From PhD to Blogging
We live in the era of online networking. Using the social media or posting articles and comments on blogs is an everyday habit for somebody who is trying to promote his work, find like-minded people and most importantly secure a good job. In the old days if you wanted to sell something you had to find a shop. If you wanted the others to know what you were thinking you would have to be a journalist or a column-writer in a newspaper/ magazine.
Good for us, I think, all this has changed and everybody can now sell his products with an e-shop and have his own blog to publish his thoughts. Which is pretty much what I am doing right now. I am writing down some thoughs, I will post them in my blog and hopefully many people will read them and get back to me to exchange constructive ideas on the topic.
So, do you want to share your ideas? Are you ready to have your thoughts criticized? Do you want to be a blogger?
This is how:
At the moment there are 4 main platforms: WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Blogger.
The first three are what people call Content Management System (CMS), which means you can use this platform to make a blog, an e-shop, a deal-aggregator or anything else you desire. In few words, they are more powerful. Blogger on the other hand, is a blog-publishing service, easy to handle but the whole page design looks poor to the eye when compared to the other platforms. You have probably come across to web addresses that contain the word blogspot. These pages have been designed with Blogger and since 2010 Google, the owner, is trying remove the ‘blogspot’ and create custom URLs.
Drupal was first introduced in 2001 and is a developer-friendly CMS (rather than user-friendly) with over than 30,000 extensions that can change its design and functionality. Drupla is mainly recommended for large projects where they expect thousands or millions of users. It is a bit more complex for somebody who is not familiar with coding and if you want just a blog then I don’t think is the right option for you.
WordPress is a blogging tool with CMS functionality. It is the most popular platform as more than 60 million websites are running WordPress. It is the most user-friendly CMS in the market. If you want to make a blog that looks slick without any technical experience then WordPress is the solution.
There are two options: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. The first one does not require an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to be installed and the name of your domain will be myblog.wordpress.com. It comes with limitations but for an additional cost you can upgrade to change your domain name and get some plugins to customize your website.
However, if you want a fully customizable website and benefit from the thousands of plugins and background templates available in WordPress then you will need to pay for an ISP such as Godaddy, Siteground or JustHost and install your WordPress files there (download from WordPress.org for free). Don’t worry, it is not that hard and it will cost you $5-$20 per month plus the annual cost of your domain name ($15-$20). Most of ISPs provide installation steps for WordPress and Joomla.
Joomla has been downloaded over 50 million times (as of February 2014) and it is a user-friendly platform with strong CMS capabilities. In terms of technical expertise Joomla sits in the middle between WordPress and Drupal. It is not very complicated but you need to do some reading before you start making your website. However, it is recommended if you are interested in web designing and if you would like to pursue a career in that field. I found the Joomla extensions directory more organized than the one WordPress has and that is something you need to consider. Joomla files can be downloaded online for free but you still need an ISP to upload them.
Hope this overview gave you a little bit of insight regarding blog designing. However, you need to spend a decent amount of time in front of your computer screen in order to start up your own website. Thankfully, there are many free tutorials in Youtube that will answer basic or more advanced questions.
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