There is definitely a market for fully-hosted blogs. During my recent reviews of blog software I noted how difficult it would be for a non-techy to set up their own blog using off the shelf software and hosting. Here is my wish-list for a hosted blog.
I am a techy. I am the worst kind of techy, the tinkerer techy who likes to take things apart and try and put them back together “just because”. Not a big market for people like me but you would have thought I was the blog software developers target audience. The software requires knowledge of web server software and database management systems for the most part, some even require you to add programming modules. Why? Do they dislike their users that much? Is it elitism? I doubt it, I expect it is purely because they build the software for their own use and have the generosity to make it available for the rest of us.
Fair enough, you can just sign up to an online blog service. You can have your own domain on some services (which is a must for the vast majority of professional bloggers). A start but by no means enough if you want to make the most of the medium.
Does such a beast exist?
The compromise solution seems to be to use one of the 3rd party hosting companies who allow you to setup your blog from the control panel. This solves the installation aspect but surely the rest could be made much easier? Even if this was a premium service I am sure there would be a market for an all you can eat, easy to use professional package.
Last wish would be that the whole thing would come with a good SLA. I realise that hosting this beast would be tricky, particularly if it was very popular, but surely there would be some way to get 99% uptime? Perhaps a load balanced solution?
The blog market is growing, the people coming in now are not early adopters they are possibly the early mainstream. Once they get the bug they are going to want to make money from their work, at least one enterprising blog service must recognise this?
Is there a service out there that meets these needs now? Are any planned?