Blogging Technology: Writing

Some hints on options for writing blogs, it follows on from 42: Blogging Technology: Reading.

This post is the result of a conversation during the UK Methodist Bloggers Meeting help 4 & 5 January 2008.

If your technical ability is such that you have considered writing your own blog application then this is not going to be very helpful.

Like my review of reading blogs this is going to be simplistic, there are many other possibilities beyond the limited options I am going to suggest.

I am grouping the options under three headings.

Free Hosted

By this I mean your blog does not cost you anything and it runs within a web application hosted by the provider. So you interact with it using your web browser using some blog administration pages. The two best known options for this are Blogger (part of google) and WordPress.com

Both these will work well and are used by millions of bloggers. There are limitations of course in terms of flexibility and power but they are still deservedly popular. If nothing else the price and lack of technical knowledge required make these very attractive options to start your blog.

Paid Hosted

The service I use (typepad) falls into this category. You gain some extra features and power and the ability to customise your blog rather more. For example you can use your own domain name as I do (blogger does also support this, obviously at that point it is not free and is a competitor to typepad). You can be certain that you can have an ad free blog with no visible branding from the service provider. Cost is between $5 and $30 per month (plus your domain registration costs).

I have been happy with this option for 42 since August 2003.

Self Hosted

This option may use free software, however, it is unlikely to be free as you are going to need web site hosting. It is unlikely that any free hosting will be sufficient (if only because you will want control over the domain name). It seems to be that by far the most popular software for this option is WordPress (yes essentially the same as used at wordpress.com) although there are thousand’s of alternatives.

This is more work to setup and manage but you get unrivalled control, the ability to connect seamlessly into other parts of your website and limitless options for customisation. I have considered this option for 42 a number of times, however, not actually ever made the jump. I have used it for other blogs and been happy with the results.

Conclusion

All these host good blogs and there are an infinite number of other options. Hopefully this gives a useful summary, but use the comments to provide more info or request more detail and it should gradually expand to be more comprehensive.

7 thoughts on “Blogging Technology: Writing

  1. Will Grady

    Thanks for the post. I need to make a decision on what I am going to do, i.e., continuing to use iWeb (hoping that Apple will fix what I don’t like) or moving to an online service. Anyway, we’ll see!

    Reply
  2. Peter Kirk

    It is worth noting that self-hosted WordPress has much more flexibility than the free hosted version at wordpress.com. I use the former because I already have my own hosting and domain name.

    Reply
  3. John

    After working with WordPress on Neatorama and the Methoblog, I am underwhelmed by that unreliable beast. The lack of picture hosting alone should dissuade its usage.
    I wish I had gone with TypePad to begin with, although I’m pleased enough with Blogger.

    Reply
  4. Peter Kirk

    Lack of picture hosting in WordPress? What are you talking about, John? Perhaps only about the free hosted version. You can’t expect too much for free. Your comparison with the paid hosted TypePad is comparing apples with oranges. If you host WordPress yourself, you can host as many pictures as you like (it’s your own site!), and you can add so many add-ins that you will be overwhelmed rather than underwhelmed.

    Reply
  5. Pushchair Girl

    I have word / office 2007 installed on my computer and some how you can setup MS Word 2007 so post to your blog for you.
    Chances are, and given experiences with word and HTML, it will no doubt mess up your layout and be more trouble than its worth.

    Reply
  6. Dave Warnock

    Pushchair Girl,
    Personally I think that using M$ Word to publish to a blog is not a good solution. There are likely to be formatting problems and you are probably end up using different software to compose and the edit posts.
    Also most of my posts start with quoting a web page which will be more hassle in word.
    Oh and finally, I run Linux so word is not available (thank goodness) :-)

    Reply

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