There are dozens of great hosted blogging solutions available like TypePad, Live Journal and Blog. Though for most people the choice comes down to either Blogger or WordPress, which are by far the most popular hosted blogging services available today.

In this guide I will look at the pros and cons of each service, which I hope will help you make and informed decision about which platform to use.

Blogger

BloggerBlogger was founded in 1999 by Pyra Labs, a company which was co-founded by Twitter creator Evan Williams. It was later acquired by Google in 2003.

One of the pioneers of the blogging medium, Blogger has long been the choice of blogging newbies. It’s incredibly easy to setup yet offers a lot of freedom and flexibility that other hosted services do not.

All blogger blogs have a small banner at the top of the page which is about 30 pixels high. This banner lets search the blog you are on, flag the blog for a violation, visit the next blogger blog and sign in. Unfortunately, this banner can not be removed however the rest of the page is not changed in any way by Google.

Blogger Banner

Pros:

  • Full Control over your blogs template design.
  • Advertisements and affiliate banners are permitted.
  • Can use your own domain name for free.

Cons:

  • Beginners may find customising the blogger design very difficult.
  • Need to use a 3rd party script for a contact form (which is why many ‘Blogger users display their email instead).
  • Limited number of plugins and widgets available.

I have also hear many people claim that because Blogger is owned by Google, Blogger blogs appear much higher in the search engines that blogs using other platforms. I have yet to see concrete evidence of this myself and advise you to take any such claim with a pinch of salt.

You can find out more at Blogger.com

WordPress

WordPressThe WordPress hosted service (not to be confused with their popular self hosting blogging script) is a simple yet elegant blogging service which is favoured by many authors and professionals.

Unlike Blogger, you cannot edit CSS code of your blogs design. However, there are thousands of free themes to choose from, many of which let you choose the colour of your blog design. You can also easily customise your sidebar and footer using widgets (plugins which offer more features and customisation). You can also choose a wordpress free feature upgrade to modify your css code for $14.97 a year.

WordPress also offer a VIP Hosting for blogs with a lot of traffic. This is used by many top blogs like Top Gear and the NFL.

Pros:

  • Lets you easily create static pages.
  • Very easy to add a contact form to your blog.
  • Has a built in trackback system/
  • A better comment system than Blogger.
  • A huge number of themes and widgets available to bloggers.

Cons:

  • Cannot modify blogs CSS stylesheet.
  • Cannot add 3rd party tracking scripts like Google Analytics. However, WordPress does provide it’s own stats and they are more than sufficient for most people.
  • No advertisements are allowed on WordPress.com blogs.
  • WordPress occasionally show small text advertisements in order to cover server costs. This can be removed with a premium upgrade.
  • It costs $9.97 a year to use an existing domain name you own or $14.97 to register your domain with them.

You can find out more at WordPress.com. WordPress also have a good comparison between WordPress.org and WordPress.com at Get.WP.com.

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