Starting blog is a hard task but once you get over your insecurities and inner demons, it can be a lot of fun!
Now it's time to release your train of thought to the best blogging platform you can find on the prairies of the internet.
So, how do you find the best site to start a blog when there is an overwhelming amount of options available?
Sure, it can be daunting, but it’s okay - this is why you are here. Without further ado, I present you a rundown of the 5 best blogging platforms on the market:
- WordPress (Endless amount of plugins and themes for bloggers)
- Blogger (Intuitive setup process is great for beginners)
- Medium (Option to post your content behind the paywall area and get paid)
- Ghost (Optimized for blogging - SEO tools, media sharing, cache)
- TypePad (User-friendly interface and amazing customer support)
Let's just quickly check you're in the right place before I go into further detail.
What is a Blogging Platform?
A blogging platform is simply a place to share your content (with a focus typically on written content such as articles). They're used for a variety of reasons: personal content (dogs, cats, travels photos, muffins), affiliate marketing, advertising revenue, etc.
All subjects and industries have entered into the blogging sphere— there are even croissant blogs! —so you will most likely have competition, this is why it’s important to start with the best blogging platform for your specific needs.
So let's get into it.
Price: free (doesn't include hosting)
Recommended for: people who want a tried and trusted option.
Powering a staggering 32% of the internet, the odds are high that you are familiar with this industry titan.
Whatever the case, WordPress can seem a little overwhelming at first, but the beauty of this platform is the sheer amount of options you have for managing your blog and publishing articles.
And if you decide to use WordPress, there are two different ways to get started. Either you can host on the WordPress.com server with various packages or you can download the free open-source file at WordPress.org and install it on an independent server.
It grants you an easy-to-use blogging platform that is quick to set up and will help you become acquainted with the joys and hardships of blogging before deciding to fork out some cash.
However, using a WordPress.com free plan does limit your customization abilities. For starters, you will have to use a .wordpress.com subdomain, negatively affecting your branding - and the data/bandwidth limitations are both going to be quite serious.
This is why for some serious blogging, I suggest getting a hosting plan - and installing WordPress there.
WordPress allows for a flexible budget
How much does it cost to have a WordPress website? From nothing (as we just talked), to completely ridiculous sums neither you nor I could afford.
That's because WordPress is an open-source platform, meaning you can install it on pretty much every hosting server there is. And prices from those very different. From our reviews, however, we found that some of the best web hosting companies might charge you only around $1 a month.
Moving to an open-source platform, rather than hosting found on WordPress.com website will also grant you several other benefits.
These can really help you speed up any improvements you decide to make to your blog. For instance, you may decide to add a custom subscription feature; there's a plugin for this, as well as for pretty much everything else you can think of.
With WordPress being so popular, the endless amounts of plugins and themes available are one of its largest unique benefits.
- Biggest blog platform with a large support community
- Thousands of brilliant plugins
- Open-source - can be installed on any web hosting server
- No custom domain options for free WordPress.com package
- Plugins on the premium packages and WordPress.org cause slower loading times
Recommended for: those looking for a simple free option.
Blogger was one of the first and most famous blogging platforms, and the fact that it is still around shows that it certainly knows a thing or two about this whole 'blogging thing'.
The intuitive setup process is hard to beat for somebody who doesn’t know their HTML from their CSS. So, if you're a beginner and want as little fuss as possible, Blogger may be the right choice for you.
The downside of its simplicity is that there are fewer templates to choose from than a lot of other blog platforms. There is also a lot less control over customization. That means that when you grow your audience and become successful, Blogger might not grow very well with you.
Also, if you don’t have a custom domain, you have to live with being a subdomain of Blogspot. This might be enough to put the majority of you off, but that doesn't mean blogger isn't still a great platform for those simply looking to blog!
- Powerful hosting by Google
- Built-in SSL certificate
- Easy to monetize with AdSense
- Free custom domain mapping
- Easy to use for any level
- Blogspot subdomain if you don’t have a custom domain
- Lack of flexibility for blog's growth
- Lack of template choice
- Lacking in customer or community support
Recommended for: users looking to offer premium content behind a paywall.
It has a simple and intuitive editor and reliable media formatting. It also allows you to connect to most of your social media accounts, helping you grow your audience. The site also hosts your content while you retain all rights, and all the work is pretty much done for you.
You can even make money off this platform. Medium offers an option to post your content behind the paywall area of the site and you get paid based on the number of reads and engagements you receive. How cool is that?
The drawbacks are that there is currently no option to redirect a custom domain (domain mapping), nor is there a way to customize the design. It's simply a 'what you see is what you get' platform for complete ease of use.
- Extremely simple: Sign up and go
- Intuitive editor
- Possibility to get paid for your posts
- Media formatting features
- No options for a custom domain
- No design customization options
- Designed only for writing
Price: from $29/month
Recommended for: users looking for the most modern, lightweight option available.
Ghost is taking the blogging world by storm. It was started by a former employee of WordPress - and boy does it show. It has the beauty of WordPress’ blog features but none of the stuff that weighs it down, such as plugins and updates that affect your themes.
Everything you need from a blogging platform is available.
Ghost offers SEO tools to help get your blog noticed, cache to speed up your blog, and social media sharing to let others know when you've written a post.
It also has a simple and straightforward dashboard with a detailed tutorial guide right in front of you. Using a system called Markdown, a sort of abbreviated HTML, the tutorials make it easy to follow along as everything is laid out.
Ghost is like the love child of Medium and WordPress. It focuses on your content and your stories while giving you the luxury of being able to customize and use a custom domain. This really does make for a cool and personal blog.
Unfortunately, if you want anything more than that, you’re out of luck. So, keep that in mind while deciding whether or not you’re going to ghost this option.
- Clean and attractive themes that are easy to use
- No troublesome plugins
- Open source installation is free with independent hosting
- Socially responsible non-profit business model
- Currently focused on content only, more complex sites are not supported
- No free option on the Ghost server
Price: from $8.95/month
Recommended for: users looking for easy-to-use custom themes.
As its name suggests, TypePad is another hosted platform created just for blogging.
And honestly, if you only want to have a simple blog (and never plan to expand past that), this type of platform is the best way to go.
TypePad is a great start if you're looking to build a unique site design for your blog.
It offers users a huge range of themes, however, you must be aware - some of them are extremely outdated. With saying that, though, there are still a bunch of fresh and modern themes to choose from.
TypePad also offers a user-friendly interface which makes it great for beginners. Also, similar to WordPress, it also offers widgets that help you customize your site to make it your own. The options are slightly limited with TypePad, though, but it’s still an easy way to build a clean and dynamic blog that showcases a personalized look.
As for the pricing... well, this is where TypePad starts to go a little downhill. Although it offers a free 14 day trial with all of its plans, there is no permanent free plan to take advantage of. I also think that, for the price, there are better options available if you're looking for a more custom blog.
- Very simple and easy to use
- High-quality, responsive customer service
- Good variety of themes
- AdSense integration
- Custom domain mapping
- No open source option - users limited to TypePad server
- No free packages
- Minimal customization options
Finding the Best Blogging Platform to Start Your Blog
Now that I have narrowed it down and covered the best and worst features of each of the most popular blog sites, the next step is to decide which of these platforms is most suited to you.
Do you want an easy way to start?
If so, Medium or Blogger are two of the best free blog sites that offer the simplest and fastest ways to get a blog started. These platforms really are great blogging platforms and offer a great start for beginners!
Do you want to leave the option open to expand your site?
Then WordPress has the best deal going for versatility and being able to change the function of your site. There is a reason why WordPress hosts over 30% of live websites today, and that's because it offers it all, going way beyond just a blogging platform.
If you're still unsure, however, then I'd suggest testing out a few of these different platforms. The more you expose yourself to the differences of each, the better you'll recognize your needs and be able to choose the perfect platform for you.
And, that's all from me! So, what do you think - which of these platforms would you nominate as the best blogging platform? Please feel free to let me know in the comments!