Hi, everyone!! I'm so grateful to be able to ask your advice, as I have no idea where to start and what site to go with. There are so many options out there, and I have never blogged so feel a little lost! I have been told by my publicist that I need to start a blog, as my book, Leather Apron, is coming out this month! :-D
What site/sites would you suggest? There are so many expert bloggers on here and I could really benefit from your input and suggestions!
Thank you all so much! I greatly appreciate it!!
I have a 'adult' review site on Wordpress and a 'YA' review site on Blogger. They both have their pros and cons.
Wrodpress has a nice presentation and is the easier of the two to use but like many others have said you are limited with your widgets and designs. It does not allow Java so everything is very simple looking. I also find that sometimes I will make a post and when I preview it the image has disapeared or the way I presented the text has changed. I then have to save it, come off the page, go back in and then change everything back...it is annoying. It is easier for following other wordpress blogs but not easy for none wordpress blogs to follow you. Wordpress is more spacious. It looks bigger and the text is a lot larger than on blogger.
Blogger allows you to design and put together your own blog. You can use what ever you want and have as many widgers and flashy things as you like (if you must lol) it is a lot easier to make blogger look nice. If you want a particular theme or design for your blog blogger is the way to go. It is easy to make it look terrible though so be carefull. (I like to think mine is nicely designed, it has a almost Narnia theme. *at least I hope it is nice* You can check it out to see what I mean about themes: http://readingunderthewillowtree.blogspot.co.uk/ ) At first I found Blogger harder to use than Wordpress but I am used to it now so it is fine. It just does things better. You can split all your catigories into different sections but you can't on wordpress. It is little things like that that make me prefer Blogger over Wordpress.
Hope that helps!
I say blogger. I use it myself and I love it!
Cierra @ Books Ahoy
I started blogging recently as well, so I know exactly what you mean about it being overwhelming. Personally, I use blogger and love it. One of the great things about blogger is that it is very easy to use. The have a lot of premade templates that are much more modern than the "90's" look, which are great while you're figuring out how you want to personalize the design. It does take some time to figure out what all of the tricks are on blogger, and I'll be the first to admit that I'm still learning; I think I must have changed my blog's design a million times in the past month. My advice would be to not worry too much about getting your blog perfect on the first day you design it but with a little time and effort blogger can be a great tool to get the blog you want.
If you have any questions be sure to comment on my page and I'll try to help as best I can!
Firstly, let me congratulate you on being a published author first!
Okay, now on to the topic. Personally, I would advice you to use Blogger. The easiest way for the fans of your books to keep updated with your posts & news would be via Google Friend Connect or Feedburner. Blogger is the platform that offers both :)
But, more importantly, remember to surf the web and choose a blog template/design that fits you and your book. Just copy and paste the template and everything else would be a breeze.
If it helps, you can take a look at my blog here. I think it's neat and organized and sends out the right message about me as a reviewer.
All the best!
Sel from Bookcase to Heaven™
Hi again. I thought I'd just pass this site on: http://www.elegantthemes.com/. It's a site that makes themes (you use them as templates) for Wordpress.org blogs, which is what you use if you have your own domain (XXX.com, rather than a XXX.wordpress.com or XXX.blogspot.com). They have some amazing themes and the prices are really reasonable. It's tempting enough for me to consider getting a domain of my own.
Wow! So many wonderful ideas, tips and pointers!! Thank you all SO SO much! Can't wait to have my blog up and running! I'll post a link to it once it's ready. I'm sorry I haven't been able to answer each reply individually, but please know that your advice has not only been extremely helpful to me, but I'm sure it will also be greatly beneficial to anyone else who is new to blogging and looking to get started. Thank you all again!!
You've gotten a bunch of comments, but there are some negatives I saw mentioned that can be easily resolved.
I've had dozens of blogs and build sites for clients and teach them to use them -- so here are some insights from my experience and feedback from clients and friends.
I used Blogger for quite a while and at one time I was using 20+ for various projects. It is easier to get started and if you search the widgets section there are a bunch of options. If you dig in the theme section, you can do quite a few things to customize the appearance - in many ways. But I wouldn't choose Blogger for a long term blog.
I used Wordpress.com and still have a couple of sites there (http://bookpromotionservices.com) and really need to find enough down time to move it to a self hosted site. There are quite a few interesting widget options on a free Wordpress site - however you cannot use JAVA and you cannot use plug ins - which is a big part of the beauty of Wordpress. You can change the theme (appearance) for your Wordpress blog and many of these give you the option to add your own custom header, change the fonts, colors, size, and more. I know Wordpress gives you the option to have your own domain - so you don't have to use blahblah.wordpress.com -- it is reasonably priced and is more professional looking to visitors. I think the forwarding and the domain through Wordpress is $25 a year - its your online home for your book or books - seems like a really reasonable charge for a "store" :)
However with no hesitation - my top recommendation is to have a self hosted Wordpress blog. You can get a domain for about $10 a year at GoDaddy and you can have a year of hosting through Ipage (very dependable and great customer service) link for $42 a year for hosting http://www.ipage.com/join/index.bml?AffID=675199. There are basically unlimited options for themes and plug ins - which gives you the option to fully customize a Wordpress site. If you do a Google search for "free wordpress themes" - you can find thousands without even looking hard. And there are plug ins to do almost anything imaginable on your site. I'm working on finalizing a new Kindle book on all my recommended plug ins - its gotten longer than I anticipated - but there are a bunch to share.
Sorry to ramble on :) I could talk for an hour about how to use Wordpress and barely scratch the surface, but this will get you started. Ohh and I almost forgot one of the most important things -- Google and other search engines love Wordpress.
I am switching from Tublir to WordPress. More options. More personal help. There's a tutorial that answers many basic questions. Lots and lots of set up options, most of them free.
I have used both Blogger and Wordpress and have found Wordpress to be much more versatile. It allows you to more easily download pictures, graphics and has so many user friendly tutorials that help you learn -as- you -go. If you can get a tech savvy HS kid or friend to assist you with your set-up, it will really look more professional and is definitely worth the effort. Many students need service credit hours and this could be part of that service. As around. Good luck.
I prefer blogger over wordpress, my main reason is that .blogspot.com blogs I can read via Google Reader, while the few wordpress ones I follow send me emails. I love Google Reader, those emails... not so much. They give me that "spam" feeling and the title has to be very catching for me to actually open them. I'm not saying that I read everything on Google Reader, but I can treat it like a daily newspaper-ish thing.
Regarding the looks, IMO, the platform doesn't really matter, because in the end a non-designer cannot create a site as good looking as someone who does that on a daily basis. Your choices are to either stick with some pre-made thing or hire someone to do the job for you. For now, I'm sticking with the first (http://cleonea.blogspot.com/), since I'm at the very beginning of my writing career. But later on, I'll go with the flow and pay the price of a professional looking site. That said, I'd still choose blogger for the reason I mentioned above.
I agree, this is why I went with Blogger. Maybe I misunderstood, but when I checked out Wordpress it looked like I had to go and get my own domain name and hosting. Just not something I wanted to do right at the beginning of starting a blog. I mean, how did I even know if I'd like doing it and wanted to just call it quits after a week? I didn't want to come out of pocket any money up front. Also, to me Blogger just seemed easier to work for someone who didn't have any real experience doing a website/blog. I want to read and write, not have to learn a whole bunch of things. Maybe that's not true of Wordpress, it's just my impression that there would have been a steeper learning curve on Wordpress for a beginner than on Blogger.