog look pretty awesome, but I always find beginner wordpress.com blogs look like beginner wordpress.com blogs and I think the difficulty in functionality for those not quite in the know (i.e me) is the reason.
- use this is you want your blog to be awesome and you know what you're doing.
This the self-hosted version of wordpress (meaning you buy your own domain and host your blog yourself) and the wonder stuff of all the blogging world. Use this if you know what you want, know what you're doing, want something that will look super slick, super professional and be able to grow as quickly as you like.
However, whilst it is undoubtedly brilliant, it really is, having used .org previously I do know that it takes some getting used to and has quite a steep learning curve. I found blogging with wordpress to be a bit exhausting, insomuch as I had to really think, try and figure stuff out every time I wrote a blog post, which got on my tits. I gave up after a couple of months and went back to blogger, which was a huge relief, my brain stopped hurting - note to all would be bloggers, it should NOT be painful.
That being said I am attracted to wordpress and I wouldn't discount going back there one day.
- use this if you want your blog to be stylish, sleek and totally gorgeous (yes I'm biased).
I use squarespace and I love it. It's not free but the ease of use, the beautiful design and the simplicity of the platform makes up for it. For ease of blogging, squarespace is up there with blogger but much cooler, brighter, better and with a team of super support staff on hand 24/7 to answer any questions you might have (one of the bad things about blogger is the lack of support staff because, um, free!).
There are some limitations; there are only a set amount of templates to choose from and you can only really use squarespace widgets and functionality but to be honest the templates they do have are awesome as are their widgets so you find you don't really mind. Well I don't anyway - do you think my blog looks pretty?
- use this is you're young, hip and want a funky, free blog.
Tumblr is the place to be. It's free, pretty and easy to use. A must for anyone who loves gifs, memes and funny shit. I use tumblr for my daily Love Notes because I like the format, it works really well and the place is chock full of inspirational quote addicts just like me.
- used to be a contender but you don't hear much about it these days.
I can't comment on how great/awful/clunky/brilliant/friendly this platform is because I just don't know. It's the one I haven't used but suffice to say that I don't know of anyone who uses it nowadays. There was a time when lots of big bloggers used typepad including the mega blog A Beautiful Mess (not anymore though), I know it is a paid for service and I know they have a support team on hand like squarespace so I'm sure it must a fairly nice to use.
And that is it, my overview of all the main blogging platforms. In a nutshell I think everyone can design a great blog in blogger and I think most people should. Go forth a blog shiny people, the best platform is free!