With the wide variety of blogging platforms to choose from and the numerous user-friendly add-ons available, it’s easy for anyone to start their own blog without making a big time commitment or forking over any money. The hardest part is picking out which platform works best for your needs, which has been simplified below by showing each blogging platform’s customization, social media, monetization, and security features.
Blogger.com is run by Google and is extremely simple to use. Just go to Blogger.com and sign in with your Google account if you already have one, or make a Google account for free. A bonus to having this Google account is signing into Blogger.com automatically signs you into Gmail.com and visa versa.
After you’ve signed up for your blog, you can start customizing the look of your pages by picking from one of the templates Blogger offers. Keep in mind if you don’t find a template design to your liking, there are numerous websites with free templates available, or you can custom build one of your own.
Blogger offers some great add-ons such as Twitter and Facebook to link people to your existing profile pages. You can also monetize your site by selecting the Google AdSense add-on. This allows you to earn some cash each time someone clicks on an ad displayed on your blog. The Amazon Affiliates add-on is another monetization option, allowing you to receive a percentage of the sales made at Amazon.com that were brought to their store from your blog.
Privacy is a concern for many bloggers, and Blogger.com has numerous features in place to make you feel safe and comfortable with the content you share. You can set your blog to private so that nobody else can view it, make it so that only other Blogger members can visit, or open it completely to the public. The level of privacy is customizable not only for the blog page itself, but for the comments you receive on your posts. You can choose open comments, members only, or none at all. This easily gives bloggers the amount of privacy they want.
WordPress.com, not to be confused with WordPress.org, is a free blog platform like Blogger.com. Simply create your WordPress.com account with your email address and you’re ready to start customizing your blog.
There are over one hundred WordPress themes for bloggers to choose from to give your blog the exact feel you’re going for. From professional, to artistic, or something in between, you won’t be limited in your creativity. If for some reason there still isn’t a perfect blog theme available, you can always choose from any of the free or paid themes offered online outside of WordPress.com’s offerings.
You can easily add Twitter and Facebook buttons to your sidebar to allow your blog readers to follow you on your social media pages as well. These WordPress widgets are easily dragged and dropped to where you want them to appear on your blog page. Your followers won’t have any trouble connecting with you on multiple sites.
One key difference between Blogger.com and WordPress.com is the ability to monetize your blog. WordPress.com does not allow bloggers to run Google AdSense on their blogs unless their blogs receive a certain amount of traffic. Once a blogger reaches 25,000 page views per month, a form can be sent to WordPress requesting the ability to monetize. The other catch is that when you do get approved to run Google AdSense on your blog, you have to split your earnings 50/50 with WordPress.com.
As with Blogger, WordPress.com offers varying levels of security for their users. You can make your blog private, open to members only, or for anyone to view. Also, you can change the security settings for individual posts, allowing some to be public, while others remain hidden for your eyes only.
LiveJournal.com is another free blogging site that will have you blogging in minutes. Simply create an account with your email address and start customizing your blog. You can customize your LiveJournal blog by choosing a different scheme than the default Horizon scheme. Many other layouts are available outside of the LiveJournal.com website if you can’t find one from their selection.
Another way to customize your blog is to add “Follow Me” buttons from Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites. You can even log in to your LiveJournal account with your Twitter or Facebook account information by clicking on the appropriate icon. You don’t have to juggle multiple passwords and login names if you don’t want to.
Just like with WordPress.com, LiveJournal.com does not allow its basic users to monetize their blog. Only permanent or paid level members can use Google AdSense to make money. While you have to pay to upgrade your account from the basic level, you do not have to split any of your Google AdSense revenue with LiveJournal.com.
LiveJournal does allow different levels of privacy for your blog. Public, friends-only, private, and custom are the four different security levels offered. Whether you want the whole world to see your blog, or just a handful of selected individuals, LiveJournal.com is extremely flexible when it comes to security options.
While LiveJournal.com does offer a paid upgrade, most bloggers won’t need the extra bells and whistles that the upgrade package offers. Text messaging, imbedding your LiveJournal blog into your website’s homepage, and purchasing additional userpics are just a few of the bonuses of upgrading to the paid account. Unless you want the ability to monetize your site with Google AdSense, the free version of LiveJournal works perfectly well for those bloggers just starting out or wanting to keep their blog simple.
Blogger.com, WordPress.com, and LiveJournal.com are all excellent blog sites for new and experienced bloggers alike to share their stories, pictures, and videos with the world. If you’re still undecided, simply visit these blogging sites and give them a try to see with user interface you like best. Your blog is just a few clicks away!
If you want to know more about WordPress, WordPress.com and WordPress.org check this article.