I tried to post this hours ago but I lost my internet connection and just got it restored.
I've done a little blogging in the past and I've always used the free services. My experience is limited only to http://www.LiveJournal.com/
. I started with LJ and eventually paid some money for the service (which is completely optional) but when I found out Google had their own blogging site I decided to check it out.
Each has its own pros and cons. My biggest complaint with LiveJournal is that after using it for years it's hard to track down your entries so that you can archive them or move them. It works pretty well for the most recent posts, with a button that shows the 20 previous entries etc. but after you got back far enough it starts to go by day rather than entries, which makes no sense to me and is very frustrating because I tend to only post once every two weeks. I liked that I could have multiple usericons to use a picture that defined my mood at the time while I was posting without having to resort to those silly little Mood: statements with emoticons. I also liked that I could download a little client program on my computer that would run in the tray and pop up a little typing area and I could write and edit posts directly from my desktop without going to the site. You could also customize the layout pretty much any way you wanted, though I didn't get into the advanced features of that myself. I just chose a template and adjusted the colors, mostly.
Blogger (blogspot) on the other hand addressed the issue of having easy access to past posts. You can view every one of your posts in rows with the subject and the date they were posted.
Plus you can just click on it and it will show you the entire message:
But with a Google product I did expect some more features. For instance, I have fallen victim to writing a long entry and then losing it for one reason or another. I expected Blogger to autosave drafts like Gmail does, but it doesn't. It does have a save draft feature, but you have to manually press it to activate it. That is a little annoying that Google provides such an awesome feature in one product but not the other. Another thing that I just can't figure out with Blogger is that when I uploaded my usericon (using Allen's .image or maybe even imagiine engine) it makes the image "widescreen" even though it's a square picture, thus making the text put on it unreadable. There is one more thing that is somewhat confusing but I kind of ignore it now. After you make a post or update to the Blogger blog you have an option to Publish just the index or Republish the entire blog.
Basically publishing the index is meant to allow you to quickly view changes and things like that (especially if you're redesigning the layout) and republishing the entire blog will update the entire thing, which it says can take a few minutes if you have a lot of entries. I don't have a lot of entries yet so that's never been a problem and I just republish the entire thing every time.
Blogger is straightforward and easy to use. It suits my needs (which are small) very well. It just has a couple of quirks which are definitely annoyances but not enough to get me frustrated enough with the system to leave it altogether. The good of Blogger far outweighs the bad from my experience.