Is Blogging Software CMS? Which Best for HitTail?

HitTail Best Practices Sep 4, 2006

In our forum, “Dan The Man 101” asks a blogging software question, and our answer is suitable for a blog post, so here it is:

“I want to build complete sites with CMS – content management software… which blogging software is by definition…

Is it an acceptable practice to use blogging software to do this, and if so, which software would you recommend, wordpress, blogger, etc?”

Excellent question, Dan. Yes, blogging software is CMS, though hard core CMS people would argue against that because of a blog’s very narrow definition of “content”, and strictly enforced journal-like presentation.

Anyway, that aside, yes, using blog software will prepare you nicely even if you were to upgrade to something bigger in the future. And even then, there are at least 2 radically different interpretations of CMS: Web-publishing CMS vs. enterprise CMS. The Web is full of open source web publishing CMS systems, but spare yourself some pain by going right to blogging software to get some practice in.

Of the blogging choices, it comes down to whether you want to go the easy route and lose some control, or have ultimate control and lose simplicity. For ease (and suitability for quick HitTailing results), we recommend Blogger. The reason is that even if you host the site yourself, you can have Blogger transmit the files into location on your site. It’s sort of a hybrid of hosting and not hosting your own blog, and turns out to be highly suitable for HitTail.

If you want to go the ultimate control route, then we suggest either Movable Type or WordPress. When last I checked, WordPress was totally free, while Movable Type has some nominal fee. With both of these, you host everything yourself, meaning you have to install it on a server, deal with configuration and a lot of other technical details. But it gives you greater control down the road if you want to do more advanced CMS-like things and customizations.

Both SixApart (the makers of Movable Type) and WordPress have “hosted” versions of their blog. SixApart’s hosted version is called TypePad. A lot of people love TypePad, and the only downside is that it’s tough to “mix” your blog with an existing site. It’s either on the TypePad domain, or on its own dedicated domain that doesn’t intermix with an existing site. It’s a workable approach, but it’s a wee bit harder to install the code until we make a TypePad widget.

And finally, the one choice we don’t think is workable right now is the hosted version of WordPress, because it stops JavaScript from being used. They’re quite nervous right now about the JavaScript worm that hit MySpace in a big way, and they rightfully feel that any support of JavaScript creates vulnerabilities. The downside is you can’t install HitTail and most other tracking code on the hosted version of WordPress.

There are other blogging software packages out there, many in Open Source land. And we want to support every one, but it needs to support search-friendly URLs and not those “?id=number” parameters, which many still use.

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    I nominate Drupal as a great CMS for HiT-Tailing. It supports seo-freindly URLS and is extremely flexible and scalable.

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    I’ve found Movable Type to have a lot of excellent features. I started with Blogger but found two things that it doesn’t do that are crucial: (1) Categorization of posts and (2) Creating your own search-engine friendly filename.

    If you choose a Hosted version of Movable Type, it’s included in the price. Hosted versions are available at Yahoo hosting or AQhost or other inexpensive hosts.

    I have blogs on Movable Type and WordPress. WordPress is more powerfull, but for an amateur, it’s more complicated to set up, and the code is more intermingled with the layout, which makes it a bit more messy to work on for inexperienced users.

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