Here’s the scenario: you are applying to colleges far from home. Mom and Dad are scared because their child is going to be so far away. “But what if something bad happens to you?” asks Mom. “What if your car oil needs to be changed?” asks Dad. You do not have a good answer. You’re starting to panic. “Oh no…they’re never going to let me leave!” you think.
Why not find a solution for their separation anxiety and your desire for freedom? What’s the answer, you ask?
Create your own blog. Most students today are tech-savvy enough to build a simple blog. It never ceases to amaze how many do not have a blog, though, apart from their personal Facebook page. And let’s be honest for a minute, sometimes certain people want to know more about your life and thoughts than you could possibly share in your 420 character status update.
In the spirit of your sanity and Mom and Dad’s desire to keep up with you, here are the top blog providers for you to explore, from easiest to most complicated.
Almost everyone has heard of Twitter, which is now almost as popular of a household term as “Why don’t you Google that?” Of course, in Twitter-speak, we’d say something like “I need to tweet that!”
Pros: You can easily update from your mobile phone, up to 140 characters. You can share links, retweet the updates of other users, and use hash tags for trending purposes (#online colleges, for example).
Cons: Updates can only be 140 characters long, so you must be concise.
Pros: This micro-blogging service is easy to set up and easy to use. Creating a new post is easy with the provided easy-to-decipher icons across the top of the page. The best part is that you can also easily share pictures, videos, and links using the tools as well. With Tumblr, you can post media that matters to you and your friends and family without needing to know HTML or other coding. Cons: Tumblr has fewer users than many other blogging sites, though it is gaining popularity.
Blogger is Google’s blogging service, which is great if you already have a Gmail email address. You can easily create your own blog, with either a custom domain name or (choice).blogspot.com.
Pros: Because it is a Google product, you know it is stable and secure. You can easily manage your blog (or multiple blogs) from your Google dashboard. New posts are easy to create, add keywords to, and share with your friends and family. Also, Blogger has a wide network of users, so you can become involved in the community quickly.
Cons: Using a Blogspot blog requires a bit more technological knowledge than Twitter or Tumblr to make it look clean and professional, but much less than WordPress or Joomla!.
With WordPress, we get into the Content Management System (CMS) options for blogs. WordPress is quick and easy to set up, as well as customizable.
Pros: WordPress is simple to use for a blog or personal website, and can be expanded through outside extensions.
Cons: WordPress requires more HTML and CSS knowledge than Joomla! If you set up the site and then want to customize it, you will need technical skills and knowledge.
If you want a customizable, expandable, high-powered Content Management System, look no further than Joomla! Joomla! has an impressive community of users willing to help, give advice, and show you how to make your website amazing. If you want a website for your own business, the Joomla! CMS offers limitless possibilities, but for a student blog, you may want to look elsewhere.
Pros: Joomla! is large, stable, powerful, and the support community is the best in the business. Extensions are available, both for free and commercially, that can make your site uber impressive.
Cons: For a normal college student blog, Joomla! is overkill. You have to buy your own domain, find a hosting service, and configure both the front end and back end yourself. Unless you’ve taken some coding and database classes, or have a roommate who is a website wizard, Joomla! will exceed your needs.
The Bottom Line
Endless options exist for you to use to create and use your blog. If you want a simple blog, use Tumblr. Twitter allows for updating as you go easily with your cell phone, if you want your parents to know that you are at the library studying. The easiest and most popular platform to use is Google’s Blogger, especially if you already have a Gmail account. Stay away from WordPress and Joomla! unless you have prior website experience.
About eCollegeFinder: eCollegeFinder is one of the oldest online education resources in existence. Founded in 2004, eCollegeFinder represents over 120 accredited online colleges and universities and is dedicated to inspiring and informing college students with comprehensive online tools and information. eCollegeFinder partners with multiple distance learning associations to encourage students to be responsible with their futures and careers.