This article was published on September 7, 2011

The 5 best blogging platforms you haven’t heard of

The 5 best blogging platforms you haven’t heard of
Alex Wilhelm
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Alex Wilhelm

Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected] Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected]

Blogging, once decried as a fad, is here to stay. If you don’t blog, you probably will before you sign off the Internet for good. Big names such as WordPress and Squarespace dominate the market, but there exists a great host of other platforms that are tailored to specific uses.

You might not want to follow the herd and use one of the giant solutions, because there are other options that are perhaps better for you and your needs. Today, we bring you five blogging platforms that you have probably not heard of, each with a unique twist on what it means to blog, and how it can, and should, be done.

Blogging is often about self-expression, so to select the right platform can be the difference between your blog going the way of the buffalo, and it taking off. Let’s begin:


If you are filled with rage, hate, Dimmu Borigir tracks, or anything else along those lines, DeadJournal is the place for you. It’s a combination content management system (CMS) and host, making it ideal for beginners.

What makes it unique? What people use it to write about. From the site: “Who uses DeadJournal? All sorts of people use DeadJournal to record their rants and psychotic thoughts! We love pissed off people, if you’re a pissed off person who hates incompetence, please sign up now!”

Yeah, how about that. DeadJournal has a page that features its statistics, and according to their own numbers, only 240 members updated their ‘DeadJournals’ in the last 24 hours. So, it’s not exactly a hopping place. But it is, ahem, special.


Leaving the crypt behind us, say hello to ExpressionEngine, a CMS solution that design professionals can use to build blogs for major corporations. It’s not cheap, and it’s for advanced users only, but if you are looking for something that is top-notch and flexible in the right hands, ExpressionEngine might be just what you need.

The company obviously competes wit the likes of, but given the extensive client list that it claims on its homepage, it is doing well for itself. Listed firms that use its product include Sony, Apple, and Cisco.

If you want to get a look at what ExpressionEngine can do, head here for a run through of a number of examples.


Don’t like WordPress, but want a free, open source CMS? You are going to love TextPattern.

According to the official copy, the software “allows you to easily create, edit and publish content and make it beautiful in a professional, standards-compliant manner.” TextPattern is more do if yourself, obviously, but if you know you know your way around even a little bit, it might be an excellent match. You can find demo sites using the CMS here.

According to user testimonies on the site, it is quite the humdinger. We almost wonder why we hadn’t heard of it until recently. Then again, WordPress does tend to drown out the rest of the blogging world.


Let’s get back to business-blogging. What if you are the type of person that just needs to write on your corporate blog, but doesn’t want to muck about with anything else? Compendium might be for you.

The service is designed to make the act of posting as simple as possible, even accepting posts via email. The service has a client list featured on its site, just like ExpressionEngine, but it is not as heavy-hitting (Dunn and Bradstreet instead of Sony). Still, the company obviously has customers.

Continuing the service’s ‘ease of use’ kick, it has a set of social promotional tools that will help companies get their messages out. If you are a bit of a tech neophyte, Compendium might be what you need.


What if you want to blog a bit, but don’t want to share it? Then Penzu is for you. Back in 2008, it turns out TNW covered the impending launch of Penzu. We liked it. Then we forgot about it.

We bring it to your attention in case you are looking to write, and not share. But why would you do that? Well, according to Penzu, for health reasons: “Expressive writing is an extremely cathartic process, helping you to relax and release stress,” and “Numerous studies have shown that keeping a journal can improve your immune function.” If that stuff is true, then I should be the most de-stressed and healthy person in the world. Anyway.

It’s a neat, visually appealing service, well worth checking out, so get to it.

And that is that! Sound off in the comments if you have a favorite, and obscure, blogging platform that you prefer.

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