There was a time in the blogosphere (Blog/ging world? Blogging community? I feel the term I just used is ancient and outdated!) that many bloggers felt torn about making that decision whether they should stay in their current blogging platform or to go big and choose another platform that may serve their blogging purposes better and suitable for long-term use. I’d like to call the latter part of the last sentence “making the blog future-proof“.
Future-proof: Capable of adapting or conforming to standards not yet known; customizable.
(Definition from Urbandictionary.com)
I mentioned the keyword long term earlier and I want to clarify that this is not to say that whatever blogging platform you’re using right now for your blog, isn’t suitable for long time use.. although(!) it probably has its own advantages and disadvantages, like every other product does.
That’s what I will try to get into for today. Today I’ll be showing you, from my experience, what are good blogging platforms to consider when deciding to blog; should you consider changing blogging platforms; and why have I stuck with a few reliable ones all these years.
- Very easy to set up a blog – it takes less than 5 minutes to register (unless you get stuck thinking of a very unique username/blog name)
- Hassle free publishing – just start by typing your thoughts, let it flow I’d say, no holds barred and hit publish!
- ..or you can even type your thoughts in the tag box and it’ll be tucked away neatly #just #like #this #form #and #it would totally #be okay #but in this context it looks annoying I know
- The tumblr community full of creative, understanding, lovely open-minded individuals just like you waiting with open arms for your company
- In the years I’ve stayed in tumblr.. I made some friends and learned new things (both good and bad, to be honest). It also opened my mind to a lot of things that I was not aware of. Lastly, tumblr helped me understand the importance of certain socially-relevant things and ideas I didn’t fully understand before.
- Being distant to it now, I feel that while it has always been helpful to me in the past.. I feel that it has evolved to something so much more now, but on the other hand, it’s also made some people change. You can take it as a compliment, the way that they changed (to better people, I suppose? Idek). But the biggest change I’ve noticed is that it made some very territorial of where they stand (re: opinions) and it fueled the annoying me, me, me, all about me generation.. yeah I guess that’s the self-centeredness part. And I don’t just mean being vain. I understand if you personally feel fulfilled within yourself finally knowing where you stand but to shove it down people’s throats is not something I appreciate.
- The last advantage I can think of is you can change your tumblr username anytime you wish. Are you tired of your plain jane, basic (in an uncool way) tumblr username? It’s not getting any good recall among your followers? Then you may change it to a new, better one! Hahaha.
- I think this is my favorite feature, honestly. But I haven’t used this one that much because I always feel attached to the usernames I get.
- I can never stress this enough.. but it’s 2015 and the search function accuracy of tumblr blog websites still performs poorly. I have given up and moved out (meaning, I am inactive tumblr blogger now) and whenever I drop by my tumblr blog from time to time to try it out, see if it’s finally fixed, nope still inaccurate. It hardly shows the entries I look for. I have well over 10,000 posts on my tumblr (a mix of 70% reblogs and 30% personal blog posts, probably) and with this unusable important feature, it’s just really frustrating.
- Very limited options for the end-user in the back-end area of our accounts.
- The space for us to edit and design our theme still feels limited and too cramped. Last time I checked, there were a few features that enabled us to customize more areas of our tumblr pages (custom HTML template and CSS for a custom tumblr page, separate from your blog entry pages) but from my experience in using this, it still feels crappy and slow
- Weird recent disadvantage I found was when I started noticing that my computer was slowing down, but under the hood it’s starting to ‘work more’ because the fans were starting to spin loudly again which doesn’t happen unless the website I am viewing is heavy on Adobe Flash and video.
- I believe I was only browsing my tumblr dashboard at the time, although as I scrolled down, there were a lot of GIFs and Vine videos on autoplay. 😞 Maybe the website is optimized for newer computers now.
What I think of Tumblr for long-term use
As for long term use, I say it would depend on the kind of blog you run. If you just want a place to dump your thoughts and you have no plans to reorganize it in the future and appreciate your own little creative mess in the online world, you can stay with tumblr and just keep creating your content.
For archiving, you can sort it by Tags, I believe.. I don’t know if they ever worked on a Category feature. Still, like the search function as I’ve mentioned before, it’s not as accurate. Should you look into some blog posts years from now, you might not get them back unless you know the permanent link to it.
Design aspect of it, may be a bit easy? You only need an HTML template, but you’ll definitely need to look into tumblr’s own template tags for specific parts of your blog to incorporate in your blog theme such as the entry posts and pagination.
If you plan to expand your blog in the future,
idk be a blogging superstar or something, or think of re-organizing, it might take hours or days because the Archive page for back-end (only visible to you) runs a bit slow. From experience, it also causes my laptop to run its fans loud again.
I don’t have a lot to say about this blogging platform, but I have used it recently (around 2012-2013) and surely it went through a lot of changes over the years. Prior to those years, the last time I used it was around 2009.
I will just skip to the disadvantages that I encountered when I used it the last time. Also, I will use Blogger and Blogspot terms throughout, they’re under the same umbrella anyway hehe.. just can’t remember which one was the first name they used.
- The type of template coding Blogger uses now has changed from the last one I know about. I had a client who wanted a Blogger theme done for her Art Blog and, it took me days before I could understand the new one (at the time). I got to finish it eventually, but looking back it was my least favorite task that I did for work. 😛 It was so frustrating (Blogger’s template, not my client)!
- Sure it also began as an HTML template wherein you insert Blogger’s specific template codes for it to work, that’s what I thought.. so easy! But as soon as I previewed it for the first time, it looked disastrous. Eep.
- I noticed that if you wanted to use a custom domain with your Blogger website, the prefix www automatically comes with it and there seems to be no option to disable that? If you wanted it to just be domain.com, instead of www.domain.com, it’s not possible? I’m not 100% sure but I’ve seen two blogs under Blogger and it’s like that.
- Fine, it’s more of an aesthetics issue for me. Yeah, that tiny detail hinders a domain name from looking pretty, says fickle me.
- But also I found out that without the www prefix, I can’t seem to access these blogs, too. So, now what?
- It doesn’t feel there is a community out there for Blogger Support. Going back to the theme-related issue earlier, I struggled with finding help regarding the new codes for Blogger before. Meh.
What I think of Blogger for long-term use
It’s good for anyone starting out. Apart from those three things I encountered.. the archiving system of blogger is actually pretty good. Search works fine, so does the tags and categories. It may not be an issue for most bloggers, but I always like to keep my archives in check and want it to be easily accessible.
But I feel Blogger is so outdated and needs to catch up so badly. I don’t know how it performs in a SEO aspect.. maybe it’s good because it’s partly owned by Google?
WordPress.com is the free version of WordPress CMS blogging platform. Compared to the first two platforms, Blogger and Tumblr, WordPress is famous and well-known among web users and bloggers as well as people looking into setting up a solid brand presence online (for blogging, business, promotion purposes, to name a few).
It may be intimidating at first, hence why I think more people especially newbies go to friendlier-looking blogging platforms like the first two I reviewed for their user-friendly interface and system for people who just want to publish content.
In general, WordPress is much more customizable and expandable and definitely future-proof than the first two I mentioned. It continues to get updated and more to come our way in the future. Because of its popularity, and huge number of people and businesses using it I doubt that it will be gone anytime soon.
There are two versions of WordPress blogs, though. There’s the free one, WordPress.com, and a self-hosted version of it where you may access through WordPress.org (to be discussed later).
Some key things to know about WordPress.com-hosted blog
- Like any other blog website, creating an account and registering a WordPress.com blog only takes a few minutes unless you’re stuck thinking of the perfect name for your blog
- Unlike Tumblr, you cannot change your chosen WordPress username so be sure you really, really like the one you pick out
- WordPress.com blog focuses more on your content and they’ll be in charge of the rest. In short, you just keep publishing content, while the look and feel/design of your website as well as the back-end tasks is for them to handle and sort out.
- Your WordPress.com URL will be in the format of yourusername.wordpress.com. Unlike Blogger, WordPress.com blog URLs don’t have the www prefix and this blog will be accessible with or without it.
- The main downsides in my opinion are the following
- The ability to edit the theme (from template files to the CSS of the theme) is not possible. It’s one of their paid features. Even after paying that, the amount of things you can edit around your theme is still limited.
- So is using a domain name for your WordPress.com blog
- And the ads generated by WordPress.com cannot be removed either
Total costs of these disadvantages to be removed and/or enabled almost cost twice than if you were just to choose to do a self-hosted WordPress website.
What I think of WordPress.com hosted blog for long-term use
Overall, it just feels so, so limited in many aspects which are totally noticeable if you’ve been using WordPress for a long time. Why did I even bother trying out the .com variant? For experimentation purposes, silly!
Also, in my opinion this is not ideal for long-term use as it will be very costly. If your blog becomes big in the future, you would need to start investing money in it for disk space to allot for photos, most definitely. Computing the expenses now just to unlock certain important features (which should be free because they’re just standard features) would come to a huge sum which, in my currency at least, would be a lot already.
Moving on to the next type of WordPress where I might overly gush and appear very biased. 😛
Advantages and Disadvantages
- You have 100% control of your blog/website: Install as many plugins/themes as you want. Customize it to your hearts content, no one and nothing can stop you.
- Basically, the sky is the limit when it comes to customizing and developing a WordPress.org/self-hosted website.
- As far as I know the only basic expenses you will have to prepare for is the domain and hosting – which is not and should not be a problem because there are plenty of affordable but reliable web hosting providers out there.
- Tip: Check out my host by clicking their banner on my sidebar.
- The only downside: Since you are 100% in control of this website and very much on your own, the WordPress staff can’t really help you that much soon as you mess something up unless you know how to look up the errors you encounter. In which case, the WordPress Codex will be of much help to you.
- The WordPress Codex is the online manual and community forum regarding help and support for the platform. It’s super helpful, I use it a lot too!
What I think of a self-housted WordPress.org blog for long-term use
So it seems like my list comes up way shorter than the previous blogging platforms, haha. But let me tell you this: Out of all of these, using WordPress (self-hosted!) would be the only one that can easily be managed to adapt to a new website set-up.
- For example, you want your blog to have a separate ‘Shop’ within the website, you can just create a new Post Type for it
- You can develop your own automated tasks, or plugins for your blog/website
Nowadays new Content Management Systems (CMS) that can also be used as blogging platforms are starting to popup like Squarespace and Shopify (but this more for e-commerce purposes) which, like WordPress.com, comes at a price for its users to use it to its full potentials too.
Whatever these two websites can do, WordPress can similarly do already. The only difference I can think of is that, for competitive rates and fees, these other two can do the job you’d spend hours figuring out how, simplifying and finishing the task for you.
Now you’ve reached the end of my post comparing these top blogging platforms a lot of the people in the blogging community use not just for their blogs, but for functional and business-y type websites too.
I really hope I was able to help you decide better to either stay or move out of your current blogging platform and think long-term of your goals (don’t need to be big, btw) with your blogs or websites you are currently managing.