WordPress.com and Vox both promise a lot of exciting integration with nifty services like Flickr, YouTube and Delicious – so I quickly registered for accounts on both platforms and started investigating.
Vox: Full of ads
I started off with Six Apart’s much heralded Vox blogging tool. Here’s what I liked:
- It looks great (you have a choice of a ton of different templates)
- It’s super easy to use
- It’s got built in support for embedding videos, photos and more
- It has interesting social elements built right in (being able to choose who can view content based on their relationship with you).
But geez, there were ads everywhere. I understand that they need to monitize free versions with ads. But why isn’t there the option of upgrading to a paid version without ads? I’d have done this in a second.
So I scuttled my Vox account and moved onto WordPress.com …
WordPress.com wins (Almost)
I created an account at wordpress.com and added my first blog. For those of you who don’t understand the difference between wordpress.org and wordpress.com, here’s a quick summary:
- wordpress.org is the open source version of WordPress. It’s free to download and install on your own server.
- wordpress.com is a hosted version of WordPress that has all the latest bells and whistles
After toying around with WordPress.com, I was completely hooked. Here’s why:
- No need to download and install the software, create a database and configure a database user
- Great usage stats built right in
- All sorts of nifty features that aren’t yet available on wordpress.org (version 2.0.5)
But … (and this is a big but) you can’t change the auto-discovery feed to a FeedBurner URL! Let me explain: If you really want in-depth stats on your readers, you need to use FeedBurner. Every serious blogger uses this service and I find it really hard to believe that the Automattic folks haven’t sorted this out for WordPress.com.
So WordPress.org (version 2.0.5) it is
So after spending a whole day getting the blog set up, I had to ditch the whole thing and start over with a hand-installed version on our Rackspace server. Yuck!
Vox and WordPress.com just don’t give you enough control if you’re a power user. I’m sure that Six Apart (makers of Vox) and Automattic (makers of wordpress.com) would both say that they’re aiming for the mass-market audience and not power users. That’s totally cool, but it means that there’s still a serious gap in the market for a hosted blogging platform for people like me (users who want a lot of the great features that Vox and WordPress.com offer and absolute control).
Someone please build one. Please, pretty please.