I’ve been blogging for around twelve years now. In fact my first “blog” was a hand coded website that had what would eventually be known as a blog style layout. Once Blogger was released I quickly found the joys of publishing content while leaving the coding to others. Eventually I outgrew Blogger and moved on to Typepad. After Typepad I used the Movable Type publishing platform (way before it was Open Source). I stuck with MT for a few years until I discovered WordPress and I’ve been hooked ever since.
If you’re new to blogging and are looking for a way to get started that doesn’t seem overwhelming you’re probably not going to want to jump right into a self-hosted WordPress blog, especially if you have no coding experience. Although there are many hosting companies now days that have one-click installation which does make it much easier to get up and running. Where you may run into trouble though is finding the right look for your site.
The one caveat to all of this is that we are going under the assumption that you’re bootstrapping your new blogging gig. If you’re willing to pay for someone to set up and theme (skin) your site obviously anything is possible. For the purposes of this post we’ll assume you want to be up and blogging while spending as little as possible.
- Identify what your needs are. What do you need your blog to do for you.
- Ask around. You might be surprised how many people in your circle of friends have blogs that you don’t know about.
- Once you have identified your needs and asked around take some time to test drive some hosted blogging solutions (more on those later).
- Once you’ve made your decision do your best to stick with it and start focusing on content.
Here’s a quick and by no means definitive list of a few hosted blogging options you may want to check out. SquareSpace, WordPress.com, Tumblr and Typepad. All of these platforms allow you to host your blog for free and alias your own domain to your site (i.e. YourDomain.com), and at least some options on free themes for your site. Other than that they all fairly diverse and your likes and dislikes for each will be subjective.
What do you think? Have you tried any of the platforms mentioned? Do you have any advice for new bloggers? Share your experience in the comments section. If you’ve recently started a blog and would like some feedback leave a link in the comments section as well.