It’s nice for sure to have your own website; a personal web site with your own name. But building a website might be costy and time consuming. It requires efforts too to balance between design & contents. A good solution would be to use one of the blogging services out there such as WordPress or Blogger. These services usually provide almost everything you might need in a blog for free or for reasonable price. They serve as a webblog and as a personal website in the same time. Some might use them for business purposes though; there are a lot of examples here and a lot of business & professional templates/themes too. It’s interesting to know that huge amount of the world websites nowadays use WordPress.
WordPress (.com not .org)
It started in 2003 (Yourname.Wordpress.com). It could be the easiest way with very beautiful templates. I never needed to pay them anything. I knew my needs and WP served them well. However, you have to pay if you want to use your own domain URL or if you want some extra features such editing CSS of the template.
The good things:
- Easy to setup and to launch.
- Beautiful Templates.
- Very good commenting system and social sharing options.
- Their Android (not Windows Phone) app is very good and does a lot of things.
- CEO (friendly)
- URL supports Arabic titles.
The bad things:
- Might be expensive for what you get.
- Limited in widgets in comparing to WordPress.org
- Without using a domain URL, statistics are limited.
- In spite they allowed Google Analytics recently, it’s for paid service only.
- Google Ads are not allowed.
- WYSIWYG Editor doesn’t provide Right to Left option. But you can override this through HTML.
- Third party commenting system are not allowed.
I emphasized WordPress.com here. Although WordPress.org is more flexible with more options & features, it requires a lot of efforts & updates. I prefer to build my own full website my way instead!
Blogger (I really love Google)
I was just testing it to see the difference. But I found myself moving totally to it and leaving WordPress. It’s owned by Google since 2003 (Youname.Blogspot.com). I know there are a lot of talking about Blogger is going to be discontinued and that Google has the habit of shutting down services often. However, I think it received some updates lately and Google for sure benefits a lot from having it online and serving. So, don’t worry. The decision for closing this service might not happen at all. Remember that big companies usually offer you a time to download your data in such cases.
The good things:
- Totally Free.
- You can use your domain URL (if you purchased it).
- You can use Google Ads.
- It’s a service provided by Google! Thus, your blog is indexed into Google Search.
- Ability to entirely edit the template and its CSS/HTML.
- A lot of customization and tweaks are available over the net regarding Blogger.
- Google Analytics are part of it.
- Can be merged with Google+
The bad things:
- It might be complicated at the beginning.
- Social sharing options are not good. But again, everything here can be customized & edited.
- Commenting system is bad. You can use third party ones such as Disqus.
- The Android app is bad as if it wasn’t built by Google. For Windows Phone, as usual, Google is absent.
- URL doesn’t support Arabic titles.
Some think that using Google+ or Facebook commenting system isn’t a good option. Moderating comments is difficult. You might also lose comments by changing the website or the domain (this can be overridden though). A lot of people also hate to use their social names to comment. Disqus on the other hand is very flexible and easier to take the comments everywhere.
Humans always seek the best and sky is the limit. After some time on Blogger, I felt the need to display more languages on my site and to add more sections other than blog posts & personal pages. This means the above are not enough. I had to build my own website and thus to design my own database. Half of the work was almost done as I had already designed my own CSS template and HTML & Javascrips works upon moving to Blogger. I also had the comments ready on Disqus. I just needed to find a Web Hosting; and I chose Web Wiz for their good reputation in hosting and reasonable prices. Now, my own website is alive and kicking 🙂
General notes about Blogs and Web Designing:
- Be careful when you use/buy third party templates.
- Third party commenting systems are better. They’re transferable and they make your database lighter.
- Always backup your work. Relating to this, it’s good idea to keep HTML copy of your posts. For me, this might be safer than importing options (if available).
- Try to understand how Canonical URL & Open Graph works.
- CEO things might be important but it doesn’t affect crawling/indexing in search engines.
- Too much ads render the page unreadable.
So, what is your preferred platform for blogging, for personal website, or for commenting systems?