Basics of 4 Popular Hosted Blog Platforms

By Amy Lupold Bair, Susannah Gardner

You can take a look at some of the most popular hosted blog platforms to see which might be the best fit for you and your new blog. These blogging software packages have been around for quite a while and are regarded as some of the best that the blogging community has to offer.

Basics of Blogger blog hosting

Blogger is the quintessential hosted blogging platform. Started in 1999 at Pyra Labs, Blogger weathered the rough Internet waters at the turn of the century to become the most well-known hosted blogging platform. The Blogger service became incredibly popular, and eventually, Google purchased it. Since then, Blogger has introduced new features and remained one of the premier blogging platforms. Blogger has many features that allow bloggers to publish multiple blogs:

  • All blogs are free and hosted for you, with no hassles and no mess.

  • Blogger offers a wide variety of free templates to get you going, which you can customize in a number of ways.

  • The publishing tool includes Google AdSense (a blog advertising program) and other neat elements, such as polls and lists, integrated into it, allowing you to add functionality to your blog.

  • Because it is owned by Google, Blogger links seamlessly with your other Google accounts, including Gmail and Google+.

  • If you don’t want Blogger to host your files, you can save all your blogging files to another server.

Basics of WordPress.com blog hosting

In 2005, the popular WordPress blogging platform launched a hosted service, in addition to software that you can install on your own server. WordPress.com offers a clean, easy-to-use interface, and bloggers tend to see it as more flexible than anything else on the market. Now that WordPress.com has added new functionality and additional themes, you can set it up very quickly.

In short, WordPress.com

  • Is free to use (although some premium levels are available with additional functionality)

  • Has many options for design templates, letting you choose a look that suits your content

  • Includes features such as tags and categories, permitting easy organization of your posts

  • Offers spellchecking, rich-text editing, and photo uploading

  • Lets you measure your site traffic and statistics to help gauge your popularity

  • Provides a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) posting and editing environment, which means you don’t need to know HTML

  • Includes tools that allow you to insert photos, videos, and audio files into your blog posts

  • Integrates an excellent spam-fighting tool, Akismet

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On WordPress.org, you can get software to install WordPress on your own website.

Baiscs of TypePad blogs

TypePad was launched in 2003 to great fanfare. It allows you to do more than just blog; it was one of the first blogging platforms to offer the capability to create static content pages. TypePad pricing starts at $8.95 a month and ranges upward, depending on the services that you include. TypePad also offers a 14-day free trial for new users.

TypePad offers

  • A WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) posting and editing environment, which means you don’t need to know HTML

  • Tools that allow you to insert photos into your posts quickly, automatically resizing them and adding thumbnails to blog posts

  • Tools that allow you to quickly place videos and podcasts into your blog posts

Basics of Tumblr blogs

Tumblr, which was purchased by Yahoo! in 2013, is a fun and really easy-to-use hosted blogging service — and it’s free. Tumblr blogs are a little different from other major blogging platforms in that it is really easy to re-post material from another Tumblr blog to your own blog, so sharing is a big part of the Tumblr experience.

Tumblr offers:

  • The ability to run several blogs from a single dashboard interface

  • The ability to quickly post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos from your browser, phone, desktop, or e-mail

  • Many different themes that let you customize the way your blog looks so that it’s personal to you

Remember to read the terms of service carefully when selecting a hosted blog platform. You may not actually own the rights to the content you are posting!