The first question many have when trying to set up a blog is which platform to use. There are three main blogging platforms in common usage right now: WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr
. These platforms all have their own benefits and drawbacks, and for someone just starting out, comparing them can be a confusing process.
, which allows both on-site hosting and self-hosting, has existed for quite some time, and has built an impressive library of plugins to extend the functionality of WordPress blogs, as well as a multitude of free and paid for themes. Almost any feature for WordPress has already been created; it is generally just a matter of installing the plugin and, in the case of widgets, dragging it into place. While WordPress’ customization features are very robust, it does require more technical knowledge and user initiative than either Tumblr or Blogger, which can be a significant barrier to entry. For an advanced user, the option to self-host a WordPress blog can be invaluable.
, which emphasizes short vignettes, photos, and other media, may have less unique hits than WordPress but has almost as much actual activity as WordPress—implying that while there are less Tumblr users in general, the community itself is more active. Tumblr is a fast way to get out small snippets of information. Unfortunately, Tumblr doesn’t offer any built-in comment feature, and unlike WordPress and Blogger, there are limited applications, flexibility, and personalization options. Tumblr is a good choice for someone who wants to get into blogging, but doesn’t want to waste time customizing or programming their page. Advanced users, however, might find Tumblr disappointing, as not only is the customization limited, but there is no option to self-host.
occupies a technological middle ground between WordPress and Tumblr. It is easier to customize than WordPress, but the customization options are somewhat shallower, and self-hosting is not an option. Since Google’s purchase of this blogging platform, Blogger has had the advantage of being keyed into Google’s network. Like WordPress, Blogger offers themes and applications, though with a somewhat more limited library. Blogger is probably ideal for the beginning blogger who wants a more traditional blog than Tumblr, without the complexity of setting up WordPress.
For a blog that emphasizes short posts, quotes, photos, and videos, Tumblr is likely the most expedient and attractive choice. For a more traditional blogging format, WordPress is the ideal choice for advanced users, while Blogger is probably the best choice for beginners. Of course, everything comes down to user preference and comfort. The eventual success of any blog will be determined largely by the appeal of its content, the niche that it fills, and the consistency of its updates. Because of this, the blogging platform chosen should be the platform that most facilitates the user in providing their content in a timely and reliable manner.