Today I am starting a month long series on starting a mom blog. I have had many requests on some of the ins and outs, do’s and do not’s as well as a few basic ways to move forward once you have a blog. Today we will focus on your blog platform. Now, I know that this particular segment may bore the snot out of many of you, but we have to start at the beginning. (A very good place to start…sing with me!) Anyway, we need to learn about what kind of platform you want to use. Basically, how to do you choose where to start your blog? Which blog platform is right for you? I am not going to tell you which to choose because it really is personal and each platform has both its own pros and cons. I will just list some of the popular ones and some mom bloggers who use them.
Some of the things you need to consider are your budget, how much of a commitment are you planning on putting into your blog? How personalized do you want it to become? Do you want your own domain name or are you fine with a tag-on platform name? Let’s start with a few of the basic platforms.
One of the easiest platforms that many bloggers start with is Blogger. Blogger hosts your site and let’s you choose from many different templates. It is free to use, the templates are easy to use and the speed of use is relatively quick. The storage space is 300MB. (Pretty great!) Many bloggers start with blogger and enjoy it so much they stay with it. A good example of mom bloggers who use blogger are Baby on Bored and Suburban Turmoil. Both quality and well designed blogs. Both hosted on Blogger. It is the platform I stared with when I first launched my blog.
Another site that can host your blog is WordPress. WordPress is free and has the option of using WordPress hosting or hosting your site elsewhere. WordPress has some great pre-made templates. It also is one of the most configurable platforms out there. WordPress can grow with your needs as your blog grows. Karen Rani of Vodkarella uses (and designs blogs for) WordPress. My own personal blog is also using WordPress. These are two examples of using a platform with our personalized domain name. A few that use the WordPress url tag-on include Fracas and Dixon Seven Family Blog.
Now then, a choice if you want to pay for hosting is Typepad by Six Apart. Typepad has amazing features and is very easy to use. Storage space on Typepad is 100MB. TypePad’s clean design makes it easy to work with, but its it limits its usefulness with it’s inability to create static pages. Pricing on Typepad varies according to your personal blogging needs such as how many authors and how much storage and bandwidth you need. From Typepad’s own page is states:
TypePad is the premier blogging service for professionals, hosting many of the worldâ€™s most popular blogs and small business websites. TypePadâ€™s ease of use enables you to create a blog in minutes.
There are many blogs that are hosted on Typepad. Namely, DotMoms (an amazing site of Mom bloggers) and Silicon Valley Moms. Typepad is also a great platform if you plan on having multiple bloggers writing.
Now that we are into the paid platforms we bring you to the ever popular Movable Type. Many blogs I know of are run on Moveable Type. MT prices range from free for a personal license to $49.95 for a one year support contract. From the Six Apart page it states:
Movable Type is the platform that invented professional-grade blogging, powering the biggest and most successful blogs for pro bloggers, publishers, organizations, enterprises and businesses of any size. As blogging continues to evolve, Movable Type leads the way with reliable service, outstanding performance and continuous innovation.
Also from Six Apart, two more platforms worth looking into are Vox (that has incredible neighborhoods and add-ons that are terrific for new bloggers) and LiveJournal. They are both worth checking out as each has easy and unique features.
Finally, I bring you to Expression Engine. This is a blogging platform that is complete with many bells and whistles. If you need the extras it comes with, it is worth the heftier price than other platforms. The personal platform starts at $99.95 for the license. Recently they have added blog hosting if you are interested in keeping your blog hosted there. One popular mom blog that uses Expression Engine is The Mommy Blog.
Now, for many of you this may have made your eyes gloss over and you banged your head on your keyboard in boredom. However, it is important to choose the right platform. If you are going to be blogging for a while, it is good to choose a platform that will stay with you for the long haul.
I am sure that there are more platforms. Feel free to leave a comment letting me know what is your favorite and why.
Next up in the series: Names–blog names, domain names, and whether or not to use real names or not to use real names.
Jenn Satterwhite is ready to go away and not think about blogging platforms for a while.