Over the last few weeks I have been asked a couple of times whether or not iWeb makes a good blogging tool. The term ‘iWeb Blogs’ is also becoming more and more popular in my stats for search engine terms used to find All About iWeb. So here is my take on whether or not you should use iWeb as your blogging tool of choice.
Let’s face it, iWeb does have its pitfalls. There are many pros and cons to using Apple’s web design application and a lot of them apply to the blog included within our favorite web-site building tool.
Why Choose iWeb for your Blog
There are many blog design tools available to even the most web un-savvy user, from WordPress to Tyepad, Blogger to (ahem) MSN Spaces, and they all have their merits; they all have their foibles too.
To answer the question I asked above you have to ask yourself why use iWeb to build a web-site at all? There is, of course the fact that it is free and came ready installed on your Mac. There is no doubt that it is one of the easiest web design applications I have ever used. You can get some really beautiful looking sites from it and that really has to be its main selling point or me; ease of use.
When you create a blog in iWeb, initially a lot of the difficult work is done for you. iWeb automatically creates a blog homepage for you with snippets of each of your articles on it along with images; it also builds your blog archive which is another huge time-saver.
Physically designing the blog is also a piece of cake. The drag n drop functionality of the Mac makes building a beautiful, eye-catching blog simple; you are limited only by your own flare for design. Of course you can use one of the default themes, but you want to stand out right?
What about all the extras you can get with other blog platforms?
One thing that other blogging platforms have over iWeb is plug-ins. With WordPress, for example, there are hundreds of them, all designed to make the WordPress users life easier when it comes to blogging. As a WordPress user myself I have to say that sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.
There are not many things that you can do in WordPress that you can’t do in iWeb. Polls, comments, RSS, site search, tag clouds, stats, social networking, SEO are all there and available on the Internet for free. For the majority of the time they are easier to integrate into the iWeb blog too.
So there must be a down-side to using iWeb as a blogging platform.
Well there are a few, the inability to log-in from any Mac (or PC) in the world and add a new post like you can with a lot of modern blogging platforms. And if you haven’t got a computer you can use your iPhone or iPod Touch. With iWeb you are stuck on the machine that has iWeb on it. The problem persists if you want to pre-write your posts for publishing at a later time. If you carry your MacBook with you everywhere that may not be a problem; if however, like me you have an iMac that’s a non-starter.
There are limitations too, to the layout of the blog home-page. The extract only has a few different layouts, picture on the left, picture on the right etc.. but with a little imagination this shouldn’t be too restrictive.
I get asked loads of times how to re-create categories in an iWeb blog, and this seems to be almost ‘a be all and end all’ decision for prospective bloggers. There is a work around though as I mentioned in my iWeb questions of the week post.
The final point that may put some users off is the fact that the blogging widget doesn’t work in some versions of Internet Explorer. A downside obviously as it is the world’s most popular browser, however things are improving with IE7 onwards.
So would you use it?
In summary, iWeb is a fantastic blogging tool. Not the best, but very good none the less. Its ability to get a professional looking blog published to the Internet quickly and simply without having to know CSS or PHP is a real bonus. It has many pros and not many cons.
If I was starting this blog all over again and knew then what I know now I would do it in iWeb. Yes the fact that I couldn’t write posts from anywhere would annoy me at first, but I could just write an e-mail to my account on my iMac and then copy/paste the text into my blog later.
What do you think of iWeb as a blogging tool? Do you use it regularly and if so what gets you down?