Free Blogging?

Currently, the most popular blog software/services out there include WordPress, Blogger (part of Google), and TypePad.

So why do folks blog in the first place? Normally, bloggers are motivated in an effort to demonstrate their expertise in some niche area.  In doing so, they hope to promote products, build communities and network with other people who are interested in the same subject matter.

WordPress, Blogger, and TypePad allow you to get online in minimal time with only the knowledge that you have on your subject matter.  You don't have to buy a domain name, purchase a hosting plan, or have any real understand of how the internet works.  These services are popular because they are simple.

However, there is a catch to this simplicity:  It is limited.

With the free blogging systems, you do not own a website. So you do not have a lot of choice when it comes to functionality.  If you want to sell something related to your niche,  you have to sign up for an affiliate service who will track click thrus and eventually send you a commission when you earn their minimum amount.  If you want to sell your own product on a blog, it's back to the 1990s for you: provide a phone number or an email address. You can't do ecommerce with a free blogging service. (Note that WordPress now has add-ons to accomplish this).

So, if you want to add ecommerce, a forum, or any kind of shopping cart to your blog you either need a custom site (expensive), WordPress (limited), or Joomla.

With Joomla, your site can be customized and the add-ons are plentiful (ecommerce, blogs, forums, etc).  I admit that the learning curve is high.  It's definitely not an easy set-up like WordPress, but it is also significantly cheaper to have someone create for you compared to creating a custom site (and really, why reinvent the wheel)?

Bloggers in the strictest sense won't need more than the tools provided in the free services. But if you want to do more with your blog, or you want to add a blog to your site, it's definitely possible in Joomla 2.5. Check out an out-of-the-box Joomla blog example here: