Blogging platforms

WordPress

(http://wordpress.com and http://wordpress.org)

WordPress is a free, open source blogging platform that currently powers 19% of all websites on the internet today. Its extremely large and dedicated community of developers and excellent documentation make WP one of the best supported open source platforms out there.  WP is considered the mother of all blogging platforms.

WP is available as a hosted option (see http://wordpress.com) that is very easy for novice and non-technical users to set up and get started for free using a .wordpress domain (e.g., ‘myblog.wordpress.com’).

The WP software is also available for more technically adventurous users to download (see http://wordpress.org) and host using the website hosting company of their choice (most hosting companies today have the ability to install WP with just the click of a button or two). The advantage of self-hosting WP is that the user has virtually unlimited customization capabilities in terms of the huge range of free themes and plugins that are available. If you need help, check out the EZ WordPress installation guide (http://michaelhyatt.com/ez-wordpress-setup.html), consisting of screen captures that help walk you through the installation process.

“Wordpress 101: U20 student’s website: http://u20science.org/wp101/  along with a YouTube playlist for the associated videos: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXriWCZIQhsAqjwT_Q0mX2R0NfQM99DPf

Blogger

Blogger is Google’s answer to the blogging scene, and as a result, it is heavily tied to Google, requiring the user to have a Gmail/Google account to set up a site. It is very easy to use for even the most technically intimidated, and as part of the Google family, it is easily integrated with other tools such as Google+ (for commenting) and Feedburner (for distributing RSS feeds).

Tumblr

Owned by Yahoo, Tumblr is considered a ‘microblogging’ platform, as most of its sites comprise very short text posts with image,s or images alone. It allows bloggers to easily upload content from mobile devices, including photos, so it’s a good option for bloggers whose blogs tend to be mostly curated content. Tumblr is also unique in terms of being a cross between a blogging platform and a social media tool with a strong community of users.

Textpattern

Hailing from the UK, Textpattern is a free, open source CMS/blogging platform similar to WordPress for users who want to self-host. Like WordPress, Textpattern is customizable with a number of plugins and has some good support resources. It can easily be customized by someone not familiar with PHP but who knows HTML and CSS with some Javascript. A robust platform, Textpattern can be used for full-blown websites.