5 ways to start a blog today

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Did Amber’s post about blogging a few weeks ago inspire you to start your own blog? If you started one, great! If not, here are five places that make it incredibly easy to take the plunge.

1. Posterous

Posterous is, hands-down, the easiest way there is to start your own blog. If you know how to use e-mail then you’ve got all the technical skills required. Posterous requires no special software and doesn’t rely on confusing web forms–just e-mail your first post to them, and within minutes your new blog is created. Future posts can be added via the same method, and you can attach photos and other files to your e-mails to have them added to your posts. If you want to get a little technical, you can customize your blog’s look-and-feel or add other authorized e-mail addresses to create a group blog.

2. Tumblr

Tumblr is an example of a tumble blog or tumblelog–or, a mechanism for saving and sharing interesting things you find or muse upon as you tumble across the web. Tumblr recognizes file types and can automatically embed photos, videos, and audio–or, if you’d like, good ol’ words. One other neat thing about Tumblr is their support for audio posts–just call a designated phone number, talk away, and your message gets converted to streaming audio for your audience!

3. Blogger

If your blogging ambitions require it, or you’re interested in generating a little revenue from your blog, check out Blogger, a free blogging service provided by Google. A Blogger blog takes about five minutes to set up. A web-based interface is the primary means of adding content, but you can also post to Blogger via e-mail (some configuration required) or use a standalone blogging client that supports something called XML-RPC (pretty much all standalone blogging clients do).

4. WordPress.com

A popular alternative to Blogger is WordPress.com. WordPress’ feature list is similar to that of Blogger, as well as some advanced features for a fee. Perhaps the nicest thing about WordPress is its ability to control comment spam–yes, the spammers have even infiltrated blog comments, unfortunately–so you can focus on your content and not keeping your blog clean of questionable commentary.

5. Twitter

If you want to get technical about it, Twitter is a microblog framework. Blog away to your heart’s content, but keep it under 140 characters. Like Posterous and Tumblr, Twitter is easy to get started with and, thanks to a variety of third party tools, an excellent tool for sharing things you find online.

Blogging Research Wordle by Kristina B on Flickr

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Aaron Sumner

Aaron Sumner is the Director of Technology for Research and Development at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning. He has worked in web development and instructional technology since 1994.