[UPDATE – please read through to the bottom of this post, as I’ve now discovered that myblogsite wasn’t working properly on the day that I first tested it seemed like a big ol’ piece a crap at the time. That may not be the case, but I don’t have time to fully evaluate it further at the moment – rest assured, I’ll give it a thorough testing and review down the road (especially when I’ve been able to ascertain whether the glitches in the system that I experienced are intermittent problems or were a one time deal).]
Decided to check out myblogsite’s free blog service. So far, I’m not impressed. I created my account, logged in, and realized I’d specified the wrong time zone for myself. Should be easy to fix – but it’s not. There are tabs on the top of the page, some of which are just ads, one is for your blog, one entitled ‘admin login’ (except I’m already logged in, and clicking it doesn’t provide any setup options), ‘help’, and ‘reader account’ (which allows you to set whether email notifications are sent when a site visitor posts an article or comment). Where’s the place to modify my settings?
So I clicked the ‘help’ tab. Up pops up a window (last revised 1/6/2005, so you know they’re not regularly working on this..), with a Dec 22, 2004 link that says they’ve “Updated and reorganized the Settings & Security section”. Now you’d think this would help me fix my setup, right? I clicked the link, only to get a help page that says, “From the Settings & Security tab, the following options are available from the Publishing Defaults page….” Excuse me? What Settings and Security tab??? Sure don’t see one in the account I just created.
Even worse, I decide to click on the help links for changing the layout of the blog. Here I’m told: “To change your column layout: From the Look & Feel tab, click the Layout link at the top of the page…”. Um, yeah, I’d love to – but there’s no Look & Feel tab, just like there’s no Settings & Security tab.
I could spend more time trying to get this to work, but you know what – I’ll pass. I’m pretty technically savvy, and even I couldn’t figure out how to customize my blog. Oh, and did I mention that the blog I created, which only has its default post on it, is slow to load, too?
I’m giving myblogsite a big THUMBS DOWN, with initial impressions saying its not worth bothering to fully evaluate this blogging software. I’d be happy to be proven wrong, as it’s always nice to have more choices of free blogging platforms, especially with free hosting, so comment away if I should give it another look.
Update – the help files and the demos all reference blogware.com, which supposedly has all the features that myblogsite purports to have – except its not free. You’ve got to find a reseller, and pay a monthly fee. They’ve got a free trial, and I’ll explore that when time permits, but it would appear that the free hosting on myblogsite.com (which is powered by blogware) has been abandoned by its creators for the pay-for-service blogware. Funny, you’d think they’d stop paying for ads for myblogsite.com on google then (since I found the site in the first place in the google ads listed on my own blog!) Further inspection indicates that FortuneCity is hosting blogware powered blogs for free on myblogsite in exchange for a slew of unrelated ads on your site, including the ever-tacky ‘lose weight’ ads. Yeesh.
UPDATE 3/24 – It would appear that on the day that I created my account at myblogsite, the control panel was not functioning properly, and as a result I was unable to access their dashboard. I got a really rude email from someone regarding my review of myblogsite, so I decided to give it another look. When I logged into myblogsite today, the admin control panel WAS working, although several of the changes that I made didn’t ‘stick’ even after clicking the save button. Changes to the layout (like removal of the ‘photos’ component) didn’t update on the blog itself. The site still has slow load times. I have too much on my plate right now to try to fully evaluate this free blog host, especially if it’s as glitchy as it’s been seeming to me. However, I will do a full eval on this when time permits. If the site functionality starts working consistently, then this COULD be a good competitor to TypePad (their drag and drop of components for changing the layout is quite similar actually, except myblogsite is free). If you want to try it yourself, the first thing I’d recommend doing is getting those tacky ads off there. The way to do it (if the system is in the mood to let you), is to click on the Look & Feel tab in the dashboard, then click on Layout, then deactivate the component entitled Favorite Links (they’re not YOUR favorites – they’re cheesy ads), click Save, then click the Header tab, and deactivate the Blog Control component that is currently sitting in the left column, and click Save again. Now your blog will look more like YOUR blog – w/o FortuneCity’s ads for weight loss, etc, all over it.