I don’t think we need to explain what blogging exactly is since it has become such a ubiquitous concept. In the current day and age, with the dominance of the internet, blogging is one of the most effective ways of connecting with the world. Whether you want to talk about your life, showcase your hobbies, promote your business, post photographs, or just about anything else, you can always find a use for a blog. If you just look around the internet, you can see that people blog about a wide variety of topics and for different purposes. So, I think it’s fair to say that blogging can be for everybody. Furthermore, you will also find that it can be easy as well as super convenient as long as you pick the right blogging platform.
Speaking of the platforms, the first step for creating a blog of your own is to pick a right blogging platform. For those of you who don’t know, a blogging platform is essentially the framework upon which you add the content for your blog. It’s understandable if you wanted to get out there and start blogging immediately but this isn’t something you can take lightly. Different blogging platforms have different benefits and picking the one that fits your needs can be the difference between a successful blog and an unsuccessful one. If you think you don’t know enough about these blogging platforms to make an informed decision then don’t panic just yet! In this article, we are going to walk you through the best blogging platforms, their strong points, their drawbacks, and much more. Before that though, you’ll need to know what to look for in a blogging platform.
How to Pick the Best Blogging Platform?
To pick the right platform for you, you will first need to consider the following points:
- Ease of Use: Some of the blogging platforms attempt to cater to those who are less technically inclined and are easy to use as a result. In contrast, some platforms eschew beginner-friendliness to cater to more advanced users. It’s a matter of Control versus Convenience. With blogging platforms, you can have one but at the expense of the other.
- Monetization: Another thing to consider is whether or not you want to monetize your blog to earn some money. Some platforms aim to make monetization easier, some offer no support either way while some even actively prevent monetization using their platform. In this case, you will need to carefully consider what you’re expecting from your blog.
- Appearance and Design: The design of the blogs, along with the customization options also vary with the blogging platforms. Some platforms have their iconic look that you won’t be able to modify much while others will give you extensive options to modify the appearance. On top of that, there are also those designs that were created to complement a specific type of content.
- Search Engine Optimization: Another important thing to look out for is the ability to optimize things for better performance on Search Engines. Some platforms are better than others when it comes to SEO and you will have to keep that in mind. Good SEO can make a world of difference when it comes to gaining an audience.
- Pricing: Blogging platforms come in both types, free as well as paid. Even among the paid platforms, the pricing of the service varies. It is also important to know that free platforms might not offer the same level of services as the paid ones. People who blog as a hobby might be satisfied with a free blogging platform in spite of the drawbacks while professional bloggers often find it advantageous to go for a premium option.
Now that we’ve established what to look for in a blogging platform, let’s get started with our list without further ado.
Ease of Use: Easy enough to learn even if it isn’t the most intuitive platform out there.
Monetization: High traffic blogs, as well as blogs with Premium and higher plans can earn money through WordAds. WordPress also supports third-party ads through AdSense, OpenX, etc in the Business Plan. Affiliate links and Sponsored posts are allowed with some restrictions.
Appearance and Design: Quite basic in the free version but has a large collection of themes available with the higher paying plans.
Search Engine Optimization: Barebones in the free plan. With the Business or eCommerce Plan, you can install plugins to massively improve it.
There’s a lot to be said about WordPress; it’s the dominant blogging platform after all. The first thing to know is that two different platforms are bearing the same name, WordPress.com, and WordPress.org. Since they provide different sorts of services, it’s important to know how they differ. To put it simply, WordPress.com is an online blogging platform whereas WordPress.org is open-source software that you can use to build a website of your own. For now, let’s look at the two individually.
WordPress.com is a blogging platform that will allow you to set up a site quickly, even if you are a beginner to web design. While it is not the most intuitive platform out there, it is still quite easy to pick up and use. While the free version comes with dozens of nice themes, upgrading can grant you access to a much wider range of themes designed for a wide variety of sites. The free version will give you a subdomain (eg, yourblog.wordpress.com) along with WordPress ads but upgrading to any of their paid plans will give you access to an ad-free domain.
If you are a hobby blogger then the free plan for WordPress.com can provide you with most features you could ask for to create a simple blog. The editor is simple enough to use once you get used to it and the interface is well-designed. It also allows you to check the stats for your site and delivers insights that you can use to understand your audience. However, photographers, musicians, or anyone else who deals in content with large file sizes should be wary of the 3 GB Storage Space.
By purchasing their Personal Plan, your storage will go up to 6 GB and you will be able to access features such as email and live chat support, and basic theme template customization. For unlimited premium themes and monetization options, you’d need the Premium Plan. If you wanted to get personalized help, install plugins, upload themes, or remove all WordPress branding from your blog, you will have to go even beyond that, with the Business and eCommerce Plans. The prices aren’t unreasonable compared to its competitors out there so it’s up to you to decide if that is worth it.
One thing that you’re just going to have to get used to is the annoyance of WordPress pushing the premium plans at you if you are a free user. Furthermore, you will also be unable to properly monetize your site without the paid plans.
- Basic Blogging: Free
- Personal Plan: $4/Month
- Premium Plan: $8/Month
- Business Plan: $25/Month
- eCommerce Plan: $45/Month
Ease of Use: Not the easiest platform but has a lot of helpful resources.
Monetization: Support third-party advertisement tools such as AdSense and Media.net. You can also add plugins for Affiliate Marketing as well as donations.
Appearance and Design: Fully customizable design with a ton of different themes available.
Search Engine Optimization: Has many great plugins that will help improve your SEO.
As discussed earlier, WordPress.org is an open-source software that you can use to create your blog. When people use the term ‘WordPress’, they are generally referring to this one. Unlike the other options on this list, you will have to handle the hosting yourself. It falls on the other end of the Control versus Convenience spectrum when compared to platforms like Medium or Squarespace. With WordPress.org, you will be able to maintain complete control over your blog.
An important advantage of having more control is that your blog won’t need to depend on the company’s servers to stay up. You could, hypothetically, lose all your content should Google shut down Blogger as they did with Google+. With WordPress.org though, you won’t have to face that risk since it is all in your hands and the web hosting that you choose yourself.
Since WordPress.org is open-source, the software itself is and will remain free. All you need to pay for is the domain and hosting for your blog. If you think it might be tough to do by yourself, don’t worry. There are a ton of resources available that might help you pick the right one, including our in-depth article on creating a WordPress website. It’s understandable if hobby bloggers don’t want to invest in it but if you want to appear professional then self-hosted WordPress is the way to go.
Compared to other options, WordPress.org can be tough to get a hang of. Once you get past the learning curve though, you might enjoy the customizability that it brings. Whether it is SEO, speed optimization, monetization, or anything else, you can just install plugins to add features to your site. You can upload, modify and even create themes and plugins to your heart’s content. It is especially great for advanced users you don’t want to be stuck with the themes and templates provided by the blogging platform itself. Conversely, you will also need to be careful about picking high-quality themes or plugins to keep your website in good shape.
As a well-known saying goes, ‘With great power comes great responsibility’ and this is no exception. In exchange for control over your blogging site, you will have to be responsible for handling all the necessary updates, security, and backup related tasks. They’re not hard to do exactly, especially with the help of plugins, but I wouldn’t begrudge beginners for wanting to avoid it.
Pricing: The cost of Hosting and Domain Name along with any plugins or themes that you might want to purchase.
Ease of Use: Very easy to use, even for absolute beginners.
Monetization: Monetization can be done through the Partnership Program.
Appearance and Design: Features a nice and clean design but lacks customizability.
Search Engine Optimization: Very lacking in SEO focused features.
One of the better-known blogging platforms out there, Medium was created with to provide a space for users who want to post things without being constrained by character limits like on Twitter. For those of you who simply want to get out there and write, this might be the platform of choice for you. Medium is very beginner-friendly and doesn’t bother with a lot of features when it comes to customizing and managing a blog. By keeping things simple, it allows people without any experience of running a blog to get started immediately.
While it might lack customization options, Medium comes with a clean look and neat typography that works quite well. It also has a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor that is very easy to use, even for those who are less technologically inclined. Another huge plus point in its favor the Medium Partner Program which allows you to earn some money from your blog.
Advanced users might find themselves frustrated with Medium, however. Not only does it lack options for customization but you won’t have the full control of your blog. Any changes that Medium makes will affect your blog whether you want it to or not. If you wanted to use Medium to build your brand then you’re going to find yourself in an uphill battle. You’re going to have to compete with the prominent Medium branding on your blog to do so. While that is not exactly unprecedented for a completely free platform, it is something to keep in mind nonetheless.
Medium is completely free, with an optional membership plan. As far as free blogging platforms go, Medium is far from the worse and is well suited for those who want to jump into blogging without having to bother with technical details.
- Blogging: Free
- Medium Membership: $5/month or $50/year
Ease of Use: Simple and straightforward to set up and use.
Monetization: You can earn money through the Google AdSense Integration.
Appearance and Design: Very basic design with limited customization options.
Search Engine Optimization: Basic SEO related features available.
One of the oldest blogging platforms out there, Blogger might not be the juggernaut that it used to be but it still has a significant presence on the internet. After Google acquired Blogger in 2003, it started integrating the blogging platform with other Google Services. Like Medium, this platform is better suited for those who are hobby bloggers and don’t require a lot of advanced options. The learning curve is easy for beginners and all you need to get started is a Google Account.
A major selling point of this platform is the integration with various Google services. Through Google AdSense, you can earn a bit of money from your blog automatically. It might not supplement your regular income but it can be a nice little bonus for hobby bloggers. Google Analytics will help you can a good picture of where your audience is coming from. Google Photos and YouTube can be used to add photos and videos on your blog with ease. Well, you get the idea.
Blogger also features some customization options that you can use to a great effect. If you have some knowledge of CSS and website design, you can even create your very own templates. Even if you don’t, you can find many templates created by others out there. You can even add various ‘Gadgets’ to your blog to add certain functionality or spice up the design.
While its ownership by Google might be a point in Blogger’s favor, it also a point against it. There is some worry that Blogger will join the long list of services that have been discontinued by Google. Although it offers more customization options when compared to platforms like Medium, it is still very limited when put beside WordPress. If you want to cultivate a professional image, you would be better off looking elsewhere.
Putting nostalgia aside, Blogger is a fine enough free option for amateur bloggers who don’t expect too much from their platform. Earning money through AdSense is a nice little bonus as well. For professional bloggers, however, there are much better options out there, provided they are willing to invest accordingly.
Ease of Use: Simple enough once you get the hang of it.
Monetization: Business and Commerce Plans allow for third-party advertisement services like AdSense. Donation Blocks are also available in those plans.
Appearance and Design: Features a collection of beautifully designed templates.
Search Engine Optimization: Has a collection of useful inbuilt features but lacks expandability.
Squarespace is a trendy blogging platform that gained much of its popularity in the late 2010s. You’ve probably heard of them at some point since they seem to have sponsored everyone and their dog’s YouTube videos. As it is a premium-only service, it offers more in terms of customization and support when compared to many other options out there.
The primary draw of Squarespace comes from the gorgeous design options available. Once you get a hang of using it, you’ll be able to create a beautiful looking blog. They have 100+ well-designed and fully responsive templates to choose from and you can switch between them at any time without any issues. For additional functionality, Squarespace has ‘Blocks’ that add features such as Social Media icons and links, Product Pricing, Foursquare check-ins, Newsletter subscription forms, and more. Another reason to get Squarespace is premium customer support. You will have access to the community forum, knowledgebase, as well as live chat, should any issues arise.
As fantastic as Squarespace is, the learning curve can be a stumbling block for those who are new to blogging. For a premium blogging platform, the existing third-party integrations feel quite limited as well. If you’re not a beginner, you might feel that that Squarespace lacks flexibility when compared to something like WordPress. Moreover, not everyone is looking for a premium blogging platform so it’s understandable if Squarespace doesn’t interest you. Even among the premium blogging platforms, Squarespace is one of the more expensive ones.
For those who value aesthetics, Squarespace will allow you to present your content beautifully. If you want to see what the fuss is about, there is a 14 day free trial with no credit card required!
- Personal Plan: $12/Month
- Business Plan: $18/Month
- Basic Commerce Plan: $26/Month
- Advanced Commerce Plan: $40/Month
Ease of Use: Intuitive to use for beginners with a simple drag-and-drop customizer.
Monetization: Features Google AdSense integration and allows for donations through the DonorBox app.
Appearance and Design: Beginner-friendly drag-and-drop site builder with nice-looking templates
Search Engine Optimization: Decent enough SEO but lacking in certain areas. Some issues can be fixed through free apps and HTML editing.
Weebly is another great platform designed to make it easier for everyone to get into blogging. Like many of the other options in this list, it allows bloggers to trade control for convenience so that they would be able to focus on their content without getting bogged down by technical details.
An advertised selling point of Weebly is its drag-and-drop site builder, which is quite intuitive to use. Even if you lack the knowledge and experience of web design, you will be able to create a fine-looking blogging site in no time at all. It has a limited number of templates but the ones which are there are pretty well-made. The editor also allows for easy integration of Google AdSense. Making money from your blog can be just a click away.
Creating a basic blogging site using Weebly is completely free. However, your site will be very barebones unless you upgrade to a paid plan. Like with WordPress.com, it will appear as the subdomain under Weebly i.e. example.weebly.com. Hobby bloggers might not be bothered by that but professionals are better off picking a premium plan, unless you are fine with that ugly ‘Powered By Weebly’ stamp on your blog of course. By upgrading to the Connect Plan, you can have your own domain. You can upgrade even further to remove Weebly ads and get additional features such as Site Search, Shopping Cart, Advanced Site Stats, and Phone Support, to just name a few. Fortunately, the premium plans are reasonably priced compared to the industry standard.
As you might have noticed, Weebly’s advanced features seem to skew towards eCommerce sites and the platform is a bit bare-bones when it comes to blogging features. Like many freemium blogging platforms, a ton of features are hidden behind a paywall and Weebly pushing the premium plans at every turn might test your patience.
All in all, Weebly is a solid blogging platform despite its flaws and a good value for the money, provided that you are prepared to make certain concessions. If you just want to make a good looking blog and don’t mind giving up control for convenience then Weebly might be for you.
- Basic Blogging: Free
- Connect Plan: $5/Month
- Pro Plan: $12/Month
- Business Plan: $25/Month
- Business Plus: $38/Month
Ease of Use: Ghost features a minimalist and simple user interface but beginners might struggle with self-hosting.
Monetization: Lacks in-built tools but allows third-party advertisement, affiliate links, sponsored posts, and more.
Appearance and Design: Lacks extensive customization options but features a small selection of free and premium themes.
Search Engine Optimization: In-built SEO features available even though it lacks the extensive plugin collection of WordPress.
Ghost is an open-source blogging platform created by a former WordPress developer. Like WordPress, the software itself is free and you have the option to choose between self-hosting and hosting your blog on their server. The self-hosting option comes with additional control over your site but at the expense of convenience as you will have to manage the domain name and hosting yourself. Ghost Pro, however, will take care of all that for you but you will have to pay for it.
Created as a WordPress alternative for writers, Ghost is perfect for those want a blogging focused version of WordPress. You’ll find that blogging as a whole is much smoother and easier with Ghost. While it might not have the customization of WordPress, Ghost has it beat when it comes to ease of use and interface. Even those who are beginners to blogging will have no issues navigating its slick and minimal interface. Furthermore, Ghost also has many built-in SEO features that you would need to add plugins to get in WordPress.
Another huge draw of Ghost is the speed as it is quantifiably faster than the other blogging platforms. If you want a blog whose load speed leaves everyone else in the dust then Ghost might be for you. Ghost also features a collection of well-designed themes to help you spice up your website. While lighter than WordPress, Ghost is far from lacking in features and even comes with the integration of a wide range of different apps. Furthermore, advanced users are free to try and integrate it with any app or tool of their choosing.
While Ghost is convenient enough to use, it can’t match the power and flexibility of WordPress. The minimal interface also comes at the cost of many features that you might have taken for granted in other blogging platforms. While you can create simple blogs, you shouldn’t expect to do much else on this platform. Ghost also lacks a free hosting plan and its premium plan is one of the more expensive ones. While the platform itself is fairly easy to use, setting up a self-hosted blog might be too much of a hassle for many.
Ghost is a great choice if you are looking for a blogging focused alternative to WordPress but you will need to be prepared to make a sacrifice in terms of flexibility.
- Ghost Software: Free
- Basic Plan: $29
- Standard Plan: $79
- Business Plan: $199
Wrapping It Up:
And that’s it! Those were the best blogging platforms that you could find right now. Each of them offers different kinds of services with different benefits and drawbacks. To be honest, you can’t go wrong with any of these. You just need to consider the pros and cons and pick that that is the most suitable one for you. We hope this article helps you get started with your blogging experience.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask us in the comment section below. While you are here, why not check out some of our other helpful articles as well?
- WordPress Vs Blogger Vs Wix – Top 3 FREE Blogging Platforms Compared
- How to Understand and Grow Your Blog Audience – 7 Actionable Expert Tip
- 10 Cheapest WordPress Hosting Services