Is there a blog service that has all the features I need? I've tried Blogger, Livejournal, and Wordpress.com, but none of them seems like quite the ticket. See inside for the 3 features I'm looking for.
I'm trying to start a blog. It seems like every service I try is about 90% of what I need, but missing some key feature.
Here are the features I'm looking for:
1. The ability to have a private blog with well over 100 readers
. I could see myself picking up a bunch of readers from my list of Facebook friends, and on top of that I'd like to feel comfortable mentioning the blog to people I meet in the future and casually inviting them to read it without worrying about exceeding the limit. (I'm not willing to have a public blog because I'm paranoid about a prospective employer googling my name one day and being offended by something I say about a controversial issue.)
2. A blogroll that allows well over 50 links
. I have over 50 links to put in various categories of my blogroll (not just blogs but also individual articles, favorite Metafilter posts, etc.), and I want to be able to add more as I come across them.
3. Easily customizable templates
, or at least a very tasteful default template. I care a lot about the appearance of the blog, and I'd like to have a distinctive combination of greys, blues, and a bit of purple. I don't have programming skills beyond some basic HTML, so I can't create a template from scratch. (I want something sleek and minimal but also with a bit of color and character. Most templates I've seen are either minimal to the point of looking like something from the '90s, or overloaded with color and graphics in a way that seems geared toward 16-year-olds.)
Here's what I've gathered based on trying 3 different services:
has nicely customizable templates and plenty of blogroll capacity ... but is limited to 100 private readers
lets you have 1000 private readers (or more with a paid account) and has so many templates that I can find a palatable one if I really try ... but limits you to 30 with a free account or 50 with a paid account
. (I've tried this del.icio.us tool
and it doesn't seem to work on LJ)
lets you have unlimited private readers for $30 (which I'd gladly pay for), and seems to have good blogroll capabilities ... but there are just a few boringly tasteful templates, they can't be customized at all (nor can you import one from a third party), and the main column is too wide anyway.
I'm willing to pay a reasonable amount of money, but free would be ideal, needless to say.
I've looked through AskMe tags, tried Googling for feature comparisons, and looked at help/FAQ pages from Blogger, Livejournal, and Wordpress. Of course, this turns up tons of information about different features offered by different services, but I'm not seeing a big-picture solution to my problem. (And I'm suspicious of the blog services' official help pages because they seem to try to conceal their limitations.)
Am I missing some way to have everything I want, or is this just not available? If not, then what do you think would be the least-bad option? I realize that the answer might simply be that I'm right -- none of the services work for the above reasons. But I wanted to run this by the hive mind to see if there's either some workaround for the above problems or some other service that offers what I want. I'm honestly on the verge of giving up blogging because there doesn't seem to be a viable service out there.