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May 29, 2009

Blogs.mu – Start Your Own Blogging Community

Blogs.mu

Social networking is growing by leaps and bounds and while it may seem there is a social site available for any topic, this is not always the case. With Blogs.mu, anyone – regardless of technical skills – can create a blog network where a number of different blogs can be launched around a particular topic (or set of topics). As an example, you could develop a blog network around gardening in northern states that have particularly harsh winters.

Although the functionality of a blog network has been around since the early days of the WordPress platform, Blogs.mu streamlines the process and eliminates the need to host and configure websites yourself. Much like Ning, Blogs.mu empowers people to create and manage a social network around their passions or interests. Compared with what can be done within the confines of broader social sites such as Facebook or MySpace, services like Blogs.mu are virtually unrestrictive.

Blogs.mu offers a host of features to personalize your online portal including hundreds of ready-made blog designs, the ability to use your own custom domain, add plugin modules, and even run custom advertising.

Practical Uses:

  • Develop a local blog network that features tourism and business opportunities within your city
  • Start an online fashion magazine with contributors on a number of different topics
  • Expand the reach of your business by enlisting bloggers to share ideas for enhancing your products or services

Insider Tips:

  • Use the admin dashboard to post messages to your blog owners/writers
  • Import a blog from another service so you can launch immediately with existing content
  • Upgrade your bloggers to the supporter level so they can help generate income for the site

What we liked:

  • It’s easy to use and get started
  • It’s free for basic accounts
  • A good development in blogs and social networking overall

What we didn’t like:

  • There is no ability to browse popular blog networks running on Blogs.mu
  • It’s nothing you couldn’t achieve on your own using WordPress MU edition, albeit with some extra work and technical skills
  • Rather sloppy on-site content – we found typos in the FAQs and elsewhere
  • The default URL of site.blogs.mu could be confusing to novice readers

Alternatives:

Company Info:

  • Launched: 2009
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: Melbourne, Australia
  • Founded by: James Farmer
  • Web site: http://www.blogs.mu

Costs:

  • Free for a basic blog network
  • Starting at $9 per month for advanced features like custom domains, removing ads, using plugins, etc.