If you’re a beginning blogger, I’ll suggest, start with Google’s free Blogger platform. It’s a great way to get your blogging feet wet and begin to learn the basics of using any blogging platform before moving on to something more advanced, such as, WordPress., for example.
Blogger and WordPress are the top two contenders. Although some other blogging platforms, such as Tumblr, Typepad, and LiveJournal are some great competitors, Blogger and WordPress are still the reigning platforms among blogging platforms. Just know, if you want to gain the most out of your blogging experience, and want to be considered a professional blogger, WordPress is the way to go. The features are almost limitless.
On a self-hosted WordPress site there are so many plugins available at your disposal. Plugins are also call “add-ons”. They help to enhance your site’s features and capabilities. By definition, a plugin “is a set of software components that adds specific abilities to a larger software application. If supported, plug-ins enable customizing the functionality of an application.” There’s, perhaps, a plugin for everything you can do with your site. From the use of social media, assistance with search engine optimization (SEO), photo storage, commentary, adding an online store feature perhaps, even assistance with advertising placements. You name it you’ll find it.
I’ve used both Blogger and WordPress. Although Blogger is easier to use, especially for beginning bloggers, you’ll find you’ll have to begin learning some manual configurations and html in order to add better features on your site. HTML stands for “Hypertext Markup Language”. It’s the markup language for displaying web pages and other information that can be displayed in a web browser, such as font, color, and graphics. WordPress plugin options makes setting up many of these features easy for you. However, I do advise learning a bit of html if you plan on blogging for the long haul, if not as a career. You’ll find the knowledge will come in handy and useful.
As for the other platforms, Typepad only allows a 14 day free trial period. Unlike the other platforms it isn’t free beyond its initial trial period. This platform is typically used by artists, crafters and the fashion indulged. LiveJournal, although it doesn’t have to be, is a platform generally used by “real writers” (unfortunately bloggers without actual writing degrees and/or expertise aren’t considered real writers in the writing community). this platform is also community driven. You can share your journals with fellow writers who may be able to provide some constructive criticism. Tumblr is typically used as a platform for photo blogging and re-blogging.
However, it doesn’t matter the platform. You can use anyone regardless of the niche. It’s entirely up to you and how you choose to use it. Just remember to do a bit of research on what platform is best for what you want to do. Like Tumblr for example, if you have a community of photobloggers and that is what you want to do, connect with them. Same goes for LiveJournal. Want to meet writers, connect with them. Use the platform that best suites your needs.