In the world of the Internet it is actually getting harder to decide where to put your content and how. There is no getting away from the likes of Youtube if your producing video content then that is the place to put it. But what happens when you want to expand from the obvious like some big producers have and have your own space on the net. You might not even produce video well the truth is you have quite a bit of choice but all have their advantages and disadvantages that don’t always fit the needs of the content your producing.
There are two main categories:
- Hosted Platforms
- Self Hosted
The major hosted platforms are free and do not cost you anything, however they deemed more for personal use then for producing company or commercial sites. The reason for this is because you have less control over the services and have to stick to their terms and conditions. By having less control over the platform though also means that you do not need to know anything about coding on the internet and can easily get your blog or content up on the internet.
Blogger this is Google’s offering to the hosted platforms and it is ideal solution for any blogger, however I would say I have used it and find it very limiting. You could write your own templates and upload them but they would would look clunky and not that attractive. That being said you can easily link your blog to your twitter accounts and with the Blogger Directory option meant that you had an already preloaded community to view your work if they were looking in the blogger directory. Also being part of Google you have great ad integration, that being said you can only use Amazon and Google by default.
WordPress.com is similar to Blogger but it uses the blogging tool of choice being WordPress. This does have a few more templates at its disposal then Blogger and more features available to it in the way of plugins, however like Blogger your limited to what WordPress allows you to do. The one feature that I do like from this service though is if you use the tags properly it will link your work with others that have used the same tags which will generate more traffic to your blog. It also boasts better Search Engine Optimisation as you can use plugins to produce meta data for your work where as blogger doesn’t have that directly. I will say though I haven’t used this service as I use a self hosted WordPress blog that I will cover later on in this article.
Tumblr this service I openly admit I know very little about but from what I read it has a very good community and is basically the gap between Twitter and a blogging platfrom like WordPress and Blogger. The platform seems to lend itself well towards pictures and bring people together, although this is what you want it doesn’t seem to lend itself well to text based material and could be considered a place for more gimmicky work as oppose to serious.
A quick note to add to all these services even if you purchase your own domain so that it doesn’t look like it is a sub domain it still technically is and this can hinder how quickly your content gets put on the net along with the fact all your hard work is actually helping the service get higher up the rankings.
Self Hosted Platforms
This option will cost you money indirectly as you will have to pay for your domain name and hosting, that being said if you want full control of what you publish and not rely on anyone else this is the way to go. The two main content management systems in this area for me is Jommla and WordPress.org.
This is the original offering for WordPress and what WordPress.com is based on so you will have the features that WordPress.com has but you will be able to do a lot more. You will have the ability to add whatever plugins you want and develop a feel to your site that you want. I must admit although WordPress is designed for a blog style you can make it work in a way of a Content Management System (CMS) with your own coding ability and the use of plugins. So it is possible to make it work as a fully function site not just a blog. That being said it is not designed really for that so it is quite difficult and you will need extensive knowledge.
Joomla is one of the most complicated systems on this article however out of all the systems it is the one that is the robust and maybe shouldn’t be in this list because it is a complete site rather than just a blog. There is a wide variety of sites that Joomla can lend itself to and has more built in out of the box than all the others, but like I say it takes a lot more to learn.
For personal use depending on what you want to achieve but if its a blog then you may as well try all 3 services Tumblr, Blogger and WordPress and see which one you prefer that being said though, if you start using a service and want to expand then WordPress is probably your better option. The reason for this is that you’ll be able to host your own WordPress blog so you’d be able to export your articles and import them back into your own hosted blog really easy as they work on the same system.
However I must say if you want to produce something professional and have complete freedom over what goes on your site the answer for you is hosting your own solution and if your reading this article my suggestion would be your looking at a blog type of site which means your looking at WordPress, but if your not and wanting your site to have loads of different features then you are looking at a Joomla site.
Please comment and let me know your findings with services as I don’t confess to know everything and I haven’t used all the services however this is what I have found from personal experience and reading around the internet.