Blogging Platforms Decoded

Sunday afternoon the Windy City Blogger Collective Founders held a Blogging 101 Talk at Next Door Chicago. We covered some basics like the pros and cons of each platform, what goes on a business card, and the key components of an about me page. We covered a lot of details and answered great questions from the attendees.

Whether you’re a blogger just starting out or if you’ve been blogging for a while and want to know more about your platform or are looking at migrating there are a lot of elements to consider… Do you know how to code? Do you plan to incorporate advertisements? Do you want to showcase content from other sites?

Even if you don’t have the answers to these questions right now, here’s a basic breakdown of five popular platforms.

Tumblr

– free to sign-up & includes a YOURBLOGNAME.tumblr.com URL but you can point your site to your own domain name for free (as long as you’ve paid for the domain!)
– easy to build from free templates and plug-ins, with premium themes available for a fee, sites can be further customized with HTML and CSS
– easy to share content from other Tumblr blogs (which include major brands line Kate Spade New York, Oscar de la Renta, and Nikon)
– you retain ownership of any intellectual property you post to Tumblr but you grant Tumblr the right to use your content (including it in searches, in user dashboards, and RSS feeds) and your content can be “reblogged” by any user within the community
– ads and affiliate links allowed

Blogger

– free to sign-up & includes a YOURBLOGNAME.blogspot.com URL but you can point your site to your own domain name for free (as long as you’ve paid for the domain!)
– easy to build from free templates and free plug-ins, with premium themes available for a fee, sites can be further customized with your own HTML and CSS skills
– it’s a Google product so it ranks higher on SEO without any optimization or special coding on your part
– content hosted and owned by Google
– ads and affiliate links allowed (even suggested from Google Ad Words)
– many big-time bloggers use Blogger – Joanna Goddard’s A Cup of Jo (she hasn’t dropped her .blogspot.com extension), Gina Homolka’s Skinny Taste, and Jen Amos’s Made By Girl (she also still rocks the .blogspot.com too)

WordPress.com

– free to sign-up & includes a YOURBLOGNAME.wordpress.com URL but you can update your account and register a custom domain right away
– free templates available to set-up your site with premium themes available for purchase
– “Follow” feature lets visitors add their e-mail address and receive updates every time you post
– content hosted and owned by WordPress
– affiliate links allowed as a part of your content but banner ads or ads from advertising networks are not allowed. Like Google’s Ad Words, WordPress offers WordAds to put ads to your site.

WordPress.org

– your own domain and hosting account required (examples include Blue Host, Go Daddy, or Dream Host)
– site templates available for purchase (coding skills are helpful)
– hundreds of plugs-ins available to help build your site
– you own your content and intellectual property
– ads and affiliate links allowed
– WordPress (.com and .org combined) accounts for about half of all blogs out there right now meaning most sites you visit regularly are WordPress sites. Blair designs WordPress blogs for a living and her portfolio showcases the wide variety of options available to style bloggers. But the site is a popular option for professional blogs or educational blogs.

SquareSpace

– two week free trial before payment is due for your subscription
– domains and themes can be purchased, highly designed sites are available without needing coding experience
– plug-ins available for the templates
– you own your content and intellectual property
– ads and affiliate links allowed
– Squarespace is ideal for creatives but any blog would thrive on the platform

Blogger, Tumblr, and WordPress.com offer free options and premium (aka, paid) upgrades, they all can be customized with a little bit of HTML skills and elbow grease. WordPress.org and Squarespace are paid platforms and offer highly designed templates and flexibility to reflect your style. Regardless of the platform you’re on, your blog will grow and sustain audiences with strong content, an authentic voice, and dedication to your niche!

We’re looking forward to exploring more Blogging 101 topics with you and will be providing Members Only content on certain subjects. Be sure to join the Windy City Blogger Collective today!


By Erin Bassett, Color Me Styled & Daily E

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