Tech, Gadgets, Photography, Social Media and Poor Spelling
As far as the internet goes there are some really good web based blog platforms available, i’ve tried a good number over the last year to find the right level of mobile blogging capabilities and being able to get posts out there. I’ve killed a fair number of blogs just to find the right platform and thought i’d like to share the experience with you.
Blogger is Googles offering to the world of blogging and has a lot of the SEO built in for getting your blog searched and rated on the google search engine. As web interfaces go its good a good clean look and is very simple and easy to setup. You can link the blog to your Google account for better management and it has hooks into the G_ platform as well.
At the time of using the platform was transitioning from a look it has had for a long time to the new flashier looking interface which in the most part has been done very well. This also means some very nice Dynamic themes allowing if chosen for the content of your blog to be shown in some very good looking ways. However there was an issue with the Dynamic themes in so much as they don’t support many (any) of the Widgits on the blog the user sees.
All being said Blogger also has some good IOS and native Android support with apps from both Google and developers, the API’s seem to be very strong and mobile blogging is easy on the platform.
This is all about scale,, it;s not free however it’s like blogger crack, you get sucked in with 2 months of free, no credit card needed to sign up. It’s professional, slick and if your blog saddlery gets 2,000,000 hits the site won’t go down.
Squarespace is about large sites, blogging and customisation, they supply a good level of widgets and templates and are very big on how you can customise using CSS the templates (should you know how to) to change the look and feel of your site the way you want to.
the Web interface is very well thought out, if occasionally a little sluggish on slower connections. It’s possible to format your texts and get your data up and blogging in no time.
The iPad and Android apps for the platform are well designed, stable and well thought out, provide a simple yet intuitive interface for mobile blogging.
But, and yes there is always a but, the SEO seems to just suck for the site, where i can get 2000 hits a week easy on all the other platforms i tried Squarespace offered about 20 to 30 hits a day. And it’s very hard work to get it to that with SEO techniques. Also be warned, the platform advertises that getting data in and out is easy, well it might be easy to get data into squarespace, let me assure you the XML file you get when you pull your data off, not so good.
For £20 a month, i expected a lot more, however nothing has changed on the site other than a few layouts in years, and the support while prompt is a little pushy towards the RTFM level..
If Squarespace is like crack for getting you sucked in with it’s advertising, Tumblr is handing out the needles and helping you find a vein. This platform is addictive, follow a few other tumblr users and very soon you are loosing a weekend between photos of teen angst and puppies..
As a platform Tumblr comes in two halves, the dashboard, the epicentre if content, where you can see the posts of those you follow, and put up your own posts. The idea hear is post everything, photos, quotes, links, text, the dog, just post it.. then there is the public see which you can link as with all these platforms to your own public custom domain, and theme to the wazoo. There are hundreds of themes from free to $100 each.
Like most free platforms which become popular, it’s now Tumblrs make some cash to pay the investor stage, so things like paying $2 to promote a post with a label next to it, targeted advertising, porting paid themes, sponsored posts are all starting to appear. However this isn’t quite as bad as it sounds if only because Tumblr users are a bitchy lot bless them.
I’ll be honest i still keep my Tumblr blog going it’s a rest place like G+ and Twitter to get inspiration and reblog from my main blog.
If you want your blog to be a grownup version of Twitter’s microblogging idea, then Tumblr is the place to be, loads of themes a lot of good content to reblog and plenty to keep you amused by if you follow a wide selection of blogs.
As for Mobile tumblering, the website is actually one of the better ones on mobile platforms however a decent API has allowed for a good number of dedicated and multi blog apps. Tumblr recently revamped their IOS iPhone app, and the Android one has improved dramatically, and actually its android this platform i think is best supported on for on the go blogging as it does have some great little apps.
Then we have WordPress the platform this blog post is on, WordPress has come a long way in short space of time, its used i believe on about 75 Million sites world wide. There are two types of wordpress sites, self hosted as the platform is free to download and host yourself and via wordpress.com where the platform is hosted on WordPress servers. I’m currently using option hosted at wordpress.com
WordPress offers as good a platform as any of the other mentioned here however it does have a more professional looking content management system (the bit where you actually type in the blog) than Squarespace and blogger. The usual features are around with comment management, tags, categories, polls, feedback and themes. Infact WordPress has a HUGE selection of both free and paid themes.
One thing which does set WordPresss apart however is its import and export capabilities, i’ve had no issues getting posts in or out of this platform from any of the others mentioned. Most of the time the data is sucked directly off the site rather than exported XML files as well which is nice.
WordPress’s Mobile apps are in much the same vein as Squarespace they function, they work, and specifically the IOS version has had a lot of stability fixes in recent months. However unlike blogger and Wquarespace which provide stutters slow web based CMS systems the WordPress Web Interface is as solid as a rock on both iPad and Android.
WordPress also seems to have mastered getting the SEO right and getting your message out there because it speaks to all the above platforms as well as other social sites such as Digg, Reddit, Facebook, google+ as well.
I’m using WordPress right now and it’s working well for me, I like the fact some of the blogs i read like GigaOm are also on WordPress, i like the charing of content, i like the mails from other content providers however all 4 of the platforms offer something different, from the scalability of Squarespace if you know that you may get peak times of huge traffic to the amazing content addiction of Tumblr. There has never been a better time to pick up the keyboard and blog, all the platforms free or paid offer you the ability to get what you want to say heard by as many or as few people you wish.
For me having a central location to put down my thoughts and posts is the way I work however there is also no reason a platform cuch as G+ couldn’t be your blog platform especially if its community you are after. I often put the links from this blog on all the major social media platforms and WordPress does this really well.
Whichever platform you choose however there are two simple things you need to remember
1) How easy is it to get data into your blog, do you need to be able to do this on the go?
2) At some point you will want to possible get the data off that platform onto another, how easy is that ?
Find a platform which suits both those questions and you have a great place to speak to the world.