So You Want to Start a Blog? Blogging Platforms - A Simple Review

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If you have ever read anything on starting a blog, you've likely heard of Blogger and Wordpress.  Blogger was one of the first platforms created for the blogging world in the sense we understand it today.  It was also acquired by Google in 2003.  In 2003, Wordpress also began.  The latest statistic is that Wordpress.org runs 30% of the world's websites including big companies like CNN, Fortune, NBC, and TechCrunch.

The primary difference between the Google platforms (Sites and Blogger) versus Wordpress.com and Wordpress.org is according to most bloggers who owns the content.  With the free Google products, even if you own your domain name, they technically own the site and can turn it off at any time.  While this is a totally valid concern, it wasn't one that concerned me too much.  I'm writing about planners, journaling, positivity, and motherhood - what could they possibly not like enough to take down?  Not going to be posting any pictures of LB in the bath tub or anything - we all know if you do that on Facebook now, your account can and likely will be suspended for child porn.  If you didn't know, now you know.

I actually have a wordpress.com blog (https://bellainspiredgrace.wordpress.com) that I started because I'm really Type A and wanted to explore and use every option available to really figure out what I liked.  Don't get too excited - it's a mirror image of my Blogger blog.  The major issue I couldn't get past was the ability to customize with Wordpress.com, in particular, was SOOO limited.  I couldn't use the fonts I wanted and I couldn't monetize.  (That being said, if you look at that blog and see weird things, it's likely a thing I've monetized on blogger that won't transfer over properly.)  I even upgraded the blog in an effort to get around some of that, but it didn't exactly work at planned.  I had to manipulate every post manually to the proper fonts which is annoying to say the least.  Yep, that's right I paid for it and DON'T really use it.


I also fully built a Google Sites website (https://sites.google.com/site/bellainspiredgrace/).  It is very much customizable and you can create load of pages and even a blog, but all of your blog posts will always show on your blog page.  There's no "read more break" to shorten the posts.  There isn't a way I know of that you can limit the number of posts shown and you can't categorize/label/tag.  How can people navigate to your various interests if they can't get to them??  I'd say Google Sites is better for an internal website of sorts kind of like a Sharepoint site.  It's best for sharing information with others not creating a blog.

Then, there's Blogger.  It's free, you can monetize immediately without paying for plug-ins, you can use Google adsense, it is easy to integrate with Google analytics, and you can modify most anything on your blog.  Now granted in order to do more complex modifications, you have to learn some code (HTML/CSS).  This scares most people but it offers a lot of flexibility in terms of adding in tracking, fonts, and other ways to customize. In my opinion, particularly if you are just starting, it is the way to go.  No investment AND ultimate customization.

I also dabbled with a few other platforms: Zoho.com, Bitrix24, Weebly.  You can read more about how Type A I am here.

Then, there's Wordpress.org which according to most is the end all be all of hosting a website.  You own the content, your domain, you're self-hosted, it's jam-packed with features and after all, 30% of companies use it too, but you have to download their software and/or when you buy your domain through Blue Host or Siteground, they give you an interface you can access through any browser.  Up until fairly recently, I only had my work computer.  The idea of downloading WP to it to try and blog didn't seem like a fantastic idea.  Not, that blogging at work via Blogger is fantastic but there's no software at least!  Weird moral justification there I guess.  I think the reason most bloggers suggest WP.org is the kick back they receive for being an affiliate with Blue Host or Siteground, but that's just a guess.  I'm all about affiliate stuff don't get me wrong...

At the end of the day, I still like free best and Blogger gives me that with monetization.

A couple of general tips when starting your blog:


  1. Do NOT buy your domain name first.  I made this mistake especially if you are uncertain on which platform you want to use.  I bought my domain through Google but if I want to transfer to WP.org or something, I could get it for free with a self-hosted blog.
  2. Make sure your blog name, domain, and social media handles are similar.  This is crucial for branding and for people to remember you and tag you.
  3. Put your social media icons and links at the TOP and BOTTOM of your page! So, people can find you everywhere you are and easily!
  4. Get involved with a bloggers group.  The support really helps when you're feeling like why I am doing this? #BloggersUnite 😙



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