There are plenty of great reasons to blog. Whether you want to position yourself as an expert in your field, drive traffic to your website, or eventually generate a flexible side income, blogging has something for you.
The first question people usually run into is a technical one. I ran into it myself. (‘I just wanna write! I don’t want to think about website stuff.’ Yes, I actually said that once. And look at me now!) But even if you don’t turn into a web developer or nerd, you need to set something up so you can blog. The good news is there are some good options, many of which don’t require too much effort.
Option 1: WordPress
WordPress is the biggest blogging software out there. Most everyone I know who is making money at blogging uses this software.
It’s a bit confusing because there are two versions of WordPress. WordPress.com is a free service where you can create an account and start blogging in minutes. Your domain though will be yourthingyoupick.wordpress.com. You also have some restrictions which, quite honestly, you won’t care about when you first start blogging. But when you start having hundreds of posts and start running out of disc space or want to install forum software, WordPress.com will limit you.
WordPress.org is the same software but you install it on your own domain (the site you are on runs on WordPress.org software). Once something is on your own domain, you can totally geek out and install whatever templates and other nerdy stuff you want. Like I said, you don’t care about this when you start but you will care about it if you stick with blogging for awhile.
If you are on the fence, start a free blog at WordPress.com and, if and when you get serious, move the posts to WordPress.org on your own domain. WordPress has export and import tools and the forums will talk you through this. Or you can have a nerd do it for you. In any case, we recommend this to people who are moderately serious about blogging or think they will be someday.
Examples: problogger.net, the blog you are on right now!
Option 2: Blogger
Blogger is owned by Google, which can be attractive in its own way. But everyone I know who’s started with Blogger has eventually got frustrated by lack of features or run out of space. People who immediately come to mind are Give Me Back My Five Bucks and Budgets Are Sexy who started out on Blogger and moved to WordPress (the .org software on their own domains).
A pro for Blogger though is you can log in using your Google account and because of its tie in with Google, some have mentioned search engine benefits. Also it is very easy to set up.
This guy and his commenters love Blogger and seem to have some reasons: http://www.stylifyyourblog.com/2012/04/why-blogger-is-better-than-wordpress.html
Option 3: Tumblr
Out of the three, this is the most ‘out there’ option. Very image driven, this software is mainly used by media companies and 13 year old girls. I saw online someone say Tumblr is like a cross between a blog and a Twitter feed, featuring more frequent shorter updates.
I will say though if you have a photo blog and don’t want a huge array of decisions you need to make about style, etc. as you set up, this is a good option.
Are there more options than this? Of course! Do I want to overwhelm you? No. All the above options are free to start and using them will give you an idea of what you may want so try it out. Because waiting to pick the perfect blogging platform is one more thing that is going to keep you from blogging!
Stay tuned next week for ‘How To Write The First Three Blog Posts’!
For those of you interested in starting a blog or improving the one you have, join us for 30 Days of Blogging. This fun free event is something productive we can all do in March. Sign up here!