Ask LH: Which Blogging Platform Should I Use?

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Ask LH: Which Blogging Platform Should I Use?


Dear Lifehacker, I want to start a new blog, but I’m not sure which platform is best for me. WordPress is the most popular, and there are many more common choices, but I’m not sure what will fit my needs the best. Can you help?Sincerely, Bewildered Blogger

Photo by Kheng Guan Toh (Shutterstock).

Dear BB,

WordPress is popular because it’s great. So is Tumblr. Of course, these two platforms are vastly different. WordPress can be hosted by WordPress or self-hosted, and it offers an immense amount of control. Tumblr is only hosted by Tumblr and is kind of a cross between blogging and Twitter. If you were only choosing between the two, you’d go with WordPress if you wanted to write more long-form posts and Tumblr if you just wanted to post neat things you find online (or, on occasion, create yourself). But you’re not choosing between just two platforms. You have a wide number of options that do the same thing as these two platforms, plus you’ve got a variety of choices in the middle. Posterous, for example, is very similar to both. Before we take a look at your options, there are a few things you’re going to want to answer these questions (or at least keep them in mind as you read your options:

  1. Do I want to install, configure and host my blog myself, or would I rather rely on a hosted service?
  2. Do I want to create my own blog theme, or am I satisfied with using or customising an existing theme?
  3. Do I want to be able to install custom plug-ins or am I satisfied with the functionality that is built-in to the platform I choose?
  4. Will I be writing more long-form posts or posting cool things I find online? Or do I need to be able to do both?
  5. Do I want others to be able to comment on my post and interact with my content in a social way, or do I just want to be able to have a place to post my writing where people can read it and nobody can bother me?
  6. Am I willing to pay for this blogging platform?

Your Blogging Platform Options

This is, by no means, a full list of your options, but rather a list of the ones we like that cover the majority of blogging needs. Each option comes with a brief explanation of its strengths and what type of blogger it would benefit most.


Tumblr


Posterous Spaces


Squarespace
pay for that convenience


WordPress
DreamHostover 1000 free themesmany great themes you can buyeasy to create your own theme
learn a little CSS


Habari

We hope this helps you make your decision. Happy blogging!

Cheers
Lifehacker

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Comments

  • Blogger & WordPress would have to be the biggest market share between them and LJ is another alternative, though apparently more popular in Russia then in the US/western world. Tumbler, is more about pics and less about worded content, but it has a better sharing amongst fellow users than Blogger and WordPress.
    I would also mention the money making abilities through ads, and blogger had that covered more with Google ads, but wordpress has recently added Wordads.
    I blog through WordPress – and as much as I like Google for most things, their stance on anonymity with G+ recently made me glad I had kept at least one internet based service, out of their loop,

  • I’m also a bit surprised by the lack of blogger in the article. It’s pretty powerful albeit not that flexible, and I use it myself (tumblr just isn’t for me – sometimes I like more than one item per post, you know?)

    For business use, wordpress all the way. The flexibility means you can mould it into things it was never intended to be – I once got a tv in a lobby running a live feed of everything that happened in a company within 5 hours, just by stripping down/branding a theme and getting a bunch of automated systems to email new information to the wordpress box. It was a complete hack job underneath, but it’s just the start of what you can do with the platform.

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