Choosing blogging software is an important decision for anyone looking to start their own blog. Going with a largely popular platform like WordPress is always a safe bet, and there are numerous tutorials and plugins that can make WordPress a great choice.
There are alternatives to WordPress, however, and each blogger should consider their options before choosing a platform. The first step is to determine whether or not you would like to host the blog on your own server.
Using a subscription or hosted platform will house all of the components of your blog on their server, while non-hosted or open source platforms require you to find your own server. There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of software:
If you are unfamiliar with blogging and would like a very simple solution, stick with a hosted platform. They eliminate the need to search for a third-party to host your blog and will generally save you money up front. Hosted software usually has its own limitations, however, especially in terms of HTML, CSS, and archive management. If none of those things matter to you, you are probably better off going with a hosted solution.
With a non-hosted solution, you can have complete control over the backend of your blog along with advanced customization options.However, non-hosted platforms require a third-party server and generally a little better knowledge of CSS and HTML. Some non-hosted software, like WordPress.org, do offer many plug-ins that make their software more user-friendly as well.
Once you have chosen the type of platform you would like, it is important to look at the features offered by each platform.
Are you planning on using all the bells and whistles of blogging like widgets, video, or polls? If so, you should make sure that your blog software supports each feature you would like to use.
Keep in mind that if your blog changes shape and requires a new feature that you did not originally plan for, sometimes it can be quite difficult to switch software.
How important is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) going to be for your blog and what SEO features will you need to reach your intended audience? Here are a few sample features:
RSS feeds and permalinks will let your users more easily follow you
Traffic statistics are great ways to optimize your site and make the most of each post. Linking to other blogs and notifications are great ways to keep track of your blog network and allow you to work with other bloggers more easily
Are you looking for free software to blog on your day off, or is blogging a more serious and monetizable venture? There is plenty of great free software out there, but if you plan on generating revenue and want additional features, paid software may be worth the cost.
Here are some of the most popular solutions for both hosted and non-hosted blogging:
Typepad is the most popular hosted software for top bloggers. It has multiple levels of software (Business Class, Unlimited, and Plus), allowing you to choose a platform that best fits your needs and price range.
WordPress.com is the also widely popular and is a free platform with limited customization. Unfortunately, it does not allow advertisements, which means if you are planning on monetizing your blog, you must find other means to do so.
WordPress.org is the most popular of all blogging software among the top bloggers and for good reason. It uses the same software as WordPress.com but features incredible customization for advanced bloggers.
Movable Type is the second most popular non-hosted platform and supports multiple blogs easily. Its features are not quite as extensive as other platforms but it is still a solid choice.
Check Out Other Blogs
If you follow blogs that contain content similar to what you plan on using, take note of what software they are using.
You can also check out this list of top blogging sites if you would like to take a look at some popular blogs and see what platforms they use. You can usually find out what software a particular blog is using by checking the bottom of the page near the copyright information.
James suggests that readers gain more unbiased and data-drive software comparisons with antivirus and EHR software at FindTheBest.