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THE Best Places to Start a Blog (Updated 2014 Edition

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Blogging. The thing your friend does that you could do better. The hobby of the century. Your key to
boss-less freedom and your cat's one shot at fame. So do your homework with this list and start a
blog the whole world, and your mom, will love.
WordPress.org
Browse at WordPress.org
About:
Setup so easy Snoop Dogg can do it with the elegance of NYTimes, Sony PlayStation, Wall Street
Journal, Paris Hilton and more. WordPress requires no coding knowledge and is free software - it's
the domain name and hosting you pay about-as-much-as-a-cup-of-coffee-per-month for. It gives you a
website like the world's best and teaches you all about websites, too. For countless bloggers who do
this for a living, WordPress.org is the best place to blog. Click here to watch our step-by-step setup
video and join the largest blogging community on the web.
Stats:
WordPress.com
Browse at WordPress.com
About:
WordPress.com is a free blog-hosting site with roughly half the features of .org. The general idea
here is less maintenance for you, but less control of the blog. Get a .wordpress domain name like
"dearblogger.wordpress.com" or pay to use your own domain name. Need a niche? WordPress.com
sees 100,000 posts published each day so you'll surely find like-minded thinkers. Not a full company
website but a loyal companion for one. Write posts, try a free theme, set up social media buttons and
learn blogging at WordPress.com.
DISCOVER: Why Blogs Fail to Get Traffic
Stats:
Recommended for: Mass community blogging
Released: November 21, 2005
Founder: Matt Mullenweg of Automattic
Total users: 56 million blogs
Pros: Ease to use with little you can mess up.
Cons: Less customization and a bit fussy with adding certain features.
Costs: Free, you can pay WordPress.com to get a domain name without the ".wordpress" addition.
My verdict: A lovely intro to blogging that about 1 year in takes us all to a crossroads: stay put, or
transfer to WordPress.org.
Blogger
Browse at Blogger.com
About:
Blogger is Google's free blog-hosting site. More popular at the turn of the millenium, Blogger still
offers a great service but the designs are a bit elementary. Login and publish your first post for free
with only a Gmail account. Try Adsense "monetization", design a new layout and even edit your first
piece of code.
SEE ALSO: 10 Things to Do After You Launch a Blog
Stats:
Recommended for: Blogging
Founded: August 2013, 1999
Notable events: Bought by Google in February, 2003
Founder: Evan Williams of Pyra Labs
Total users:
Pros: Publish anywhere, huge community, images, video, edit HTML/CSS, template designer, track
traffic stats in Blogger, Adsense at no charge
Cons: While Blogger is where many writers (including Dear Blogger) started publishing, it's designs
appear a bit childish today. Google owns your blog - they axed Reader - so acknowledge a bit less
control upfront.
Costs: Pay $10/year for a domain name without the ".blogspot" extension - otherwise totally free.
Future predictions: May merge with Google+.
My verdict: Everything blogging should be and more - Blogger was the sandbox for names now
headlining in tech. The only real negative comes from outgrowing Blogger, at which point many (like
myself) transfer to WordPress. Less popular today - even Google's PR Mogul Matt Cutts runs a
WordPress site.
Tumblr
Browse at Tumblr.com
Introduction to Tumblr:
At a time when WordPress and Blogger were neck-and-neck for new users, Tumblr showed up as the
3rd guy to the party. They received lots of sign-ups from users wanting a totally refreshing take on
blogging, and have grown ever since. Tumblr was recently bought by Yahoo, who has interesting
plans for the whole blog advertising thing.
Stats:
Founded: February 2007
Founder: David Karp
Total users: 152 million
Pros: Ease of use and ability to share your friends' work through re-blogging.
Cons: Less customization, just a shade less professional and not ideal for conducting business.
Costs: Free, pay Tumblr to get your own domain name without the ".tumblr" addition
My verdict: Great for photography and other forms of art. Super-simplistic designs and a whimsical
vibe make Tubmlr a great choice for any new blogger.
SquareSpace
Browse at SquareSpace.com
About:
All over television with beautiful and encouraging ads, SquareSpace offers a nice solution for the
business owner in need of a web presence. Get online quickly with a free trial, setup a cool design
and start attracting clients - that's the motto. If a more complex blogging platform were
snowboarding, SquareSpace would be skiing, in the pie wedge stance
Stats:
Recommended for: Individual and business blogs and websites
Founded: January 2004
Founder: Anthony Casalena
Total users: ?
Pros: Elegant designs setup with a couple of clicks.
Cons: Less customization - you'll pay for things that may come free at a place like WordPress
Costs: 14-day free trial with plans from $8 and up afterwards
My verdict: Less hands-on than WordPress but arguably better advertising and accessibility -
Squarespace gets your business site up quickly. A good quick solution.
Google+
Browse at Plus.Google.com
About:
If you need a guide on how to use Google Plus we've got you covered, because we've been trying to
dominate it for a year now. Fun features like the badge make getting followers easier. Google Plus
brings you instant community + audience - two things any blogger wants more of. Make sure to
share publicly if you want to build any sort of following.
RELEVANT: How to Make a Niche Review Site that Earns $1000/Month
Stats:
Recommended for: Social networking ("social layer")
Released: June 28, 2011
Founder: Google Developers
Total users: 540 million per month
Pros: Google circles, photography (1.5 billion uploaded each week), "hangout" feature, multi-
language, authorship, can increase a publisher's search rankings, Gmail integration, chat, mobile
chat, mobile publishing,
Cons: None, start using it today.
Costs: Free
My verdict: Absolutely necessary for anyone who wants to be considered an expert in any field. Fun.
Challenging. If you're curious, I've also written on how to master Google Plus over at Social Media
Explorer.
? ? Alternative Communities ? ?
Medium
Browse at Medium.com
Founded: 2012
Founder: Evan Williams (Twitter, Blogger) and Biz Stone (Twitter)
Total users: ?
Pros: Story telling feel, goal to improve content quality
Cons: Still low usership
Costs: Free
My verdict: Probably won't reach the development status of WordPress.org but definitely chomping
at the heels of Blogger, Tumblr and even Twitter as it borrows several of their services, like topic
searches and nostalgic photo shares from the founders themselves.
Hubpages
Browse at HubPages.com
About:
Hubpages started as an article network, the kind of place where you were rewarded for publishing
lots of articles on any one topic like cooking, travel or home-improvement. Today, it boasts millions
of informative articles and guides. However, a by-product of mass publishing is slightly lesser
quality. You may find articles at Hubpages you'd wonder why anyone would ever publish. Or, you
may find the best home for your blogging and writing needs.
Stats:
Recommended for: Social networking ("social layer")
Launched: August 6th, 2006
Founder: Paul Edmondson
Total users: 74,000
Pros: Not going out of business soon.
Cons: Less ownership of your work.
Costs: Free
My verdict: A solid place to start writing and learn from other experts. Tightly-knit. Fun for everyone
involved.
Joomla
Browse at Joomla.com
About:
Joomla is an advanced CMS used by developers to publish some of the websites we visits each day.
Written in PHP, it uses many of the same structures as a WordPress site does. For whatever reason,
developers have flocked elsewhere, but Joomla remains one of the web's oldest and savviest places
to run a blog or website.
Stats:
Recommended for: Content Management, Web Content
Released: August 17th, 2005
Founders: The Joomla Project
Total users: 35 million downloads
Pros: over 6000 free extensions, estimated as the second most used content management system
(CMS) after WordPress
Cons: Smaller community, help out articles you find may be out of date.
Costs: ?
My verdict: Only really for a Joomla developer or website manager. Not an easy access point for a
beginner.
Live Journal
Browse at LiveJournal.com
Recommended for: Blogging, journaling, writing a diary
Founded: April 15th, 1999
Founder: Brad Fitzpatrick
Total users: 39.6 million accounts, 1.7 million active accounts
Pros: friend others to read their entries and leave comments, avatars, user info pages, to-do lists
Cons: moved design to Russia in 2009, basic plan users see advertisements
Premium features: express lane for quicker load times, call from your phone to a LiveJoural number
and post voice recording to your journal
Costs: Premium version, not sure of the costs here. Anyone know?
My verdict: In mother Russia, blog write on you.
Quora
Browse at Quora.com
Recommended for: Question and answer based websites
Released: June 21st, 2010
Founder: ?
Total users: 500,000 reported in 2011, more now.
Pros: Collaborative feel and separate blogging platform recently released.
Cons: Less costumization.
Costs: Free
Interesting facts: 30% of Quora users hail from India. Founded by two former Facebook employees.
My verdict: If you're passionate about a topic but don't have the time to maintain a blog, submitting
questions and answers to Quora discussions is a great compromise.
Typepad
Browse at Typepad.com
Founded October 2003:
Founder: Say Media
Total users: ?
Pros: Ease of use
Cons: Less costumization
Costs: Free
My verdict: Just love the news? If so, know that ABC, BBC, CBS, MSNBC and more use Typepad to
maintain blogs.
Weebly
Browse at Weebly.com
Founded: 2006
Founder: David Rusenko
Total users: hosts 15 million websites
Pros: Drag and drop feature so easy a monkey could use it.
Cons: Less control for the user
Costs: ?
My verdict: I've heard a lot of positive reviews here. For a company owner who needs a website but
despises tech, it's Weebly or Squarespace, and both are sound choices.
Drupal
Browse at Drupal.org
Recommended for: Blogging, Content Management, Web Applications
Founded: January 2001
Founder: Dries Buytaert
Total users: 1 million users and 30K developers
Pros: 22,900 free add-ons, free and premium themes via the Drupal Theme Garden
Cons: Quite involved, not ideal for beginners
Costs: ?
My verdict: Fun for developers and bloggers with a real interest in building code.
Squidoo
Browse at Squidoo.com
Founded: 2005
Founder: Seth Godin
Total users: 1.5 million
Pros: Lenses and points systems to level up are only part of the fun.
Cons: Like Hubpages, you might not feel an ownership of your work.
Costs: Free
My verdict: A classy place to meet others before you get more serious about blogging.
? ? New Releases ? ?
Postach.io
Browse at Postach.io
Recommended for: On-the-go bloggers, note-taking
Founded: 2013
Founder: Evernote
Total users: 20,000
Pros: Supports popular comment plugin Disqus, lighter feel, easy to use.
Cons: Less costumization
Costs: Free
My verdict: Too soon to form a verdict here!
Facebook Notes
Browse at Facebook.com/notes
Recommended for: Social media integrated blogging
Founded: 2013
Founder: Facebook Developers
Total users: Well, 1.1 billion already on Facebook...
Pros: Simple to share images, links and quotes - useful if you've got a large, Facebook-centric
audience already.
Cons: Limited design and that blue Facebook-y feel we all should just escape every now and then.
Costs: Free
My verdict: Not much different from a Facebook page - I predict this to be a feature Facebook tries,
directs advertisers to, then slowly wanders away from.
Svbtle
Browse at Svbtle.com
Founded: 2013
Founder: Dustin Curtis
Total users: ?
Pros: New, different; aren't we all?
Cons: Must apply for a membership and no commenting feature as of yet.
Costs: Free
My verdict: They are a "network of great people who want to make it easier for people to share and
discover new ideas". Excited to see where Svbtle goes in the next few months.
Sett
Browse at Sett.com
Founded: Early 2013
Founder: Tynan (a blogger) and Todd Iceton
Total users: 1,000 - 10,000
Pros: Generally bent on community, top navigation bar like Blogger, has a word-matching system
that matches similar posts and will recommend users to your posts the moment they sign-up, private
discussions, one click subscription system
Cons: Premium service that allows for more image hosting (does this mean normal users are
limited?)
Costs: Free with premium service offered
My verdict: I've always believed it's the readers who really grow a blog, not so much the blogger
him/herself. 80/20. So I'm excited here. Will they win the battle for 3rd place? Either way, the web is
always better with more variety, more options, more places to blog.
Ghost
Browse at Ghost.org
Posthaven
Browse as Posthaven.com
Founded: Early 2013
Founder: Ghost Foundation
Total users: 10,000 - 50,000
Pros: Post by email. Oh and "they'll never get acquired, never shut down" as long as you pay them.
Cons: "Simple, easy blogs for $5 a month, forever."
Costs: 5 bucks
My verdict: They're a group of engineers who want to build blogs for us. Love this idea and wish
them the best. But as a company you just can't get ahead in an open environment like blogging by
trying to control things, at least not upfront. Their technology might be great and "durable" but most
of us will never know, because their marketing is a zero and their homepage design is really weak.
Posterous
Browse at Posterous.com
Unfortunately this site has been deprecated, or slowly removed with no further updates.
? ? Almost Extinct ? ?
Blog.com
Browse at Blog.com
Recommended for: Blogging
Founded: 2004
Founders: ?
Total users: 2 million
Pros: Free themes, multi-author blogging, social media widgets, video
Cons: Less customization
Premium features: Your own domain name, advertising network
Costs: ?
My verdict: You'd hope a domain name as strong as blog.com would produce a winner...
Zoomshare
Browse at ZoomShare.com
Founded: ?
Founder: ?
Total users: < 50K
Pros: Still has a community
Cons: Shifting 100% of users to paid version
Costs: "As of May 22, 2013 our free website service has been discontinued. If you would like to
convert to the paid service click here and upgrade for the low cost of $6.95 a month."
My verdict: Not enough information to form a verdict.
Xanga
Browse at Xanga.com
Founded: ?
Founder: ?
Total users: < 50K
Pros: Resembles WordPress
Cons: Unclear timeframe of new software releases
Costs: ?
My verdict: Not enough information to form a verdict.
The End?
Hardly. But drum roll, now it's your turn. If you've got anything to add, drop it in the comments right
below.
Lastly, this post took me months to research and make. So if you know a friend who could benefit,
why not send this to them? Just send an email. I'll let you steal my work
Thanks and cheers!