Good question, I’m glad you asked! Over the past couple of years I’ve quietly evaluated several blogging engines from the large co-hosted ones like WordPress, Blogger, MSN Spaces, MySpace, and the SixApart offerings. I’ve also looked at the various self-hosted options like Community Server, dasBlog, Subtext, and SingleUserBlog.
To self-host, or not to self-host?
When I started blogging I believed that having my own domain name was the most important thing and that over time I would change which blogging engine I used, however I have learned that its not that simple – especially when you want to give the inbound links a safe place to land.
With all of the URL rewriting that the ASP.NET engines use being able to intercept inbound requests and redirect to the new content becomes increasingly difficult without breaking the system. Since I didn’t really look forward to that, and there was no way in hell that I was going to self-host a non-ASP.NET solution I decided that I should look at the co-hosted options.
Which co-hosted solution is right for me?
Of all the co-hosted solutions that I looked at I liked WordPress the most because of the backend publishing tools from the look and feel to the actual functionality required. The ability to import from a number of existing archive formats is also useful and I have plans to migrate my existing content across using BlogML and the WordPress WXR (WordPress eXtended RSS) format – so far I haven’t been terribly successful because the import tool times out when trying to import as much content as I am.
WordPress also has quite a bit of star power with a blogger like Robert Scoble using it, so my hope is that if something is done that affects the service then all us little people have one very squeaky wheel.
Life beyond WordPress?
I’ll be the first to admit that WordPress won’t be my final home, but I don’t think that I will be going back to a self hosted solution. I’ll probably change my blogging engine every year or two as different features appeal to me. But one thing that I’ll never have to do is worry about my links breaking (unless WordPress gets taken down or starts charging too much for me to bother keeping it going).
Moving forward I will continue to own the notgartner.com domain and use that to refer people to my current blogging engine (with the help of some ASP.NET code), and I’ll probably keep redirecting old incoming links to their new locations here until the web heals itself. I’m looking forward to the flexibililty that hosting more things “in the cloud” will give me, heck I might even start some other blogs to talk specifically about certain projects that I am working on.