TopTenREVIEWS - Gold Award - Awarded for excellence in design, usability and feature set

Promote, inform, amuse or even rant to the far reaches of your brilliance, with WordPress.com. This TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award winning blog service is fitting for amateur and prolific bloggers alike and is so uncomplicated to use.

WordPress.com is a free blogging service inspired by the users of WordPress.org, who requested an easy to use, hosted blog service. WordPress responded by launching WordPress.com. This service is simple, hosts your blog, submits your blog to the Goggle blog directory and monitors your stats; in essence, this is an all–inclusive free blog package.

Unlike many free blog services, this service does not load your blog with ads and WordPress is all about blogging, they are not trying to double as a social networking site. This service gives you every tool you need to build and promote your blog; additionally, WordPress.com is the only free service we found that gives you referrer stats without having to add a third–party application.

Blog Design Tools
Compare
8.8/10
WordPress
TypePad
Squarespace
Blogger
MySpace
AOL Journals
Windows Live Spaces
Xanga
LiveJournal
8.8
7.5
8.8
8.8
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5

While WordPress is designed to be simple enough for non–coders, WordPress does allow you to customize templates. There are many open source templates out there for you to choose from, or if you like (and you have knowledge of CSS) you can alter your own to fit your needs. If you'd prefer to stick to standard WordPress templates, you still have dozens to choose from, so you won't be limited in designing your blog. You can customize the templates with your own header image, font color, sidebar widgets, plugins and more.

The posting box is easy to use and can be used in either text or HTML mode. The standard text box operates a lot like a word processor with similar controls. For instance, there are buttons and fields that allow you to change fonts, increase font size, bold text, change text colors and many other standard formatting options. The WordPress posting box also has a spell check and a preview. You can easily add links and images, however images are added by URL, so if you are using your own image you have to upload it and use the WordPress assigned URL. Fortunately, the photo uploader is fairly simple to use and offers you several different options about how the picture will appear on the blog (size, orientation, etc.).

Obviously, the HTML-based posting box is for people who both know HTML and prefer more exact control over their content. The WordPress apps fully support embedding video and music players in your blog by simply copying the embed code into the HTML viewing pane.

Another benefit of using WordPress is the wide variety of plugins and widgets that you can use on your blog. WordPress is very popular so there have been a lot of people who have created additional plugins to increase functionality. Some of them are designed to show up on your blog page, like blogrolls, photo slideshows and link lists, to small programs that increase functionality in the WordPress apps, like automatically sending new posts to Twitter, adding music to your blog or improving tag and keyword usage.

As you can see, WordPress does a good job of catering to people that need simplicity as well as those that prefer options and functionality.

Promotion/ Tracking Tools
Compare
10/10
WordPress
TypePad
Squarespace
Blogger
MySpace
AOL Journals
Windows Live Spaces
Xanga
LiveJournal
10
10
7.5
5
7.5
3.8
6.3
2.5
2.5

WordPress.com sends your blog information to both Google and Technorati and allows readers to subscribe to RSS or Atom feeds. We quickly found our sample blog on Google within a day by keyword.

One of the most incredible features of WordPress is the quality of traffic stats available, especially considering it's a free service. In fact, the only other blog service that comes close is Squarespace, which isn't free. Other services do have traffic stats if you find third party plug-ins, but WordPress trumps them all with a free stat tracker. It keeps track of views for individual posts, both daily and all-time views, as well as overall pageview numbers for your entire blog by day, week and month. There is also a list of the top referring sites, the top keywords that brought people to your blog and the links that people clicked on while visiting your blog. The average user looking to create a personal blog will probably only be concerned with how many people visit, but if you want to create a following or report on a particular industry, the other stats will prove quite useful in monitoring growth and finding out how people have found your blog.

This service also supports private blogs and you can block particular words in comments or specific users from leaving comments. Unlike many services, WordPress.com has a search comment tool and a spam blocker so you can eliminate spam comments or useless, non–contributory comments.

Ease of Use
Compare
8.8/10
WordPress
TypePad
Squarespace
Blogger
MySpace
AOL Journals
Windows Live Spaces
Xanga
LiveJournal
8.8
7.5
8.8
8.8
5
8.8
7.5
7.5
8.8

WordPress is exceedingly easy to use. It is simple enough for an average user, but has enough features to suit a business. And all of those features are easy to access and use. You do not have to know HTML to post an attractive blog with WordPress.com; you also do not have to know how to submit your blog to search engines. The service routinely submits your blog to Google’s blog directory. We also liked it because you can change things like your header image without having to figure out pixel by pixel size. Sidebar widgets can be added and arranged by drag and drop and most other alterations are just as easy.

The overall navigation is simple. There are three main menus: Write, Manage and Comments. The Write menu allows you to put your text, links, pictures and video in and then customize how the blog will appear. There are collapsible feature lists that let to change the author, tags, trackback settings and more. The Manage menu allows you to see all the posts that have been published. If you click on one of the posts, it brings it up in the Write screen so you can make modifications to it as if you were just writing it. The Comments screen allows you to approve, delete or edit any comments you receive. One of the most useful plug-ins we can recommend is one that can filter out spam comments as that will save you some time.

Technical Help/Support
Compare
10/10
WordPress
TypePad
Squarespace
Blogger
MySpace
AOL Journals
Windows Live Spaces
Xanga
LiveJournal
10
8.8
7.5
7.5
5
5
2.5
5
2.5

WordPress.com offers support through helpful FAQs, tutorials, a searchable knowledgebase and comprehensive weblogs, such as “Lorelle on WordPress.” This site also hosts many user contributed blogs with tips, tricks, advice and much more. Unlike many services, WordPress.com accepts emails.

WordPress Summary:
9.4/10

Originate a stylish, ad free blog and start spreading your message today with WordPress.com. We think that recreational and accomplished bloggers alike will find the simplicity and functionality of WordPress.com liberating. Be sure to check out all of our reviews on blog services.

 
 
 

WordPress

Pros
WordPress blogs allow you to utilize hundreds of widgets and tools to give you the best blogs possible.

Cons
There are few mobile blogging options.

The Verdict
: 9.38/10

WordPress is customizable and easy to use.