What was previously ‘invite only’ is now available for everyone to blog on. That’s right, anyone who wants to can now get a free blog hosted at WordPress.com.
WordPress.com deserves it’s own review, although it’s currently still in beta form – albeit a very usable beta. When I’ve time do a detailed write-up of my WordPress.com experiences.
The bare bones explanation is that WordPress.com offers the a newer, beta version of WordPress that you don’t need to install on your own server. Instead, you just sign up and immediately get a subdomain on WordPress.com (like http://blogging.wordpress.com). You can login and start blogging right away – it’s ease of use is beautiful for the novice blogger. It supports categories (and subcategories), trackbacks, and all the other trappings that I view as being necessary for any blogging tool. It has a WYSIWYG interface with a rich text editor, as well as the ability to edit the HTML directly. It also allows you to upload pictures and then drag and drop them into your posts. In short, it’s super easy to use, and changing the presentation of your blog takes about two clicks (click on Presentation, and then choose the theme you want).
The shortcomings are that there are very few themes offered for use, and you cannot customize the themes yet (you can’t even specify the font color – supposedly changes to this are in the works, as mentioned above it is still in beta). You also cannot add additional themes or plugins as you can with the full version of WordPress (which requires installation on your on webhost w/a mysql database).
So what you get is a blogging platform that is VERY easy to use, and very slick, but rather limiting for expert bloggers.
Also of note for the many bloggers who hope to earn some money through their blogs, is that WordPress.com currently does not currently support adding Adsense code to your blog entries, so those looking to monitize their blogs should look elsewhere (at least as of this writing).
For newbie bloggers, WordPress.com could be the blogging tool you’ve been waiting for. And it’s FREE! If you don’t care about customizing your templates, it sure beats the pants off of Blogger, even in it’s beta form. More experienced bloggers should check it out, if only to be able to be part of the creation of the next version of WordPress – there is a Feedback button where you can submit ‘bugs and hugs’ as well as any suggestions of what you think WordPress.com needs to be a more fully functional and customizable blogging tool, and suggestions are often implemented at a rapid rate.