Blog Sites for Anipals

Let’s talk blogs for anipals. Blogpaws starts tomorrow so it’s on our minds a lot. Plus, a lot of friends have been concerned about Google potentially going crazy with the “no pseudonyms” rule and removing their anipal accounts from Blogger as well as Google+. So lots of new blogs and blog moves are on the horizon. There’s been some confusion, so the Typist has helped me put together some pros and cons from what we’ve experienced in her almost 12 years of blogging.

Basics: Blogs are built on two things, blogging software and blog hosting. You can’t have a blog online where the public can see it without both of those. Most of the popular blog platforms (blog sites) offer both for free or reasonable charges.

Blogger (soon to be Google Blogs)

  •  Pros
    • Free since 2003 when Google bought it.
    • Ad free.
    • Unlimited space for your text, generous space for photos for free. Space upgrades available at a reasonable cost.
    • The easiest blogging platform for building a basic blog, per Typist.
    • Easier to customize extensively than most – Uses sidebar widgets, has many free themes available from them and others, and has an excellent Theme Designer to customize any theme easily
    • Little downtime (Seriously, a few hours or even a day here and there is insignificant in the world of hosting anything on the web for free.)
    • Millions of Blogger users can bring a wide audience.
    • Can be exported to an XML file so you have your data backed up.
    • Allows Javascript within the pages and in the sidebars for adding anything from fundraising widgets to twitter feeds to really anything you can imagine.
    • You can purchase your own domain name for your blog like georgewritessillystuff.com at a reasonable cost. Totally optional.
  • Cons
    • Owned by Google which is more of a concern to many anipals since Google+ came down with their no pseudonyms/no pets rule for that service.
    • Based on your Google account, which some dislike.

WordPress.com – They Host Your WordPress

  • Pros
    • Basic blog is free.
    • Generous space for your text and photos. Space upgrades available at a reasonable cost.
    • An easy blogging platform for building a basic blog.
    • Little downtime (Seriously, a few hours or even a day here and there is insignificant in the world of hosting anything on the web for free.)
    • Millions of WordPress.com users can bring a wide audience.
    • Not owned by Google, which many anipals like.
    • Has limited prepackaged sidebar widgets for different gadgets.
  • Cons
    • May have ads, though generally it does not.
    • Does NOT allow Javascript within the pages and in the sidebars for adding anything from fundraising widgets to twitter feeds to really anything you can imagine. This severely limits the cool gadgets you can add to your blog, to so few most folks we know have been unhappy with them.

WordPress.org + Web Hosting – Self-Hosted WordPress

  • Pros
    • The big daddy of the blogging world according to many. That’s what this site runs on, and The Anipal Times.
    • You have all the control over it within the limits of whatever web host and hosting plan you choose for it.
    • Extremely flexible and powerful. You can use it to run a blog or a member’s website or a newspaper.
    • The WordPress software itself is free.
    • There are thousands of plug ins for sidebar widgets and other functions that are free.
    • Extensive free user forums and online documentation for questions.
    • Many webhosts have one click installation packages.
    • Imports Blogger, WordPress.com and several other blogs seamlessly.
  • Cons
    • Costs money or geekery to host. (We recommend Hostgator. Typist uses it for her work blog for many years and it has been excellent. There is a very inexpensive plan that is good for most anipal blogs. Dreamhost is also excellent; that’s where this blog is. And BorisKitty’s host PowWeb.com is excellent also – PLUS they are having a $3 a month special right now. Contact me or @BorisKitty for the discount code.)
    • More complicated than Blogger or WordPress.com or Tumblr or LiveJournal.

Others

Tumblr – We have only used Tumblr a little, but we think it’s great for some things. It’s used mostly by young people. It’s very photo intensive. We feel it’s hard to have discussions there because of the way commenting is handled. It works well though and the price (free) is right.

Moveable Type – We know nothing about this one personally but have seen it very highly recommended. It’s worth checking out. We will at some point. (Anyone have spare hours in the day to share? QOL) I’ll let you know what we think after we’ve had a chance to look at it.

LiveJournal – We do not recommend because of extensive downtime this year. A week or two at a time because of hackers. That doesn’t suit us for security.

I hope that gives you an idea what type of blogging you might like to do. Please do ask questions if you have them.

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9 Responses to Blog Sites for Anipals

  1. Boris Kitty says:

    PAWSUM post *hi paw*

    Dis tells it like it iz and iz beary halpful wif explainin da opshuns out der fur bloggies.

  2. Hey George! Great post!! great info!! I’ve moved my blogger blog too!! Using WordPress now for one, and yes, it’s much LESS user-friendly than blogger (need more geek points!) but it IS veeery powerful! I also use tumblr, and that site seems to be down alot for little bits of time here and there. nothing too bad, jst annoying. and you’re right, commenting is not very friendly on there. customizing is also quite user-UNfriendly..
    I hope your post helps lots of anipals wanting to get out in the blogging world!
    *BIGHUGS* xoxo

  3. Pumpkin says:

    Excellent article George. I have to say, so far I’m very impressed with Hostgator. I’m so new to all this that I’ve had tons of question. I don’t even know anymore how many times I’ve called them since the weekend or used the live chat. They’re pawsome.

    I think I’m finally getting the hang of the basics of WordPress. My blog is starting to look the way I want it to, although I still have a long way to go.

    To anyone who’s thinking of making the move to WordPress or to self-hosting, I’d say go for it. I did, and I’m glad I did!

  4. mariodacat says:

    Good job pal. Very very helpful post – especially when a lot of us are nervous as to what Google is going to do to us. M just hasn’t had time to even think about what I should do this week, but next week she wants to give serious thought as to what I should do for my bloggy.

  5. Cheysuli says:

    Hey George, on my blog I have a link to our human’s reseller account and she hosts blogs very cheaply. She is a reseller with Hostgator. She’ll do some of the move stuff and take care of a lot of the tekkie work too. We didn’t link but there is a link on our site

  6. Thanks George for the cool information!! We might have some questions after Mom takes a look at all the options you gave us!!
    Your TX furiends,

  7. KC says:

    Grrrreat post. I putted it on the Cat Blogosphere so others could read it.
    This answers a lots of mine questions as well.
    Love & Purrs,
    KC

  8. Pingback: Friday Noos » Cat Blogosphere

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