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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Best Free Blogging Sites

Posted by adheliadjnr_ at 9/16/2012 06:22:00 AM
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Best Blogging Sites #1 - Blogger


Google's free blogging site, Blogger is the choice of many who are starting out in the blogosphere. Its clean interface makes it a big hit with those who are focused on writing posts. This feature is what makes Blogger one of the best blogging sites.

Blogger offers the user an array of attractive templates during the sign-up process and provides a drag-and-drop tool to move elements around the sidebar. Widgets to add followers and keep track of stats are handy and useful for those who do not want to touch code. Settings are clear and easy to find, and the writing area is large and free of distractions. A custom domain name may be added at no extra charge.

The major disadvantage to Blogger is the lack of direct connection to social media. Each post must be manually tweeted and added to Facebook, which could be tiresome for those who post a lot.

Best Blogging Sites #2 - WordPress


WordPress is available as a managed platform like Blogger or as a self-hosted option using a provider of the user's choice. For example, my website uses the WordPress platform which is free, but I pay a hosting company a monthly fee so that I have more freedom and flexibility with my site's design and features. The managed option is best for those who are new to blogging, and that is what will be outlined here.

WordPress is one of the best blogging sites because of its fast, hassle-free sign-up process. Much like Blogger, a new user can be blogging within a matter of minutes, with many beautiful themes to choose from. Where the platforms differ is in the amount of tinkering that can be done on the backend. WordPress restricts the editing of theme templates and CSS to those who pay an extra $30 per year. Custom domains add anywhere from $13 to $18 per year to the cost of the site. Some users find migrating to self-hosted WordPress to be a less expensive option.

While WordPress is not the cheapest of blogging sites around, it is a good starting point for business owners or others who wish to make a name for themselves. The platform offers excellent SEO and new sites are usually indexed within days due to WordPress' exceptionally high Page Rank (PR9), which is why it is one of the top blogging sites.

Best Blogging Sites #3 - Tumblr


Tumblr rose from a stylish upstart to a brand name in a little over five years. It now boasts more active sites than WordPress and has attracted the likes of actors, CEOs and photographers. It is considered to be one of the best blogging sites for art and digital media.

Tumblr offers a zippy sign-up process that only requires an email address and has many gorgeous free themes. This platform's major attraction is the post formats, which offer ease of posting links, photos, videos, chats and quotes. Tumblr is natively integrated with Twitter and Facebook, and it will automatically send updates with each new post. Users can have multiple blogs.

The only disadvantage to Tumblr is its reliability. It has suffered through lengthy downtimes and is often overcapacity, which can take it off the list of best blogging sites for some people.

Best Blogging Sites #4 - Posterous


Posterous is a hybrid between a traditional blog and Tumblr. Users can sign up with an email address and are presented with a simple blog layout that can be easily edited from the backend. It is known as one of the best blogging sites due to the ability to update from anywhere. Like Tumblr, it is well-integrated with social media.

One major con of Posterous is the lack of clarity regarding the creation of new blogs and it can be difficult to delete them later. The platform was recently acquired by Twitter and is undergoing transition.

Best Blogging Sites #5 - LiveJournal


LiveJournal is the oldest blogging platform on the web and has seen a great decline in its user base since WordPress came along. It is still considered to be one of the top starter blogging sites.

While LiveJournal is still very much in use and is more community-based than other platforms, its lack of themes and social media features as well as general clunkiness make it one of the less-desirable blogging sites. Its one strong advantage is the commenting feature is limited to community members, which reduces spam and trolling. Most new bloggers will probably want to start out with something nicer, like Blogger or Tumblr.

Best Blogging Sites Conclusion

The blogging sites highlighted above are a great starting point for anyone looking to build their first blog. One thing to remember, these sites are all free, so if you have the time, sign up for an account at each and give each one a test run!

In fact, many experienced web marketers sustain multiple blogging sites and "inter-link" them to boost their web presence in the search engines by what is known as a "Link Wheel" - but that's a whole different topic we will leave for another day!
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