But those aren't the only free services there are. But they are the only ones I like.
But that doesn't mean they are the only good ones. And I'd like to hear from you about others.
But first, hear from me.
LiveJournal is a free platform offered by SixApart. In case you didn't know, SixApart is the company that owns the paid hosted platform TypePad and the blogging platform MovableType. LiveJournal wasn't started by SixApart, but was purchased by them in early 2005.
LiveJournal was designed to be a system for friends to keep in touch and keep up to date with each other. It's heavy into a "community" format.
LiveJournal doesn't address some of the issues many want in a blog. For example
- No support for categories, although communities can, of course, be topic-based
- No TrackBack support
- Not offering extended entry functionality ("More..." or "Click to continue...")
- Lack of variety in Templates or Template selection is limited
- Inability to schedule posts for future publishing
- Inability to edit the Templates
- "Second class blog" stigma / must have a "livejournal.com" URL, allthough paid accounts can have their own domain name
- No window-esque, drop-and-drag interface to use when creating a blog
As a full-featured blogging system, the free version of LiveJournal falls short. As a community of friends, LiveJournal works much better. As it should, since that why it was created to begin with.
Microsoft's platform, MSN Spaces, has many of the features that bloggers like, including support for categories.
In addition to the default categories provided, you can add your own, up to 25.
MSN Spaces also has support for TrackBacks.
Also, it's fairly easy to make changes, but not as many changes can be make. In Blogger, for example, you can literally make lots of changes, limited only by your HTML/CSS knowledge. But MSN Spaces is more customizable than WordPress.com.
There is a window-esque, drop-and-drag interface to use when creating a blog. After all, it's a Microsoft product, as is Windows.
On the downside, most of the templates have a cookie-cutter appearance. That is, an MSN Spaces blog looks like an MSN Spaces blog.
Now, the biggie: Microsoft requires people sign in to Passport to view your site. Because of that, it's more of a "community" than a public blogging platform. But there is an upside to that: If someone trolls your blog, at least you've forced them to log in and can attempt to use that information when reporting such activity to Microsoft.
MySpace isn't a blog. It's a community. It contains some blogging blogging functionality, but blogging is not the focus of MySpace.
To be honest, I just don't "get" MySpace. It's very, very popular. But it's not for me. And I'm not really qualified to tell you much about it. So, I want. I don't consider MySpace a blogging platform.
But if you do, and have advice and suggestions about it, I welcome your input. If you post about it, you're welcome to leave a link here via TrackBack. Just follow the TrackBack policy. (We'll cover more about things like that later. If you don't agree with the TrackBack policy, well, too bad.)
If you use AOL, you have built-in blogging functionality. Keyword: Blog
Yep. American Online has blogs. They call them "Journals" and it's really simple to set up. Check this out. See how easy that was?
But, like many simple interfaces, it gets its simplicity by not having all the features. But it does have some good features.
As you can see from my AOL blog, it supports some very useful features, including:
- Blogrolls (although not BlogRolling.com script)
- Built-in hit counter
- Atom/RSS feeds
- Posting via IM
Not a fancy platform, and it's free if you have AOL. But since not everyone has AOL, I won't be talking much more about it.
Those platform I've covered so far are the only ones I plan to talk about going forward. Sure, something may come up and change that, but for now, I plan to cover only Blogger, WordPress.com, and Blogsome when talking about free platforms.
If you use a free platform that's not been discussed, write up a post about it. You're welcome to link to it here via TrackBack. Just follow the TrackBack policy.
We've talked about free platforms. We'll talk about paid platforms in the future.