Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Beginning Blogging Questions

A correspondent thinking of starting a new blog recently got in touch and asked me a series of questions, and he has encouraged me to post my answers here. These are very much my own perspectives on the issues from my own experience, and others will feel quite differently, I am sure, so please feel free to blog your own responses to these questions, or to add a comment below.

1. Which is the best site to go with--or does it make a difference?

Blogger is, I think, simpler to use and you can have your blog up in minutes. It is pretty efficient and is fine for what most people need from a blog. However, I do think WordPress is the superior product and I have very much enjoyed using it for the new NT Gateway and NT Gateway blog since I went into partnership with Logos for that site. For my NT Blog, I am fairly happy with blogger, which I have used since 2003. For the NT Pod, I went with blogger for the "shop front", as it were, though the audio files themselves are all located elsewhere, and I slightly regret that decision. Word Press is the superior product for podcasting, it seems to me.

2. I would like to blog about three things--Bible, ministry and Macs. Is it best to have three separate blogs?

Well, people feel differently about this one. I like to keep one blog for academic stuff and one for the rest (the Resident Alien) in which I talk about things connected with the life of a British expat in the US, and some other stuff of personal interest. I do this because I don't assume that people who want to read the academic stuff necessarily have any interest in things that happen to interest me, like The Prisoner, Doctor Who, and Abba. Similarly, there are those who are interested in some of that stuff but who could not care less about academic NT studies. But it's very much an individual thing. Some like to combine everything into one blog, and that clearly works for them and for their readers. My guess is that there will be those interested all three of those things, Bible, ministry and Macs, and so a one blog approach might be best.

3. What about name registration? I see you have stayed with having .wordpress but others have their own names for their blogs. Is this straightforward?

Well, we have retained ntgateway.com for the NT Gateway site, but yes, I have a .blogspot address for the NT Blog. I actually find hosting on blogger much easier than hosting on my own site. Blogger updates incredibly quickly. Holding all the archives on my personal space and publishing via FTP sometimes took a very long time. The most straightforward thing, I would say, is simply to publish on Wordpress or Blogger's own sites, and so to have a .blogspot or a .wordpress address. And the massive advantage there is that it is free!

3 comments:

Stephen C. Carlson said...

I pretty much agree with your answers, but I'd like to expand on a few points.

1. If you're not sure about blogging, I'd start with the simpler one, Blogger. If you're fairly sure that you're going to be doing, then WordPress is worth the investment in time.

2. I know a biblioblogger who blogs on all three in one blog (Joe Weaks). His Macintosh Biblioblog is a wonderful blog.

3. If all your site will be is your blog, I would just use the blogspot or wordpress subdomain.

ntinterpretation said...

I may have missed it in my interactions with Blogger thus far, but I haven't yet seen there a built-in feature like WordPress has for creating and managing multiple pages. Largely the same effect can certainly be achieved on Blogger through other means, but (if the previous observation is accurate), depending on precisely how one might wish to use one's blog, page management features might be something to consider.

pgmccullough said...

On #1: I started on Blogger myself and realized that I needed to switch to WordPress. Particularly for the "Pages" feature. I have also grown to appreciate the "My Comments" feature where you can track your comments on other WP blogs. I'm not sure WordPress is really all that difficult. And it was a bit of a hassle to switch from one to the other, so I would recommend starting on WP myself.

That said, there are a few points that blogger wins. First, while I appreciate the built-in blog stats of WP, blogger allows you to put special codes on your page to gain better stats from outside websites. Blogger also allows you to forward your feed url to feedburner, thus allowing more accurate tracking of your subscribers.

On #3: I only pay $15/year to have my own domain name (patmccullough.com), which is hosted on WordPress--so, I do my blogging on the WP site itself. The downside of this is that I am paying money and yet I still do not get the freedom that self-hosted WP blogs do in altering their codes and adding special plug-ins, like Logos' RefTagger. That's a bummer.