When you decide to start blogging, one of the initial things you need to do is choosing a blogging platform.
A Blogging Platform is an application or service that allows you to manage your blog from a dashboard. It’s a kind of Content Management System (CMS).
Choosing the right platform is very crucial to get success in blogging. If you’ve read my story, you might be aware that how selecting wrong platforms cost me. Here’s the long story short.
I started my blogging journey with Weebly and WordPress.com platforms. Both of these platforms banned my account due to some TOS issues.
That is why you need to think carefully before choosing your platform. Since I know how overwhelming it can be to select the right platform, because I was in your position, I decided to make a list of 10 best blogging platforms and sites with pros and cons.
Now let's see more details of these blogging platforms.
WordPress.org is the best and most used blogging platform. Almost all of the professional bloggers use this platform. Even big blogs like TechCrunch use WordPress.
However, there are two types of WordPress - WordPress.org and WordPress.com. I'll discuss about WordPress.com below. Now let's talk about WordPress.org.
WordPress.org is an open source platform that you can use to build your blog. It is a self-hosted solution, which means you need to have a web host to put the site on.
There are several affordable WordPress web hosting services out there. I recommend Bluehost to the beginners. WordPress.org officially recommends it.
Read: How To Start A WordPress Blog On Bluehost
- Can be customized the way you want it.
- Allows custom plugins to add more functionality.
- Thousands of free and premium themes are available.
- Most of the web hosts allow you to install WordPress in one click.
- Search engine friendly.
- Need to invest some money in the web host and domain name.
- Need a little bit of a learning curve.
Bottom line: If you are serious about blogging and want to make money out of it, you can consider investing some money to start a WordPress.org blog. Just buy a web hosting plan from Bluehost and get a free domain name.
WordPress.com is a simpler platform than the WordPress.org version. It has nearly half the features of the .org version, but with it, you don't need to worry about all the hosting issues.
You can have a basic version for free. You could then buy additional services like domain names and so on.
- No setup required and no hosting problems to deal with.
- Get started for free.
- Hundreds of themes are available.
- You can't add custom themes or plugins.
- Have very strict policies on affiliate links.
- You can't run ads on the blog. Ads are already available on the free version; you can't remove.
- WP.com can suspend your account if they find any violations of terms of service.
Bottom line: If you don't have any plan to make money from your blog, WordPress.com is the right choice for you. You can get started with WordPress.com for free.
Blogger is a free blogging platform acquired by Google in 2013. You can create up to 100 blogs per account.
It offers a free blogspot.com domain. You can also buy a custom domain name. The best thing about this platform is, you can monetize your blog with Google AdSense.
- Easy to use and manage.
- Secured by Google without the need to have your host.
- Integrated with other Google products like AdSense and Analytics.
- Editable HTML.
- Google owns the blog, not you, so your account can get suspended.
- Support is limited.
- Not frequently updated.
- Themes are not that much as WordPress, and free third-party themes are usually low-quality.
Bottom line: If you just want to be a hobby blogger, then you can try Blogger.com.
Wix is a cloud-based platform that already has a whopping 90 million users worldwide. You can edit your website with their simple drag and drop tools. You can add a blog using the Wix blog app.
- The templates provided are excellent.
- No coding skills required, build your site with easy drag and drop tools.
- Easy to set up.
- Third-party integration.
- You can't change templates.
- Wix places ads on the basic plan.
- Limited features on the free account including e-commerce features.
Bottom line: Wix is the right solution when you want to build a website that has a blog.
Medium was created in 2012 by the co-founder of twitter. It is a simplified blogging platform which makes it very easy to express your thoughts and share your writing as easily as possible.
- No setup required and no coding skills needed.
- Audience is available, so you don't need to start gaining audience from scratch.
- Forget about all the design and other necessary skills you need to manage your blog. You can just start writing.
- Design and branding features are very limited. You can't change themes or anything.
- You can't run ads.
- Medium owns the blog.
Bottom line: If you just want to write and build an audience and don't care much about building a blog, then you can get started with Medium.
Tumblr is one of the old simple sites designed to publish short-form content like quotes, images, videos and animated GIFs. It is great for creating content regularly.
- No need to worry about the hosting.
- Get started for free.
- You can share multiple types of content.
- Easy to use interface.
- You do not own the blog.
- No extensions or plugins can be added.
- Limited features, simple to use but nothing more.
Bottom line: If you want to start a blog for fun, then Tumblr is the best choice to go with.
Weebly is another hosted platform. Its great DIY website builder is appealing to most first-time business owners due to its ease-of-use nature. It can be used for e-commerce as well.
- Easy-to-use features like drag and drop options.
- Free hosting and free templates making it quick and easy to setup.
- Easy and quick to update the site with little to no hassle.
- Meshes with many third-party integration apps.
- Features are limited and the third-party integration apps are limited.
- Moving to other platforms is very difficult.
- You can't edit the code.
- Can't self-host it.
- Can get suspended if there are any TOS violations.
Bottom line: Weebly is mainly a website builder. So if you want to start a website rather than a blog, then Weebly is the right choice.
Ghost is like WordPress but simpler. Consider it as a minimalist form of WordPress without all the advanced content management features.
- Simple to use and clean user interface.
- Optimized for SEO.
- Options are limited since it is very simple.
- Not enough themes.
- Not easy to customize.
- No third-party plugins. Only basic ones available in the setup itself that you could enable.
- Complicated to setup if you go and install it yourself and you wouldn't be going with the hosted option.
Bottom line: If you are a minimalist and looking for a simple blogging platform, you can give a try on Ghost.
Joomla is an open source software like WordPress.org. You also need to have your host to install in to; thus you need a host and a domain name to get started.
- It's flexible, so you can use it to build any kind of website.
- Hundreds of templates are already available for you to customize.
- There are extensions already available for you to add extra features to the website/blog.
- Themes and add-ons are limited compared to WordPress. The community is much smaller.
- You need to manage the security and updates yourself, unlike the hosted platforms.
- Learning curve is smaller than WordPress, but there is one present.
Bottom line: If you are a looking for a WordPress alternative, you can try Joomla.
Another open source software like Joomla and WordPress. You need to have your host just like WordPress and Joomla to install the blog. They care more about security.
- Flexible platform. You can edit the code to build any kind of website.
- Hundreds of templates and add-ons are available.
- The installation process is similar to WordPress but takes a longer time to finish.
- The learning curve is present, smaller than that in WordPress.
- Since it is self-hosted, you need to manage the security and updates yourself.
Bottom line: Drupal is an alternative to WordPress and Joomla.
Conclusion: Which Blogging Platform Should You Use?
By now, you are probably already familiar with most of the top blogging platforms available in the market.
I know it may seem like a hard decision as it's not easy to switch another platform later. Even if you can, it could take you multiple steps backward.
Here are my recommendations:
- If you want to monetize your blog, self-hosted WordPress.org is the best solution.
- If you are looking for a free blogging platform, you can try Blogger.com or WordPress.com.
- If you just want to share mini-blogs, quotes as you read and so on, Tumblr is your best option.
- If you want clean design, free, and easy-to-use platform that enables you to write your post so easily, then Medium is your best choice.
- If you want an easy drag and drop option, Weebly or Wix maybe right for you.
- If you want to use something different, Joomla and Drupal are great options.
I personally use and recommend WordPress.org to most people, except to those who are looking for a free solution. For free, I'd recommend WordPress.com.
Which platform are you currently on? Share it in the comments and tell us why you chose that one