It’s pretty difficult for me to understand why someone wouldn’t want to blog in a ‘serious’ way. I am currently an active blogger, it’s a great ‘job’ and for me everything needs to be ‘perfect’. This is why I am always interested in having a good posting plan, having a unique design, making it look professional, trying to monetize and grow our own community etc.
Still not all people are this dedicated to it. And in the end blogging SHOULD BE FUN. If you’re not interested in becoming the next ‘professional blogger’ on the block, you don’t have to. Just use a free solution and share your ideas.
I am a huge ‘evangelist’ for having your own domain name, hosting, content, since this way you don’t depend on anyone. I don’t host my images on flickr or picassa, I have my own photo albums to show etc. But still you might just want to have your small blog to keep a nice diary and vent. In this case a free blog provider is pretty useful. Most of the people are torn between wordpress.com and blogspot.com
The only ‘pro’ I’d get for this is because it’s google’s platform. Some claim it’s better for SEO, since google might ‘prioritize’ their hosted content before other providers. I don’t know if these claims are verified anyway, so it’s just something I’ve heard from the ‘grapevine’. If you’re already interested in ‘SEO’, maybe it’s a good idea to take your blog seriously and get a domain name and a hosting.
As an avid blogger and reader myself, I don’t find any pleasure in reading / using blogspot hosted blogs. I used it for few weeks, before installing wordpress on my own site. I didn’t enjoy the blogger platform AT ALL, I really dislike 99% of the blogs there. Since they allow ads with no limits, all the spam blogs or content thieves are there. It’s easy to set up a blog and put adsense. I had my content stolen by people who used this service and google wasn’t too fast with blocking their account either, though the blogs had Adsense ads, so someone was actually paying for that crap blog’s advertising.
The comment system is horrible too and most people who use blogspot don’t know how to configure it to make it better.
So, when I see blogspot, I RUN. I made it a personal rule to refuse to read any blog that’s hosted there, no matter how smart the content is.
People don’t like them because of the limits they impose: you cannot edit your theme, you cannot ad advertising. For someone who’s got big plans for their blog, this is not something they’d accept, but, if you just need a nice platform to share your thoughts with no strings attached, then wordpress.com is the place to be. Here are some of the things that should make you consider it for your small online diary:
- spammers are not here. If it’s almost impossible to find a decent blog amongst all the crap on blogspot.com, when it comes to read something decent, the blogs at wordpress.com are outstanding. It was very easy for me to find at least 30 excellent blogs in under one hour to read and communicate with. Since you cannot place ads, the bloggers who use the platform are here to WRITE. And some of them write their socks off.
- the platform itself is amazing. Let’s say MILLIONS of people use wordpress for their sites. Self-hosted blogs, not only the ones who are hosted by wordpress.com. MILLIONS of people love this platform and use it as a blog, photo album, shopping cart, presentation site etc. The sky is the limit. By using the wordpress.com free blog service you’re actually running on the amazing wordpress platform. You’re getting a taste of how it runs and, if you’d want to move to your own hosting and domain name, it’s easy .. you’re already using it.
- moving to your own wordpress installation is easy: exporting / importing content, settings, posting. Not that difficult for someone who’s used the platform. It’s true your wordpress.com hosted blog DOES NOT have all the features wordpress can provide and you cannot access all the settings. But it gives you a really good view on what it does and the learning curve is not as steep as taking a platform from scratch. You are already comfortable posting, editing posts, pages and categories, so you’ll be a rock star the moment you’re on your own.
WordPress.com blogs look way better because people can’t ‘ruin’ themes as they can with blogspot. Not all people are designers, let’s face it. And some have such a bad taste it can reall ruin their chances to attract their readers. You can’t ‘kill’ your design, you can only WRITE. This way you’re focused on your content and chances are you’ll do this amazingly well.
Even if I don’t advocate free solutions like this (I believe the costs for a domain name and a hosting account are SO LOW these days, the investment is worth it), if you really want to have some fun blogging with no strings attached, then wordpress.com is the place to try out.