Which free blogging software should I use?

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Answered by: Danielle, An Expert in the Blogging Tools Category
You've just bought a domain name and now you are ready to set up a blog. Which blog software should you choose? It depends on whether you want to install, setup, and maintain your blog or if you want someone else to take care of the setup and maintenance of your blog for you.

If you want someone else to do the heavy lifting for you, WordPress.com and Google-owned Blogger are the two most popular blogging platforms. All you have to do is sign up, set up the fine details of your blog such as the title, pick a theme, and you're ready to write. No muss, no fuss. Other more niche (but still popular) blogging platforms are LiveJournal, Tumblr, and MySpace. Most importantly, all of these blogging sites are free and your data is stored in the cloud, which means you can log on from any computer (or even your tablet or smartphone) and make changes or add new posts at any time.

However, if you want a little more control over your blog, you can choose to download one of the popular blogging platforms. The big names in free blogging software right now are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. WordPress in particular prides itself on being newbie-friendly and extremely easy to set up. The advantages of hosting your own version of the blog software are manifold, but the biggest advantage is that you have complete access to the source code. If the default behavior of the software is not satisfactory, you can change it to suit your blog's needs.

Once you have decided which platform to use, download the platform and install it. Platform-specific installation is out of the scope of this article, but there are many how-to's for the big three with an easy search. When your chosen blog software is installed, the next step is to set it up. Again, the setup process differs amongst the platforms, but the process is usually the same: give your blog a title, set a language, and create an administrator account. Once the administrator account is created, you can log in to the administration panel and begin publishing.

Most blog software will have add-ons (or as WordPress calls them, plug-ins) that you can download to extend functionality or add neat effects to your blog. These add-ons can make life much easier for you once you find the add-ons that work for you and your blog. For example, advertising add-ons can help you monetize your blog by scheduling holiday-specific advertisements to show up close to the holidays.

Whichever method you choose to use for your blog, your brand-new blog is now accessible to the entire internet. By writing unique and useful content, interested people will find and read your blog. Sharing your blog with other relevant sites can also increase your exposure and bring you more people. If you decide you no longer want to update your blog, you can take it down just as easily as you set it up. With free blogging software, the choice is all yours!

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