I spend a lot of time teaching people how to use Blogger. I do this for a reason: Blogger and its free Blog*Spot hosting is easy to use and reliable. And it has some very pretty templates.
But it is far from the only free blogging service out there.
On a lark, as if don't have enough to do, I spent part of an unexpected day off work testing out two of them. I now have a LiveJournal site and a Journal Space Site.
Of the two, I'd have to say that LiveJournal is better known (perhaps just because I've heard of them). Journal Space is perhaps not as well known. Truth be told, I went to Journal Space thinking it was LiveJournal.
The results are here; Peoria Pundit at LiveJournal and Peoria Pundit at Journal Space.
Of the two, I like Journal Space better. I found the set up easier and less intrusive. I also spend more time tinkering with the layout, because the basic template is very spartan. LiveJournal users have two basic template designs, one called old style and one called new style. I don't like either one. Users can pick and chose size, style and color for various fields, but they cannot get at the actual HTML of the template.
It actually has some advantages that Blogger does not. The first is that Journal Space has a built-in blogroll feature. Users must type or paste the URL and the site's name into a field, then save the entry. The other is a category feature. I have it set for five different type of entries.
Both are features I miss in Blogger and that I could not find available in the free version of LiveJournal.
Journal Space sets up users with a subdomain. Mine is "peoriapundit.journalspace.com." LiveJournal gives its free service users one of those long URLs: "livejournal.com/users/peoriapundit/" or "livejournal.com/~peoriapundit/." The difference is that the first is easier to remember and easier to type into the address field on a Web browser.
Both these services are designed for diary blogs, people who write about their cats and who-said-what during recess. They are set up for groups of friends who want to visit each others' blogs. Blogger can do that to, but it's also still popular among people who write about news and events.