When starting a blog to publish your content online, you may be overwhelmed by the various content management systems and publishing tools available. There are many tools that are free to use. Before I decided on which content management system to use for my various websites, I went through a long process of testing out the different online publishing routes available.
I was searching for one touch publishing with a user-friendly interface and an easy way to update. In the past, I’ve used traditional website builders, but they just weren’t easy to use and update. There are so many free ways to publish your blog, however, I highly recommend using a self-hosted blog. The minimum investment required (less than $100 per year) will pay off in the long run if you want to make money online with a blog. My company currently owns 125 domains (mostly travel and food sites), so I have the ability to test and experiment with various publishing formats online.
WordPress – This is my first choice for content management and one touch publishing due to the versatility of the programming. WordPress.com offers free hosting and the ability to register your own domain. However, according the TOS on the site, you cannot generate ad revenue on your free site. If you plan on using your blog for any business purpose, you’ll have to use a WordPress self-hosted site. I currently use WordPress on some of my self-hosted sites: ShannonLane.com, Traveling Mamas, and GiftedTravel.com.
Blogger – This easy way to blog is part of Google and is one of the most popular choices for a blog. Blogger offers enhanced upgrades (for a fee) such as your own domain, the ability to customize the design, and the opportunity to earn revenue through Google’s Adsense. It is very user-friendly, but not my first choice for publishing.
Posterous – Some call this a micro-blogging site but the creators aren’t too keen to be called this. They offer free hosting and the ability to utilize your own domain. Posterous is my new favorite toy for publishing while mobile. It does have drawbacks, as far as the lack of ease for categories and inability to embed outside hosted videos, but is a great choice for someone on the move. I experimented with Posterous with Traveling Mamas: Mamas on the Move as a mobile group site, an individual site Shannon Again, and now for Louisiana Road Trip, which is in the initial development stage.
Here are some other free sites and blog hosting I’ve tried but didn’t really mesh with. Maybe you’ll have better luck with them.
Is there another tool out there that I haven’t listed? Which ones are your favorites and what have you learned from your blogging experience? I’ve always been interested in learning new things and wanted to share my personal experience in this adventure of blogging and new media.