Best Blogging Platforms of 2018-ThemesReviewCentral

Choosing between the best blogging platforms in the market can be tough for those just

getting started with blogging

. There is a huge number of options out there, with each providing a set of not-so-different features.

So how do you make up your mind and pick a platform that feels like it’s been tailor-made for you and your specific needs?

We’ll help you with that here!

Here’s a list of the best blogging platforms available today, plus what makes them different from one another.

Best Blogging Platforms of 2018-ThemesReviewCentral

The core difference between the best blogging platforms

Blogging platforms that have been covered here can be divided into two categories:

  • Blog publishing services — a blog publishing service is a platform where you can sign up and create your blog; you do not need a server and can use an existing sub domain of the platform
  • Content management systems (CMS) — a CMS is software that’s hosted on a server, and also needs to be hooked up to a domain name; then, you can take advantage of the CMS’s abilities and edit your blog posts and pages similarly to how you’d do it with Google Docs – via a nice UI

In terms of complexity, blog publishing services are easiest to use, but have a limited ability to customize features. If you plan to create a blog for free, you should choose one of them.

With a CMS, the possibilities are limitless — but it comes at a cost of maintaining a server and purchasing a domain.

Overall, if ease of use is the no.1 thing you’re after, you’re probably going to be better off with blogging services. If full control and complete freedom with your blog is something you value more then going with a CMS is the path for you.

Our list of the best blogging platforms includes a mix of both categories, which cater to various users.

Without further delay, here’s our list (in no particular order):

Six of the best blogging platforms compared

Blogger (www.blogger.com)

Blogger is a blog publishing platform from Google.

You can register with your Google account, and use one of the default themes to get started with a blogspot.com subdomain.

In a few minutes, your blog should be live.

Best Blogging Platforms of 2018-ThemesReviewCentral

Who should use Blogger?

It is intended for beginners who want to get started quickly without much hassle.

Here’s the Blogger dashboard with statistics and other options:

Best Blogging Platforms of 2018-ThemesReviewCentral

What’s the pricing?

Blogger as a service is completely free to use.

Can I use a custom domain?

Yes, you can link your blog to a domain or a sub domain.

What can you customize?

You can upload custom themes and widgets. If you have knowledge of HTML, CSS and JavaScript, you can even edit the source code of your blog within Blogger.

Can I monetize my blog?

Yes, Google AdSense is built into the Blogger service, and its activation is easy. You can also add third party ad services by adding the relevant JavaScript in a widget, or within the source code of your blog.

Final thoughts on Blogger

Blogger is one of the best blogging platforms to start your new blog due to a short learning curve and the ability to customize later. Thus, one can start with the basic features in Blogger and eventually move on to advanced custom features, making it one of the best blogging platforms for beginners. Here’s a detailed comparison of Blogger and WordPress, in case you are interested.

Medium (medium.com)

Medium is a blog publishing platform that focuses on the reading experience. It was co founded by Evan Williams, who coincidentally also co-founded Blogger before it was acquired by Google.

On Medium, you can either create posts associated with your user, or create a publication, with a customizable layout. The USP of Medium is an easy to use blog editor that focuses on your content.

Best Blogging Platforms of 2018-ThemesReviewCentral

Who should use Medium?

Like Blogger, it is intended for beginners who want to get started quickly.

Here’s what the interface looks like when you’re adding a post on Medium:

Best Blogging Platforms of 2018-ThemesReviewCentral

What’s the pricing?

For publishers, Medium is free. There is, however, a subscription model for readers to get the best customized content.

Can I use a custom domain?

No, this feature was deprecated in November 2017. Your publication can only be hosted on medium.com/publication-slug.

What can you customize?

For posts not associated with a publication, you need to use the default theme. For publications, you can customize the headers, favicon and layout of your posts. However, you can not really get into the HTML to change individual items. This is ideal for those who do not have knowledge of web technologies, but leave others wanting for more.

Can I monetize my blog?

Yes, but the options are limited and change frequently. There is currently only one way to earn — through the Partner Program — a program where authors are paid depending on readers’ engagement.

Final thoughts on Medium

Medium is fantastic at what it does — enable one to read. However, among the other best blogging platforms, the features are limited, with no option to hook up a custom domain or monetize freely. It might be your choice for a one-off post, but you should probably choose another platform if you’re planning to blog in the long run.

WordPress.com: Commercially hosted WordPress

A commercially hosted version of WordPress, or WordPress.com, as it is popularly known as, is a blog publishing platform based on the WordPress engine, provided by Automattic.

You can read this to learn more about the differences between the commercial and self-hosted versions of WordPress.

Best Blogging Platforms of 2018-ThemesReviewCentral

Who should use WordPress.com?

A commercially hosted version of WordPress is ideal for beginners who are not ready to spend on domain names or server costs yet.

Also, WordPress.com stands out simply as a “better-looking alternative to Blogger.”

Here’s what the dashboard looks like at WordPress.com:

Best Blogging Platforms of 2018-ThemesReviewCentral

What’s the pricing?

WordPress.com provides three plans over and above the free plan — for Personal at $4 per month, Premium at $8 per month, and Business at $25 per month.

The Personal plan lets you use a custom domain, removes native advertising by WordPress.com and provides customer support. With higher plans, you get access to more storage with more customization possibilities.

Can I use a custom domain?

Yes, but you need a paid plan for that.

What can you customize?

First off, you get to choose from a range of free themes – designs – that will help you create a distinct look for your blog. You can also customize your theme in a basic way – add widgets, menus, and adjust the layout.

To get a bit more in terms of customization, you will need to upgrade to a paid plan.

Can I monetize my blog?

Although advertisements by WordPress are shown, you can add custom ads through JavaScript in the widgets. To get more freedom, though, you need to upgrade to a paid plan.

Final thoughts on WordPress.com

It’s a good choice for a beginner, with the option to migrate to a self hosted version of WordPress at a later stage. Still, the features are a bit limited compared to the self-hosted version of WordPress – more on which in a minute.

WordPress.org: Self-hosted WordPress

The self hosted version of WordPress requires you to download a copy of the WordPress software and install it on a server. Though, the top hosting firms will make this step easy for you by taking care of the installation itself.

Although, this option gives the greatest amount of flexibility, it comes with an added cost of a web server and a domain name.

Best Blogging Platforms of 2018-ThemesReviewCentral

Who should use self-hosted WordPress?

Self-hosted WordPress has grown to be the most popular website platform of them all, and that doesn’t only mean blogs. WordPress is used by more than 32% of all website online.

WordPress is a great solution if you want to have full control over your blog and be able to customize every aspect of it.

On the other hand, you can’t launch a WordPress blog for free. To do things on the cheap side, you can expect to pay around $60 annually.

Here’s what the dashboard of WordPress looks like:

Best Blogging Platforms of 2018-ThemesReviewCentral

What’s the pricing?

WordPress itself is an open source software, which you can download and run locally, or on a web server. Certain themes and plugins, however, may be paid.

Apart from that, you can get a hosting plan for around $4 / mo. and a domain name at around $15 / year.

Read this to learn more on how to start a blog with self-hosted WordPress (step by step).

Can I use a custom domain?

Yes, any server you host WordPress on can be associated with a custom domain.

What can you customize?

In a word: everything. You can customize the design, layout and content of every single element of the site.

Can I monetize my blog?

As the control of the whole blog lies with the webmaster, monetization is easy — either through a plugin, or by adding custom HTML code to the theme.

Here are five reliable methods to monetize a blog.

Final thoughts on WordPress.org

WordPress is the unquestionable leader of the blogging world. With more than 32% of all sites running on WordPress, it’s hard to argue that most people are likely going to be more than happy if they choose WordPress. It is definitely one of the best blogging platforms relevant today.

Wix (www.wix.com)

Wix is primarily a website builder that lets you create a site through a handy drag-and-drop editor.

You can choose from their 500+ templates and then fine-tune the site to make it look like you want it.

Wix lets you build a working blog within minutes, and will also take care of hosting the blog for you.

Best Blogging Platforms of 2018-ThemesReviewCentral

Who should use Wix?

Wix is more suited if you want to build a standard website, and not as much a classic blog. Although there is a blogging module available, it’s not the focus of Wix.

How you can customize your blog with Wix:

Best Blogging Platforms of 2018-ThemesReviewCentral

What’s the pricing?

Free, plus Wix has monthly plans at $5.00, $11.00, $14.00, $29.00, converted to your local currency. These plans range from connecting your domain to creating a full fledged e-commerce store.

Can I use a custom domain?

Yes, though it’s only available on the paid plans.

What can you customize?

Wix lets you customize all elements within the site without any knowledge of web technologies. This ranges from various text elements (header, description, list) to images, locations and forms. However, the process to edit the code of the pages is a bit complex.

Can I monetize my blog?

Yes, you can add custom ads through HTML elements on Wix, although branded Wix elements in the free plan would also be shown.

Final thoughts on Wix

Wix gives you a lot of freedom to express your imagination, with minimal or no knowledge of programming. However, like I said, blogging is not the focus of Wix’s, which doesn’t make it a top selection among the best blogging platforms. Seasoned developers may also want to shift to an option that provides them with more freedom. Here is how Wix compares to other site builders.

Ghost (ghost.org)

Started by a former WordPress developer, Ghost is a JavaScript-based blogging platform.

The sole purpose of creating Ghost was the focus on blogging. Although Ghost offers a commercially hosted version, this post only talks about the software that you can use on your own server.

Best Blogging Platforms of 2018-ThemesReviewCentral

Who should use Ghost?

Ghost is a good option for someone who wants a slick publishing experience and a nice user interface. Ghost, however, requires significant technical skills to set up and run.

Here’s what it looks like when you edit your blog content with Ghost:

Best Blogging Platforms of 2018-ThemesReviewCentral

What’s the pricing?

Ghost is an open source software and is, therefore, available free of cost to download and run. However, there are also some paid-for themes and plugins for Ghost (like there are for WordPress, too). At the same time, if you opt for the commercially hosted version of Ghost, you have to pay a subscription fee starting at $29/month.

Can I use a custom domain?

Yes. You can associate your Ghost blog with a custom domain.

What can you customize?

You can customize pretty much every element about your blog, though the support for Ghost in terms of themes and plugins is still poor compared to WordPress.

Can I monetize my blog?

Yes, Ghost has the ability to add custom code to your site for advertisements.

Final thoughts on Ghost

Although WordPress is a better option in terms of support and customization, one may prefer Ghost if they value an uncluttered interface / publishing experience.

Here’s a more in-depth comparison between Ghost, WordPress, and Medium.

Best blogging platforms: conclusion

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this comparison, and hope this has been helpful for those of you looking for the best blogging platforms right now.

Here’s an in-the-nutshell summary:

  • Blogger – and old-school blogging platform for those that want to just get a basic blog going
  • Medium – a hip new web publishing platform that gives you an audience to read your work, but doesn’t allow you to do much branding or customization with your blog
  • WordPress.com – currently the best option for those who want to start a blog for free, yet for a non-commercial purpose
  • WordPress.org – self-hosted WordPress – the most popular blogging platform of them all and an awesome option for people who want to be in full control of their website/blog
  • Wix – an advanced website builder – likely a good option for those who need more than just a blog
  • Ghost – a cutting-edge blogging platform that aims to provide a clear user interface and superb publishing experience; still not a very popular one among the best blogging platforms

Which platform will you use for your blog? Do let us know in the comments below.

Editor’s note. The CodeinWP team is all in on self-hosted WordPress. It is by far the most versatile platform of the bunch and also giving you the most control. Here’s how to start a blog using WordPress.

Don’t forget to join our crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. With some simple fixes, you can reduce your loading time by even 50-80%:

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