The Top Consideration When Choosing a Free Blogging Platform

When people first start blogging, they often choose to go with one of the
popular and free blogging platforms, such as Blogger, LiveJournal, or even a
MySpace blog. However, there is one very important thing to consider when
choosing a free platform for a blog: exportability.

Before getting into that, should you use a free platform at all? In many cases,
the answer is “Yes” since it allows you to get up and running in a matter of
minutes with little technical know-how. You can focus on creating content and
finding your voice rather than dealing with hosting issues and script
formatting.

Back to portability: The reason portability is so important is because you may
one day decide to change blogging platforms. This may be because
you really like a feature that’s offered on WordPress but not Blogger, or you
find out that nobody uses MySpace anymore (we’re not there yet). When that
happens, it would be nice to be able to pick up and leave with all of the posts
you’ve created to date. And ideally, all of the other content created on your
blog should come with you too, such as comments.

Many blog platforms offer an import script that helps you transfer your blog’s
content from a previous platform. It’s in the best interest of blogging
platforms to create import scripts since it makes it MUCH easier for people to
move.

For example, below is a list of blog platforms WordPress currently supports
imports from. Notice the large variety of different specs in the right column:

Wordpress Import

Here are a few things worth noting:

1. You can’t import your LiveJournal blog’s comments, so you’ll lose them when
you switch.

2. You can’t import comments from a Blogger blog if you use a 3rd party comment
application like Haloscan. This is a common problem for experienced blogger blog users.

3. Where’s MySpace in the above chart? This one is huge. The only way to import
a MySpace blog as of today is to export an RSS feed from MySpace then upload it
to WordPress. HOWEVER, MySpace truncates posts
in your RSS feed, so you’ll only be able to retrieve the first 200 characters of
your 10 most recent posts!
That’s something worth thinking long and hard
about. You could manually copy/paste your previous posts over to your new blog,
but you’ll still lose all of your blog’s comments when you do that.

So put some thought into which blogging platform is right for you before you
start putting time and energy into creating posts on that platform. Pick one
that plays nice with others and respects their contributors.

My recs: As of today, consider using either Blogger or WordPress.com’s free blogging platforms if you’re looking for a free blogging option. Both are very popular, widely supported, and play nice with other platforms.

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