What Is LiveJournal?

An Introduction to the LiveJournal Blogging Application

[Markus Brunner//Getty Images].

Introduction to LiveJournal

LiveJournal is a blogging application and community that debuted in 1999. Users can create free blogs or pay for an account that offers more features, fewer (or no) ads, increased customization, and more. LiveJournal began as a place for people to publish online journals, join into communities of users interested in the same topics, friend one another, and comment on each other's journal entries. Over time, the site became known as a blogging tool because of the structure of publishing posts and commenting on posts. However, LiveJournal is very much about community and friends rather than a stand-alone blogging tool.

More LiveJournal Features

Free LiveJournal accounts offer limited functionality, but for casual bloggers, that functionality might be enough. Many bloggers need the ability to upload a lot of images, publish polls, control ads, control design, track analytics and performance, and more. To get those types of features, you need to upgrade to one of the paid LiveJournal accounts. All users can receive private messages, join communities, friend other people, and publish posts to their journals, but there might be limits on each of those features. Be sure to check the most recent pricing and account features before you start using LiveJournal.

Who Is Using LiveJournal?

Over 10 million people used LiveJournal by 2012. At that time, the user audience had skewed to a younger demographic while power bloggers and business blog owners migrated to more robust blogging applications. The price tags and limited functionality of LiveJournal compared to a free tool like the self-hosted WordPress.org application keeps many people from choosing LiveJournal. Furthermore, newer, simpler tools like Tumblr have stolen some of the types of users who like the community aspect that a tool like LiveJournal offers.

Is LiveJournal Right for You?

Do you already know a lot of friends and people you want to communicate with who are using LiveJournal, and do you like the community aspect that LiveJournal provides? Will you be satisfied with the minimal features and limited control of a free LiveJournal account or are you okay with paying for an upgraded account? Do you have absolutely no plans to grow your blog, make money from it, use it for marketing your business, or other big goals that will require you to use a more flexible and robust blogging application? If you answered "yes" to the previous questions, then LiveJournal might be a suitable tool for you.

LiveJournal Today

LiveJournal has fallen out of favor today, but it hasn't completely disappeared. There are simply better free tools available and LiveJournal has seen its new user audience plummet. However, LiveJournal users are very loyal to it, so the community of users has become extremely tight-knit. LiveJournal is available in nine languages and is particularly popular in Russia. The company promotes LiveJournal as a cross between blogging and social networking and calls it a community publishing tool. Today, both free and paid accounts are available to users. Paid account holders can access additional layout options, features, storage, and more. LiveJournal does offer trials of paid accounts, so you can test the premium features before you commit to paying for an account.

Remember, LiveJournal isn't a traditional blogging tool, although many people do use it for blogging purposes. Instead, LiveJournal began as a place for people to publish personal journals and has grown to become a community publishing tool. If you want to create a traditional blog with all of the parts and pieces you'd expect to find on a blog, then LiveJournal isn't the right choice for you. Instead, use a traditional blogging application like WordPress or Blogger.