I have discovered many of the best sites on the Internet through Leo Laporte. This started with TechTV on satellite television. Leo hosted a show called Screen Savers. Back in the spring of 2001, they ran a segment on Blogs. This appealed to me. I already wrote a journal, and I was excited about the Internet. I might not be comfortable posting all my journal but there were parts I wanted to share. The concept seemed like a winner.
At the time there weren’t many Blogs hosting sites. I checked out all the free Blog hosting sites Leo mentioned. I decided to test two of them after narrowing the list.
The first was Manila a content management system that was part of the Frontier/Userland family. After setting up a free account and played with it for a while I found I didn’t need the power and didn’t enjoy the complexity. A couple years later Userland dropped all the free hosting accounts.
The other hosted Blog was Pitas.com. This had many of the features of Manila without all the complexity. I was able to start posting right away. It was easy to edit the posts and it was easy to edit the theme (provided you knew HTML.) I decided to post interesting items I ran across on the Internet. In late 2004 I decided to posting my journal online. As an experiment it was successful and I continued through 2005.
In addition to free blog hosting, Leo mentioned there were free blog software packages that could be added to your web host. I looked at a couple free packages. Installing these packages seemed to involve a lot of work. I rarely was able to get them to work. I was new at CGI and PERL scripts. By October of 2001 I had install one: NewsPro – not so much a blog but a content management system. I ran this on my web site until the end of 2002. I was posting a some journal entries and some interesting Internet links. The NewsPro hasn’t been updated since July 15, 2001.
Starting in 2003 I decided it was just as easy to manually post material to my web sites. I had Dreamweaver and I wasn’t posting as much material. During these years the number of free blog hosting sites exploded, as did the number of script packages. It was confusing and I felt, “Been there, done that!”
In 2006 Blogs were making a big come back. They were more powerful and easier to use. Three big names were left standing in the field: WordPress on WordPress.com, Blogger on Blogspot.com, and Movable Type on Typepad.com. In 2006 I gained a customer who wanted to start a blog. We looked at various packages, but WordPress suited his needs the best. Letting WordPress.com host the blog kept the complexity down and support problems to a minimum. In August of 2006 I set up a Blogspot blog using my Google account: Decoherence. I wanted to test bed for a potential blog. Google has slowly adding features to their Blogger software. By now it has caught up with WordPress. I would say that WordPress is slightly better for business blogs and Blogger is slightly better for personal blogs, but it depend on how you’re using them. I would suggest trying both. I wouldn’t rule out Movable Type either- they have a number of interesting blogging sites including: Vox, LiveJournal, TypePad, and the Movable Type software. [I intend to test Vox for a personal blog next year.]
Last month I installed the WordPress software on my customers web site and transferred his posts from wordpress.com to the goldencompass.com web site. I was impressed by how well it went. By hosting the software ourselves it allows more flexibility with the design and plug-ins.
Another place to find a blog would be on the social networking sites. There are many, but Facebook.com and Myspace.com are the two most common. I haven’t used them myself- Myspace.com in particular has a horrible design. I would rather use a program or a service that does one thing well rather than a service that does a bunch of things half way. To that end I find myself using Thumblr.com, which is a mini-blog. I find it perfect for posting odds and ends that I run across on the Internet: Teh Ferret.
This post is part five of a series on posting content to the Internet.