Back when I started my website, blogging was not mainstream. Don’t get me wrong, blogging did exist, but it wasn’t a popular pastime. Blogger started life in 1999, but wasn’t big for a couple of years. WordPress was not release until 2003. So I didn’t have an obvious choice when publishing content. As a result, I went through several iterations of doing it all manually, then eventually wrote my own CMS, which I still use for the main website. It was the bad old days… 🙂
Here are some quick thoughts.
- Which Platform? I would suggest using WordPress to start. Although my website had existed for a few years, my first blog post was in 2005. At the time I started with Blogger. After a while I got frustrated with it and switched across to a self-hosted version of WordPress. I’ve been there ever since. If you find something else you prefer, go with it, but there is a certain safety in being on the biggest platform. Plugin and theme support for WordPress is really good because of the popularity of the platform. Of course, the counter argument is that more people are looking to hack it.
- Self-Host or Free Service? For the majority of people, one of the free services is probably the best option. WordPress and Blogger can be used for free. You can also choose to pay for extra services, like custom domains etc. I was already hosting my own website, so self-hosting was a simple choice for me. Self-hosting is more flexible, but it’s going to cost more money. I would suggest starting free and simple, then if you change your mind you can also change your platform.
- Switching Platforms. The popular blogging platforms allow you to switch between them. There will probably be some broken internal links, but the main body of the site will be fine.
I’ve recently been getting a lot of emails from Google asking me to take surveys about my preferences for blogging and CMS tools. It looks like they are looking to either revamp Blogger, or put a new tool out on the market. It will be interesting to see what they come up with, and to see how long it lasts before they bin the project. 🙂
If you are honest, these decisions are really delaying tactics. You just need to sit in front of the keyboard and start. 🙂 Go for it!