How to select the best blogging platform
Interested in starting your own blog? It’s an exciting concept to be able to share your thoughts with the world. But getting started can be difficult. Which blogging platform should you choose? How can you launch your blog? How can you get readers?
This post is all about helping you with that first question – picking a blogging platform. I’ll take you through some of the questions you should ask yourself when choosing a blogging platform. Then, I’ll go through some of the most popular platforms and tell you why you might want to pick one platform over another.
What to Consider When Choosing a Blogging Platform
Before you read through the comparisons below, you should start mulling over these questions:
- Are you okay with just a blog or do you want a full website? I know this post is about blogging, but it’s important to consider whether you want to also include some elements of a static website.
- Do you want a hosted or self-hosted solution? With a hosted solution, you won’t need any technical knowledge. Self-hosted platforms are still fairly simple but will require you to deal with your own website hosting and domain name.
- How much are you willing to spend? You need to consider how much you’re willing to spend on your blog. All self-hosted solutions require you to pay for, at a minimum, hosting and a domain name. Some hosted solutions also require monthly fees.
- Do you want to make money from your blog? Some platforms limit how you can monetize your blog. If you’re just blogging for fun, this might not matter. But if you want to make money from your blog, you need to pick a platform without restrictions.
Now, I’ll take you through the various blogging platforms. I’ll answer these questions for each platform and share some of the other features which make the platforms unique.
1. WordPress.org – Self-Hosted Version of WordPress
If you want to build a website, you might think the WordPress is a small blogging platform. But the only ones – self-hosted WordPress powers a whopping 27.1% of all websites on the Internet.
WordPress is popular, in part, because of its flexibility. You can use it exclusively as a blog or make your blog just part of a bigger website. It’s also possible to have a full control over your website and can monetize it however you want. You can even use themes and tools called page builders to build beautiful websites without knowing anything about code or design.
The only drawback with self-hosted WordPress is that you will need to pay for your own hosting and domain name. this will cost you $50 per year and go up from there.
- Flexibility– can create a standalone blog or full website
- Control – can monetize and customize your blog however you’d like to
- Huge support system – easy to find answers to any potential problems
- Huge database of themes and plugins – easy to customize
Price: WordPress platform is free, but you need to pay for hosting/domain | More Information
2. WordPress.com – Hosted Version of WordPress
WordPress.com is the same basic WordPress software I just discussed, but with some serious tradeoffs. But first, the positives:
WordPress.com is free and easier for the beginners to get started with it. No need to figure out hosting and your own domain name – you just sign up with a username and and password and instantly start blogging.
But you lose a ton of flexibility. You’re too limited in how you can change your site and you’re also restricted when it comes to monetization. If you’re planning to blog as a business, WordPress.com is not a suitable option.
If you just want to blog for fun or to tell your story, then you should consider it for its convenience.
- Convenience – can start blogging in minutes with no technical knowledge
- 100% free if you use a name.wordpress.com domain
- Same basic WordPress software as the self-hosted version
- Limited in terms of customization and monetization
Medium is a significantly different platform than WordPress. It’s all about blogging.
It’s also 100% free and hosted at Medium.com. Of course, this means you don’t really “own” your blog at Medium, also you can’t monetize or customize it. But, here’s one cool thing about Medium:
It has a built-in audience and Popularity. Other Medium readers can find your posts.
Medium is really great if you’re just looking for a platform to share your thoughts with the world. But you will not be able to monetize your website such as WordPress.
- 100% free
- Hosted at Medium.com
- Built-in audience to read your posts
- Focused entirely on blogging
Released in 2013, Ghost is the blogging newcomer on this list. Think of it like a lightweight version of WordPress that’s focused 100% on blogging. Ghost can be downloaded for free if you’re hosting it yourself. Or, you can pay for the hosted version starting at $19 per month.
If you want a simple, lightweight blogging platform that you have full control over, you should consider Ghost. Just remember that you won’t have as much flexibility or support as you would with something like WordPress.
- Stylish, minimalist design
- Comes in hosted and self-hosted versions
- 100% focused on blogging
Price: Free w/ own hosting/domain or $19/month for hosted version
Tumblr is another free hosted blogging platform. But whereas the other blogging platforms on this list are mostly focused on text, Tumblr fits better with image blogs. Not that you can’t use Tumblr for text, but the content that does the best on Tumblr is mostly images.
Like Medium, Tumblr has a built-in audience of people to see your posts. And also like Medium, the same caveat of most hosted solutions applies – you will sacrifice flexibility and monetization if you use Tumblr.
- 100% free
- More image than text focused
- Built-in audience
Price: Free | More Information
If I were writing this post ten years ago, Blogger would be at the top of this list with WordPress. But in the intervening years, Blogger has definitely fallen off as a popular blogging platform.
Still, it remains a viable platform for anyone looking for a free, hosted blogging platform. Like most hosted versions, you will be sacrificing flexibility in exchange for convenience.
One advantage of Blogger over other platforms is that it integrates easily with Google services like AdSense. This makes it easy to add some basic monetization to your blog.
- 100% free
- Focused on blogging
- Easy integration with other Google services
Price: Free | More Information
Which Blogging Platform Should You Pick?
The biggest recommendation is the self-hosted version of WordPress.
If you have a specific purpose, you will want to go with another platform. For instance, if you’re just looking to share your thoughts with the world in the simplest and quickest method, you should consider Medium or Tumblr.
If you want a free blog setup you should consider WordPress.com or Blogger.
Now tell us Which is your favorite?