I find myself in conversations about blogging and WordPress more and more these days. It seems everyone has, wants or needs a blog. Let’s go over a few terms and options to set the record straight on some common products I use or have used to create my blogs. This is my 40,000 foot overview on blogging with WordPress options.
- Before I take this conversation any further we must set the record straight on what this relatively new word means. To me, a blog is a web site that is updated regularly with new content. That’s it. That’s all. It may clash with other’s definitions and I may take too much of a generalist approach but at it’s simplest form that really is it. A blog does not have to be built on WordPress or Blogger. It does not have allow comments. It doesn’t even need an RSS feed. There were plenty of people "blogging" on their WEB SITES before any of those words even had meaning to the general population
- This word is want prompted me to write this. Every time I throw the word WordPress out there within 2 minutes I realize the person I’m speaking to has a different idea of what I’m talking about. So let’s go through the suite of "Wordpress" options.
- If you don’t have an account on WordPress.com get one. It’s the easiest way to get behind the scenes of one of the worlds most popular blogging platforms. WordPress.com is a free blogging service where you can host a blog (or a web site you will update regularly.) Simply sign up, give your blog a name, write a post and click submit. Viola! You’re very own blog.
- Downfalls: You don’t have too much control.
Positives: You need little or no technical knowledge to get started.
- This is where you can download your very own WordPress software to install on your own servers. Once installed it looks and smells much like WordPress.com however, you have complete control over your blog. The files are yours. They are on your servers. You can hack at them all you want. The code, the look, the feel, the database. All of it is fair game as you have access to the files that make up your blog.
- Downfalls: You need server space and bit of technical knowledge to install and even more to customize.
Positives: It’s yours! The only thing holding you back is creativity and that pesky technical knowledge I brought up earlier.
- WordPress MU
- It’s like WordPress on steroids. Well not really but think of it like hosting your own WordPress.com site on your own servers. That means you can allow people, users, other bloggers to sign up with you and create their own blogs under your umbrella (domain name.) EduBlogs is a great example. They are running WordPress MU to allow educators to create and manage student blogs. If you want to have multiple people publishing multiple blogs WordPress MU is the way to do it.
- Downfalls: You need server space and technical knowledge create and maintain.
Positives: A great solution IF you are looking to create an online community of interest.
- A bundle of WordPress plugins and themes, that can upgrade WordPress MU into a Social Network. It doesn’t stand alone but I thought it was worth a mention since one of the reasons I switched BlogToLose from WordPress MU to NING was because something like this didn’t exist at the time. (Or more then likely I wasn’t aware of it)
- It’s not WordPress however, if you like the idea of creating a community online but the thought of hosting other peoples blogs scares you, bbPress may be the answer. bbPress is a highly customizable message board system you can install on your own servers. You can even connect it to your WordPress blog or MU installation to provide readers a forum.
- I talked about this in a different post but it’s worth another mention as it’s put out by the same people who make WordPress. Gravatars are the little pictures you see by the comments below (if there are any comments that is.) Click here to learn more.
I realize my short 40,000 foot view gives you no information on how to actually DO anything. That wasn’t my goal. I just wanted to make sure we were all on the same page when it came to blogging and WordPress options. Now if you want to learn how to do things with your new found knowledge of WordPress you must check out WordPress.tv Here’s a quick introduction…