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How to start a blog: Blogging platforms

Jessica Watson is a mom to five, four in her arms and one in her heart. She lives in Michigan where her life is as unpredictable as the weather. After the loss of her infant daughter in 2007, Jessica left the corporate world behind, vowe...

What to choose & why

So you are ready to dive in and start blogging, but the whole idea is overwhelming. With blogging as popular as ever, the options just keep getting better. This outline of the different available blogging platforms will make your decision much easier.
Woman blogging

Blogging seems to be everyone's favorite way to express themselves these days. Are you thinking about getting started but worried you need to have technical expertise or a degree in graphic design to make your blog look nice? Starting a blog is actually a very easy process, and there are several different blogging platforms that make creating it yourself very easy.

Blogger

Blogger is one of the most user-friendly options available at no cost. You can literally begin your own blog in the time it takes you to read this article. Blogger continually adds new options for design and function and makes it easy for you to write and publish posts quickly. You can add text, photos and all kinds of different features to your blog, including ways to monitor your stats and interact with other bloggers. Blogger has fewer options for customizing your blog than Wordpress but tends to be the favorite of bloggers who are just getting their feet wet in the blogging world.

Typepad

Typepad is an easy-to-use framework for creating a blog that offers different options based on price range. This platform offers all of the basic blogging options for customizing your site, adding text and photos, and also can help you monitor your stats and place ads. The format is fairly user friendly, but this platform is not used as widely as Blogger or the Wordpress platforms so it can be harder to navigate because there are fewer users available for support. Typepad is fully hosted, which means that you will not have to dive into the technical side of starting a blog.

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Wordpress

Wordpress.com

Wordpress.com is a hosted, free version of Wordpress.org. In general, it is easier to begin blogging on Wordpress.com rather than Wordpress.org because you do not have to find a host and buy a domain name. All you need to do is sign up at Wordpress.com and start using the typical features available to bloggers such as publishing text and posting photos. There are also countless customizable options known as "plug-ins" to help you add features to your site.

Wordpress.org

Wordpress.org is a little more difficult for the novice blogger but ultimately worth the time and effort. To get started, you need to find a host for your blog and install the Wordpress software. The benefit is that you manage all of your own files, and there are an infinite number of possibilities for customization of your site. In order to use Wordpress.org, you should be somewhat familiar with blogging or willing to buy a user-friendly "theme" such as Headway, Genesis or Thesis to make customizing your site easier.

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Blogging is a great way to journal your thoughts, express yourself and connect with others. If you are just beginning and not sure what your level of commitment will be, your best bet is to look around at the free options available. Then, if your interest increases you can think about investing more time and money into the process and moving on to a more advanced option.

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