January 12, 2014

Which is the best free blogging platform?

Updated in May 2017
This is the second post in the 2-post series on blogging platforms. The first post was on the available free and paid CMS and blogging services.

We'd compare here the most well-known free platforms - Blogger, Wordpress, Tumblr and Livejournal.

Common features of free blogging platforms

  • Free account and free blog(s). You don't have to pay to host and publish the blog.
  • Limits on technological support beyond the offer [unless you go for premium services if available].
  • Themes available to suit different genres and for varied looks and feel.
  • Editing of content, sprucing it up, posting graphic content possible. Sprucing up is possible by  choosing different options of fonts, colors, backgrounds, widgets, etc.
  • No or limited facility to control the base code.
  • You need not know html and other web technologies to change design, layout and presentation of the blog.

Blogger
  • Many themes available.
  • You can change code if you so like, to a good  extent.
  • Versatile post editor.
  • You can modify a page's / post's URL [to some extent].
  • You can put advertisements.
  • Solid Google support and seccurity behind it. New features added regularly.
  • Integrates with other Google apps such as Google+ and Picasaweb.
  • Integrates with Google Analytics.
  • It has inbuilt social networking aids.
  • You can do a lot of experimentation with colors and widgets. [It may make your blog beautiful but it can make it look childish too, depending upon your sense of design.]
  • It is possible to map your own domain [e.g indiantopblogs.com] with the free blog [indiantopblogs.blogspot.com]. This mapping or redirection is free.
  • It is easy to have widgets. Google calls them Gadgets.
  • You can have multiple authors for the same blog.
  • You can make the blog password protected or private. 
  • Each post can have its own meta description and privacy control.
  • Provided with https security.
  • You can monetize the blog through AdSense and other PPC ads. All types of ads are possible through widgets.

Wordpress
  • Numerous themes available.
  • Most themes give modern and clean look and feel. [Some themes allow customization but you cannot do too much experimentation with color, design.]
  • Very little change in code of the blog is possible in free plan.
  • It is easy to have plugins and widgets. Javascript widgets are not allowed.
  • Reliable Worpress support and backing.
  • It has inbuilt social networking aids.
  • Premium plans available.
  • Good post editor but you can only add photos, not videos in the free version.
  • It is possible to map your own domain [e.g indiantopblogs.com] with the free blog [indiantopblogs.wordpress.com] but at a payment.
  • You can have multiple authors for the same blog.
  • Provided with https security.
  • You can make blog as well as individual posts private or password protected.
  • No monetization possible through AdSense and other such methods.

Tumblr
  • Focuses on sharing content. You can decide to keep your identity anonymous while sharing.
  • You can publish text, photos etc on the fly and share them.
  • You can reblog a blog post on another blog. In fact this is how Tumblr bloggers mostly operate.
  • Posts come out clean, focusing only on content [rather than widgets, advts etc].
  • Has some themes and allows some customization, but not as versatile as Wordpress and Blogger.
 
Livejournal
  • Its strength is its communities and a highly social ecosystem.
  • Not scalable. Limited resources.
  • No scope for putting advertisements.
  • Very good if you are OK with having a sober web diary and sharing content with your community on Livejournal.

Medium and Pen.io also deserve a mention here though they are not full-fledged blogging platforms with a variety of options. Medium is a platform where you write a post and start a discussion or you participate in a discussion started by others through their posts. On Pen.io, you can publish a page on the go, with a minimalist post editor. Just post a page and share its URL with whomsoever you want. And to recall blog.com, which splashed as a vibrant platform that gave many free options but disappeared in 2016.

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