Blogs: almost everyone has one, whether it is for personal use or for promoting a business, a product or a website, blogs are everywhere. This means that blogging software is abundant and diverse, each with its own best features, benefits and of course downfalls as well. From the most well known back end to the most obscure, there is no getting away from blogging and its software. While most are free, the one difference between blogging platforms is whether or not it is self hosted or not. In other words, does the blog end in, for example, “.com” or “.wordpress.com?” Let us look at the top three blogging software programs for the self-hosting community, which is not simply the most popular, but easiest to use. These consist of the “.com” versions, although fortunately, these blogging software programs can be used for both.
The Unlikely Easy to use Blog: Joomla!
Many people may not agree, especially those who do not like needing to add so many third party extensions and instead want a ready to go blogging software package, but Joomla! Makes a great blogging platform. Using either the Joomla! blog layout option or one of the numerous blog “plug-ins” such as MyBlog or SmartBlog, Joomla! Can be transformed into a blog with added benefits for use later in the blogging career.
Joomla! Is technically a CMS (Content Management Software) program and while Drupal usually makes the ranks in this area for the popular vote, Joomla! is much better supported with technical help and updates released about once every 18 months or sooner. It is also easier to use for the non-tech savvy. Joomla! has an excellent back-end user interface that can keep track of hundreds of thousands of articles and other types of content and the added benefit of thousands of designs and the ability to create your own. Additionally, the user can create categories, menus and any number of third party components that give the blog added functionality such as embedded videos and photo sharing.
Full Featured & Great Support Blog: TypePad
The second most popular blogging software, TypePad has some of the highest ratings in various areas such as design, publishing tools, ease of use and more. While the main blogging software is not free it offers just as many, if not more features than many web hosting companies do costing from $9-$24 a month. Additionally, TypePad offers a 14-day free trial, a free version for “personal blogging” called TypePad Micro, and a business-class blog package as well.
The best features of TypePad include automatic pinging of the major search engines meaning no extra work for the blogger to set up this feature, which WordPress requires. The design features are completely customizable and controllable as well; choose from premade designs or make your own. Widgets and other third party modules are available and easy to install in addition to buttons, which can be installed into a browser giving the user the ability to clog anything instantly. Offering complete support as well as help with installation and design, TypePad and TypePad Micro are good choices for those who need all the features without the hassle.
Fully Functional & Most Popular: WordPress
No “Best of” blogging software list would be complete without WordPress as one of the top three. According to many recent reviews and statistics, the majority of people in the self-hosted blogging community have a tendency to use WordPress. Whether this is because WP is already popular as blogging software or if it is because it is easier to use than most remains to be seen.
Personally, this writer uses WordPress (in addition to Joomla! on a second site) and prefers the WP blogging software because it is entirely customizable with a PHP and CSS base. Not only can users choose from thousands of premade designs, but anyone who knows CSS or PHP code can also design their own or even modify any part of the premade designs, such as the widgets.
WordPress has a powerful publishing tool with two modes, visual or HTML. With scheduling, mobile blogging and much more, WordPress has become one of the most powerful pieces of blogging software on the Internet and with good reason; it is free with the exception of the hosting charges from your third party hosting company. WordPress also has a WordPress hosted version, which uses the same user interface for blogging. Nothing changes between versions except the ability to do more with a self-hosted and your own domain name.
Runner Up for Popularity: Blogger
These blogging software programs are some of the most powerful on the web today. However, there is one more that I would like to add, which is more popular than Joomla! And that is Blogger. The best thing about Blogger by Google is the ease of use, simply sign in and blog. However, that is about all you can do with it; no premade designs and not much available to add onto it to make it your own. All of the Blogger blogs pretty much look the same. However, for those who need a quick writing outlet, Blogger is a good and popular choice.
Herbert-Jan van Dinther, “Joomla! 1-5 sample chapter 5-Joomla & RSS Feeds, PDF,” Packt Publishing
Joomla Blog, “Why You Want to Use Joomla! Instead of WordPress,” Compass Design
TypePad, “How it Works,” TypePad.com
Pingdom, “The blog platforms of choice of the top 100 blogs,” Royal Pingdom
“Blog Software Review, Blogging for Beginners,” Top Ten Review
Disclosure:JC Torpey and AssociatedContent.com are not affiliated with or endorsed by the Joomla Project or Open Source Matters. The Joomla logo is used under a limited license granted by Open Source Matters the trademark holder in the United States and other countries. Additionally, JC Torpey & AssociatedContent.com are in no way affiliated with WordPress.org or TypePad.com.