Review: Free Blog Providers

 

This year one of my goals other than driving better than the last year is to monetize my blog. In order to achieve that, I finally realized (or conceded) that getting more traffic or subscribers in my site should be on top of the priority to-do list. It’s a no-brainer that no one pays for a deserted blog spot.

Of course traffic doesn’t come that easily. Some finger-tapping, networking and a lot of thinking on how to improve the content of the blog site are just some factors that will dictate if who and how many gets to be attracted to check the blog out. And after all the countless blog-composing moments that at times seem to even interfere with my daily driving, I learned that more factors still has to be considered. Among all these are the free blog providers’ services.

Free blog providers are to bloggers as point-and-shoot cameras are to photographers. Simply put, both the free blog provider and the point-and-shoot camera are tools that offer beginners of each field the opportunity to experiment and learn the ins and outs of the process. And since I’m still trying to get rid of the urge to dig deeper into the world of photography, I decide it would be best if I stick to my trusty keyboard, alcohol-enchanced thinking, and try reviewing other free blog providers to see which one fits for me to achieve getting payments thru paypal – by monetizing my blog.

I first got this idea when I revisited my often-ignored multiply.com account. While checking it out sometime in December, I saw that cross-posting blogs is allowed. I learned that multiply blog allows feed from different blog providers which I really find convenient if I want to stay updated with both blogs and photos coming from my contacts without having to leave the multiply network. And these providers are what I have actually reviewed since the start of this year.

Note: I rated these free blog providers by comparing it to wordpress – my current provider. Likewise, I did my best (just within my kill-time periods) to test these blog sites and I’d appreciate comments if I did the right review or not.

Yahoo 360!

Basics:

Appearance. Not so catchy. If you love text this is your dream site, but if you’re a graphics guy forget getting serious with this service.

Dashboard. WordPress need not worry. This service will need more bright minds to even match half of wordpress’ features.

New post. Fair.

Image uploading. Remember, text yes, graphics no? If yes, then there’s no point loading images here. Though I wonder if I missed the feature that would enable it to load directly from flickr.com.

Categories. Yahoo! does not categorize post. It only has Tags.

Tags. Yes.

Widget. Get wordpress. Period.

Ads. No. period.

Others:

Poll. No.

Blogroll. Yes.

URL easy to remember? No.

Members. There could be a lot mainly due to its connection with Yahoo! but I didn’t find any serious blogger here.

Recommendation: Will saying, “go get wordpress” deliver the message?

 

Blogger

Basics:

Appearance. I find this somewhere near wordpress’ depending on the capability of the user to design his own theme. However, if the available themes are to be selected and applied to blogs, I’d be very biased to wordpress’ appearance.

Dashboard. Blogger is affiliated to Google but it appears that they copied dashboard features from Yahoo!

New post. Fair enough.

Image uploading. 1 GB maximum space. Can be done thru direct uploading or by linking to a URL.

Categories. No categories, only tags.

Widget. I’ve read that there are available widgets, but I find it hard to use it on mine.

Ads. If there’s one thing that will make me leave wordpress, this is it. Blogger.com allows one blogger to get paid thru Adsense.

Others:

Blogroll. Yes, it is available. Your contacts will love you for this.

URL easy to remember? Yes. Just the same with wordpress, except for the domain (duh!).

Members. There’s a lot of good bloggers here.

Recommendation: If you want to monetize your blog then this is the place to be. And if you can come up with better themes than the available ones, then wordpress might be a thing of the past.

 

WordPress

Basics:

Appearance. There’s a lot of great themes to choose from and most of it appears quite cool enough. Graphic-illiterate bloggers like me need not worry about having a boring blog site as there’s almost one theme that will match everyone’s taste.

Dashboard. Constantly getting better than the previous one.

New post. With the dashboard improving, posting a new blog has gotten easier every time (Although, I publish drafts and post thru MS Word 2007’s publish blog feature).

Image uploading. 3 GB maximum space. Images may be uploaded directly, by using a URL or by getting it thru the media library.

Categories. The parent category feature made blogging more organized. WordPress also has a converter from categories to tags and vice-versa.

Widget. Lots of cool widgets available.

Ads. Unfortunately, no. WordPress doesn’t allow its members to get paid. One will have to subscribe to other paid-providers (but can still you wordpress’ features) if they want to get paid.

Others:

Poll. Yes, thru polldaddy.com. I find this a very cool feature.

Blogroll. Yes.

URL easy to remember? Yes.

Members. Most of its members are prolific bloggers. And there was even once a wordpress group for Filipinos. Unfortunately, it went out of service for reasons that I still don’t know until now.

Recommendation: I’m biased, but I think most will agree that this is among the best if not the best free blog provider. Sign up to wordpress if you don’t care about being paid at all.

 

Windows Live Space

Basics:

Appearance. Yahoo! people can smile now. This is the least of my favorites.

Dashboard. The appearance is a reflection of the dashboard. Need I say more?

New post. Fair.

Image uploading. Direct uploading only. I even cannot edit the image once I have my blog posted (I could be wrong, though).

Categories. Yes.

Tags. No?

Widget. No.

Ads. No.

Others:

URL easy to remember? I have so much hate with this blog provider and one reason for that is because I can’t even remember my own URL after I’ve subscribed and posted my first blog.

Members. Most likely many, but that’s because each one is probably signing up for a new blog name after forgetting what their first URL was.

Recommendation: Good for spammers and bloggers with multiple personality.

 

LiveJournal

Basics:

Appearance and Dashboard. A bit closer to wordpress.

New post. Fair. There’s also a feature to insert mood options right below the blog. Hopefully, they can come up with a honk-mood rating just like I use in my blogs.

Image uploading. This one has the most options. It can upload image directly or coming from a URL, scrapbook or photobucket.

Categories. No.

Tags. Yes.

Ads. No.

Others:

URL easy to remember? Yes.

Members. There’s also a lot.

Recommendation: As the name implies, most of the users here post articles in a manner like most journals are written. And upon browsing/lurking thru most of the post, I saw that this is the site if you want to let lose some rants and hot air. Paging all bosses, you might find your names here right after you have delivered some tough messages. Hahaha.

 

Mood: 3/10 Honks!

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2 Responses

  1. I found a great site that pays thrugh paypal. I host my business blog there http://www.thematrixeconomicstimulusplan.com/matrix-mama-making-money.html

    I just set it up yesterday so I’m not sure yest how to do a referral and get paid.

  2. I really liked your blog! You have some great content. Check out my blog, I just posted my review of the Awesome free Internet Marketing and SEO tools.
    Its a followup to my original post:

    http://blogging-to-make-money.com/search-engine-optimization-awesome-new-tools/

    Anyways here are the actual reviews and links to the free online tools

    Thanks and hopefully this will help you along your travels:

    http://blogging-to-make-money.com/free-google-internet-marketing-and-search-engine-optimization-tools

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