The words “blog” and “blogging” have become so overused and belabored that a lot of people misunderstand what a blog actually is anymore.
A blog is a kind of website – (for the purposes of these reviews) one that is maintained by an individual. It’s not an article. It’s not a static HTML page (though these can be incorporated into a blog). It’s a log of web pages: a web log = a blog. Anyone can have one for any reason they want: personal, professional, job hunting, family chronicle, marketing, book clubs, celebrity gossip, tech news, online diary, fashion do’s, fashion don’ts, dream journal, music, art, recipes, travel – anything you want.
For the purpose of focus, this set of blog product reviews looks mostly at blog software for the blog beginner. If you have enough technical experience to download and manage your own database, visit Advanced Blog Software for a sub-category of free and paid programs offering quite a bit more options than you will get with even the best easy programs. In this review, you will find reviews on the top blog software including WordPress, Typepad and Squarespace. Also on this site, you will also find articles related to blogging.
All blog software reviewed here, well all blog software full-stop, supports the writing, editing, and publishing of your entries in this format:
Comments, trackbacks and tags/categories are all considered added features.
Here are the criteria we used to evaluate the many features offered by blog software:
Templates, plugins, text editors, spell check functions and the like are all examined in-depth for each product. Whether or not the software lets you preview before posting, compatible file types the program will work with, remote post capabilities, navigation/sidebar options and more are also explored for each program.
These are the ways that your software alerts search engines and blog search engines that you have posted something new. If you are using your blog to promote your business in any way, your software needs to have some kind of RSS or Atom output – these allow software independent of your blog to keep a running summary of your posts for feeders and aggregate services. Tracking tools are vital to monitoring who is looking at your site and when and for how long. Again, if you are using your blog for any kind of marketing tool, access to the traffic statistics is an important part of navigating the success of your blog.
Ease of Use
The Ease of Use category looks at how easy it is sign up, obtain a blog and begin blogging. We also looked at install time if you are paying to host your own site or blog.
Software and hosting are two elements that might seem confusing if you’re just getting into the blog thing, but deciding what you need in a blog begins here. If you want a blog, you’re going to need a place on the Internet for it to be hosted, a place where your blog lives in the vast net-ography of the internet. There are four main options from which to choose. You can go the entirely free route: free software and free hosting. All this free-ness is great and probably adequate if you just want somewhere online to write down your dreams so your friends can interpret them. But if you are selling a product (your writing, solar panels, handbags, whatever) you’re going to need lots of space (hosting) and features (software). The second option is free software and paid hosting, followed by paid software with hosting including and finally, paid software and paid hosting. We’ll delve deeper into this subject in our companion article, Free Vs Paid Blog Software or Why It Pays to Pay.
When you’re lost and stuck with your blog software it really counts if someone or something is there for you. For each product reviewed, we also reviewed the array of FAQs, knowledge base, tutorials, forums, etc that you will have access to if and when you use the program. All blog software can be categorized in a few ways: user-hosted, developer-hosted, free and open source, and proprietary. Some of these types co-mingle, but we have reviewed examples of developer-hosted and proprietary software so you can choose the best, easiest option for your own blog. Because ultimately the best software for your blog is the program with all the features you need to get the job done.
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