Welcome to week 3 of Should I blog? The content this week turns a little more practical – we explore different blogging platforms.
I strongly recommend using a throw-away domain name – that is, start by picking something you do not want and play with it. Don’t be afraid to try out the various settings to see what difference they make. Also, please ask lots of questions. If you like a particular platform or domain, feel free to reach out to the cancer blog mentors that use the domain for help. They are here to help you!
I’ve chosen to provide overviews of four platforms in order of complexity: Tumblr, Blogger, WordPress.org, and WordPress.com. Some would argue that Tumblr isn’t really blogging, but it can be. They have an easy-to-use platform that can be setup quickly and integrates really well with with mobile phones and tablets. Blogger is a great option if you already use Google (e.g. gmail) and you just want to get started writing. WordPress is the most common blogging platform, and provides more options but is a little bit more complicated to get started. As with all platforms, the easier it is to use, the less flexibility you get with it. You get the most flexibility if you self-host a WordPress blog. Note that most of my domains use WordPress (shouldiblog.org, bcbecky.com, goingeast.ca, rjh.goingeast.ca, ipad-fm.ca) – each has different look at feel but the techniques used for creating them are the same. Knowing how to use WordPress to create websites is also a useful skill to have.
Hosting your own domain is not as complex as it sounds, especially if you have the support of a good provider. The folks at reclaim hosting.com make it easy to setup, and it involves very little management once things are up and running. I’m happy to coach anyone who wants to use their services. I host bcbecky.com and shouldiblog.org on reclaim hosting. They have given me some first year free discount codes – so if you want one, just reply to this email or email me. If you have never used WordPress before, I recommend you play a little with a throw-away WordPress.com domain before you start at reclaim. That way you already know a little about WordPress before you worry about domain hosting.
If you have already started blogging elsewhere and want to move to your own domain, I’m happy to help with that too. Some of the platforms allow for exporting and importing of your existing blog posts, making the transfer a lot easier.
If all goes according to plan, I’ll be away from my email on Tuesday and maybe Wednesday (for what I hope to be my last surgery). I should be back by Thursday with a mid-week update.