I’ve been looking at my blogging options. There is a lot out there and its hard to make a decision. I’ve found reviews, but everything is always changing and so I have no way of knowing which reviews are still relevant. At least, I have an idea of what types of things are available and so have a better sense of what I’m looking for.
I want to bring my blogging up a notch as part of my wanting to get more focused on my own writing. I want a blog that is hosted by a site like Gaia, but something with more options.
I have a couple particularly important factors. I’m mostly interested in the big players in the field. Since I’m planning to put a lot of time and effort into blogging, I want a stable system with a company that won’t go belly up. There are way too many new companies popping up and not all of them will last.
However, problems can even arise with the big companies. Blogs can get (accidentally?) deleted or frozen, and depending on the customer service it might be a challenge to retrieve your blog. This has happened with some people on Google’s Blogger, but maybe they’ve fixed it by now.
Blogger does seem to be the single most popular blogging site with WordPress in a close second. Blogger is simpler and WordPress is fancier, but both are constantly improving. Yahoo has jumped in with MyBlogLog which looks promising, but I haven’t looked into it very much yet.
All these have definite advantages, but they’re focused just on blogging. Part of me is attracted to white-label networking sites as they balance tons of options with ease of use. Ning is the most popular, and is the only company in this category that I feel sure will continue to exist for many years. The problem with blogging on Ning is that your blog is in a community that you set up. You could make it a more private community, but the main problem is whether the blog is easy to find. For instance, is it picked up by a websearch like any other blog would be? I’d hate to have a blog that was simply hidden away somewhere.
The reason I’m looking at the networking sites is because they allow more complex designs. WordPress does allow more complexity, but the learning curve on WordPress is quite large from what I understand. I want to be able to (easily) set up multiple pages with categories (and possibly sub-categories). I want to be able to have multiple blogs for different topics and maybe pages for longer articles. Ideally, I’d like to even be able to set different accessability for the separate pages… some public, some private, and some viewable only to friends. I don’t know if any blogging site has these functions, and so networking sites may have more of what I’m looking for.
There are many other networking sites that are similar to Ning. Some of them even seem nicer than Ning, but its hard to tell which ones will last. There so much hype and splogging (spam blogging) that its hard to determine what info is reliable. Ning is the only one that gets consistent praise.
I’ve already joined a bunch of these sites. I wanted to explore them for myself, but haven’t yet started blogging on any of them. I was thinking of narrowing my choice down to two or three, and actually start using them. In particular, I wanted to try out maybe Blogger and Ning as they’re two very popular and yet very different platforms.
Anyways, I thought it would be good to keep two blogs going with the same posts. They would act as backups for eachother instead of me saving my blog posts to my computer. I have this fear about blogs. I’d hate to wake up one day and see years of blogging entirely disappeared into the aether.
This continues in Part 2: