In July of 2005, Susannah Gardner offered us “Time to check: Are you using the right blogging tool?”. I ran across it recently and while it is a great review of all the blogging tools out there, I thought I’d throw a little fuel on the fire.
Yes, it is good to judge a book by its cover and blogging tools by how easy or hard they are to use, how fast they are to install, but I think that some other criteria needs to get into the mix. These include:
- How long you will use it before you get bored?
- How much it will grow and expand with your topics and expertise?
- Will you be still using it one year later?
A good blogging tool is one that will grow with you and your needs. The more room for expansion and change, the more likely you will retain interest in the process and the blog.
After several months of using wordpress.com, a totally untweakable blogging tool, while the ease of posting is amazing, and the focus being totally on content and not on design, I can see the boredom creeping in after the first blush of excitement from many users, and from me.
At first it was the thrill of getting your WordPress invite. Then there was thrill of giving a WordPress invite away to someone else and waiting and watching to see what they would do with it. But then you had to go back to your own wordpress.com blog and figure out what you were going to do with it.
You dig into wordpress.com and check out the new features and pretty packaging. How does it work? What does that do? What happens when I poke this? Can I make it do that? What about this? You quickly find the treats and treasures, and slowly, you find the limitations. There is only so much you can do with wordpresss.com.
Once you’ve pushed the limit, then the enthusiasm for blogging goes in two directions which criss and cross from time to time. First is the tweak factor.
The tweak factor is all the tweaking you can do if you are used to using the full version of WordPress. With the full WordPress, you can tweak, mess up, push and pull your blog into as many parts and pieces as you want with CSS, HTML/XHMTL, PHP, and WordPress Plugins. The wonderous magic is all the multitude of things you can tweak and change. But in wordpress.com, the tweak factor is practically non-existent – though some tweaking might be available soon, right now, there is none.
So that leaves the blogging factor. The blogging factor is when the enthusiasm for the topic you are blogging about keeps your interest up so you keep blogging no matter what blogging tool you are using. You could be using wordpress.com, the full version of WordPress, Blogger, TypePad, MT, or LiveJournal. It isn’t about the blogging tool, it’s about the content within the blog.
For many WordPress users, it’s about the content, but it’s also about the tweaking factor. So there is a lot more to hold your interest when using WordPress over WordPressMU‘s wordpress.com or LiveJournal.
So as you evaluate your blogging tools, determining which one is best for your needs, please take into account the tweak factor as well as the blogging factor as you plan for the blogging tool of your choice over the long haul, not the short-lived thrill.
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