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Why Blog And What The Heck Is A Blog Anyway?
Blogging can be like scrapbooking.
Many people use Facebook, MySpace, and Google+ to keep track of their friends, pictures, videos, and special moments, but many find it fun to step outside the social networks to the blog-o-spere for a more topic centered or scrap book-ee effect.
Now, if you are in the category of website developer, writer, or business minded entrepreneur, then you absolutely NEED a blog. That is not even a question. Social networks will not cut it on their own.
Like I said, a blog may be a reflection of your life and mirror the themes of your life on social networks like Facebook, or a blog may be topic based. Topics can be anything. Think of the top three things you LOVE to do – These are possible themes or sections of your future blog.
In most cases, blogging is free. There is no reason you should be pay to blog, especially if you are just starting out. All of the apps I will review here will be free as will their web based parents.
Starting is Easy!
I have played around with MANY blogging platforms. I think my history with blogging goes all the way back to that now ancient artifact of Yahoo! Geocities.
Those of you who have been on the web for many years may remember this former “make-your-own” website provider.
My oh my, how far we have come since the days of Geocities. These days, I dabble with Tumblr, Posterous, Blogger, WordPress, and many more.
The key to getting started blogging is just to jump right in. We all learn best with hands on experiences.
You will learn how to work the blog service just by playing with it, and do think of it as “playing” because it is less frustrating.
Just give yourself permission to have some fun, learn something new, and to give yourself a break if it takes a while.
What do you need to do to get started right now?
- Choose a service
- Create an account
- Write your first post
- Set up the Android app
- Play, Play, Play!
Pick Your Poison – Choose Your Blogging Platform
Tumblr - Create an Account
Tumblr is probably my favorite platform in this list.
This is why:
- Easy mobile blogging – perhaps the most straightforward Android blogging client out there.
- Easy to add full long blog entries or just micro-blog – The platform is very versatile.
- Easy to make multiple blogs on one account.
- You can use custom domains for each blog in your account, including your own registered domains if you have bought the rights to one, two, or hundreds.
- Active Community that actually looks at what people are blogging.
- Cool reblog system.
- Easy follow system
- Sexy configurable themes – Can get a bit more complicated here for newbies, but there is no need to add additional configurations right up front, as there are several great pre-configured options that “just work” as they are.
- Themes include mobile device compatibility right out of the box
- Allows Google Analytics, Disqus comments, and monetization.
- Videos, links, images, multimedia posts, etc. all have their own custom post templates. This makes your blog look much better than the average bear .
Blogger - Login with your Google ID
Blogger is a wing of Google that absolutely amazing as a desktop platform. You can do so much with the platform, I cannot even begin to list all of the features.
The mobile app offers basic functionality to add posts and media, but the true experience is in using Blogger through a desktop browser environment. The mobile app is more of a supplement or a good draft post app. In contrast, the mobile app for Tumblr (described above) can mange the entire blogging experience almost as well as the desktop version. In part, this is because Blogger is designed to be a little more complicated to accommodate better advertisement, widget, theme tweaking, etc.
A few more reasons Blogger rocks:
- Extremely configurable themes, focusing on zones, widgets, and a drag and drop interface (which makes it significantly more easy to customize than blogging platforms like Tumblr, Posterous, and LiveJournal.
- Since Blogger is part of Google, all blogs get indexed in their search engines really fast. This means that if your goal is to drive traffic to your blog, Blogger gives you a small head start in that area by making itself visible in search engines quickly.
- Like Tumblr, you can have multiple blogs on the same account and can easily keep tabs on your favorite Blogger blogs from the dashboard.
- If you use the draft.blogger.com link, you can test Blogger’s new features as they come out, as well as be able to turn on the mobile version of the themes so that mobile phones and devices will see your blog in a mobile friendly theme.
Posterous- Kill two birds with one stone and autopost to social accounts too
Posterous is unique because it allows you to have multiple blogs like Tumblr and Blogger, as well as use your own domains if you want. The neat and unique part is that you can actually blog something through Posterous and then auto-post to all of your social networks and other blogs, including Blogger, Tumblr, and WordPress.
This is only useful if you really want to have the same information in several places, which makes it perhaps less awesome for blogs, but it is really cool for social networks if you are sharing links or short posts.
WordPress - The best desktop platform
If you are already dabbling in the buying your own domain and hosting WordPress yourself world, then this app is still for you. You link this app with blogs that are created and hosted at WordPress.com, as well as self hosted WordPress based blogs.
I find that this app is VERY useful for moderating comments, writing drafts, and checking traffic stats. The publishing feature has more limits than I like as a professional blogger, but for the causal user, the posting feature is more than sufficient.
LiveJournal - why not just give it a try!
LiveJournal is my least favorite, but since it has an official Android client, I am including it in this list. LiveJournal is a good choice for those who are SUPER new to blogging and want a limited environment to learn in. There are three levels of accounts: Basis, Plus, and Premium. Basic and Plus are free, but Plus includes advertising from LiveJournal to subsidize the use of the extra features.
The Android app for LiveJournal will only work with the Plus type of account, and it is limited to 30 posts a month. If you are looking for a platform to learn on and get your feet wet, this may be a good choice. In the long run though, there are many free options out there such as the ones I’ve already discussed that offer more features without any extra cost to you.
Where Do You Go From Here?
If I were you, I would try them all. There is no risk to creating accounts (you can always delete them), and in order to truely enjoy blogging, you need to find the platform that just makes sense to you.
There IS a Learning Curve!
Remember to keep in mind that you are learning and to cut yourself a break.
Try all the apps too – and also keep in mind that I am only listing the “official verisions” of platform’s Android apps.
There are many other apps that attempt to do the same job with additional tweaks that may appeal to you more than the official version.
Please play around with them if you really like a platform but do not like the Android app.
You Matter – What Is Your Take On Blogging?
Comment on your experiences and suggest which third-pary apps you’ve tried that you think are better than the official versions.
Have fun and just get in there and play!