The best places to start a BLOG

WordPress.com

Browse at WordPress.com
About:
WordPress.com is a free blog-hosting site with roughly half the features of .org. The general idea here is less maintenance for you, but less control of the blog. Get a .wordpress domain name like “dearblogger.wordpress.com” or pay to use your own domain name. Need a niche? WordPress.com sees 100,000 posts published each day so you’ll surely find like-minded thinkers. Not a full company website but a loyal companion for one. Write posts, try a free theme, set up social media buttons and learn blogging at WordPress.com.

Stats:
  • Recommended for: Mass community blogging
  • Released: November 21, 2005
  • Founder: Matt Mullenweg of Automattic
  • Total users: 56 million blogs
  • Pros: Ease to use with little you can mess up.
  • Cons: Less customization and a bit fussy with adding certain features.
  • Costs: Free, you can pay WordPress.com to get a domain name without the “.wordpress” addition.
  • My verdict: A lovely intro to blogging that about 1 year in takes us all to a crossroads: stay put, or transfer to WordPress.org.
3d-blogger

Blogger

Browse at Blogger.com
About:
Blogger is Google’s free blog-hosting site. More popular at the turn of the millenium, Blogger still offers a great service but the designs are a bit elementary. Login and publish your first post for free with only a Gmail account. Try Adsense “monetization”, design a new layout and even edit your first piece of information.
Stats:
  • Recommended for: Blogging
  • Founded: August 2013, 1999
  • Notable events: Bought by Google in February, 2003
  • Founder: Evan Williams of Pyra Labs
  • Total users:
  • Pros: Publish anywhere, huge community, images, video, edit HTML/CSS, template designer, track traffic stats in Blogger, Adsense at no charge
  • Cons: While Blogger is where many writers (including Dear Blogger) started publishing, it’s designs appear a bit childish today. Google owns your blog – they axed Reader – so acknowledge a bit less control upfront.
  • Costs: Pay $10/year for a domain name without the “.blogspot” extension – otherwise totally free.
  • Future predictions: May merge with Google+.
  • My verdict: Everything blogging should be and more – Blogger was the sandbox for names now headlining in tech. The only real negative comes from outgrowing Blogger, at which point many (like myself) transfer to WordPress. Less popular today – even Google’s PR Mogul Matt Cutts runs a WordPress site.
Tumblr platform

Tumblr

Browse at Tumblr.com
Introduction to Tumblr:
At a time when WordPress and Blogger were neck-and-neck for new users, Tumblr showed up as the 3rd guy to the party. They received lots of sign-ups from users wanting a totally refreshing take on blogging, and have grown ever since. Tumblr was recently bought by Yahoo, who has interesting plans for the whole blog advertising thing.
Stats:
  • Founded: February 2007
  • Founder: David Karp
  • Total users: 152 million
  • Pros: Ease of use and ability to share your friends’ work through re-blogging.
  • Cons: Less customization, just a shade less professional and not ideal for conducting business.
  • Costs: Free, pay Tumblr to get your own domain name without the “.tumblr” addition
  • My verdict: Great for photography and other forms of art. Super-simplistic designs and a whimsical vibe make Tubmlr a great choice for any new blogger.
Squarespace_Logo

SquareSpace

Browse at SquareSpace.com
About:
All over television with beautiful and encouraging ads, SquareSpace offers a nice solution for the business owner in need of a web presence. Get online quickly with a free trial, setup a cool design and start attracting clients – that’s the motto. If a more complex blogging platform were snowboarding, SquareSpace would be skiing, in the pie wedge stance 🙂
Stats:
  • Recommended for: Individual and business blogs and websites
  • Founded: January 2004
  • Founder: Anthony Casalena
  • Total users: ?
  • Pros: Elegant designs setup with a couple of clicks.
  • Cons: Less customization – you’ll pay for things that may come free at a place like WordPress
  • Costs: 14-day free trial with plans from $8 and up afterwards
  • My verdict: Less hands-on than WordPress but arguably better advertising and accessibility – Squarespace gets your business site up quickly. A good quick solution.
google-plus-logo

Google+

Browse at Plus.Google.com
About:
If you need a guide on how to use Google Plus we’ve got you covered, because we’ve been trying to dominate it for a year now. Fun features like the badge make getting followers easier. Google Plus brings you instant community + audience – two things any blogger wants more of. Make sure to share publicly if you want to build any sort of following.
Stats:
  • Recommended for: Social networking (“social layer”)
  • Released: June 28, 2011
  • Founder: Google Developers
  • Total users: 540 million per month
  • Pros: Google circles, photography (1.5 billion uploaded each week), “hangout” feature, multi-language, authorship, can increase a publisher’s search rankings, Gmail integration, chat, mobile chat, mobile publishing,
  • Cons: None, start using it today.
  • Costs: Free
  • My verdict: Absolutely necessary for anyone who wants to be considered an expert in any field. Fun. Challenging. If you’re curious, I’ve also written onhow to master Google Plus over at Social Media Explorer.
wix-logo

Wix

Browse at Wix.com
About:
Wix is a cloub-based web development platform whose brand name stresses originality, simplicity and above all, free. For this reason the platform is popular among musicians, photographers, entrepreneurs and other small business owners who want a quick-fix website on a very low budget. The catch with Wix is the premium features, which of course cost money, which you’ll almost definitely need as you expand your website. The main difference here between a Wix and a WordPress is with Wix you enter for free and pay more as you go, and with WordPress you enter for a cost (domain name and hosting) and afterwards all resources are free.
Stats:
  • Recommended for: Quick fix small-business budget websites
  • Released: 2006
  • Founder: Avishai Abrahami
  • Total users: 57 million
  • Pros: Drag and drop website builder which uses HTML5, little to no coding knowledge necessary, free to get a basic website online, text editor and free fonts, free templates, mobile friendly, login through Facebook or Google + accounts, and more.
  • Cons: Charges for many features one would expect to be free. Difficult to transfer away from.
  • Costs: Premium version of the software and additions, domain names, hosting capability. Unclear exactly how much you might spend but it has been reported to often cost several hundred dollars per year.
  • My verdict: Obviously a very successful company with a wide marketing budget and clean look. But I’d never recommend Wix. There is just no situation I can bring to mind in which I would recommend Wix because of their pricing structure and decreasing market share among respected online brands.
✩ ♨ Alternative Communities ♨ ✩
medium-logo

Medium

Browse at Medium.com
  • Founded: 2012
  • Founder: Evan Williams (Twitter, Blogger) and Biz Stone (Twitter)
  • Total users: ?
  • Pros: Story telling feel, goal to improve content quality
  • Cons: Still low usership
  • Costs: Free
  • My verdict: Probably won’t reach the development status of WordPress.org but definitely chomping at the heels of Blogger, Tumblr and even Twitter as it borrows several of their services, like topic searches and nostalgic photo shares from the founders themselves.
hubpages-logo

Hubpages

Browse at HubPages.com
About:
Hubpages started as an article network, the kind of place where you were rewarded for publishing lots of articles on any one topic like cooking, travel or home-improvement. Today, it boasts millions of informative articles and guides. However, a by-product of mass publishing is slightly lesser quality. You may find articles at Hubpages you’d wonder why anyone would everpublish. Or, you may find the best home for your blogging and writing needs.
Stats:
  • Recommended for: Social networking (“social layer”)
  • Launched: August 6th, 2006
  • Founder: Paul Edmondson
  • Total users: 74,000
  • Pros: Not going out of business soon.
  • Cons: Less ownership of your work.
  • Costs: Free
  • My verdict: A solid place to start writing and learn from other experts. Tightly-knit. Fun for everyone involved.
Joomla_logo

Joomla

Browse at Joomla.com
About:
Joomla is an advanced CMS used by developers to publish some of the websites we visits each day. Written in PHP, it uses many of the same structures as a WordPress site does. For whatever reason, developers have flocked elsewhere, but Joomla remains one of the web’s oldest and savviest places to run a blog or website.
Stats:
  • Recommended for: Content Management, Web Content
  • Released: August 17th, 2005
  • Founders: The Joomla Project
  • Total users: 35 million downloads
  • Pros: over 6000 free extensions, estimated as the second most used content management system (CMS) after WordPress
  • Cons: Smaller community, help out articles you find may be out of date.
  • Costs: ?
  • My verdict: Only really for a Joomla developer or website manager. Not an easy access point for a beginner.
Livejournal-logo

Live Journal

  • Recommended for: Blogging, journaling, writing a diary
  • Founded: April 15th, 1999
  • Founder: Brad Fitzpatrick
  • Total users: 39.6 million accounts, 1.7 million active accounts
  • Pros: friend others to read their entries and leave comments, avatars, user info pages, to-do lists
  • Cons: moved design to Russia in 2009, basic plan users see advertisements
  • Premium features: express lane for quicker load times, call from your phone to a LiveJoural number and post voice recording to your journal
  • Costs: Premium version, not sure of the costs here. Anyone know?
  • My verdict: In mother Russia, blog write on you.
quora_logo

Quora

Browse at Quora.com
  • Recommended for: Question and answer based websites
  • Released: June 21st, 2010
  • Founder: ?
  • Total users: 500,000 reported in 2011, more now.
  • Pros: Collaborative feel and separate blogging platform recently released.
  • Cons: Less costumization.
  • Costs: Free
  • Interesting facts: 30% of Quora users hail from India. Founded by two former Facebook employees.
  • My verdict: If you’re passionate about a topic but don’t have the time to maintain a blog, submitting questions and answers to Quora discussions is a great compromise.
Typepad platform

Typepad

Browse at Typepad.com
  • Founded October 2003:
  • Founder: Say Media
  • Total users: ?
  • Pros: Ease of use
  • Cons: Less costumization
  • Costs: Free
  • My verdict: Just love the news? If so, know that ABC, BBC, CBS, MSNBC and more use Typepad to maintain blogs.
Weebly platform

Weebly

Browse at Weebly.com
  • Founded: 2006
  • Founder: David Rusenko
  • Total users: hosts 15 million websites
  • Pros: Drag and drop feature so easy a monkey could use it.
  • Cons: Less control for the user
  • Costs: ?
  • My verdict: I’ve heard a lot of positive reviews here. For a company owner who needs a website but despises tech, it’s Weebly or Squarespace, and both are sound choices.

Drupal

Browse at Drupal.org
  • Recommended for: Blogging, Content Management, Web Applications
  • Founded: January 2001
  • Founder: Dries Buytaert
  • Total users: 1 million users and 30K developers
  • Pros: 22,900 free add-ons, free and premium themes via the Drupal Theme Garden
  • Cons: Quite involved, not ideal for beginners
  • Costs: ?
  • My verdict: Fun for developers and bloggers with a real interest in building code.

Squidoo

Browse at Squidoo.com
  • Founded: 2005
  • Founder: Seth Godin
  • Total users: 1.5 million
  • Pros: Lenses and points systems to level up are only part of the fun.
  • Cons: Like Hubpages, you might not feel an ownership of your work.
  • Costs: Free
  • My verdict: A classy place to meet others before you get more serious about blogging.
✩ ♨ New Releases ♨ ✩

Postach.io

Browse at Postach.io
  • Recommended for: On-the-go bloggers, note-taking
  • Founded: 2013
  • Founder: Evernote
  • Total users: 20,000
  • Pros: Supports popular comment plugin Disqus, lighter feel, easy to use.
  • Cons: Less costumization
  • Costs: Free
  • My verdict: Too soon to form a verdict here!

Facebook Notes

Browse at Facebook.com/notes
  • Recommended for: Social media integrated blogging
  • Founded: 2013
  • Founder: Facebook Developers
  • Total users: Well, 1.1 billion already on Facebook…
  • Pros: Simple to share images, links and quotes – useful if you’ve got a large, Facebook-centric audience already.
  • Cons: Limited design and that blue Facebook-y feel we all should just escape every now and then.
  • Costs: Free
  • My verdict: Not much different from a Facebook page – I predict this to be a feature Facebook tries, directs advertisers to, then slowly wanders away from.

Svbtle

Browse at Svbtle.com
  • Founded: 2013
  • Founder: Dustin Curtis
  • Total users: ?
  • Pros: New, different; aren’t we all?
  • Cons: Must apply for a membership and no commenting feature as of yet.
  • Costs: Free
  • My verdict: They are a “network of great people who want to make it easier for people to share and discover new ideas”. Excited to see where Svbtle goes in the next few months.
sett-logo

Sett

Browse at Sett.com
  • Founded: Early 2013
  • Founder: Tynan (a blogger) and Todd Iceton
  • Total users: 1,000 – 10,000
  • Pros: Generally bent on community, top navigation bar like Blogger, has a word-matching system that matches similar posts and will recommend users to your posts the moment they sign-up, private discussions, one click subscription system
  • Cons: Premium service that allows for more image hosting (does this mean normal users are limited?)
  • Costs: Free with premium service offered
  • My verdict: I’ve always believed it’s the readers who really grow a blog, not so much the blogger him/herself. 80/20. So I’m excited here. Will they win the battle for 3rd place? Either way, the web is always better with more variety, more options, more places to blog.
ghost-logo

Ghost

Browse at Ghost.org
  • Founded: Early 2013
  • Founder: Ghost Foundation
  • Total users: 10,000 – 50,000
  • Pros: Open-source so once you download it you own it, organized at run by volunteers and non-profits
  • Cons: Any service that charges based on the amount of views you get is a villain in my book or could become one. Don’t limit us, thanks.
  • Costs: Free with premium service offered
  • My verdict: Got to respect their lofty ideas. But, I suspect they are trying to KO WordPress and possibly backed by BlueHost based on their web design, so I oppose 🙂
posthaven-logo

Posthaven

Browse as Posthaven.com
  • Founded: Early 2013
  • Founder: Ghost Foundation
  • Total users: 10,000 – 50,000
  • Pros: Post by email. Oh and “they’ll never get acquired, never shut down” as long as you pay them.
  • Cons: “Simple, easy blogs for $5 a month, forever.”
  • Costs: 5 bucks
  • My verdict: They’re a group of engineers who want to build blogs for us. Love this idea and wish them the best. But as a company you just can’t get ahead in an open environment like blogging by trying to control things, at least not upfront. Their technology might be great and “durable” but most of us will never know, because their marketing is a zero and their homepage design is really weak.

Posterous

Browse at Posterous.com
Unfortunately this site has been deprecated, or slowly removed with no further updates.
✩ ♨ Almost Extinct ♨ ✩

Blog.com

Browse at Blog.com
  • Recommended for: Blogging
  • Founded: 2004
  • Founders: ?
  • Total users: 2 million
  • Pros: Free themes, multi-author blogging, social media widgets, video
  • Cons: Less customization
  • Premium features: Your own domain name, advertising network
  • Costs: ?
  • My verdict: You’d hope a domain name as strong as blog.com would produce a winner…

Zoomshare

Browse at ZoomShare.com
  • Founded: ?
  • Founder: ?
  • Total users: < 50K
  • Pros: Still has a community
  • Cons: Shifting 100% of users to paid version
  • Costs: “As of May 22, 2013 our free website service has been discontinued. If you would like to convert to the paid service click here and upgrade for the low cost of $6.95 a month.”
  • My verdict: Not enough information to form a verdict.

Xanga

Browse at Xanga.com

  • Founded: ?
  • Founder: ?

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