The other day I was talking with a UK online centre trainer about how the people she had engaged on the talk about local project were finding the WordPress interface quite difficult – the group haven’t been using the internet for long and are just getting used to using email and the like, so were finding WordPress a bit of a leap.
So I started thinking about platforms other than WordPress that are a bit easier to use. By far the easiest I can think of is Posterous, which publishes emails you send to the site’s email address as blog posts. A quick run-down of what it does can be found in the Posterous FAQ section. Posterous also support autoposting to other platforms such as WordPress.
Some good examples of interesting Posterous sites are creativeopenworkshops.com and the community website for Central Birmingham grounds.posterous.com, which takes advantage of one of the best Posterous features – with the correct settings it can allow for contributions from anyone who has the website’s email to post address, whilst the site administrator keeps full control over what does and doesn’t get published. They will receive an email every time someone submits a post, and can check it before releasing it to go live on the website.
The interface on Blogger is a little simpler than WordPress and there are some good community sites that use this, such as welovelarkhall.com and alexandraandainsworth.blogspot.com. A demo video on how to set up a Blogger website is above. However Blogger does have a limited number of themes, so it may be hard to get your website looking exactly how you want it to.
Both Posterous and Blogger have a good import/export feature, so you can import the content from blogs created on other platforms to them, and export to them to again to another platform later if you want to. For instance Wrote Under Publishing, a Birmingham creative writing and spoken word collective, originally started a website in Blogger, but exported the content from Blogger to a WordPress blog once they felt they had reached the limitations of the Blogger platform.
Another platform is Tumblr. I’ve not had a terribly long play with this as yet, but from my use of it, it seems to have a very easy-to-use interface. However, it has a kind of ‘scrapbook’ feel to it, and seems to be purely a place to post content to – you can’t really add a great deal of extra features. An example of a community website created with Tumblr is kingsheathen.co.uk.
Jonathan Davies has written quite an in-depth article that discusses the pros and cons of using Tumblr – The Blog Herald: Should Your Blog Be On Tumblr? is well worth a read before you start using it.
Other useful posts that go through the pros and cons of different blog platforms are:
- Dave Briggs’ Way To Blog – ‘There are a number of great options available now to start your own blog, for free, with just a few clicks of a mouse button. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses and here I run through five of the best ones.’
- Podnosh’s Where to blog: WordPress vs Typepad vs Blogger? – ‘Blogging packages are like cars. They all get you from A to B but some get you there quicker, some are easier to drive, and they all come in lots of different colours.’