This is the final post in this series. In Part One I created blogs in each of the various blog engines. Part Two then reviewed the 3 major blog engines, Google Blogger, WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
I’ve decided to make my primary blog my own hosted WordPress from WordPress.org on my own domain Clear.Bluedei.com. You will notice however, that it is not as full-featured yet and my WordPress.com blog Allthingsweb20.wordpress.com or my Google Blogger blog, alongthepathto20.blogspot.com. That is because when you host your own WordPress blog, you have to set up everything yourself, it comes very vanilla. This allows you add all kinds of plugins and really customize it, but it takes time and is not as quick to get up and running with all the bells and whistles. Blogger really shines at being quick to get up and running with lots of add-ons that are easy to setup. Even WordPress.com, while limited in what it can do compared to the others, will let you create a very nice and full-featured blog quickly. But for me, the ability to host and completely control my own blog and to customize it however I want, makes it worth the extra time it takes to get it looking as good and as full-featured as the others.
(NOTE: We went with Inmotion Hosting for our web host and you can read my post about choosing this host service here. In retrospect, I would have chosen Blue Host instead. I did not find them until too late. I may still switch although it will cost me and will be a hassle to lose everything. But twice so far I have lost some or all of a post I was was trying to create because I could not temporarily connect to my site (or to inmotionhosting.com either). Just now this happened again. It doesn’t go down for long, say 5-10 minutes. But I also haven’t done a blog post for at least a week and it happened just as I was trying to write this post so I really don’t know the extent of the problem. But I have concerns with its reliability when I am trying to write a post and I work hard enough to write my posts, I don’t need to be afraid of losing them and/or having to wait and worry about it until my site comes back.)
In this post, I will review the other, less well-known blog engines. While I recommend using either Google Blogger or WordPress, I think it is useful to have an idea about each of these others. You can see an example of each in Part One of this series.
One of the other players in the blog engine wars is Six Apart. They have a number of different blog engines available: Vox, LiveJournal, TypePad and MovableType. These are listed in order from their lowest to highest end blogs. I looked only at the 2 free blogs which were Vox and LiveJournal.
Both TypePad and MovableType have monthly charges and although they say they have a 14 day free trial you have to actually choose a plan as if you were signing up for it and give your credit card information and then cancel it within the 14 days. I wasn’t about to do that so I will just give you an idea of what they have and you can go to the sixapart site if you want to know more. Personally, I would never pay the prices they are asking for a blog engine with so many good, free ones available. As an example, Typepad, which they call The choice for professional bloggers, costs anywhere between $.95 and $89.95 per month (4.95, 8.95, 14.95, 29.95, 89.95 / mo with 15% off annual subscription). The lowest cost blog has no domain mapping, full html , custom css. This is less than you would get with Google Blogger for free. I did not even look at MovableType which they call the The best choice for business blogging.
So that left me with Vox (Personal blogging taken to the next level) and LiveJournal (A diverse community of independent bloggers). Here are my impressions of these. Again, you can see my working blogs by following the links in my Part One post.
- can import posts from other blogs (but only 1 month it appears)
- looks childish
- has neighborhoods and groups
- can easily add video and book lists
- can add widgets
- can add friends
- Seems more like a mix of MySpace and a blog
- has ads for plus free version
- can add friends
- no import of posts?
- wants to use photobucket for pics
- slow processing
- can set ‘mood’ of post
- very MySpace-ish
- WAY too many advertisements and you can’t control them
My view of SixApart blog engines are that they are just trying to make money from them and I would not be interested in their blogs, although I do know a few people who use LiveJournal and TypePad.
InstantSpot is a blog engine that almost didn’t make it into my testing because I had not heard of it and only found out about it right at the end. But I was impressed enough by it that I wanted to include it. Here is my instant spot blog. I didn’t do much to it but from looking around at other instant spot blogs, they look to be highly customizable, almost to the point of looking like a CMS (content management system). And it clearly seems to be geared toward tracking, marketing and promoting your site.
- can edit .css
- allows google adsense (just click in ad manager)
- tracking script manager works with trackers like g analy, feedburner, etc
- host header mgmt allows redirecting to a host domain name
- definitely looks geared towards tracking, marketing and promoting
- has large set of social networking icons (like digg, etc) at bottom of each post (many of which I have never heard)
- tag line is “Get spotted now!
- seems to be highly customizable judging by looking at other instant spot blogs. Not sure how though.
- has ads on page
Instant Spot was the only other blog engine that looked intriguing to me. I could see it being useful for people who are selling or promoting something and who want a very nice looking site (not sure of the effort involved though) and who want to be able to market, track and promote their site. If you had a club or small business, this seems like a good site. We teach Aikido and I could see easily setting up a website for our Aikido club on this. Here is an instant spot site that is for a fitness class that is not fancy and was probably easy to set up, but is a decent site for their classes. (I don’t know or endorse these people, just thought it was a good example of a not-too-fancy, easy to set up, useful site). And here is a really nice looking blog. Instant Spot seems to have some definite possibilities.
Well, that is it for my review of blog engines. Google Blogger for balance between being easy and having functionality, WordPress.org (self-hosted wordpress) for total control and flexibility and Instant Spot for an easy (I think) website for a club, class, non-profit or small business.
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Thank you for writing a blogging comparison I could understand without a lot of fancy tech talk. I’ve been checking out Instantspot and I’m tickled pink at how easy it looks to use. The page load times are impressive. There are so many free blogging places and other free web stuff (Web 2.0 toys?) that looks like they would be fun to play with and I like the idea of signing up for some of them to take them for a test drive personally when I read articles like yours. Again I must say that yours was easy to understand and I look forward to seeing what else you come up with. Thank you again, Ma’am.
ps: I checked out your other blogs and admired their simple, no nonsense layout.
I would recommend talking to your service provider about a dedicated IP address. It might take care of your issues with connectivity (probably it will) and more importantly, the search engine optimization that I’ve heard about through technorati has real problems and reduces your ranking if the server is not available.
I’m moving this week, so I’ll post up to part 3 when I can! I love this series, and please don’t forget to check out the workflow collaboration stuff we’re tangenting from your blog research on my site!
What’s your next Web 2.0 focus going to be on?
I will check out the dedicated IP address. I’m only afraid that it might cost a fair amount to get one. I’ve retired just last year and that has seriously cut our income! And this is not a business blog so it is hard to justify spending much on it.
I will definitely come check out your site and workflow collaboration info! We’ve been in Las Vegas for my birthday (had a great time!) and my husband’s brother is coming from Italy to visit so I’ve been so busy it is hard to even get something posted. I keep trying to find something little to post, but it still takes time!
Is there anything web 2.0 related that sounds interesting to you for me to look at next? I’ve gotten some nice feedback from people who like that my posts are easy to understand for beginners and they say it inspires them to try some of the web 2.0 tools so I was thinking about doing some posts on just some of the easy to use, basic web 2.0 tools like Flickr and Twitter and things like that. Sort of a web 2.0 for beginners. There are a lot of people who really don’t know where to start and so much of the info on the web is too technical for them.
Learning 2.0 is big in libraries and I hope to use some and add some and come up with something useful for the average web user. I’ll have to talk to my husband and see if he minds me using some of their tools. He is the head of IT at the Allen County Public Library and they are just getting ready to launch their Learning 2.0 program on Sept 19 (in conjunction with Stephen Abram coming to speak at the ACPL regarding web 2.0/library 2.0).
I also plan to set up our Aikido club website on Instant Spot and blog about that since Instant Spot was a surprise to me at how easy it is to use and to set up more of a website that includes a blog. It seems like a great tool for clubs and small businesses and a way to set up a website for information for people.
Nice post, look for InstantSpot v2 coming soon!!!
Submitted on 2007/12/31 at 4:44am
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Submitted on 2007/09/19 at 12:44am
I have to admit it, WordPress does have some pretty cool features, but in the end, sorry guys, it’s just not enough. In my battle of Typepad versus WordPress I have to say that Typepad wins.
In the end, three reasons made me chose Typepad over WordPress:
1. I need to be able to customize my templates.
2. I need to be able to display commercial content
3. I need to find the answers I really need in the support/help section.
I do like WordPress, but it’s just not for me. Sorry.
Submitted on 2007/09/04 at 11:57am
Thanks for the review!
I just blogged about your Blog Wars series here: http://ajlcom.instantspot.com