Types of Blog Platforms for Writers: WordPress, Blogger, Typepad

icon-36401_150For writers new to blogging – a “blog” is a pre-made website in a format that is easy to update yourself without hiring a designer. Many blogs have a pre-designed templates called “themes” that allow you to create a customized look with just a few clicks.

Top Blog Services

The following blogs services are the most popular online, in order of easiest to most advanced:

Blogger (free)  http://www.blogger.com/home

Pro: Blogger is the easiest blog service for beginners to get a blog started.  Once you register or sign in with a Google account, Blogger will walk you through the steps to get started, screen-by-screen.  Simply follow the instructions.

Con: A blog using Blogger does not provide you with a true domain name, for example http://www.YourName.com. You will get a Blogger name that looks like http://YourName.blogger.com, but I feel a real domain name is more professional. There is a way around this problem, which is to use a “domain forwarding service” available from domain registrar like GoDaddy.com.

Furthermore, some online professionals feel that Blogger sites look less professional and typically like the site’s created by a beginner. However, for a true beginner I feel it’s a good place to start a blog and learn new skills.

Typepad (free trial and paid)  http://www.typepad.com

Typepad is a private blogging service with a user-friendly service. You may start a Typepad account for free for a single blog.  It’s good for people with beginning to low intermediate technical skills and they provide blog traffic stats and some nice features.

Con: The design themes are attractive, but limited, and a Typepad blog has less flexibility for someone who really wants total control and the skills to DIY their blog.  You will need to use domain name forwarding with Typepad blogs. TypePad isn’t free and requires a monthly payment — however you do not need to buy a hosting plan for your blog– Type pad includes everything you need in one place.

WordPress.com (free and paid) http://www.wordpress.com

Pro: WordPress.com is the free, hosted WordPress blogging service. You can sign up for a WordPress.com blog quickly and select from a wide range of blog theme designs.  A WordPress.com blog is ideal for someone with intermediate technical skills or someone who loves to DIY their own website, but without a monthly hosting fee.

Using a WordPress.com blog will give you good experience with WordPress and flexibility to move to hosted WordPress.org blog in the future for advanced bloggers with complete control over your blog.

Con: A WordPress.com blog will not support many WordPress “plug-ins” – a big feature of WordPress.org blogs. A plug-in is a small application (software) that you can add onto your WordPress blog to perform a specific function, such as playback and distribute a podcast, or automatically block SPAM comments.

Again, as mentioned above, you will need to use a service with domain name forwarding if you want to use your own name .com.

WordPress.org (free) http://www.wordpress.org

Pro: WordPress.org is an open source blog service of choice for professional bloggers.  I use it for all my websites and love all the bells and whistles. WordPress.org blogs do require paying a hosting company every month to “host”—or in other words—store the WordPress blog’s images, audio, video and posts and WordPress program (which itself is free) on a web server. The advantage is that there are thousands of premade themes available as well as thousands of cool plug-ins that do all kinds of tasks specifically for WordPress blogs.

You will also have complete control to set-up the traffic statistics, upload video and audio to your blog, tweak the blog theme and even change the code that runs the blog – if that’s your thing.

Con: The cost to host a WordPress blog is often reasonable (plan on $10 per month or so), however, you need to be willing to take on that cost long term. You will need to set up the web hosting account with your own domain name. Plus you will need to upload and set-up the WordPress.org blog, unless the hosting service you choose will do that for you (many do). You will also need to backup and update the blog files whenever WordPress issues an update of their software.

A beginner can definitely learn to use WordPress.org (the admin dashboard is similar to WordPress.com), but you may need help to set up the blog and maintain it.

Blog Set-Up Tutorials

The most popular blog services have tutorials or walk-throughs to help a beginner get up and running easier. Some fans and professional services also offer written and video tutorials as well.

When it comes to blogging, the main thing is to start, then take baby steps or slowly add to what you know. As you get more comfortable and learn how to use your blog, you WILL be able to focus on creating more posts or adding more features.

 Blogger Tutorials

How to Create a Blog”  — Blogger.com Video

How To Create Websites Using Blogger” — Free Video Course Udemy.com

Tutorial: How to Start a Free Blog at Blogger.com  — About.com Slideshow Tutorial

Typepad Tutorials

Getting started with Typepad “– Help page Typepad.com

WordPress.com Tutorials

Learn WordPress.com” — comprehensive information to use WordPress.com

WP101 – WordPress Tutorial Videos” — WordPress.com and .Org paid video tutorials (some free), very professional, very good

WordPress.org Tutorials

First Steps With WordPress” – WordPress.Org’s Support pages

WordPress Lessons” – WordPress.Org’s comprehensive help pages

WP101 – WordPress Tutorial Videos” — WordPress.com and .Org paid video tutorials (some free), very professional, very good


Questions about Blogs and Blogging? Get answers on the Blogging for Writers Questions and Answers page now! Enter the password — workshop — to gain access.

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