Tuesday, February 4, 2014

bcb // platforms

it's time to officially start the series i told you about last week! today's topic:

there are a lot of platforms out there to choose from. i'm going to tell you about the two pretty popular ones, both of which i have used. we'll look at some pros and cons for each, but if you are really looking at getting started, i encourage you to check out some other info, too and not just rely on my words alone. i will be as thorough as i can, but google is always full of more answers than i am.. wink..


the blog you're looking at right now is a blogger blog. there are a lot of things i like about blogger and aren't very many things that i don't. obviously i like it because i am using it. so let's look at all the fun things there are:

blogger pros:

  • blogger is always always free. there are no charges for anything. ever. done. 
  • everything is customizable. you can look for blogger templates online and find lots and lots for free that lovely people have made available for your own use. you can start with the templates blogger provides and change them up to fit your style. or if you are handy with some html code, you can rock it however you want. i am not a coder... though someday, i hope to get better. 
  • blogger is pretty simple to use. once you find your way around backstage*, you can basically do anything you want to behind the scenes: post a blog post, check your stats, change your layout and template, etc. 
  • blogger comes with a lot of widgets. widgets are those handy little things you see on sidebars, like twitter feeds, or photos, or archives. there are so many to choose from to fit your needs.
  • there is a blogger app. it's mainly for posts [i will talk about this in the cons actually, but it is handy to have on the go!]

there are only a few cons that i want to point out, just so you have a feel for what i've noticed in using blogger.

blogger cons:
  • because everything is customizable, it can be overwhelming, daunting, and occasionally frustrating. templates are a nice way to go, but it can be difficult to get everything the way you want it. more about this when we get to the design section of the series.
  • the blogger app is only for posts. you can't check your stats or manage comments, which i find a little frustrating because i like to respond to comments quickly. just my preference.
  • there is no network system set up for blogger [more about this in wordpress below].
neither here nor there:
i didn't want to classify this as a pro or a con because it depends on how you feel... but for those of you unaware, blogger is a google product. it's convenient because you can connect with everything like youtube and all other google products pretty easily [obviously you need a gmail account for blogger]. because google is getting so big, brock is actually becoming anti [crazy because he tried so hard to get me to use gmail when we were dating and now he wants me to get rid of it... and everything else in my life since i use blogger and chrome and all google products. oops.] but really it's just your preference. so consider that. 


even though i really like blogger, i happen to like wordpress better. i can't figure out why because honestly, blogger should be the better of the two [and it is] i just think wordpress is pretty backstage i guess. weird? i don't know. i don't even get apps if they aren't pretty. it's a thing i guess. so here's the real list of goodies about wordpress:

wordpress pros:
  • wordpress is pretty [i'm just gonna put that first]
  • when you get started, wordpress walks you through everything, from choosing a blog name, to picking a template to writing your first post. there's even a navigating video to help you figure out how to use your dashboard.. or backstage. 
  • the templates for wordpress are very modern and there are a lot of options to choose from but... more in the cons.
  • the backstage of wordpress is a lot more detailed than blogger. you can customize a lot of your settings that aren't changeable on blogger, like privacy, create polls, and other reading and writing settings. 
  • wordpress is a blogging network. this basically means that you already have an audience. that's a huge pro. audience is what you want, right? when i blogged on wordpress, most of my traffic came from other users. they can like your posts, follow, and comment very easily. 
  • wordpress's app is just like the website and everything can be controlled from it. nice. 
even though it looks like wordpress has more pros, it has more cons, too. and that's what makes me come to blogger. again. all about preference. so let's see what they are:

wordpress cons:
  • wordpress is only free for the basics. if you want to customize your site, you have to pay. if you want to use code [wordpress uses css code and not html], you have to pay. if you want the even fancier version, wordpress.org, you have to pay. if you want to get into that, go for it, but it's always better to start out free, right?
  • because wordpress is more like a network, it's not as easy for non-wordpress users to follow or comment, not impossible, but not as easy. 
  • like i said in the paying part and the pros part, wordpress is not very customizable. if you want a unique site, it's either going to cost you money or you will have to go somewhere else. you can sometimes change the colors in the templates, but that's about it. and that was huge for me. 
  • additionally, there are a lot of templates that cost by themselves. not all templates are free. 
  • wordpress also has many widgets to use, which is good, but it doesn't have near as many as a google product.
one last note about wordpress... it's wordpress.com, .org is a different more expensive and extensive platform like mentioned above. 

and there you have it friends. i laid the two out for you, now you have to decide what you want. there are other places you can check out for blogging. i've heard of tumblr, typepad, weebly, and livejournal, but i don't know anything about them. if you are looking for something more professional to  be home to a website and not just a blog, wix and squarespace are good options, but those will cost some mula. so do some research before you decide. or if you want, just sign up for a couple and see what you like after working with it! 

*backstage: i refer to the behind the scenes part of blogging as backstage. it's the part only you see of your blog, where you control it all and make the magic happen. 

check out the others!
intro design style and writing | networking | tools and other helps

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