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Free Blogs!

There are a number of free blogging tools on the web at this time, and though they vary a bit in function and quality, I can recommend some of them as excellent tools to get your message out to the world quickly and easily. A blog, or Web Log, is simply a small personal web site that lets you archive the material you post, and allows people to comment on your posts.

BlogSpot - or E-Blogger

Probably the best known Blogging tool out there at the moment is called Blogger at http://www.blogger.com/
It is hosted by Google, and is pretty easy to use, and really is free. There are some complaints about the fact that to many people use it to through up to much information about nothing, and that others use it to spam people with comments meant to promote their own Blogs, but I think it is a good place to start when learning to blog. It is fully featured and doesn't try to get a few bucks out of you for features you wish you had.

BlogEasy

Probably the one I have had the best luck and least trouble with is BlogEasy at www.blogeasy.com
They would like you to enroll for $2.50 a month to get rid of some Adsense adds on the side of your blog, or to put your own there, but it is a nice interface, and worked well. It also submits itself automatically to a number of blog search engines when you use it, and I have gotten more traffic to it than the others.

Tripod

Hosted by Lycos Tripod is easy to use. I am not so crazy about the blog tool interface, but they probably have the best tool around for creating simple web sites by yourself without previous training. Tripod.com

TypePad

Typepad may be the best tool around, PC Magazine says so, it's just that it isn't free. Maybe that is a good thing, as it really is a sharp program. It is listed here because it a does have a free trial period to let you give it a test, and it really is a good blog tool that allows you to have a little more class than the others. http://www.typepad.com

WordPress

Wordpress is kind of in it's own category. That is, if you have no experience with web programming, you will proably fail to get it to work. However, if you know your way around a a bit in html, ftp, etc., it is a very powerful tool for blogging, and it is free. It is written in PHP, but editing the files is easy, and they have automated the installation process to a great degree. The beauty of WordPress is that you can install it on your own server, and customize the heck out of it. You can install it on ten servers for that matter, who cares? At least you are hosting your own blog in this case. WordPress

Key Features

  • Full standards compliance --- We have gone to great lengths to make sure every bit of WordPress generated code is in full compliance with the standards of the W3C. This is important not only for interoperability with today's browser but also for forward compatibility with the tools of the next generation. Your web site is a beautiful thing, and you should demand nothing less.
  • No rebuilding --- Changes you make to your templates or entries are reflected immediately on your site, with no need for regenerating static pages.
  • WordPress Pages --- Pages allow you to manage non-blog content easily, so for example you could have a static "About" page that you manage through WordPress. For an idea of how powerful this is, the entire WordPress.org site could be run off WordPress alone. (We don't for technical mirroring reasons.)
  • WordPress Links -- Links allows you to create, maintain, and update any number of blogrolls through your administration interface. This is much faster than calling an external blogroll manager.
  • WordPress Themes --- WordPress comes with a full theme system which makes designing everything from the simplest blog to the most complicated webzine a piece of cake, and you can even have multiple themes with totally different looks that you switch with a single click. Have a new design every day.
  • Cross-blog communication tools--- WordPress fully supports both the Trackback and Pingback standards, and we are committed to supporting future standards as they develop.
  • Comments --- Visitors to your site can leave comments on individual entries, and through Trackback or Pingback can comment on their own site. You can enable or disable comments on a per-post basis.
  • Spam protection --- Out of the box WordPress comes with very robust tools such as an integrated blacklist and open proxy checker to manage and eliminate comment spam on your blog, and there is also a rich array of plugins that can take this functionality a step further.
  • Full user registration --- WordPress has a built-in user registration system that (if you choose) can allow people to register and maintain profiles and leave authenticated comments on your blog. You can optionally close comments for non-registered users. There are also plugins that hide posts from lower level users.
  • Password Protected Posts --- You can give passwords to individual posts to hide them from the public. You can also have private posts which are viewable only by their author.
  • Easy installation and upgrades --- Installing WordPress and upgrading from previous versions and other software is a piece of cake. Try it and you'll wonder why all web software isn't this easy.
  • Easy Importing --- We currently have importers for Movable Type, Textpattern, Greymatter, Blogger, and b2. Work on importers for Nucleus and pMachine are under way.
  • XML-RPC interface --- WordPress currently supports an extended version of the Blogger API, MetaWeblog API, and finally the MovableType API. You can even use clients designed for other platforms like Zempt.
  • Workflow --- You can have types of users that can only post drafts, not publish to the front page.
  • Typographical niceties --- WordPress uses the Texturize engine to intelligently convert plain ASCII into typographically correct XHTML entities. This includes quotes, apostrophes, ellipses, em and en dashes, multiplication symbols, and ampersands. For information about the proper use of such entities see Peter Sheerin's article The Trouble With Em ’n En.
  • Intelligent text formatting --- If you've dealt with systems that convert new lines to line breaks before you know why they have a bad name: if you have any sort of HTML they butcher it by putting tags after every new line indiscriminately, breaking your formatting and validation. Our function for this intelligently avoids places where you already have breaks and block-level HTML tags, so you can leave it on without worrying about it breaking your code.
  • Multiple authors --- WordPress' highly advanced user system allows up to 10 levels of users, with different levels having different (and configurable) privileges with regard to publishing, editing, options, and other users.
  • Bookmarklets --- Cross-browser bookmarklets make it easy to publish to your blog or add links to your blogroll with a minimum of effort.
  • Ping away --- WordPress supports pinging Ping-O-Matic, which means maximum exposure for your blog to search engines.

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