In order to blog, you need a blogging platform. There are plenty of Blogging Platforms available, but all are not equal. So, you should choose the one that has all the features needed to make a successful blog.
What to look for before setting up a Blog?
Before setting up a fully-working blog, you should look for the following features:
a) Easy to use: You don’t need to be an expert or developer to build your blog website. Always go for the simple and easy to use blogging platform.
b) Customizability: The blogging site should be customizable enough so that you can give your site the style and functionality using its customization tools.
c) Text editing options: As blogs are mostly text, there should be plenty of editing options in a good blogging platform.
d) Monetizing options: A good platform lets you add Google AdSense code and such other tools to your site so that you can make money from your blog. With free blogging platforms, making money online isn’t easy. If you want to build your blog website with commercial intent, you must go with the paid platform.
The 8 Best Blogging Platforms:
In this article, we are going to compare the 8 best blogging platforms. We’ll be discussing the features they provide, their pros and cons and their pricing.
WordPress.org was launched in 2003 by its founders Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. It is a free and open-source content management system(CMS) based on PHP and MySQL.
This is the most popular blogging platform. Over 32 percent of the websites world over is powered by WordPress. In other words, we can say that every one in three websites is built using the WordPress software.
So, what makes wordpress.org so popular?
There are thousands of free and paid themes you can install and switch from one to the other. Using themes you can change the look and functionality of a site as per the requirement without altering the core code or site content.
WordPress has over 55000 plugins available. These plugins also help you to extend the functionality and features of your blog.
WordPress is optimized for Search Engines. Also, there are plenty of SEO plugins available.
With wordpress.org, you have total control over your data. No one has access to your content. You own your blog, your content, your data.
WordPress.org is the primary support website of WordPress. For any issues with this platform, finding tutorials, information, and documentation or any kind of help is very simple.
Most of the popular websites like Boing Boing, the Chicago Bulls, Vogue, Beyonce, The Rolling Stones, Sony, BBC America, Time Magazine etc., all use wordpress.org to build their websites.
Not only blogs, with wordpress.org you can build any kind of website(for example, sports, entertainment, education, fashion, hobby etc.).
· You have total control over your blog. You own your content, your data.
· Thousands of themes available which allow you to build the website you want.
· More than 55000 plugins available. You can extend the functionality and add more and more features to your blog.
· Very easy to set up. It doesn’t require any coding knowledge.
· If you’re just getting started, it comes with a bit of a learning curve.
· Lots of low-quality themes and plugins.
Though the WordPress software is free, you need to buy the domain name and hosting. You can get the domain name for $12/year. The pricing for Bluehost’s hosting plan starts at $2.95 per month(36 months sign up) plus you get a free domain name and for Siteground, it is $3.95 per month.
Official Website: https://wordpress.org/
WordPress.com is another version of WordPress owned and hosted by Automattic.
It’s free and simple to use but the customization is limited.
To use some of its features you need to upgrade to various paid plans depending on your need.
The free plan provides .wordpress.com domains – for example, digitalutsav.wordpress.com – but in paid plans, you can use custom domains.
· Very easy to use and manage.
· Doesn’t require coding skills.
· All the basic and original features are free to use.
· WordPress can suspend your blog if they find any violations of their terms of service on your blog. The reason being that you don’t own your blog.
· In free plans options are limited.
· You can’t run ads on your blog.
The basic account of wordpress.com is free. But if you want to remove ads and get a custom domain name, you need to upgrade to their personal plan which you can get for $2.99 per month(billed annually).
Official Website: https://wordpress.com/
IMPORTANT: Don’t confuse wordpress.org with wordpress.com. With wordpress.org version, you have total control on your blog and unlimited customization options. You get a full domain, you own the content and people start taking you more seriously.
Wix is an Israeli cloud-based website builder and website hosting service provider.
You can create HTML5 websites and mobile sites through the use of online drag-and-drop tools.
Wix is very easy to use. However, to add the blog module you need to go through a couple of additional steps.
There are over 500 customizable website templates. Claimed to be the only drag-and-drop HTML5 website builder, it also includes apps, graphics, image galleries, fonts, and other options.
With the free plan, you get 500MB storage and 1GB bandwidth. You’ll have to upgrade to its premium plans if you need more features like your own domain name, unlimited bandwidth, no Wix ads, Google Analytics, Premium support.
· Very easy to set up your website. No coding skills needed. You can build your site using very easy drag-and-drop tools.
· Over 500 designer templates to choose from.
· Free hosting and great support.
· With the free plan, Wix shows its ads on your site.
· Customization options are limited for blogging. Also, it’s not a platform fully dedicated to blogging.
· Template once chosen cannot be changed.
Though the Wix website builder is free, to get a custom domain, you need to pay $4.50. The Premium plan starts at $8.50.
Official Website: https://www.wix.com/
Developed by Pyra Labs in 1999 and acquired by Google in 2003, Blogger is a free and easy to use blogging platform.
If you have a Google account, it means you already have a Blogger account. All you need to do is log in with your Google account and go to the Blogger app and start blogging. Within a few hours, you’ll be able to have your first blog published.
Blogs on Blogger are hosted by Google and accessed from a subdomain of blogspot.com(yoursite.blogspot.com). If you want a custom domain like yoursite.com, you got to pay for that.
You can also monetize your blog using various tools like AdSense, sponsored posts, direct ads, Amazon associates etc.
But the popularity of Blogger has declined over the years as is clear from the Google Trends chart.
Though Blogger is free and easy to set up and also being reliable as it is owned by Google, it has many limitations. In the long run, using a free platform like Blogger wouldn’t be a smart move. If you want to go for a free blogging platform, then wordpress.com or medium.com could be the better option.
· Free and easy to use. No technical skills required.
· As it is run by Google, it easily gets linked to other Google products such as Google Analytics and Google AdSense.
· Number of blogs per account shouldn’t be more than 100.
· Blog description should be maximum 500 characters and it’s not HTML markup supported.
· If your site is violating any terms of service it may be suspended by Blogger without any prior notice. If the violations are repeated, it may lead to Google account suspension.
· You can’t design your blog the way you want as fewer templates are available.
Official Website: https://www.blogger.com
Medium.com was developed by Evan Williams(Twitter co-founder and former CEO) and launched in 2012. It’s an online publishing platform and is regarded as a blog host.
You can sign up using your Google or Facebook account. As far as a free blogging platform is concerned, Medium.com is the best alternative.
It has become very popular among writers, bloggers, journalists, and experts. In fact, it is the community of writers and bloggers.
One of its features the system of “claps” is used to upvote the best articles and stories. This helps the audiences to choose the articles or stories they want to read as the system of “claps” divides the stories into different categories.
But if you intend to build an online business, this isn’t an ideal platform. You can’t use it to monetize your blog.
· Free and easy to use. No coding skills required.
· With Medium your only focus is on writing. You don’t bother about picking the theme, installing the plugins.
· You can share your content on Medium to get extra traffic. Using its reporting tool you can understand how readers engage with your content.
· You’ve limited control over your content. Once you lose your blog, you lose all your followers.
· You cannot monetize your blog as you can’t run ads on your blog to make money.
· No customization options.
Medium is free to use but if you want to become a member then you’ve to pay $5/month or $50/year for unlimited, ad-free reading.
Official Website: https://medium.com/
Tumblr was founded by David Karp in 2007. It is a microblogging website and you can post multimedia and other short-form content(quotes, images, videos, text posts, or links to other’s blog).
You can connect your blogs to Facebook or Twitter account. This helps your post to be sent as a tweet and status update whenever you make a post.
It’s a great platform if you want to connect with other bloggers. It also helps your post get more exposure as it is itself a social media platform.
You can use a custom domain name and also edit your blog’s theme HTML coding to customize your blog.
· Free and easy to use and no special skills required to run a blog on Tumblr.
· Great platform to get your post more exposure.
· You can use a custom domain.
· You can customize your blog by editing theme HTML coding.
· Limited features available.
· Monetizing your blog is difficult.
· It’s tough to import your content from other platforms.
· If you’re working towards developing long-form content, this is not the platform to start with.
Tumblr is free to use but if you want to use a custom domain you need to purchase it separately. Third party themes and apps are also available to purchase.
Official Website: https://www.tumblr.com/
Squarespace provides website building and hosting service.
Because of the visual quality of its templates, Squarespace is one of the best blogging platforms for artists and designers.
Its layouts are customizable. You can give your website the look you want using its drag-and-drop tools.
The templates work for all the devices. You don’t have to design again and again. You can also load your content quickly on mobile with Google’s AMP.
But with Squarespace, there is no free plan. The pricing for the Personal plan is $12/month and for Business plan, it is $18/month.
· Very simple and easy to set up your website.
· Perfect for artists, designers, photographers etc. because of its designer templates.
· An eCommerce storefront can be easily integrated.
· Using this platform can get expensive over time.
· Software integrations are limited.
· Very few options available for themes and third-party plugins.
For Personal Plan, $16/month or $12/month if billed annually and for the Business plan, it is $26/month or $18/month if billed annually.
Official Website: https://www.squarespace.com/
Joomla! was developed by Open Source Matters, Inc. Just like WordPress.org, it is a free and open source content management system(CMS). It’s the second most used CMS on the internet after WordPress.
It is free but being a self-hosted solution, you need to buy a domain name and hosting.
· Joomla! is very flexible. You can build any kind of website, from the simplest to the most complex.
· Thousands of free templates available. Paid templates also available.
· Extensions are also available to extend the functionality of your website.
· Joomla! community isn’t as large as WordPress. You don’t get as many themes and add-ons as WordPress.
· Being resource-heavy application, your Joomla! website may run out of server resources very quickly.
Though the Joomla! software is free, you need to buy the domain name and hosting. You can get the domain name for $12/year. The pricing for Bluehost’s hosting plan starts at $2.95 per month(36 months sign up) plus you get a free domain name and for Siteground, it is $3.95 per month.
Official Website: https://www.joomla.org/
After comparing the 8 best blogging platforms, we may conclude that WordPress.org outperforms all the other platforms.
My recommendation would be WordPress.org. This is the most popular and most used platform in the world. You own your blog. There are many features which are updated regularly. You can use so many tools to monetize your blog.
You can choose the platform according to your needs.
Do you want to write a blog without investing any money?
Go with WordPress.com.
Do you want to focus only on writing?
Medium.com is for you.
Do you favor design over content?
Choose Squarespace for designer templates.
Do you want to integrate your blog with a website and at the same time want access to a wide range of templates?
Wix.com is the best for you.
Tumblr.com is the best choice for microblogging and short-form content.
You don’t want your blog to grow in the future and want to do things quickly without investing any money – go with Blogger.com.
Both Joomla! and WordPress.org are self-hosted blogging platforms. The main drawback with Joomla! is that it is a resource-heavy application. Chances are that your website may run out of server resources very quickly.
In the end, once again I would like to say that you really get serious about writing a blog and try your level best to make it popular, and choose WordPress.org.