During Quaerere Dialog meeting several people was interested to start a weblog and asked me a lot of practical questions. I promised to write something, but I guess it will take some time. So far I formulated three choosing blogging software dilemmas based on my own experience with Blogger and Radio:
1. Posting from: desktop vs. server blogging tool
Server-based blogging is good for an easy update from any place you want. But unless you are ready to invest in your own server (if so think about Movable Type), you will have to use centrally hosted blog (e.g. Blogger ). In this case you have mush less control over your data. If server goes down or decides to charge everyone for hosting, you are in trouble.
On the contrary, using the desktop tool (e.g. Radio) will allow you to control your data fully. But then you run into another problem: you should use only one computer or you need to have it on-line most of the time and use remote access. If you have problems with internet connections with your one computer, you are in trouble (see effects of not blogging).
2. Posting to: your own domain vs. hosted domain
Hosted domain (e.g. yourBlog.blogger.com or radio.weblogs.com/strangeNumberHere) is good because you don’t have to invest in it as it comes with the software. The only problem is that you have limited space and all other “nasty” things (e.g. ads in free version of Blogger ).
Moving blogs is bad. If your blog is good people will link to you and Google will index your blog. Then you are trapped: if you decide to move to another domain, Internet will be full of dead links to your blog. Or, if you leave your old blog at its place, it will compete with your new blog (see how old Mathemagenic competes with new Mathemagenic).
So, it’s better to decide from the beginning if you want your own name or not.
3. Posting, reading and commenting: integrated or not
If you want to use your blog for exchanging ideas with other people you must have:
- Your blog
- RSS version of your blog, so others can subscribe to it
- News aggregator to subscribe to other blogs and read them
- Comments enabled if you care that those without a blog can comment too (bloggers will more likely comment on your posts in their own blog)
Radio provides an all those features in integrated interface, which is easy to use. Free version of Blogger supports only blogging, so you have to find free tools and attach them to your blog (e.g. Ton did it for his Blogger weblog). I don’t know how difficult it is, but I had some comments from people that commenting on something from their news aggregator is “more than one click”.
If you want specific comparisions check those links [via Blog Software MT and RU]:
If you want more general pointers, read The Art of Blogging – Part 2
And remember that it’s easier to try blogging then to read about it:
blogging is like a loving sexual relationship – you just do not realize how rich and rewarding it is until you have experienced it [David Gurteen]