The blogging explosion of 2006-2007 saw an estimated 1000+ blogs created every hour, according to some statistics, but experts now say the blogging craze has been replaced by status updates on popular social networks – termed “microblogging” by some. However, many blogs are not only still operating, they are thriving, and if you want to start your own, all it takes is patience, persistence, and the right tools.
There are two, major blogging platforms, and a lot of smaller, lesser known programs, apps, and services. We are going to focus on the most well-known, as they are the most used and most trusted – and both are free. Those two are Blogger and WordPress (WP). Both are easy enough for even a beginner to setup, but both provide a wealth of options for the advanced user.
Blogger, also known as BlogSpot, has been around since the late 1990s and quickly secured its place as one of the best blogging services available. It has since been purchased by Google, but remains a free service. Blogger is very easy to setup and start blogging on – literally all you have to do is sign-up for an account, choose a template and a title, and start writing! You can even start making money from your blog with one click, if you are already a member of Google’s AdWords network.
You probably want a little more customization to your blog, and Blogger allows for that, too. You can find hundreds of templates online that are ready to use the minute you upload them – you can even design your own, simply by dragging and dropping the elements you want to include. Blogger’s Dashboard allows you to make changes to several aspects of your blog, and there are thousands of “gadgets” you can add that do everything from displaying current headlines to providing games for your readers to play. If you know HTML or XML, you can do a lot more, but it is not necessary to start blogging and making money.
The other popular platform is WordPress. WordPress, or WP, is a robust, full-featured platform which is highly customizable, and generally best left to advanced users. While originally a blogging platform, WP has become more of a Content Management Service (CMS) over the last few years, which just means it has more features than the general, and especially beginning, blogger needs.
While explaining how to work WP is outside the scope of this article, setting it up is easy. Most webhosting packages include WordPress support, and many allow you to install it through the control panel simply by pressing a button. Even if your host does not include this feature, you simply download the latest version, then upload it to your website, to install. You can start a free WP blog without a webhost, but the free edition does not allow you to advertise and limits the functionality of some of the features.
While there are many blogging scripts, services, and apps, Blogger/BlogSpot and WordPress are the dominant platforms because they remain easy to use while offering a lot of options.