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What Blog Software Should I Use?

So you want to create a blog but you aren't sure what blogging service will best fit your needs. Welcome to the club! There are a number of great options out there but each service has its own strengths and weaknesses. To help you find the best service we've gathered up all the important data so enjoy the read and hopefully when you're done you'll be better prepared to pick the best service for your needs!

The first thing you need to undestand about blogs is that there are two main types: hosted and self-install. Some of the blogs offer both versions, but basically what this means is with hosted you will simply join a service somewhere and the blog software is ready to go. The second type, self-install is a bit more tricky for the less tech savvy user. You'll need to find a hosting service and then install the software yourself. Either way the real question here is which blog service is going to best fit your needs so let's have a quick overview of the main blogging software options.

Cost: Free

Blogger is a free, hosted service. It is one of the older services and has a lot of users. Getting setup with blogger is pretty fast (about 10 minutes from start to blogging) and the system is pretty simple to use. The real issue with blogger is that its simplicity is also its limit. You won't find many professional bloggers using it though as you are more limited in some aspects such as performance and customization.

Cost: ~$8 - $15 a month (varies by reseller)

Blogware differs from most blog services primarily in how you purchase it. You will need to purchase it through a reseller so you'll find that the prices and packages vary from reseller to reseller. Again with Blogware you'll have trouble if you want to make major customization changes to the looks of your blog, but there are a good number of options that let you tinker with the setup without editing the templates themselves.

Expression Engine
Cost: $149 (non-commercial) - $199 (commercial)

Expression Engine is actually more than just a blogging software. It would be better categorized as a content management system. Unlike some services it also includes things such as image galleries, mailing lists, and other useful tools. Again all this power comes at a cost and that cost is ease of use. You'll be able to do most anything you want but how to get it done will always be the big question.

Movable Type
Cost: Somewhere likely between $69.95 and $199.95

Very powerful, but difficult to both setup and use. One of the strengths of Movable type is that you can set it up to not appear like a blog at all. The feature set is large and you can do most anything you want but each time you update your template you'll have to rebuild your blog. If you really want to do some interesting customization this may be the blog service for you, but the faint of heart need not apply due to the technical skills required to accomplish the changes.

Cost: $4.95 - $14.95 a month (depending on what service you choose)

With Typepad you have three options: Basic, Plus, and Pro. Each option gives you a distinct set of options and naturally the more you pay the better your options will be. Typepad is another very popular service and works well with journalistic bloggers who aren't much interested in messing with the sites templates. Once again customization is possible but difficult so most users of Typepad simply stick more or less to the defaults and do not worry much about the looks of the blog.

Cost: Free

WordPress is both free and poweful. Many professionals use WordPress both due to its many customizable features as well as its ability to handle large traffic loads. Wordpress also supports third-party plugins which offer you many features that other services cannot provide. With WordPress you can both use their free service or add the blogging software to your own host. Some hosts also offer it as an easy one-click install feature.

For an excellent side by side feature comparison you should also check out this page.

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