Best Blogging Software
By Miles Evans
The blogging platform wars are getting really interesting and much of the discussion I find myself in lately revolves around what is happening with various CMS systems. The market can essentially be defined into 3 major camps: remotely hosted, self hosted, and community based systems. I have used pretty much every blogging platform available and each of them has its ups and downs. In this article I will cover the best options for each area taking into account price, usability, market share and of course SEO potential.
All of these products are either open source, completely frŽe or have a functional frŽe version.
Remotely Hosted Blogging Software
(Note: I cannot really recommend any of these from an SEO stand point since optimizing a domain you do not own or control is obviously not a good marketing plan.)
Blogger is completely frŽe and currently owns the majority of the remotely hosted user base, but not by a landslide. Bought out by Google in 1999, Blogger essentially fired up the blogging trend we see today. It is by far the easiest overall solution to use and, if you are a novice user looking to throw up some recipes or poetry, this is for you. Blogger is completely frŽe and includes some great features like comments, photo blogging, and a basic community feel with user profiles. Because it is so dumbed down there are some features you may not find with Blogger that are only available through 3rd party add-ons. As a side note Blogger weblogs do quite well in the search engines and this was recently exploited with it being the first choice for sp@m blogs or splogs. A splog is a weblog used for the sole purpose of gaining inbound links or generating thousands of keyword stuffed pages with Adsense and the like. The recent Google Jagger update cleared a large portion of this up. FrŽe.
Released in 2003, Typepad is a product of Sixapart, the makers of Movable Type. It is largely based on MT but there are some major enhancements and differences. Your blog can accomodate one or more photo albums with auto thumbnail generation. You can easily add music, books, and other media to Typelists, which grab a thumbnail from Amazon and other retailers for easy displaying in your sidebar. Typepad is also a great deal more technical than Blogger so a bit of HTML know-how is recommended. On that note, editing your blog to look the way you want is also quite easy and Typepad blogs are known for being very eye-pleasing, intuitive and easy to navigate. In Sixapart's business model, Typepad is aimed at regular home and small business users while Movable Type is targeted at largŽr businesses or for internal intranets. Price: Basic, $4.95 a month; Premium, $8.95 to $14.95 a month.
These guys originated back in 1999 as a site for sharing book, music and movie reviews. Although it quickly morphed into a full blown blogging tool, Xanga still maintains the ability to run a powerful review site. Xanga pulls data from several retailers like Amazon.com including thumbnails, pricing and a cover. The software also is very usable by novices with a powerful WYSIWYG editor allowing for easy HTML editing, adding smilies, links, and other symbols. By using Blog rings it is also easy to interface with Xanga's other 3 million users to share interests, ideas, and of course traffÔc. Xanga comes in a frŽe and $25 flavor.
Mentions: Blogsome, Blogster, MindSay, Multiply
Self Hosted Blogging Software
WordPress originally began as a mod of an older open source package known as B2. WP is MT's biggest competition and is often the bain of endless Wordpress vs Movabletype style threads around the internet. Although launched just over a year or so ago WP has really taken the blogosphere by storm. And with good reason - Wordpress is completely frŽe u