Blog sites "2.0"-style vs. Old School Hosts?

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Rachel Ventura
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Blog sites "2.0"-style vs. Old School Hosts?

Post by Rachel Ventura » October 26th, 2011, 11:56 pm

Wordpress.com, Blogger, and Tumblr seem to be the "big three" in terms of blog platforms right now. But in the "old days" of the WWW (when I was just a little mini-byte!), people hosted pages on Tripod, Angelfire, and the now-defunct Yahoo! Geocities.

Anyone remember these? (Bueller? Bueller?)

Tripod and Angelfire are still active (owned by Lycos), although not as popular as WP.com, Tumblr, and of course, Blogger, which is a product of the Almighty "G" Spot. :lol: (Which itself is obviously more popular than Lycos, by the way.) LiveJournal still gets a lot of activity, although I've read that it's more popular in Russia than in the U.S. or most parts of Europe (including the U.K.).

If I was to have a site on Tripod, Angelfire, or LJ, rather than WP.com, Blogger, or Tumblr, how "SEO-friendly" are these services on the "G"reat monolith Googleplex, and is this considered (for someone seeking exposure, namely an aspiring author) to be too "old school" by today's standards, whatever they may be?

I tried Blogger just as a test and found that it doesn't allow me to enter my real birth date in the profile. Apparently not enough people in the world were born on a Leap Day to be included in the database. Never even started one there. Not sure about WP.com or Tumblr, or for that matter, Tripod, Angelfire, or LiveJournal. I even thought of starting one on the Pirate Bay's platform, called BayWords, because I really am very counterculture and 99 Percent-ish when it comes to things I want to say. But BayWords has sporadic up-time, and actually, I doubt a legitimate agent would be happy with me putting my platform on a site whose mission is to encourage grand theft media distribution of wealth. ;)

What do people think of using old-school interfaces versus the newer, "2.0" ones? Even the old-school ones have gotten a total overhaul in recent years with the dawn of the "sharing is caring" era. You can blog and link to FB/Twitter/etc. on Tripod as much as you can Blogger or WP.com, although the others are supposedly "natively optimized" for the modern social-media realm...

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CharleeVale
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Re: Blog sites "2.0"-style vs. Old School Hosts?

Post by CharleeVale » October 27th, 2011, 2:49 am

There's no real easy answer to this question, since it's mostly about preference, but I'll say a couple things.

The reason people left those sites in the first place is because they weren't as good. Even if they have gotten a huge overhaul, there's still a stigma attached to them. (At least in my opinion)

DO NOT--I repeat DO. NOT. Set up a site on Pirate Bay. That's just asking for trouble.

Recently, due to the wonderful cleverness of the Vlogbrothers (http://www.youtube.com/vlogbrothers), you can now turn a tumblr account into a normal Dot Com address for like 30 bucks. Which is awesome, and if I didn't have a stable (Although more expensive) website contract, I would totally do that! That's at http://www.URLatron.com

My question is this, and i know it's hard to convey tone on the internet, but I promise I am not trying to be condescending. Why would you want to fight the flow on this? Why would you want to set a website up for yourself that (even in just social stigma) makes it harder for yourself? -- The god thing about the big 3 is that people can follow you. There's already an established network that makes it easy for networking, which of course is all important for an aspiring author. It basically does have your 'platform' for you, while you might have to fight an uphill battle with an angelfire or tripod site.

Someone smack me if I'm entirely out of line here.

CV

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Re: Blog sites "2.0"-style vs. Old School Hosts?

Post by Sommer Leigh » October 27th, 2011, 9:00 am

I'm leaning with Charlee on this point in that I'm wondering too why you'd want to go against the grain on this. I'm all for old school and it's not because I'm pro-establishment, everyone fall in line or anything like that. It's just, in terms of the purpose of social media, you generally don't want to make it harder for people to follow and read you. Unless, of course, that's not your goal. If you just want some place that's your own, then that's cool. You're just probably not going to see much traffic.

I don't know enough about the current state of the old school site setups to tell you the pluses and minuses of them. Like Charlee said, these sites have a stigma of being 90s based, early personal website services and when people hear tripod or angelfire, they think ugly site design, blinky ads and gifs of little men dig over the words "under construction." I think they'd turn people away more than anything else because, where it's true or not, they give off the impression that the person's not very serious about their site. Not to mention the old school site services are starting to disappear, I wouldn't trust my blog site with a server that might get shut down in the next couple of years.

I'd steer clear completely of Pirate Bay. You'll find the stigma attached to that will keep most people from ever checking out your blog and I suspect that you'll deal with a lot of people who are angry and surprised that a writer would support a pirate site.

Blogs exist for community, for bringing people together and for sharing ideas and thoughts. Unless your purpose is just to have a place on the blogosphere that's yours and you don't care who comes to read and who doesn't, you don't really want to make it harder for people to stick with you. That's just my opinion though. It really depends on what YOU want out of an online presence.
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
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Collectonian
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Re: Blog sites "2.0"-style vs. Old School Hosts?

Post by Collectonian » October 27th, 2011, 4:23 pm

Rachel Ventura wrote:Wordpress.com, Blogger, and Tumblr seem to be the "big three" in terms of blog platforms right now. But in the "old days" of the WWW (when I was just a little mini-byte!), people hosted pages on Tripod, Angelfire, and the now-defunct Yahoo! Geocities
Having your own website is not "old school" by any stretch. Nor is blogging the same as having your own website. They have different purposes, different audiences, etc. It seems like you really are asking about blogging via a third-party platform versus hosting your own blog. Wordpress, Blogger, Tumbler, and LiveJournal are the biggest third-party blogging platforms. LJ is still highly popular in the US, we're actually the bigger users above Russia. Hosting your own blog does not limit people following you. Any basic blog application will include RSS feeds as part of its core functionality. It may not have the "friend" feature some folks like, but many blogs are still just followed via an RSS reader, like Google.

The old school you mention is really not "old school", its cheap, free, non-professional web site hosting. Few professionals actually used those, they use real, paid hosting companies. Most folks don't look at an angelfire or tripod hosted site and think "this is a professional site." And most sites on those freebie hosts could do any real blogging systems as you rarely had the option to install databases and web applications. As for SEO friendliness, the platform itself honestly doesn't matter so long as the site is well designed, has good content, etc.

< takes off web developer hat >

As for which is better, it again goes back to your needs. For example, I use LiveJournal for my personal blog. Its feature set and the cost of the permanent paid account was worth it to me, and it does everything I need. I also have two other blogs, both of which I run on my own hosted websites. For those two, I prefer having them hosted myself so that I can more fully customize the backend of the blog, integrated it with my other site content, etc. For example, one is a web development blog. The application I use on my hosted environment makes it easy to allow myself to include actual code snippets in my blog posts, and RUN those snippets in the background to display real results. :-)

For most folks who don't want to deal with learning coding, etc, I usually recommend a hosted blogging platform, like WordPress or LiveJournal. For most folks, its easy to use, the cost, if any, is low, and they can just focus on content. For higher end stuff, I'll start asking "well what else do you want to do" and go from there.

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Re: Blog sites "2.0"-style vs. Old School Hosts?

Post by Doug Pardee » October 27th, 2011, 5:18 pm

Hrumph. I don't know what you're looking for, so I'll stick with some general comments.

Collectonian is on the button about the "old school" sites you mentioned being web-site hosts, not blogging sites. Well, maybe they've added blogging capabilities, I dunno. I never go there.

To me, the question is more of a "rent or own" thing. Do you want to use someone else's web site (Wordpress, Blogger, Typepad, Tumblr, etc.), or do you want to have your own? Using the big blogging sites is convenient, but they come with the drawback that your postings aren't in your possession, and your blog isn't fully under your control. If you want to move your postings to another site, well, good luck. If the service goes down or out of business, too bad. If the service loses some content (Blogger did a little while back), that content is gone. If the service decides that your site violates some policy of theirs (maybe one they just started), there goes your blog and all your postings. Clearly, most people don't care, because the blogging services are extremely popular.

Personally, I choose to run my own blog. That means that I have to pay for my web hosting (about $5 a month for the lame service that I use), I had to install and configure the blogging software and I have to keep it updated — Wordpress is particularly annoying with the number of critical security updates, so I don't use them — and I have to do my own database backups. But one important thing is that I've got the database backups. I also have my own domain name, which costs me like $8 per year.

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Re: Blog sites "2.0"-style vs. Old School Hosts?

Post by Sommer Leigh » October 27th, 2011, 5:58 pm

When you mentioned the old school web hosting sites like Tripod and Angelfire is was because you were going to build a blog set up yourself or embed a blog service onto it. Some let you do that.

LiveJournal got kind of weird after the Russian company bought it, but it still a fine blogging site, like Collectonian said. There are a handful of YA authors I know of who use it. I used LiveJournal for a long long time before I decided I wanted more freedom to build a blog the way I wanted it to be.

Blogger is also good and is certainly very popular. It's very easy to use and set up. Things like Google Friend Connect is native to Blogger since they are both owned by Google, and a lot of community functions and networking is built right in. The down side is that most blogger blogs look exactly like every other blogger blog. There's just this general Blogger look, and importing templates can be dicey. A lot of people report issues with 3rd party templates acting very very slow for readers and causing gadgets to do weird things. But blogger, in general, is a good blogging platform. I briefly used Blogger before switching to Wordpress.

Wordpress.com is the free version of Wordpress and is a little more complicated than Blogger because it has way more options and customization available. I really like wordpress.com and have used it myself. You cannot use Google Friend Connect on it, but that's no big deal. You won't show how many people are following you to the whole world, but they can still follow you through your RSS feed.

I use Wordpress.org, which is a version of Wordpress where you need to host it yourself. I pay like,$8 a month for mine and $8 a year for my domain name. I have to do all my own backups, which is fine I prefer it that way, and I get a lot more customization and options. I can do anything I want, more or less, using the wordpress framework. I needed to learn how to do some things myself and that was a little complicated, but worth it.

There are other services and other ways to build a blog, but I like the big 3. They have good customer service (although I've heard sketchy things about LJ's lately, but only anecdotal) and they have staying power. I made my first LJ in 1999. I don't see Blogger or Wordpress going away any time soon.

Tumblr is also a great service, but it is not at all like a traditional blog. I love Tumblr and I follow several, but it is definately different animal.
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
Be nice, or I get out the Tesla cannon.

Rachel Ventura
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Re: Blog sites "2.0"-style vs. Old School Hosts?

Post by Rachel Ventura » October 28th, 2011, 10:54 pm

Wow, thanks for everyone's replies! I very vaguely remember (and Google Bing Altavista tells me) that there were a lot of sites (albeit not "professional" by any means) hosted on Tripod, Angelfire, and GeoCities, with GC (formerly) being the largest in user base by far.
Collectonian wrote:For most folks who don't want to deal with learning coding, etc, I usually recommend a hosted blogging platform, like WordPress or LiveJournal. For most folks, its easy to use, the cost, if any, is low, and they can just focus on content. For higher end stuff, I'll start asking "well what else do you want to do" and go from there.
So I don't have to learn all that messy coding stuff if I don't want to or can't? Whew, that's one part of this "Platform" I'm sure glad isn't DIY! (Now if only I could find a personal assistant to do the other 99 and 44/100 percent of what I need to do...)

Image
"It looks like you're trying to reach your web-savvy readers with two cans, a string, and a card-file database. Can I help?" :lol:
Doug Pardee wrote:To me, the question is more of a "rent or own" thing. Do you want to use someone else's web site (Wordpress, Blogger, Typepad, Tumblr, etc.), or do you want to have your own? Using the big blogging sites is convenient, but they come with the drawback that your postings aren't in your possession, and your blog isn't fully under your control. If you want to move your postings to another site, well, good luck. If the service goes down or out of business, too bad. If the service loses some content (Blogger did a little while back), that content is gone. If the service decides that your site violates some policy of theirs (maybe one they just started), there goes your blog and all your postings. Clearly, most people don't care, because the blogging services are extremely popular.
Dedicated web hosters have computers crash, too, and they have TOSes of their own. You do also "rent" a domain name and hosting plan, although it'd be nice if they had reverse mortgages available. :D But you're right in that you do have a lot more "ownership" than you would on someone else's "real estate."
Doug Pardee wrote:Personally, I choose to run my own blog. That means that I have to pay for my web hosting (about $5 a month for the lame service that I use), I had to install and configure the blogging software and I have to keep it updated — Wordpress is particularly annoying with the number of critical security updates, so I don't use them — and I have to do my own database backups. But one important thing is that I've got the database backups. I also have my own domain name, which costs me like $8 per year.
But $5/mo works out to $60/year, which is too much for me. That's about $70/year if you figure in the domain name for $8-$10. My average income fluctuates between $0 and $0, sadly. (I've been doing whatever I can to avoid getting a day job in hopes of writing the bestseller. Of course, that means I, personally, am still on someone else's real estate, namely renting from the 'rents.) This is why I'm trying to find a balance between usability, simplicity, and doing whatever I possibly can to the fullest extent on the cheap or for free.

But I guess that makes you master of your own domain? :lol: :lol: :lol:
CharleeVale wrote:DO NOT--I repeat DO. NOT. Set up a site on Pirate Bay. That's just asking for trouble.
Sommer Leigh wrote:I'd steer clear completely of Pirate Bay. You'll find the stigma attached to that will keep most people from ever checking out your blog and I suspect that you'll deal with a lot of people who are angry and surprised that a writer would support a pirate site.
I guess that makes Paulo Coelho the unhandled exception rather than the hard-coded rule. 8-)
Sommer Leigh wrote:Wordpress.com is the free version of Wordpress and is a little more complicated than Blogger because it has way more options and customization available.
AFAIK WP.com doesn't have as much customization or options as its self-hosted sibling, WP.org. There are plenty of themes, and you can buy a domain through WP.com for $17/year, but I thought it had more limitations than Blogger did. Although Blogger wouldn't allow me to put in 2/29 as my birthday on the profile, so that's a sticking point (however minor) right there...

Haven't looked at WP.com or Tumblr in depth, but I was just wondering about the others, since I seem to have a special place in my heart for those animated .gifs and MIDI files. Call me crazy, I guess. (I use Windows 2000 on a used laptop from a yard sale, if that's any indication of how far I have yet to "upgrade.") ;) The reason I guess I was inquiring about something that "goes against the grain" is, I guess, nothing more than nostalgia (and quite a bit of modern-day "newbishness"). Simplicity was the norm back when, because the technology for things like social media widgets, Flash videos, etc., just didn't exist yet in the "Web 1.0" era, and those little Men at Work logos (dancing with kangaroos, I wonder, in the Land Down Under?) were about the furthest extent of customization the "amateur" could do. (That and MIDI files...those were the days.) Then again, I must be a real oddball if I pine for Comic Sans and Clippy the Paperclip (and am not really even old enough to remember it all in full). :lol:

Anyway, thanks for your reviews and insight. I'm still trying to work out what'd be best for me online-exposure wise (no, not that kind of online exposure!), although I've managed to get down several notes of what I'd put on there, wherever it may be. And I guess that Hot Tub Wayback Machine doesn't really take you back to the "good old days" of animated .gifs, MIDI files, shrieking-banshee 14.4k modems, and AOL offers that defied the laws of physics ("a million hours free this month!").

EDIT: Just checked out URL-a-Tron, and it seems pretty simple. The only problem for me would be price, because as I said, I have $0 in my bank account (actually, I do have 30 bucks, but you can't pay for these things with cash or money orders, and I don't have a bank card of any sort).

Question in general about the Internet: how come you have to pay a renewed subscription for a website, and you can't just buy it outright? People buy houses in full, cars, food, even the computers themselves that you work from, you can buy these things in full. Why can't you with a web domain, and sell it if you want to later, like people do with their houses and cars?

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CharleeVale
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Re: Blog sites "2.0"-style vs. Old School Hosts?

Post by CharleeVale » October 28th, 2011, 11:33 pm

RachelVentura wrote: the "good old days" of animated .gifs
You can use gifs on all the newer servers. I just used on on my blog the other day. Tumblr has more gifs than i think the universe can count...

CV

Rachel Ventura
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Re: Blog sites "2.0"-style vs. Old School Hosts?

Post by Rachel Ventura » October 29th, 2011, 12:17 am

CharleeVale wrote:
RachelVentura wrote: the "good old days" of animated .gifs
You can use gifs on all the newer servers. I just used on on my blog the other day. Tumblr has more gifs than i think the universe can count...

CV
What about MIDI files and Comic Sans? :lol:

Anybody know the answer to my question at the end, about why can't you "buy" a domain name with a one-time fee, but have to renew every year? I mean, IMHO it's not like a magazine or newspaper where the publishers commission other people to change the content regularly, and so you have to subscribe to keep getting fresh content. But the name of the magazine stays the same, as does the name of the website. It's not The Wall Street You, the holder of the domain, would be responsible for the content (the "magazine") and the visitors your readers. They don't subscribe to pay for the website; you do. I liken it more to, well, real estate on the info highway. The address, obviously, doesn't change, and while you do have to pay property taxes, it is possible to own your home 100%. You can customize your home any way you feel, but you don't "subscribe" to a mailing address (unless it's a P.O. box).

So why do you have to subscribe or pay annually to keep a website? GoDaddy, BlueHost, Laughing Squid, et. al. just act as the "zoning board." You're the "homeowner." Why don't they have, say, payment plans like with a car (or even a house), i.e. "lease to own" a website, and when you're done paying in full, it's yours, you don't have to keep "renewing" indefinitely? Wouldn't that make more sense, and cost less "cents" for the consumer in the long run?

Collectonian
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Re: Blog sites "2.0"-style vs. Old School Hosts?

Post by Collectonian » October 29th, 2011, 3:14 pm

Rachel Ventura wrote:What about MIDI files and Comic Sans? :lol:
Can still use those too (though people will also still hate you for the midi files LOL. I still love Comic Sans...use it all the time.
Rachel Ventura wrote:Anybody know the answer to my question at the end, about why can't you "buy" a domain name with a one-time fee, but have to renew every year? I mean, IMHO it's not like a magazine or newspaper where the publishers commission other people to change the content regularly, and so you have to subscribe to keep getting fresh content. But the name of the magazine stays the same, as does the name of the website. It's not The Wall Street You, the holder of the domain, would be responsible for the content (the "magazine") and the visitors your readers. They don't subscribe to pay for the website; you do. I liken it more to, well, real estate on the info highway. The address, obviously, doesn't change, and while you do have to pay property taxes, it is possible to own your home 100%. You can customize your home any way you feel, but you don't "subscribe" to a mailing address (unless it's a P.O. box).
It would be more appropriate to liken it to say, a trademark or a copyrightor as you noted, renting a PO Box or other external mailing address. They have to be regularly renewed, they don't just continue in perpetuity. If, for example, Time magazine did not renew its trademark on the name, someone could come in and "take" it. Now likely, there would be a nasty court battle and Time would won, but only because they are big and famous. Most little folks, not so much. You could also look at it like phone numbers. You don't get to keep yours forever just because you paid for it once. You either keep renewing your ownership of it, or you let it go. Keep in mind, that when you acquire a domain, you don't get any physical property. It is basically saying that you have claimed the use of this textual alias, such as nathanbransford.com to resolve to the IP you've indicated. The actual management of your domain is handled by the registrar. They do a lot behind the scenes for you in exchange for that annual fee, including ensuring that your domain points to the server you have identified as the one hosting the pages it should server, keeping others from taking your name, etc.
Rachel Ventura wrote:So why do you have to subscribe or pay annually to keep a website? GoDaddy, BlueHost, Laughing Squid, et. al. just act as the "zoning board." You're the "homeowner." Why don't they have, say, payment plans like with a car (or even a house), i.e. "lease to own" a website, and when you're done paying in full, it's yours, you don't have to keep "renewing" indefinitely? Wouldn't that make more sense, and cost less "cents" for the consumer in the long run?
You don't. Generally if you pay someone to build a website for you, it is a one time thing, non renewing. The files are yours to generally do with what you want, depending on the terms of the development contract. What you are referring to is hosting. You are paying to rent space to host your website on. Hosting companies are not the "zoning board", they are the "homeowners". You would be the tenant. It is like renting an apartment. They are providing the servers that the files go on, the bandwidth that the traffic goes across, the maintenance, security, etc. Same as if you rented an apartment. You can certainly choose to "buy the house", so to speak, by buying a server, paying the monthly internet fee for a large bandwidth connection, learning or paying someone to do the maintenance and ensure its secure, etc. But, it isn't cheap, which is why most people "rent." There is also an in-between. It isn't "lease to own", but it does have you buying the "house", i.e. the actual server, but then you pay someone per month or year to house it in their server farm and they take care of bandwidth, they keep an eye on your system, provide the power, etc. It's more expensive than hosting, but cheaper than 100% doing it yourself.

Rachel Ventura
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Re: Blog sites "2.0"-style vs. Old School Hosts?

Post by Rachel Ventura » October 31st, 2011, 11:21 pm

Wow, Collectonian, thanks for the very in-depth (and uh...a little over my head) :oops: reply!

Keyboard-snafu with "it's not the Wall Street You." I meant to type "It's not the Wall Street Journal one day and the E Street Journal the next." ;)

I think I get the background of all this, although lease-to-own would be so much less complicated for broke junior Luddites like me...

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