| It seems like everybody has a blog lately, whether it's your cousin broadcasting his baby's latest words, your sister ranting about politics, or your boss sharing the company's rosy news. Blogs started as a grassroots phenomenon among cultural renegades, but corporations are now using them to communicate with customers. Whether for fun or for profit, blogs are the cheapest and easiest way to share your message with the world. |
You can write a blog about nearly any subject, mark your stories with a subject, and voilà--your post on the finer points of fly fishing can be found by any Web surfer around the globe. Ready to start dropping your knowledge about Indian cooking, biodiesel cars, or 19th century photography? These services are a good place to start.
Blogger, now owned by Google, is free and dead-simple to use. You can either sign up at the current Blogger site or test-drive the new, beta version of the service to try some new features, such as being able to close your blog to strangers. TypePad, Windows Live Spaces (formerly MSN Spaces), and Yahoo 360 beta also let you choose who views your blog, but the nonbeta Blogger lets you create only a public blog.
Both Microsoft and Yahoo offer blogging services with a social networking element, making them share a lot more in common with Friendster, MySpace, or Facebook than with a digital printing press. Windows Live Spaces and Yahoo 360 also integrate with their brands' other services, especially their multimedia instant-messaging clients. The downside of these blogging tools is their inability to let you host the blog at your own domain name, such as myblog.com versus
If you're looking to customize your blog's appearance, we like TypePad the most. However, you'll have to pay a monthly fee that starts at $4.95. Professional bloggers with some coding knowledge should check out the MovableType platform.
We've included the free Windows Live Writer beta download, which lets you create drag-and-drop blog entries and upload your posts to TypePad, Blogger, and myriad other blog hosting services without visiting their individual Web pages. Many online word processors also let you publish blog entries.
Read the CNET editor's take