Tumblr. Blogger. WordPress. Typepad. 25 years ago you would have mistaken these words as new locations in The Empire Strikes Back or some creature out of The Little Shop of Horrors. Well, in 2011, these are actually just a few of the dozens of platforms you can choose to host your blog. We’re here to help you navigate this crowded landscape and help you determine which platform best fits your needs. Here’s a few of the platforms available to bloggers that may fit your small business’s needs.
WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com
To clarify, both platforms are created by the same people. WordPress.org is self-hosted and allows users more creativity and flexibility when choosing themes, adding plug-ins and customizing the blog to his/her interests and audience. For those looking for an easier, less complicated option, setting up a WordPress.com account is a good option. WordPress.com is easier to set-up and automatically upgrades, filters spam and offers users a secure log-in. WordPress.com does not offer users the ability to run a custom theme nor does WordPress.com allow users to install plug-ins.
Bottomline: If you’re creative and wish to customize your blog, and are willing to self-host your blog (a good web host costs between $7 and $12 per month) than WordPress.org is your best option.
For more information on the pros and cons of WordPress.com and .org, check out the WordPress.com support page.
Were you the kid in class who was always doodling while your 7th grade science teacher droned on about the benefits of upwelling for marine life? Then Tumblr may be the right platform for you. Tumblr lets users “effortlessly share anything” and “customize everything.” The reblog button allows users to share ideas, pictures, videos and posts easily and watch as these ideas rapidly spread across thousands of blogs.
On Monday, Ryan kicked off the week with a great post about Tumblr and the questions you should ask yourself before deciding whether Tumblr is right for your small business.
Bottomline: Tumblr is a great alternative to WordPress, especially if you’re looking to share content creatively through video, charts, graphs and images.
Formerly Blogspot, Blogger is the mainstay and old guard of blogs. Think of Blogger as the Chevy pickup: reliable, functional and durable. Blogger has spanned the Internet bubble, the real-estate bubble and the ensuing global economic recession. Although not flashy, Blogger offers those uninterested in aesthetics or customizability with a great platform to blog.
For more information on Blogger, check out Luis Queral’s post last week on Brand-Yourself’s blog, The Blogging Face-Off: Tumblr vs. Blogger.
Bottomline: Blogger is a simple, straightforward platform to distribute your content and a great place to start. With limited customizability and features, this platform does not offer you much room to grow. Many businesses have already made the switch from Blogger to WordPress due to the limited scalability of this platform.
Typepad combines the aesthetic qualities of Tumblr with the reliability and reputation of Blogger. Typepad, launched in 2003, is designed for non-techies. This platform offers users hundreds of customizable designs, social sharing tools and reliable hosting. The catch: Typepad is not a free service. Typepad has a three-tiered pricing system: Plus, Unlimited and Premium, each tier suited for different levels of bloggers. Other platforms charge for add-ons, plug-ins and the ability to customize, whereas Tumblr charges a monthly fee for access to their platform.
Bottomline: WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger are all freemium models. Choose one of these to get your feet wet and if you feel the need to move to Typepad, you will be better able to get your money’s worth after gaining experience on one of the free platforms.
Do you agree with our assessment of these four platforms? Which platforms are you using to host your blog? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below!