The 5W of Blogging: Where?

Finally, a question I can offer a bit of insight into. Mind you a lot comes up to subjective preference. Where do you blog?

First, let’s just push out different forms of media. Podcasts, videos and live streaming should be considered separate categories and I haven’t done enough research on the subject to give you even a decent suggestion. Going off the top of my head I’d say SoundCloud, YouTube and Twitch. Hmmm, I guess I could give you suggestions. I’ll let you debate how decent they are.

However, there isn’t necessarily such a ubiquitous blogging platform that people would just instinctively guess it. Sure you have the best-known options for individual blogs, i.e. good ole WordPress, Blogger or newcomer Wix, but you also have Reddit or if anyone still uses it Tumblr that will let you post on any subject. Sites like MAL, AniList Anime Planet all offer dedicated spaces to review particular series and forums for more general discussion. Heck, you can even post your thoughts directly on Crunchyroll where but readers can immediately watch the series.

 

mha au op

forums are scary…

 

It’s not always easy to figure out which would offer the best blogging experience for your particular needs. First, let’s divide the personal blogs from the posting sites. Having your own blog gives you much more control over presentation and content. You can moderate your comments if you want and there are no real limits to the type of content you post within reason and legal constraints. It also gives you the ability to express yourself more creatively through your layouts and images. But it’s generally a lot more work.

Not only is it more work to create and upkeep an entire blog. It’s also more difficult to drive traffic to it. Sites like Reddit and MAL already have a large built-in audience that can easily stumble into and access your content. It is a lot easier for your random review to be picked up there than on your little blog. Or should I say, mine? I must admit I don’t have much of an impression of Crunchyroll (or HiDive) reviews at all. I often forget they are there, and I never visit the forums. However, when I’m researching posts, they often come up on Google so it may be a more influential platform than I think.

Point is, working off established sites means trading some control, identity and individuality for ease of use and visibility. I know that I could post roughly 2 to 3 times a day on Reddit without having to schedule extra writing time or shorten the articles much. And I wouldn’t spend my weekends formatting posts or trying to figure out how to better promote the blog. But the tradeoff isn’t appealing to me. I really like the feeling of having a tiny little spot in the infinite universe of the internet that’s all mine. It feels like home.

 

haruhi201-21m54s

am I the only one who loves anime houses?

 

Not to mention that fussing over layout is 60% of what I do on the blog anyways. Without that, it just isn’t the same, you know? Ok so let’s really concentrate on personal blogs. If you have the skills you can probably just code one yourself and do whatever you want with it but that’s way beyond me. I do believe most people take the easy way out and choose a platform that lets you build a blog from existing parts. Squarespace and Shopify are aimed at people who want to create a virtual storefront but I believe they have some blogging functionality as well. Wix is heavily advertised and it’s more of a jack of all trades site builder which does have robust enough blogging tools to create something interesting. Finally, Blogger and WordPress are two of the oldest and best known primarily blog building sites although you can easily use them for e-commerce or advertising as well.

Full disclosure, I’ve only tried WordPress for myself but I have read up a bit on the other options and this is what I found. Blogger, WordPress (both org and com) and now Wix are the most popular blogging platforms because they offer by far the most features and options specifically for creating blogs and posting articles (as opposed to listings or pictures). Blogger is a little more rigid with the premade layout options but still allows for decent customization. It seems pretty user-friendly. Wix is the new kid on the block. It favours cool sleek designs which are more trendy right now and offers some immersive and impressive layouts. It has less “traditional” or “classic” looking themes. And for the moment it has fewer little extras (plugins) meant created specifically for the blogging experience. It is growing rapidly though so that may change sooner rather than later. I’ve heard of some troubleshooting issues but all in all, it’s also fairly straightforward.

WordPress may still be the best-known option. It is heavily invested as a blogging platform so it offers the widest array of themes and plugins for blogs. The more packaged .com experience does constrict you in what you can do a lot more. The .org allows you to self-host and gives you much more control but asks you to do a bit more work and isn’t as user-friendly. It also doesn’t come with a help desk. It does, however, have integration with reader.

 

anime girl reading

for some reason, your eyes are drawn to the book

 

This brings us smoothly to the reader app and what I believe is WordPress’ biggest selling point. Although it doesn’t quite get the traffic if MAL or a well-placed subreddit, it’s still a way to have access to a lot of ready present views that are likely to engage with your blog. It also is a great place to discover other blogs and build your community.

I’ve heard from other bloggers that WordPress.com “hurries” your site, suggesting it less on the reader app and making it less visible to search engines if you downgrade your package. I haven’t found anything to support this and my personal experience goes slightly counter to that statement, so I’m inclined to throw this one in the conspiracy theory. That the urban legend exists at all though, is telling.

People are willing to believe it because WordPress is fairly finicky and inconsiderate with its clients. They change functionalities around, often removing functions from higher pay plans for no obvious reason and without warning. The updates are rarely well received and it feels as if the platform is trying to give less for more money (quite a bit of money in those top tier plans).

So the where actually depends on what you want. Blogger for a more straightforward experience and it’s own by Google if you wanna make conspiracy theories. Wix for a more modern feel and non-Blogging tools, if you want to add an e-commerce section for instance. WordPress.org for more freedom and flexibility and WordPress.com for a mix of ease of use, lots of available tools and customization, some inherent traffic. Basically second place in all.

I’m not sure this helped anyone but I figured it’s good to know your options. If you have experience with different platforms, please tell me about it.

 

Silver-Spoon

this may require some explanation

 

Irina

I'm much nicer than I seem, we should be friends!

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22 Responses

  1. TPAB~ says:

    wordpress does kill your views if you don’t continue your package upgrade. I went from averaging 1500 views a day to now just 200 or less after I stopped my subscription.
    blogger is the popular tool back in the day when anime is still making vhs trading rounds. hearing of wix reminds me of WP replacing blogger.

    • Irina says:

      Wix is very much aimed at ecommerce. So far no one that’s tried it for blogging seems to have stuclk to it so I’m not sure it will be the one.

  2. Now that you mention Wix, I may have tried using it ages ago, but I don’t remember much about my experience…

    Otherwise, Blogger was my initial choice but it’s far too lonely, while Tumblr did have a nice community and it still does, but it has really suffered after the mass exodus last year – the community over there is more about the “15 seconds of fame” through reblogs and the like more than here, but not as much as Twitter is.

    Blogger has nice themes – I still remember the autumn leaf theme I fell in love with while I was over there. There’s a variety of Tumblr themes, but often their text is too small and overall they emphasise visuals, minimalism and art over text (I’ve always been a “text before anything else” and a practical person when it comes to websites, although a nice visual or two never hurt anyone). Tumblr’s really customisable as well, to the point where you can build entire themes from scratch with the right know-how, but you can do similar stuff on WP too.

  3. crimson613 says:

    i tried posting reviews on sites like crunchy and anime planet but i just always forget. i’ve also wanted to check out wix but i don’t really have a reason too?? xD but the temptation! (i think kausus moved over there??)

  4. Karandi says:

    A long time ago I had a blog on blogger (totally different content and the like). I didn’t mind it but it was quite limited in what you could do. When I made the decision to start an anime blog I looked around at options and wordpress seemed like it offered what I needed. I don’t regret that decision. Sometimes WordPress does some things I’m not a huge fan of but by and large I’ve enjoyed building my blog and mostly found ways to do everything I want to do.

  5. AK says:

    From the title, I thought you were going to talk about where you physically write. There’s one particular cafe I always go to when I have free time, and I get most of my writing done there (in fact, I should say “here” because I’m there right now.)

    I’ve always stuck with the free plan on wordpress.com, but I would certainly use Squarespace if I wanted to put together something professional-looking.

  6. 7mononoke says:

    I like MAL but I never did know how to make friends /followers on there so none of my reviews got much feedback or votes. Some series have over 10 pages worth of reviews… I don’t know how mine would ever be noticed, unless I had a large following. I like tumblr a lot too, and I’m *trying * to get into twitter, to share my blog more, and feel more connected to other people. I used Wix a little before on a blog that totally failed, but I much prefer WordPress.

    • Irina says:

      I’m very glad to hear that. I was curious about Wix but the tought of changing platforms makes me queezy

  7. sabakuink says:

    Butadon from Silver Spoon? Haha!

  8. I actually used to use Blogger for my old webcomic. On the whole, I prefer WordPress. I find it to be cleaner in terms of interface, and prefer the editor here.

  9. Interesting perspective on Reddit, MAL, and Crunchyroll. I hadn’t even considered them as an alternative/adjunct to WordPress!

    About WordPress Reader, I had an exchange with WordPress support that might have clarified the issue. Back in January, I asked them:

    If I understand previous posts correctly, my site’s contents, since my site is
    not running on WordPress.com, is not searchable in Reader (at least, not via
    Tags). I’ve seen reference that if I have a paid subscription, I might get
    additional benefits.

    If I purchase a Premium license, will my content be more easily searchable in
    Wordpress’ Reader?”

    They answered:

    “Yeah, pretty much you are right in everything you said. Right now your site can be seen from the Reader, but just if the user looks directly for it or uses the subscription button on your site. But if you upgrade it with any of the Jetpack paid plans, your site’s post will be reachable by both tags and content search in the WordPress.com reader.

    You can read more about this here: https://jetpack.com/support/reader/

    I’d read the support docs several times, but it still wasn’t clear to me.

    “People are willing to believe it because WordPress is fairly finicky and inconsiderate with its clients. ”

    Seems like the bigger a company gets, the less enjoyable it is to work with. On the other hand, all the pros you said about WordPress still apply. They also run about a third of all internet sites, according to https://kinsta.com/wordpress-market-share/.

    “I’m not sure this helped anyone but I figured it’s good to know your options. If you have experience with different platforms, please tell me about it.”

    WordPress.org. I’ve been running websites since the dawn of websites, so running WordPress on a shared server was the easy part. To support what you said in this post, I chose WordPress.org because I wanted the flexibility and was willing to spend extra effort.

    Now, whether that paid off or not is a question for posterity.

  10. I hadn’t even considered MAL or Reddit as an alternative to WordPress. Learning has occurred!

    I can share a little about WordPress.org and Reader. In January, I was investigating why my site didn’t show up “better” in Reader. I sent this message to WordPress tech support:

    “If I understand previous posts correctly, my site’s contents, since my site is
    not running on WordPress.com, is not searchable in Reader (at least, not via
    Tags). I’ve seen reference that if I have a paid subscription, I might get
    additional benefits.

    If I purchase a Premium license, will my content be more easily searchable in
    Wordpress’ Reader?”

    Their answer:

    “Yeah, pretty much you are right in everything you said. Right now your site can be seen from the Reader, but just if the user looks directly for it or uses the subscription button on your site. But if you upgrade it with any of the Jetpack paid plans, your site’s post will be reachable by both tags and content search in the WordPress.com reader.

    You can read more about this here: https://jetpack.com/support/reader/

    After upgrading to JetPack Premium, my site traffic jumped 10% — and has remained consistent and/or rising.

    I was willing to pay for the Premium subscription because in terms of advertising dollars, it’s been the most effective of anything I’ve tried (e.g., Facebook Ads). On the other hand, you’ll notice I had to reach out to tech support for clarity — even after reading the material multiple times, I didn’t think it was clear.

    “People are willing to believe it because WordPress is fairly finicky and inconsiderate with its clients. ”

    Unfortunately, that’s pretty much the way it is. The larger a company gets, the less enjoyable it is to interact with. But the other reasons you stated for deciding on WordPress are still spot on.

  11. Pete Davison says:

    I’ve tried a few platforms over the years — Blogger, Squarespace, TypePad, WordPress (both .org and .com) — and have found WordPress.com to be my favourite experience by far, even on its free plan.

    While you’re right that it is irritating when they change things around for no reason, the functionality is still without peer for me. I don’t use any of their “New Posting Experience” or “Gutenberg” or whatever, I just use the good old WordPress wp-admin Dashboard, which thankfully remains mostly the same as it’s always been even as they constantly fiddle around with the more high-profile front-end stuff.

    It does pretty much everything I want it to do. The only exception to that is the ability to install plugins, but my need for those is pretty sporadic and mostly to do with vanity stuff — I’d love to have a thing in my sidebar that just links to a random article by showing a thumbnail, for example, but that’s not something I can do without a plugin. I kind of wish they’d allow the plugin functionality on the lower plans — or perhaps provide a curated selection if they still want to keep a particular benefit for Business subscribers — but it’s not the end of the world for me.

    My biggest tip for WordPress would be take the time to get to know shortcodes; you’d be surprised what you can do with them that takes your site beyond a straightforward blog into something more comprehensive. My “Hub” pages are built almost entirely out of shortcodes. https://en.support.wordpress.com/shortcodes/

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