Blogsome for Authors

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This is post is part of the ‘Choosing the right blogging platform – For Authors‘ series started six days ago. From the more common wordpress platforms, we’re now going to look at Blogsome – also a free WordPress Multi User service, but with major differences. Let’s see how good it is for writing a blook.

Blogsome has been around for quite some time, and the age of the service shows the instant you log in – Blogsome is using an extremely dated version of WordPress MU (multi user edition, as they say so themselves). In contrast to the current versions of WordPress, Blogsome’s user interface is grey, and not as attractive, as we’ll see for ourselves soon enough.

Ease of Use

Blogsome’s option organization is pretty clear cut from the outset, and fairly easy to understand for anyone who’s ever touched a blogging platform. It may be ugly but it’s clean and ugly (wow, talk about a new term for web design), and it gets the job done . There is absolutely no fuss since you don’t upload plugins or themes (more on this particular point later) and the visual editor bundled (with an activated plugin) is barebones and pretty much keeps everything you wish to use a click away. It’s impossible to get confused working on Blogsome, and that’s a very good thing.

Another thing about Blogsome is that there is absolutely no risk of something funny happening with the code, especially when installing plugins. A whole list is right there, waiting for you to activate them one by one – which is a very straightfoward process. Theme selection is based on one page, and the great thing about it is that not a line of PHP is seen anywhere throughout the platform. Good news for beginners, indeed.

Looks

As mentioned before, Blogsome uses an early version of WordPress, which means the user interface is not quite as pretty as the current blue, saliva inducing one. The themes however, do not lack. Blogsome uses a collection of 4 files to create a theme – one for the main page, one style sheet (css, obviously), one for posts and one for comments. This function is marginally better than Blogger’s and allows for greater theme control on a WordPress platform. Which can only be good, since you have trackback and the little bells and whistles only to be expected from WP.

Blogsome uses xhtml. It’s easier to understand, easier to use and flexible enough to allow for good looking themes. And since the only code you’ll handle on this platform is xhtml, authors can spend more time concentrating on the story and the plot, minimizing the time needed to bring their work online. Some may argue that you don’t truly have total theme control, but what it allows for is enough freedom for you to choose how your blog should look like.

Features

Blogsome provides pretty much all the essentials needed for blogging: RSS2, expanded functionality with plugins, trackback, and categories. But Blogsome unfortunately isn’t as robust as WordPress is. What you see is what you get – the plugin list can’t be added to, the theme list stay as it is (though it must be noted you can easily create your own) and the general impression you get as you go about blogging on it is that it doesn’t change at all – unlike the spirit of constant experimentation you find at WordPress.com. Yes, you do occasionally get the new plugin – but much of what happens isn’t worth writing a press release about.

I’m not sure if it’s possible for Blogsome blogs to have their own domain name – for the most part Blogsome blogs look good, are readable, and provide a good foundation to start blooking on – nothing more, nothing less. It is a tool where it is more of a commidity than a novelty.

Support

Blogsome has its own user forums, where issues regarding the platform are helpfully addressed. The FAQ section particularly is a very well maintained place, with helpful moderators and clear, concise messages explaining the various points of the blogging platfrom to users. I particularly like the How Blogsome Is Different From WordPress post, where everything a curious user (read:me) needs to know is clearly spelt out.

Reliability

Blogsome is average in reliabilty. Plugins are guaranteed not to clash with each other, but there have been issues with categories and feeds before, and a quick look at the forums show us that Blogsome isn’t bug free (it is, after all, running an alpha version of WordPress MU). But while these issues are clearly worked upon by administrators and Blogsome staff, their TOS tells you that they are not responsible in any way if one of their databases containing your blook hits an ice berg and sinks, never to be found again.

We do recommend that you keep backup copies of any information of value to you that you post on blogsome.com. While we currently do keep backups (as of Feb ’05) and have performed re-installs of blogs at no cost, however because we are not charging bloggers at the moment in order to limit our liability we retain our right to discontinue providing the blog hosting service at any time at our sole discretion (whether due to systems failure or not), or any other sevices, with or without notice.

Conclusion

Blogsome is barebones blogging at its best. An easily customizeable theme structure with good WordPress functionality empowering your publishing can’t go wrong. Albeit its ugliness behind the scenes, Blogsome is a good choice to blook with. And as long as you keep backups of all your chapters offline, you’ll be able to easily export posts to other WordPress platforms, should you decide to move at a later date.

Read the next in the series: Terapad reviewed!

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Category: Blog Platforms · Writing Web Fiction