How to Blog Without a Blog

So you've decide that you need to blog. Don't have time to deal with all the heavy lifting and details involved in creating, launching, and managing an actual website? That's ok. You can still blog and build your tribe.

Here are three channels that will allow you to blog to your heart's content, without all the muss and fuss of deciding whether you should go with WordPress or Squarespace, or how to keep up with the latest SEO tools. I'm going to look at them both from the point of view of the reader and the writer. Because if it's a great experience for the reader, it's a useful tool for the writer to get her stuff read.

And if you do have a blog, consider selectively cross-publishing your posts to any of these channels. (Yes, it's ok to do that these days.)

three easy tools to launch your blog without a website

Medium

If you've never heard of it before, here's a nice introduction to the platform -- from the business itself. Launched by Twitter cofounders back in 2012, the site has grown momentum steadily ever since. And they're an interesting company, too. One of the few that's tried holacracy (though they've since abandoned it).

And yes, anyone can publish to Medium. I like Medium for its clean, uncluttered interface -- both for readers and publishers. I find the Top Stories and Editors' Picks to usually hold some pretty interesting stuff. And I like that I can follow the people I'm interested in reading, without getting a whole bunch of other social media update stuff from them like on LinkedIn (I love you, all of my LinkedIn friends! But sometimes that activity feed is just a bit much. Am I right?)

LinkedIn

You might remember that when LinkedIn launched its Influencers program, at the start of its shift towards being a content platform as well as a networking resource, the program was only for fancy people like Richard Branson and Bill Gates. But those days are long gone. Anyone can publish articles to LinkedIn. 

Publishing to LinkedIn can have value because: 1) you'll announce your article in your activity feed where your contacts are already looking for news about you and the 500+ other people they know, and 2) when prospective clients or employers check out your profile, they'll see your articles right there beneath your smiling face.

Still, as a reader, I prefer the experience Medium delivers over the LinkedIn experience. (And I'm still waiting to see what's going to change on LinkedIn, if anything, in following the Microsoft acquisition.)

HuffPo

It might seem like, no matter what you're writing about, there's a section on HuffPo that will fit you. Unfortunately, that also makes it a terribly overcrowded marketplace.

How one publishes to HuffPo has changed recently, and word is that at the moment they're not taking applications for new contributors. But even if you can publish there, I'm not sure it's the best thing for you.

In such a crowded environment, your piece could just as easily end up getting buried as going viral. You might get a big boost in views on an article. But I've seen no evidence that those views on HuffPo translate to traffic to your own site, even when you include a link in your byline. And with such a range of quality, you have to ask yourself what you want your articles appearing alongside. The headline on the homepage of the Women section today is:  "When Men Ruined Cats: The Bizarre History of Anti-Suffrage Cate Memes." 

All that aside, HuffPo can be a good outlet for writing stuff that doesn't necessarily fit on your own blog, LinkedIn profile, or Medium channel.

ready? go start blogging!

So, there you have it. Three options for blogging without ever needing to pick a Wordpress template or purchase a URL.

Do you have more channels you'd recommend for blogging without a blog? Share them in the comments!