**Background** I have occassionally submitted articles to my favorite SQL Server websites like
Simple-Talk.com, but lately I have had some thoughts for things that were worth writing down but that would not make good articles (often because they are too short and direct, or because they are as much opinion as technical content). So, I am considering starting a blog, which brings up the question of where. Naturally, the first thing I did was try to do some research on my own and ran the issue through google, and came back with a flood of information. There an enormous array of options apparantly. After trying to sort through it, I thought I would instead turn and ask a community I trusted for their suggestions. **Details and requirements** So, ideally I am looking for a blog hosting location that: 1. Lets me focus on the content without being overly bogged down in formatting or HTML. (I know the basics of HTML, and I'm willing to learn more, but I want to focus primarily on the content.) 2. Is affordable. (I am willing to pay, but my budget is limited and I try to find good values for my money) 3. Is fine with non-technical content. (My main focus will definitely be MS SQL Server, but I will also do Python and want to be able to post less technical content occassionally without raising too many eyebrows. Some of the places I initially looked seemed to want to focus on technical content exclusively.) **Bottom Line Question** So, what is a good place to host a blog that will be mostly, but not entirely about programming and database administration?
First off let me state I am not a prolific blogger, nor even a mediocre one, so take this information as it comes...... I started by using Blogger, which is part of the Google family.. But why not your own? For not a lot of money, you can probably get a domain and hosting for a couple of years, run up a Wordpress blog, even customise with a free theme (there are lots of good ones). I actually use a paid-for theme to run my company website, and blogging is one area I need to serious add content to. The Wordpress blog engine is quite simple, you can mess with the HTML if you want but there's a whole host of wysiwyg editors - which is good for me as I am probably as equally as useless with HTML. The cheaper way of doing a Wordpress blog is to have them host it at
Wordpress.com, but obviously the amount of customisation is less than a self hosted one.
I've been very happy with [
squarespace.com] which is where I've hosted my [
http://sirsql.net] blog for a while now. The pricing is good, uptime excellent and they have lots of templates so that you can make things look how you want without messing around with the CSS. I primarily use Windows Live Writer to create posts. There are a host of plugins for it so that it can help to format your code and present it in a decent fashion. Squarespace has 30 free trials with no credit card required, so worth taking a look at. It's a nice alternative to wordpress. :
I started on Blogger because it was free and linked with my email account. I got a WordPress one just to see how it all worked and it too was free. Then luckily I got picked up by Simple Talk and am in amongst their other bloggers now. My advice would be to actively try out all the free ones. Use Live Writer (free blogging app from Microsoft) to write a sample blog or two and then connect it to each account and see how the publishing process goes and how the final result looks. Check out the customisation features in each UI and how easy it is to get it so you like it. If you buy your own domain then most blogging sites I have seen have tech manuals to lead you through how to embed your blog in another site so you can go from
www.mywebsite.com/blog so noone will know the difference. You dont actually migrate the content from/to anywhere, it simply gets embedded in your chosen domain/site. There are other tools for writing blogs and some blog services have a UI that you can work in directly but I use Live Writer as it is available offline too. I guess I could use Word and SkyDrive to do the same thing. I think the latest version of Word even has a blog New Document template.
I started on Blogger for one blog, and Wordpress for another. After a while, I migrated from Blogger to WP. I've migrated other blogs to & from WP, and it's worked fine for me... so far... My advice? I would suggest starting with one of the main free blogging platforms (Blogger, WordPress, TypePad, etc), and seeing if you have the motivation / impetus to keep going at it. You can add functionality to those platforms for a few bucks a year, which would keep away from the strss of having to pay for your own server to run this stuff. If your site reaches the size or complexity where you need more space, or fine control over what goes where, or additional functionality (eg a live SQL Server instance?), or the cost of the add-ons starts seeming a bit high, then start looking at self-hosting.