Blogging Platforms Compared – Which Wins Out?

It seems that every man and his dog has a blog (they used to be called weblogs). Whether you’re using it as your online journal to document your personal thoughts or you’re blogging about a specific industry or even producing content solely to make money it helps to know what your choices are in terms of the platform.

In this article we’re going to do a quick run through of some of the more common blogging platforms on the market. All of them are free (which is a good thing) and all of them are capable of powering anything from a basic blog to something with thousands of pages and thousands of daily visitors. So which one is best? Let’s take a look.

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 Hosted Solutions (e.g. Blogger)

 Most first time users tend to gravitate towards the free hosted solutions such as blogger.com. On the surface they probably look like they’ll do the job and you won’t have to mess around installing and configuring applications. That’s a huge plus if you’re not particularly tech-savvy but it also comes with its limitations. The biggest one being you’re pretty much stuck where you are, you can’t move your blog elsewhere and you’ll have trouble getting your own domain name for it when it grows etc so there are quite a few drawbacks. If however you just want a small blog to document your personal thoughts each day then it’s probably more than enough for you.

 Wordpress

 By far WordPress is the most popular solution out there. It has everything you could possibly want in a content management system and is trusted by millions of people throughout the world. If there is one drawback I’d say it’s the sheer size of the application itself and because it’s so popular it’s also prone to exploits and hack attempts. Frequent patches do enough to combat this but if you’re going to run WordPress you really need to know what you’re doing in terms of security.

 Drupal

 They call this the developers blogging platform because it comes with a lot of highly customisable features. With Drupal you’re not limited as you are with WordPress, you can define and configure every aspect of your installation and get your blog looking and performing exactly how you want it to. Whilst there are not as many add ons in terms of themes and plugins as there are with WordPress and Joomla it is quite well supported so you’ll find more than enough options out there for customisation.

 Ghost

 Ghost is a platform that is becoming increasing popular, especially with those who have fallen out of love with WordPress due to its bulk and potential for exploits. Whilst it’s not as simple as WordPress in terms of installation and configuration, there are lots of tutorials available that assist with this and once you’re up and running it’s extremely lightweight and secure.

 Joomla

 Whilst it’s not strictly a blogging platform lots of people are using Joomla to power their blog. Personally I think it’s better to use a proper blogging solution rather than a standard website CMS but it is possible and it is feature rich. If you’re just literally writing blog posts it’s probably not worth bothering with. However if you want to bolt things onto it then it’s probably worth taking a look at.

Conclusion

 Blogging for the most part is all about the content. They say content is king and where blogs are concerned, it couldn’t be more true. But, the platform is important also. As to which one is truly better, I guess it’s a matter of preference. Some will prefer the features of one particular application and some will be so set in their ways having used a particular solution for the past 10 years they’ll see no real reason to change.

I can understand why people stick to what they know but I do think it also pays to try new things out from time to time. Who knows you might end up finding a solution you prefer. Lots of people are saying having tried the likes of Ghost they’re considering switching permanently etc.

Apple Said to Hold Talks With Government About Retail Stores in India

Apple Said to Hold Talks With Government About Retail Stores in IndiaApple Inc officials on Tuesday met Commerce Ministry top brass amid its plans to open stores in India without initially having to source components locally.

According to sources, the meeting chaired by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) Secretary Ramesh Abhishek lasted for almost an hour with senior officials from Apple discussing details of the new Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) rules in single-brand retail and the company’s retail expansion plans.

Apple officials are believed to have sought clarity on the changes in mandatory domestic sourcing norms for single brand retail brought in earlier this year. However, no official word on the meeting was received from either side.

In June this year, government had relaxed FDI norms by giving a three-year exemption from local sourcing to foreign players in single-brand retail and a five-year relaxation for ‘state-of-the-art’ and ‘cutting-edge’ technology.

India is one of the fastest growing markets for the Cupertino-based company. In the first three quarters of this fiscal year, Apple’s iPhone sales in India were up 51 percent year-on-year.

In May this year, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook had visited India and met Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as key industry leaders like Sunil Bharti Mittal and veteran banker Chanda Kocchar.

Apple had also announced setting up of a design and development accelerator to support Indian developers creating innovative applications for iOS and opened a new office in Hyderabad to accelerate maps development.

Cook during his May visit, had discussed issues including manufacturing and setting up retail stores in the country with Modi.

The FDI rules for single brand retail call for mandatory sourcing of at least 30 percent inputs from domestic companies.

Apple Music Now Has 20 Million Subscribers; Attracts 3 Million People in 3 Months

At the iPhone keynote in September, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue noted that Apple Music had garnered 17 million subscribers since launch. Now, Apple has confirmed subscriber numbers have gone up to 20 million. This 3 million increase has happened in just three months, and is a significant milestone for Apple’s music streaming app.

Even though Apple Music adoption is growing fast, it still currently lags behind Spotify, which enjoys 40 million subscribers. It’s important to note that Apple has managed this feat in just a year, while Spotify has been around for a while.

Apple Music Now Has 20 Million Subscribers; Attracts 3 Million People in 3 Months“It’s been quite a year. We were thrilled to see that we could take [artists’] passions and drive them all the way to No. 1. Chance the Rapper, who we put on Apple Music exclusively, hit the top 10 on the Billboard charts [based on streams alone], and I can’t recall that being done before,” Cue told Billboard.

Apple also said that 60 percent of customers using its music streaming service haven’t purchased music from iTunes in the last 12 months, and Cue clarifies to Billboard that the “vast majority are new customers”. The company added that the service is available in over 100 countries, and that more than half of the total 20 million subscribers live outside the US, in markets such as Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, Russia, South Africa, and Brazil – states the company.

Talking about this year’s numbers alone, Apple Music has managed to rope in 10 million subscribers, while Spotify managed 12 million. Spotify ended 2015 with 28 million subscribers, while Apple Music managed 10 million since launch in June last year.

Apple Music recently introduced its University Student membership plan in 25 more countries across the world including India. The Individual plan is priced at Rs. 120 per month, while the new University Plan is being priced at a discounted Rs. 60 per month. The Family Plan lets up to six people share the subscription, and costs Rs. 190 per month.

Amazon Rebrands Gift Card Balance as ‘Amazon Pay’ Balance, Touts Faster Checkout

Amazon has quietly made a change on Wednesday where it rebranded its Gift Card balance as Amazon Pay, which the company is touting as the fastest way to pay. It’s essentially the same as gift card balance – and unlike wallets, there are no limits on how much you can transact in a day, and the money stored in your Amazon Pay balance is only valid for one year, post which it will expire – but instead of having to purchase gift cards, you can simply top it up directly on the Amazon website.

Amazon Rebrands Gift Card Balance as 'Amazon Pay' Balance, Touts Faster CheckoutThe new Amazon Pay balance is handy if you shop a lot on Amazon, and don’t want to enter your OTP regularly when shopping – once you’ve filled up some balance, you can just use that money to complete shopping with a single click. There are some restrictions – you can’t buy gift cards, gold coins, or bank cards, on Amazon.in using the Pay balance – but otherwise, you can use it to buy all other items on the website. “We are happy to launch Amazon Pay Balance. All customers have to do is load their balance; a friction-free payment experience awaits them,” added Sriram Jagannathan Vice President Payments, Amazon India.

Your remaining gift card balance is automatically transferred to Amazon Pay, and for refunds on cash on delivery items, you have the option of choosing Amazon Pay to receive the money, which Amazon says is much faster than choosing a refund to your bank.

However, you can’t transfer money from your Amazon Pay balance to your bank account – this means that the money is effectively locked into Amazon’s ecosystem. Amazon plans to incentivise usage of Amazon Pay by giving special offers to use it. You can add up to Rs. 10,000 at one time, though there is no limit on the number of transactions you can make.

Amazon had earlier launched Pay with Amazon in India – it has not linked the two yet, but it would be an interesting way for the company to expand into payments, at a time when other e-commerce companies are investing in areas such as UPI (Flipkart), or have their own wallets (Snapdeal, Paytm).

Samsung Galaxy S8 Will Not Have 3.5mm Headphone Jack, Home Button, Say Reports

Samsung Galaxy S8 may be part of the joining the list of smartphones that have abandoned the 3.5mm headphone jack, if a new report is to be believed. The South Korean giant will reportedly remove the audio jack from the upcoming flagship Samsung Galaxy S8. Another report separately claims that Galaxy S8 will also not include a Home Button while the front camera will come with the autofocus feature.

Sammobile reports that the Samsung Galaxy S8 will only come with a USB Type-C port, and come with a 3.5mm-headphone-to-USB Type-C adapter. This will also mean that without the 3.5mm jack, Galaxy S8 users won’t be able to use headphones while charging the device. This year, LeEco, Motorola, and Apple were among the brands that launched smartphones without the 3.5mm audio jack.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Will Not Have 3.5mm Headphone Jack, Home Button, Say ReportsAnother report separately claims that Samsung Galaxy S8 may also ditch the company’s signature Home Button. The new report, in-line with an earlier report, suggests Samsung will not embed the fingerprint scanner in the home button, and will instead have it under the Galaxy S8 screen. An earlier report said that Samsung may use pressure-sensitive display technology on its next flagship. Samsung’s pressure-sensitive display technology is expected to work similarly to Apple’s 3D Touch technology first introduced on the iPhone 6s.

Sammobile also reports that Samsung Galaxy S8 will have a high screen-to-body ratio while the design will be reminiscent of the dead Galaxy Note 7. The report also claims that Samsung will opt for a standard RGB arrangement for the Galaxy S8 for the reason that it will have more shelf live and less power consumption. It also adds that Samsung stick with the 2K resolution screen seen on the Galaxy S7.

A recent trademark filing also indicates Samsung Galaxy S8’s front camera may sport autofocus functionality. Sammobile points that a new trademark filing at the European Union Intellectual Property Office shows the term “Smart AF” which might be used on the Galaxy S8 front camera. The trademark filing describes the functionality associated with “mobile phones; smartphones; tablet computers; autofocus photographic cameras for mobile phones, smartphones.”

Rumours so far have claimed that Samsung Galaxy S8 flagship smartphone will be launched on the side-lines of MWC 2017 in Barcelona on February 26.