When starting a missionary blog to share excerpts from letters and photos, you have a lot of options where to host the blog. A few missionary blog hosting services include: Blogspot, Weebly, Missionsite, Wordpress, Tumblr, and MyMission. While I have not personally used these services to post missionary photos and letters, I have looked at and indexed more than 9,500 missionary blogs. Here is my brief review of each of these missionary website hosting services.
LDS Missionary Blog Hosting Services
Missionary Mailbag is a new service that can do a lot of neat things! It allows you to easily record and share your missionary’s photos and emails. Once you create an account you are allowed to follow a bunch of missionary blogs. When blogs you are following post new content, it automatically shows up in your news feed (kind of like the Facebook news feed). Families who subscribe to the service can choose to have their content shared privately with only selected individuals or shared publicly for anyone to see.
Blogspot is probably the most used platform for missionary blogs. Built into Blogspot is flexibility to very easily change your blog look and feel (theme), add customized widgets and see web analytics (details about who visits the website). It also seems there are some SEO benefits to using Blogspot for your blog in that it makes it more easily indexable by Google and may be more likely to get more traffic to your blog. You can also have your blog connected to your Google Plus profile which may lead to a higher click-through rate on your blog, more visitors and give your blog a more up-to-date feel.
Blogspot blogs can be private, by invitation only or public. Blogspot blogs have no ads, unless you add ads yourself (it may not be worth it to put ads on your blog, since they will likely generate little revenue- maybe $1-4 per 1,000 visits).
Weebly.com is quickly gaining popularity as a platform to blog on. If I were to create a missionary blog, I think I might choose Weebly. The main benefits to using a Weebly blog is that you can customize your blog to have functionality that many Blogger themes don’t have. Some of the best-looking missionary blogs I’ve seen use Weebly. I think it’s worth looking into- you can create different tabs where you can post your address, letters, photos, about age, testimony etc.
MissionSite.net is another common missionary website service. Like Blogspot, Missionsite allows you to make certain parts of your blog private, only available to those who enter a correct password. However, Missionsite.net blogs don’t seem to get as much search engine value as blogspot blogs (from my observation). A nice thing about Missionsite blogs is a consistent layout for each blog, where each blog uses one of two or three designs and has sections for addresses, letters, photos, etc..
Another good aspect of Missionsite is the ability to easily find other missionary blogs hosted on Missionsite.net, from your mission. Missionsite blogs have ads on them, mostly pointing to Missionsite’s store and other LDS-related businesses.
WordPress blogs are more customizable/powerful than blogspot blogs. Wordpress could be a good pick for missionary families who are tech savvy and know how to edit/customize CSS files. WordPress is a very powerful and popular platform. Our website runs off of a WordPress theme that we’ve customized. WordPress software can be easily installed on your own “.com” domain.
Tumblr is yet another option to host a missionary blog. While not many people use tumblr or are as used to it, it may have a preferred set-up and feel for some.
MyMission.com is a newer missionary blog hosting website. It has much the same functionality of MissionSite, but has a newer feel to it. It does not have nearly as many blogs on it as MissionSite.net, but will likely get more users as it’s discovered.
If you want to, there are also one or two paid missionary blog hosting services (ex: BlogTheMission.com, that may offer you additional services, such as customizing your blog to look how you want it to, editing out personal information from emails and putting together a book or CD with mission letters and photos.
If you are tech-savvy you can always pay a $4-5 month for a BlueHost account and create your own “.com” domain. On top of paying $4-5 in hosting fees, you’d need to buy a domain URL, which costs about $10/year. For most people, I’d recommend going with a free service :).
Hopefully this post has been helpful to you! If you have any additional insights or reviews of the missionary blog services, please comment below! Thanks!