Duncan Riley> I did an interesting email interview the other day with a leading Australian newspaper on the subject of blogging tools which, like any good interview, really got me thinking in regards to where is the best place to start blogging. Now I know not everyone will agree with the answers I gave, and as always I welcome your comments and feedback, but this is what I gave them.
Q – For those who are not ready to D-I-Y, which system is the easiest? Is it still Blogger?
I’d still recommend Blogger as the best starting point, it’s very easy to use, even for somebody who has no experience in blogging, yet its also flexible and provides the ability to expand and customise a blog as a new blogger develops their knowledge.
Q – Is it possible to get a sophisticated blog without turning to the likes of MT or Greymatter?
Yes, but only to a point. Again Blogger provides the ability to develop a blog and can be used with a customised URL (www.yoursite.com) and gives users the ability to edit a lot of the presentation actual code behind each page. There are also a number of service providers who offer sophisticated blogging services for a fee which don’t require self installation and hosting, such as TypePad and Square Space, but again, like Blogger, also have some limitations.
Q – Is Yahoo 360 offering anything that would make up for its blandness?
Yes, and that’s the social networking aspects of 360, however given that established social networking sites (such as Friendster) are now going into blogging, Yahoo! has a lot of catching up to do as it’s a new player in both markets.
Q – Is MSN Spaces?
The ability to blog directly from MSN Messenger, whilst not unique amongst blogging tools does provide a highly visible point of differentiation to Microsoft and the “Messenger Generation” seems to be their target market. 4.5-5 million blogs speaks for itself in terms of their success in targeting this market.
Q – What’s the most important feature a wannabe blogger can look for in service or tool?
(note this was the hardest question of all, because its nearly impossible to look at one aspect alone)
Cost should always be the first consideration for any wannabe blogger, and free is the best deal of all. A free blogging service allows experimentation and the ability to develop skills and knowledge without any obligation (real or imagined) to actually write or develop a serious blog. It also means that if things dont work out with a blog, it’s easy to walk away, or start again.