Posterous is a great platform for novice bloggers as well as for advanced users. It has so far the best ‘post-by-email’ functionality among all other contenders.
- You can send anything (doc, pdf, videos, mp3 etc.) to posterous and it will add appropriate download or view links to your post.
- Multiple photos will be converted to a nice gallery with thumbnails. (you can also instruct it to not do this.)
- Audio/music is shown with a browser based mp3 player.
- Your video files are converted to flash and embedded in your blog post. Can be played just like youtube videos.
- If you include a youtube video url, the video is embedded in the post.
- You can added tags to your post using ((tag: mytag1, mytag2) format in the subject of your email.
- You can create a private post by posting it to private. (instead of posting it to post.)
WordPress.com also offers most of these features in one way or other but its post-by-email functionality still does not compares so well with posterous. And many free features at posterous are paid ones at wordpress.com.
But I still switched to wordpress.com and here is why:
On my posterous blog, I wanted to customize my side bar and few other theme settings. I did find a way on how to do this but it looked like I needed to learn few things again and write something like a programming code. It is not as easy as drag-n-drop sidebar widgets are in wordpress.com themes.
I even tried modifying posterous templates few times but I could not do it easily within the given time frame. So this motivated me to look towards wordpress.com again and after some PMI, APC, C&S (thinking tools) I decided to move my blog to wordpress.com.
For me the only motivation to move to wordpress.com was easier sidebar customization and few other theme options. WordPress.com does have its own share of goodness which is unique to it. For example:
- Perhaps the biggest collection of themes available.
- Really good built-in stats which are updated in real time. (google analytics is overkill for me.)
- The best built-in comment spam protection. (using akismet)
- Many other things I have not explored yet 🙂
And I don’t mind paying for its videopress service when I need it (or I may create a posterous blog for posting videos.) But right now all my needs are being fullfilled without opening my wallet.
The other option was to self-host my blog using the opensource software from wordpress.org. This self-hosting does require some investment of my time to setup and then maintain it. With wordpress.com, I don’t need to do all that. I want to make things as simple as possible for myself and concentrate more on writing.
With wordpress self-hosting I need to:
- Worry about any recurring payments for hosting. (Credit cards get expired, get declined and at a time when you are least prepared for such things.)
- Appropriate plug-ins to get equivalent functionality.
- Upgrade my installation when newer versions come out (as well as any plugins I have installed)
- Configure my own post-by-email functionality.
- Integrate it with social media with appropriate plugins.
- Configuring akismet to stop comment spam.
- My cheaply self-hosted blog will probably go down if I get some crazy/high traffic for any of my blog post. WordPress.com, on the other hand, will keep serving my blog during any big spikes.
- etc. (as always)
A note about blogger.com which was my first blogging platform. Blogger.com has become stagnant. It is very small part of a big corporation and probably gets same percentage of attention. Its not getting any new features and lags behind posterous.com and wordpress.com. I also don’t want to put all my eggs (blog, email, docs, analytics) in one basket.
So what’s the conclusion?
This is mostly a personal choice based upon your taste, requirement and time investment into the learning required.
- Go for posterous.com if you are starting afresh as a first time blogger and want the easiest and most feature rich blogging platform.
- Go for wordpress.com if you want drag-n-drop template customization. Be ready to open your wallet when you need advanced features like custom domain, video hosting etc.
This recommendation is based upon my experience and requirements and I encourage you to explore both platforms on your own before deciding.