There are several free and paid hosting services available, but the most popular two platforms are Blogger and wordpress. Both are free hosts, but the features they offer vary considerably depending on the type of blog you want to create. If you aren't sure which platform would be right for your purposes, here is a breakdown of how each host differs on some of the more popular features:
Both Blogger and WordPress.com provide generic blog names in the form of yourblog.blogspot.com or yourblog.wordpress.com. However, both provide options to point your blog at a unique domain name, such as yourblog.com. With Blogger, you have to redirect the Blogger url to your registered domain. The site offers directions on how to do this, but beginners may have a hard time navigating the directions. WordPress.com requires a fee to redirect your blog to another url. However, WordPress provides free software that you can upload to your own host for free and which will publish directly to your own url, without any redirection. The WordPress installation is notoriously simple, and self-hosting streamlines the process.
Blogger offers a very user-friendly dashboard that allows for simple customization through selecting changes for different page elements. While the options may be limited, the easy interface allows users to make changes more simply. WordPress offers many more customization options for a more unique and professional look; however, users will be required to make changes directly to the code in html or css. Many tutorials are available for navigating these changes, but some users may find it too advanced.
Templates are also available for both blog hosts, but WordPress has a greater variety of themes available. Templates for both hosts are available in free and paid options, but many bloggers will find more options in WordPress.
Finally, WordPress has many more plugins and widgets available to customize the features on the blog, including ways to organize ads, comments, categories and pages, sharing options, and much, much more. Blogger has much more limited options for plugins, as there is not as much support for these features as there is in the WordPress community.
Because Blogger is affiliated with Google, the host allows for easy insertion of Google AdSense and blogs are indexed more quickly, making them available to search engines right away. Blogs started through WordPress.com are unable to host AdSense or any other ads, and WordPress may even display its own ads on the blog. However, blogs started with the WordPress software can be fully customized to display any type of advertising.
WordPress also allows for easier creation of categories, automatic recording of trackbacks, and other SEO customization, which are not available in Blogger.
Blogger's features are typically more easily navigable for beginners and those blog hosts who want a simple interface with which to share a more direct, journal-type blog, whereas WordPress offers more advanced features that may appeal to those who want to create a professional-looking blog and to create an income stream from it. Determining the superior blog host will be dependent upon the goals you have for the blog.
Which blog host do you prefer and why? Tell us in the comments!
About the Author:
Heather Green is a freelance writer for several regional magazines in North Carolina as well as a resident blogger for OnlineNursingDegrees.org. Her writing experience includes fashion, business, health, agriculture and a wide range of other topics. Heather has just completed research on medical transcription programs and the steps needed to earn a physical therapy assistant degree.