What's the best platform/software to blog for free with?

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Joined: 13 Dec 2009
Age: 55
Gender: Male
Posts: 488
Location: Massachusetts

28 Jan 2010, 2:47 pm

And by "free" I mean no need to pay for hosting or to pay for the software. Not so much that I'd mind paying a de minimus amount as that I'd be worried that that would strip away what little anonymity you might have otherwise. Either that or host it through a third party, which would be an additional expense, right?

Anyway, I've been playing around with blogger recently, and in the past have used wordpress. I've not read one positive thing about livejournal in any of the reviews I've seen, though I'd be curious to hear about them, since I've never used them, BUT opinion seems so negative I've ruled them out for now. I also know there's no free version of typepad, beyond a short trial period, so they're out as an option.

So, unless somebody has another option, I guess I'm stuck between blogspot and wordpress.com. And, in all honesty, I'm just looking for some opinions, since I'm kind of conflicted ATM.

The stuff I like about wordpress.com:

  • That it is very easy to set up "static pages," for all practical purposes an unlimited number of them.
  • Kind of silly, but I guess I'm still more familiar with them than I am blogger.

The stuff I dislike about wordpress.com:
  • There seems to be quite a bit of HTML coding that they don't allow through, even for an ignoramus like myself, at least if you go with their free option.
  • Not very much in the way of choice when it comes to picking a template, or in customizing what they do give you. So your blog looks like lots and lots of other ones.
  • It seems like all the best stuff is reserved for those willing to host on their own, through the .org. Not really clear to me why that should be the case, but it sure seems like it.

The stuff I like about blogger:
  • Seems to allow A LOT more customization, though I admit I haven't really dug into this feature much...Apparently with stuff as basic as font size you're stuck with what they got on wordpress.com, IIRC, but that you can play with this on blogger.
  • Don't feel like I'm constantly going "that's nice...oh, wait, its not available to me," which I guess is just the flipside of the wordpress.com/.org dichotomy.
  • I used to be a bit apprehensive about the way google is trying to be everywhere and do everything. But, nowadays I just can't be bothered. So, I guess the way it interacts with other things googlish is kind of a plus.

The stuff I dislike about blogger:
  • They've slapped an adult content message on the front end of my blog, after something like a total of four posts. Never had anything like that happen at wordpress.com, and I find it a bit irritating. Yeah, I do get severely depressed at times and write about suicide in a general way, but I'm not doing things like discussing methods, announcing that in 30 days I'm going to end it all, etc. This by itself is not enough to make me leave them, but it seems like content is more regulated at blogspot than wordpress.com.
  • Though neither wordpress nor blogspot have what I would consider an intuitive interface, blogspot's teeny typing window is bugging me a lot more than I thought it would. Granted I'm having quite good luck using Windows Live Writer lately (maybe the first softie product that I'm actually kind of impressed with) but I don't know that I'll be using it for everything.
  • That there's no easy way to make static pages, which is simple to do in Wordpress. Seems very strange that this is not available as some sort of vanilla option.

Stuff I'm confused/unsure about:
  • Not really sure which is better for things like images, embedding PDF or scribID files, or perhaps attaching them. I doubt I'll ever do much w/video or audio, so that's not a concern, but I might write some things that will run to at least seven thousand words, possibly close to twenty thousand, and that kind of thing just seems to work better in a document that can be d/l'd than in a blog. Especially if I decide to get ambitious and throw in endnotes and a table of contents.
  • Like I noted above, could there possibly be a "something else" I've never heard of that leaves both options I'm discussing here in the dust?

Sorry for the long, rambling post, but I couldn't seem to cut it down without also losing some of the conflict and confusion I've got going on here. And since there's so many sharp folks posting here I figure I can at least get a better sense of things than I presently have. And if I've misinterpreted something, get corrected. tia, :)

"The man who has fed the chicken every day throughout its life at last wrings its neck instead, showing that more refined views as to the uniformity of nature would have been useful to the chicken." ? Bertrand Russell