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Blogs

Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Known as CMS (Content Management System) websites, blogs usually have a user-friendly backend that requires very little knowledge of website coding to upload and maintain content.

Websites may contain a blog space, but are defined by their static (unchanging) home page.  A blog will look different with each update, but a website will largely maintain the same look over time.  A website is a place to directly sell your books or other merchandise.

Most blogs are interactive, allowing visitors to leave comments and message each other via widgets. It is this interactivity that distinguishes them from other static websites.  A blog can be a part of an entire website, it can exist separately from a website, or it can be the entire website (click here to learn about important differences between blogs and websites).  All blogs are websites, but not all websites are blogs.  It’s up to you what to include in your blog: some authors use a blog strictly for their latest news and updates, while others use blogs as a space to write about anything they want, like ideas that didn’t make it into their last book. Technically, Facebook can act as a blogging platform, where you post updates, thoughts, and ideas.  But on Facebook, your posts are competing against everyone else’s all in one space.  Having your own blog means having your own unique space to present your news and writing in whatever form you please.

As a writer, a blog provides the following benefits:

  • Increases search engine traffic.
  • Gives you a unique space to express yourself outside of your published work.
  • Is a platform that is easy to maintain with latest news and press.
  • Gives readers another place to find information about your work.

Blogging platforms:

The following list of services includes your best options for setting up a website, blog, or both.  With any of these services, you can create a professional-looking website without having to know a single bit about web programming.  That being said, each of these platforms comes with its own set of tools that take some time to figure out (though each website comes stocked with useful tutorials).  We recommend first figuring out whether or not you want a website, blog, or both, and then choosing which blog service to use.

Here’s a list of some author websites and blogs:

David Brin – blog, website

Cory Doctorow – blog/website

The Best Author Blogs

WordPress

Pros: Ad-free, plus free tracking options, plug-ins and templates, very customizable, also very popular, meaning large variety of templates and tutorials to choose from.  (Vidlit.com is a WordPress website.)

Cons: Not that easy to customize.

Weebly

Pros: Easy to setup and customize.

Cons: The basic subscription is pricey, and the site doesn’t offer a lot of back-end customization.

Joomla

Pros: Huge number of add-ons, excellent interface.

Cons: Native code and template layouts can be tricky to customize.

Movable Type

Pros: Significant improvements with every update…

Cons: … which renders previous version plug-ins unusable.

Typepad

Pros: A scalable alternative to free CMSs, great tracking options.

Cons: Upgrading becomes the only way to make the most of it.

Drupal

www.drupal.org

Pros: Highly scalable, excellent default templates and themes.

Cons: Poor documentation, interface unfriendly at first.

Blogger

Pros: Is directly integrated with Google.

Cons: Limited choice of templates and customization options.

Tumblr

Pros: Good-looking, clean and easy-to-use interface.  Has a huge user-base, especially among teenagers and young adults.

Cons:  Geared towards blogging only, features not very customizable.

Silverstripe

Pros: All-in-one CMS with good security and regular updates.

Cons: Unusual installation and interface takes getting used to.

Squarespace

Pros: Great looking websites and simple drag-and-drop design tools.

Cons:  Geared more towards creating a website rather than a blog.