A blog is an online journal that allows the writer to add more than just text. Video, graphics, and music intermix with entries on just about any topic known to mankind. I must admit I get rather confused with the number of blog options out there on the web. Naturally I’d want the best choice for blogging, and this means to have the features that would work best with what I expect from my blog.
There are many questions to consider before selecting the blog service of choice. The first step is to consider what you want from your blog. Are you wanting to share your words, photos, videos and other mediums to the public? Not all blogs handle media as well as others. Do you want to expand to using a blog to earn money? This is generally done through Google Adsense, and not all blogs are open to this. Are you looking for ease of use and availability of services that integrate with the blog service? And if you do, which services do you need? And what is the purpose of your blog? Do you intend on writing to an audience of friends and family, or do you hope to show off your writing skills and become famous online?
These questions need pondered upon before stepping out into the blogging world. As your writing expands, as more subscribed readers put demands on your skill, you’ll find yourself evolving into an efficient and more refined blogger.
Here are my experiences with a few well known services:
Myspace.com has the incredible community in which you could market and find readers. However, I find myspace also includes many writers who like their ‘eye candy’ and will clog up your page with glittery comments and hope you would do the same. I also found myspace tends to lag even with my cable connection, and I never really found many comments even with having a number of friends on my list. There is no means to back up blog entries, and this includes a limited formatting bar to write your text in. This site, however, allows for some personalization of your profile page, the adding of video and other media, and offers a massive community to which to market to. You must use web site link address to add pictures in your journal entry. In other words; you have to have some sort of photo/video hosting already established in order to link to it.
LiveJournal.com includes some nifty features such as changing avatars for blog entries, as well as being able to add video, graphics, and links easily within the entry form window. There is also archiving, and setting parts of the blog to private should you wish to rant or share information only to a select few. Again I found few comments, and fewer friends to link up up. Its compatible with online word processors however, and is a leading blog on the market. There is the free version which limits graphics, but the monthly fee allows for unlimited use of avatars. If you use a photo service web site, then you don’t need to pay the fees. You simply link instead. (Photobucket.com has its own tab at Livejournal.)
Blogger.com seriously bothers me with the lack of ease in which to back up my blog. Just one account, however, allows for a number of blogs with a single log-in. This also integrates with online word processor services such as Zoho.com or Google documents. Like other blogs you can link video and media, personalize your page, and personalize your page with templates and editing with ease. You can link or upload graphics directly to your posting.
WordPress.com so far has most of the features I am looking for. There’s an instinctive navigation to what you want to compose, edit, and develop your blog. This includes the means to post video and other media, graphics, and personalize the template. Graphics and video need to be linked, as well as uploaded.
All the blogs mentioned above work with Zoho.com and Google Documents so you can use these online word processors to write, edit, and post your entries.
Some factors to consider when choosing your blog is how you intend on marketing, and what you want to add in your entries. Some blogs offer graphic hosting, while others depend on links such as to Flickr or Photobucket. Some link directly to these sites, while others require a ‘direct link’ or HTML cut/paste.
There are numerous blog services out there, but the ones I’ve included here are the ones I’ve also had first-hand experience, and are well known in the blogger world.
A note of mention is Multiply.com. I finally settled on Multiply due to a number of Yahoo 360 members I knew as friends moved there. Like myspace, Multiply includes the spiffy profile page but has the added benefit of showing you exactly who visited your page and what they were looking at. Includes a blog, photo area, link area, and reviews, as well as calendar, and being able to form groups. You can directly upload both video, music, or graphics, or use linking.
Yahoo 360 however is known for the buggy nature of their profiles. Even the hit counter, which calculates only hits- even yours- doesn’t work correctly and too often canot be viewed at all. They also have recently announced an upcoming turn to Mash.com, which I’m not particularly fond of either. The themes and services are simply not the same.
Mash, now known as Yahoo Mash, is too much like facebook or myspace.com with community and social networking. I found it rather annoying how friends can post modules on my account however. You can switch this feature off, but its ‘on’ by default.
It is not unusual to even have more than one blog. I have three; one is for my personal blogging (at Multiply.com) where my audience directs to friends and family, another is this writing blog, and I have another for my PC business which focuses on reviews and tips for computer users. I have even more online journals, but rarely update them. Multily.com allows for cross-posting, which is where you post one entry to two or more blogs at the same time.
I hope this entry provided you some information rather than further confusing the matter of online journaling. Feel free to post your blogs in the comments.