This is Part 2 in a series. Part 1 is here.
In Part 1 I made the case that Facebook and Twitter had become toxic places and I suggest that blogging, micro blogging and long form blogging (either or both) on your own blog was a better choice
Here in Part 2 I’m going to recommend 3 blogging platforms as good places to get started. I’m also going to make the case for going to the added expense of buying your own domain. You can investigate each.
Three Best Blogging Platforms
- Micro.blog – $5 per month, charged monthly, gets you a micro + long form + photo blog. Bring your own domain and you can use it, although it is not required. No ads. No tracking. No selling your private information to third parties. Micro.blog has it’s own social network. You also have the option to cross post to Twitter, Medium, Linkedin, Tumblr, Mastodon. Inclusive. Every time you start a new post to the social network a new blog entry is automatically made. It’s very easy to move your content to or from Micro.blog to WordPress, especially if you have your own domain. This means you are not locked in. Example: Manton.org is a blog on Micro.blog
- WordPress.com – Free with ads on a subdomain (ie. MYBLOGNAME.wordpress.com) $4 per month, charged annually, to use your own domain (ie. myblogname.com) and get rid of ads. WordPress.com gives you a lot for both free and paid versions. You can set it up to cross post to Twitter, Linkdin, Tumblr, Facebook (post to FB Page only), G+ (being discontinued by Google). WordPress was designed for long form blog posts. You can micro blog and photo blog from it but posting updates is not quite as fast and easy as Micro.blog.
- Self Hosted WordPress – This requires more experience of an intermediate level. You must have your own domain. What I recommend is you get your own “C-Panel” type hosting account, which will give you a easy setup wizard to install your own instance of WordPress blogging script. Self hosting gives you the most control. If you like to arrange things “just so” self hosting gives you thousands of plugins which can add capabilities to your blog. Self hosting WordPress costs only a little more than Micro.blog or WordPress.com but it is a bit more to learn. Ramblinggit.com is a self hosted blog.
Why These 3?
There are dozens of blog platforms but the reason I chose these three is that you can move your content easily between the 3, especially if you use your own domain. One big reason to post from your own blog is keeping control of your own content.
If you are coming from Twitter or Instagram Micro.blog will feel comfortable. MB is very good with Tweet-sized posts and posting photos. You can do long form posts too. There are many iOS apps for MB. Android, Windows 10 and Linux users will need to use the web browser to access and post which works quite well. If you just want to write, short or long form, and hate being bothered with the blogging platform itself Micro.blog is a good choice. MB only charges your credit card monthly so there is no lock-in. If you don’t like it you can move to a WordPress option.
If you are coming from Facebook and most often write longer posts then you should consider WordPress.com on your own domain as a place to start. You have to pay a year in advance so there is lock-in, but you can use that year to blog, grow your readership and learn how to use basic WordPress. At the end of that year you can decide to stay or move to either Micro.blog or self hosted WordPress.
About 25% of websites are using some form of WordPress.
Self Hosted WordPress
Learning wise it’s not a huge transition to self hosted WP. There are more steps but it is far more capable. This is something to graduate to from WordPress.com or if you already have past experience with other self hosted blogging platforms. A lot of people had blogs 10 or 15 years ago and gave them up for Facebook and Twitter.
Using Your Own Domain
Two reasons to use your own domain:
- You establish your own address or home if you will, on the Internet. You own the domain it is like a permanent address that stays the same no matter what host you are on.
- Your hyperlinks will not change. So if somebody has bookmarked one of your posts or linked to it on their own site the link will not be broken even if you move.
You register your own domain through a registrar like Godaddy or Hover. Buying a domain is a good first step before shopping for a hosting platform. I like to keep domain registration always separate from my hosting.
Don’t feel limited to getting a *.com domain. In the old days individuals often used *.org to represent a personal blog because it was less commercial sounding. *.info, *.blog, *.name, *.me and a host of others can also be used.
I may do followup posts giving more detail on each option but this will get you started investigating each one. If you have questions feel free to post them in the comments below. I will answer.
Part 3: Creating the Blog Network continues the series.
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