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What Influenced Your Blogging Platform Choice?

Earlier this year, Any Wibbles released “Anatomy and Structure of TypePad, WordPress, Blogger, and Movable Type Blog”, an interesting comparison between the different blogging tools and/or platforms.

While the review doesn’t cover some of the new features, it does give a clear outline of the differences in process and methodology, as well as customizability, in each of the four blogging tools. Which got me thinking.

I’d like to know which article, comparison chart, feature list, or recommendation influenced you to choose WordPress, Blogger, TypePad, Movable Type, or whatever blogging tool or platform you are using.

I’d like to know how the information influenced you. Which features mentioned were the most appealing, and which features were the most appalling. Were you using one blogging tool or platform and outgrew it? If so, what features influenced your next choice, now that you were wiser?

This is a great opportunity to comment on how you chose your blogging tool and what information swayed you. The articles, comparisons, feature lists, and recommendations you link to might help influence someone else.


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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen

Member 9Rules Network

15 Comments

  1. Posted June 14, 2006 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    I wrote about my reasons for moving from Blogger to WordPress on my blog. Not sure there were specific individual features that influenced my choice. I have follow-up postings on how I moved.

  2. Posted June 14, 2006 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    I started out at WordPress — never tried any of the other platforms. I found the platform at the recommendation from Steve Pavlina at http://www.stevepavlina.com, and love how clean and easy to use it is.

    I’m still using the free version, which means no ads, and I waffle back and forth on whether or not I want to move to a hosted version so I can try some monetization, but for now, the free version is working great.

    I’m interested to see what other people say on this — I suspect you’ll get a lot of WordPress fans, but I hope some folks from other platforms join the conversation.

  3. Posted June 14, 2006 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Although I was familiar with Blogger and its tag structure, I was looking for a more robust and configurable application which I could host myself. That, plus the annoyance of having to wait for the whole blog to be republished every time I made a blog setting change, had me shopping around.

    For a long time I was very interested in Textpattern, mainly because of its ability to generate valid code. However, after trying their demo in Open Source CMS I was disappointed with their underlying tag structure. It seemed like I would have to learn a whole new scheme in order to customize my blog. Not a big deal, but I prefer to learn things I can apply in more than one project.

    Then Zeldman switched to WordPress, writing a full page on why. I was particularly interested in two things he mentioned: Valid markup, and post preview. So, I went back to Open Source CMS and road-tested WordPress… The love was immediate as WordPress offered:

    Full customization via PHP and of course, CSS
    – Previewing of posts. Once you experiment this feature, you can’t go back.
    – Perfectly valid XHTML on posts and comments
    – Taxonomy system with the possibility of nested categories
    – I can host the application and my database
    – Changing one blog setting or publishing a post doesn’t make the application republish the whole blog
    – Non-post pages incorporated in the CMS. Therefore, WordPress could work as the CMS of non-blog web sites.

    These were the key conversion factors for me, but of course, as I started working with WP I found even more great things (e.g. custom fields, plugins, the possibility of creating additional custom templates integrated with the CMS, etc)

  4. Posted June 14, 2006 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    I moved away from Blogger primarily because I wanted categories. I chose WordPress because it was free but have since become so fond of it that I’d still recommend it even if it weren’t.

    WordPress is incredibly easy to use/administer and the docs at WordPress.org are very informative and helpful. There are tons of themes to choose from and editing them is a breeze. All these things plus the fact that my host of choice (BlueHost) offers a Fantastico auto-install of WordPress which takes all of about 60 seconds have completely sold me on WordPress.

  5. Posted June 14, 2006 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    I should have added that I’ve got a “profit and loss” table about the benefits of my move to WordPress in my how I moved home in cyberspace post. But I didn’t, because I had to run to a meeting. I’ve got to go to another one, now…

  6. Posted June 14, 2006 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    I started out with Greymatter, and briefly flirted with a very early version of MovableType.

    But in 2002 I discovered pMachine, written in PHP by Rick Ellis. I found that I could make my own customizations to the PHP and decided to use pMachine for all my blogging/site needs. This included all my client sites.

    In August 2003 I quit my full time job and struck out on my own to work as a web developer using pMachine to create sites. Not blogs, but full fledged sites.

    In Februray 2004, ExpressionEngine 1.0 arrived. It has a bit of a learning curve, but it did just about everything I needed for client sites. In time other features that weren’t part of the first release came.

    Forum
    Wiki
    Categories on the fly.
    Modules, plugins, extensions – oh my! These are addons for EE that are either created by the programming team or third party developers.

    Why do I stay with the pMachine team and ExpressionEngine? They listen to my suggestions, add features in a mostly timely manner, and make it possible for me to put together a site that separates design from content.

    There are three different versions:

    EECore – what I’d call a blogging platform. Free. Doesn’t have all the bells and whistles. No membership module, no forum, no wiki, no query engine.

    EEPersonal – for non-profits and those without a site that makes money. $99.00 Amazon referrals and google stuff doesn’t count as commercial. :)

    EECommercial – for commercial sites. Also required by anyone who makes money designing sites for EE. $249.

    Did I ever try WordPress? Yup, on one client site. I moved them over to EE in less than a month.

  7. timd
    Posted June 14, 2006 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    I started on blogger but didn’t last more than a couple posts before switching to Typepad. I chose Typepad because it is more intuitive.

  8. Posted June 14, 2006 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I started out at Blogger because it was well-known (okay, technically I started out at Diaryland in high school, and later moved my personal journal to LiveJournal where it still remains. But more focused blogs started on Blogger) and some of my friends used it, but it didn’t take me long to get frustrated about some of its features, like lack of categories. A friend of mine started using WordPress on her own server, and I liked what I saw.

    So categories + free (I’m not making enough money to pay for blogging right now) was really it. I wish WordPress.com allowed template customization, but I understand their philosophy and I’m willing to make the tradeoff for categories.

  9. Posted June 14, 2006 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    I started out using Blogger for about two years. Pushed the limits of coding it too with all the hacks that allowed me to even bring up a comment form much like that of WordPress. Even when I got my hands on a domain name and webhosting, it would have took me a full year to eventually decide that I needed a new blogging platform.

    Back then it was a tossup between Movable Type and WordPress. Then MT made the mistake of shifting to a paid service and I stumbled upon the WordPress channel on freenode. The rest is as they say, history.

    I think everyone needs to start with free blogging platforms instead of being spoilt with the server-side platforms first. I mean cause in the long run, as a blogger, I had an idead of what I expected from my blog and who my readers were like so when I shifted to WordPress, I wasn’t so clueless especially when it came to the plugins. I knew what I want instead of having a blog bloat.

    A year later and I now help a lot of people shift their blogs to WordPress and help them find the plugins they need. Its very different to see those that have been blogging for a while know what they want and have less problems in pisking up what they want from WordPress and those that just started blogging with a domain name and WordPress and often take a long time to bring their quality up to speed.

  10. Posted June 14, 2006 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Some reasons why a web geek should love WordPress:

    – first of all, it’s robust, light, up-to-date, has many built in functions – but still remains EASY
    – if the function you need is not built-in, there are thousands of ready-to-use plugins out there.
    – you can easily write your own plug-in and/or hack your WP with just little PHP knowledge: it’s really easy to understand (“code is poetry”, they say)
    – easy-as-hell permalink customization
    – it’s template-based, tableless, and most templates are XHTML compliant
    – extended documentation, and last but not least, THE HUGE COMMUNITY OF USERS AND DEVELOPERS!

    These are only the first things that came in my mind, but I’m sure there are many others valid as well.

  11. Collin
    Posted June 15, 2006 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    I started out with an application called pMachine in about 2003, having seen it in use at a photography blog. To put it simply, it sucked. It was hard to manage posts, the template – well, there was only one!

    I had heard of WordPress but it looked scary at the time. Getting more and more fed up with pMachine I gave it a go. I haven’t looked back since.

    I looked at Blogger a couple of weeks ago and I am so glad that I didn’t go there! Actually, I have always been hosted so Blogger wasn’t really an option for me.

  12. Posted June 15, 2006 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    I am still using Blogger, and I am satisfied. But I do miss the option of adding categories. I like the way Blogger feel, and I love to change the look on my blog. I looked to Blogcharm who seem to have the same feel but with categories, and I made an account there, but still I have not recieved a confirming-mail from them. This is two weeks ago…

  13. Posted June 15, 2006 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    I moved my blog to WordPress.com after using Blogger (2 different blogs) for about half a year. My main reasons for shifting were:
    1. Categories
    2. Widget support for the newer themes

    This last point needs to be elaborated a bit. I wanted a “recent comments” widget in one of my group blogs which was hosted by Blogspot. This was easy to find, but somewhat tricky to integrate into my theme. Then, if I changed the theme, I knew I would have to do the whole thing again.

    Simple things like blogrolls, links and sitemeters needed third party tools. WP.com allows a blogroll/links widget and has (limited) site stats. When/If Mirkwood receives more traffic, I might need a more sophisticated sitemeter, but until then, the available Site Stats and Feed Stats is good enough for me.

  14. Posted June 15, 2006 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    I started with Blogger, because it was easy and free. I didn’t know what to expect, like many, so I gave it a whirl. I migrated to TypePad because I could easily understand the migration over, and because TypePad is like Blogger on steroids, plus more, like trackbacks, categories, and now widgets.

    I’ve looked at WordPress, and it looks good, but now as I approach the 750, and then 1000 post threshold, with quite a few trackbacks and comments, I don’t think moving to WordPress is for me, though we do use WordPress for my podcast at http://www.nobullshitleadership.com

  15. Posted June 21, 2006 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    I’m very late to the party here, but my 2 cents: I chose WordPress because a) it was free; and b) my new hosting company could install it for free. I’m tech enough that I figured I could maintain WordPress after it was installed, but I had no idea how to install it and that scared me to do it myself. However, I love using WordPress so much I can’t imagine using anything else. I run two sites with it and, sometimes with some tough tweaking and free help in the support forums, I can get both of them to do exactly what I want.


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