I have previously written about the advantages of running a company blog and some of the strategic considerations to make to get you on the right track. In this blog post I will quickly go through some of the most popular blogging services.
There are pros and cons for all of them, but it depends a lot on whether you want to spend any money, want to have your own domain name, what kind of options and functionalities you want and what kind of skills you have in doing the design and maybe programming. If you wanna try it out for the first time, you can go for one of the free services, but if you are a company or a brand, you should go for the selfhosted WordPress option.
I will go through to most widely used blogging services.
Blogger is Google’s blogging platform and one of the most widely used free blogging services. It doesn’t require your own hosting and domain name and you can log in by using your Google account. You can choose and customize between different layouts can be incorporated with other Google services like Feedburner, Picasa etc. The blogging service is easy to run with other Google services, but on the other hand difficult or impossible to incorporate with others. Yet, it is easy to use and you are allowed to change the html for free.
Tumblr is a form of micro-blogging and you can say that its simplicity is both an advantage and a disadvantage. It is free and it is simple and to do a post where you can easily add text, video, images and audio to get your message out quickly. It does not have options, widgets and plugins, but it is stylish and you can add your own domain for free. The most significant feature is the Re-blog function: if you see a post you like on the platform, you can choose to re-blog it and it will appear on your own blog. In that way it is more or less easy to connect with other bloggers on the Tumblr platform, but it can also be a downside that it is a closed community with no external comment options.
WordPress has both the abilty to have a webhosted blog at wordpress.com and a self-hosted blog at wordpress.org. The crucial difference is whether or not you have your own hosting and domain name. Sign up at wordpress.com if you have limited skills and experience in working with web. You can instantly start blogging away and have a customized URL like for instance www.yourname.wordpress.com. There are several themes available so that you can customize how you want your blog to look like. It’s free and easy.
If you on the other hand want to be as cool as TechCrunch and Mashable, a selfhosted WordPress blog is the way to go. You will then have completely free hands to do your own design and be in control of all the codes behind the site. This includes more options and the ability to use plugins. It requires that you have our own hosted server and install WordPress’ software to use as a CMS system. It is the preferred system, if you want to have full control, but also requires a bit of knowledge in the technical area.