The Internet is an insanely powerful tool. It allows us to communicate with friends and family members, shop for home goods, order food, research virtually any subject out there, and so much more. One of the highlights for the Internet since its inception has been the ability to write and share you ideas and thoughts through the use of blogging, and as time has gone on, the act of blogging has only gotten more powerful and intuitive.
All of this new power is much-attributed to the rise in multiple blog platforms, and while having a lot of choice between platforms is great, deciding which one is best for you can prove to be a hassle.
In this article, we’re going to be taking a look at the top blogging platforms out there to help you decide which one will work best for you and your needs. Or, you can skip straight to my step-by-step tutorial on how to start a blog.
included (depending on membership)
There are tons of different choices out there when it comes to blogging platforms, but one of the most iconic choices out there is easily that of WordPress.org. WordPress has been around for years at this point, and there’s a reason for this site’s many years of success.
More than 25-percent of the entire Internet is powered by WordPress.org-made websites, but just what’s behind this platform that makes it so insanely popular? For a lot of people, one of the best selling points is the price. WordPress is completely free to use, making it tremendously accessible for pretty much anyone who’s interested in it.
Along with this, another strong point for WordPress.org is the wide array of different designs and plugins/extensions that are available for it. The official directory of designs is loaded with a ton of options, but if none of those are to your liking, you can easily go to a third-party dealer to find even more. Speaking of the official directory, it’s also home to more than 42,000 plugins that are completely free to use.
As great as all of this is, it is worth noting that WordPress.org is one of
If you like a lot of the features that WordPress.org has to offer but want something that’s a bit easier to manage, you’ll definitely want to check out what WordPress.com has to offer. This version of WordPress is essentially a hosted version of the WordPress software that we just looked at above, making it a much more accessible for most people.
Unlike the .org version of WordPress, the .com variant takes care of all the site setup, hosting, and other maintenance work for you. There are certain tasks you’ll still need to manage on your own, but there are plenty of tutorials to help you find your way around everything.
There are around 200 or so designs to choose from, and plugins for things like comments, polls, stats, sharing, and more make an appearance here as well. Unfortunately, unlike WordPress.org, its .com cousin won’t allow you to install any third-party options. Basically, what you see is what you get with WordPress.com.
WordPress.com is very much so a watered down version of WordPress.org, and if you’re looking for something simple, this might be the perfect fit! You can use the service for free, but accessing all of the available features will cost you either $99 or $299/year.
Similar to WordPress, Blogger is another old dog in this lineup. It may not be as feature-rich or fancy as some of the other options on this list, but you really can’t talk about the best blogging platforms without giving some mention to Blogger.
Blogger is currently being run and managed by Google, meaning that creating an account is as simple as signing in with your Google account that you likely already have. Similar to WordPress.com, Blogger handles heavy-lifting such as hosting, setup, etc. The overall interface and features that Blogger includes are a bit outdated when compared to its competition, but even so, using the platform is about as easy and simple as they come.
While this ease of use and simplicity certain is nice to have, it is
You get a free domain when you sign up with Blogger in the form of “example.blogspot.com", but you do have the ability to change it if you’d like to down the road. Top this off with the fact that Blogger is completely free to use, and while it might be a bit underpowered, its simplicity really is the star of the show here.
Unlike all of the other blog platforms on this list, Tumblr features an extremely heavy social element. The site itself is focused more around microblogging as opposed to more traditionally-written blogs, making it a great place for sharing things along the lines of pictures, quotes, GIFs, videos, and more.
All of your blog posts within Tumblr are hosted and published within the service’s own social network, and this is one of the biggest selling points for the platform. People can easily comment and share your work, and you even get your own unique subdomain upon signing up for the service (in the form of “example.tumblr.com"). You can choose to link up a more professional-looking domain, but you’ll need to do this through a third party.
Just like Blogger, Tumblr is also an incredibly easy platform to use for writing and publishing your blogs. The overall interface is one of the most user-friendly ones that you’re going to find, and another nice bonus here includes a heap of designs that you can use to spruce up the look of your content.
Using Tumblr is absolutely free, but this does come at the expense of not having access to any sort of plugins or extensions. This is the best choice if you plan on using your blog for strictly person use, and if that’s the case, it’s a great option.
When trying to find a blogging platform that’s going to be a good
Medium takes care of hosting for your blog, and although you don’t get your own subdomain, you are given your own personal profile for publishing all of your work. However, Medium has recently allowed users to start hooking up their own custom domains for specific stories and blog posts that they’ve published. This is a bit different than how other platforms handle it, and it’s interesting at the very least.
One of the best selling points for Medium is the fact that it’s dead simple to use. After signing up with an account on the website, you’re ready to start writing right away. There aren’t any plugins available to play with, but the included typography and publishing features are pretty fantastic.
Medium is completely free to use, so you’ve got nothing to lose with this one.
One of the biggest pain points for WordPress.org is its complex nature. Ghost was created with the intentions of offering similar features through a simpler setup, and while there are some good ideas here, it’s still a work in process.
Ghost comes in two versions - a downloadable version and an online one that’s hosted. The downloadable version of Ghost features some of the same roadblocks that WordPress.org does, but the online variant is quite simple and easy to get used to. Additionally, while the downloadable option is free, using the hosted (or Pro) version will cost you between $8 or $200 (final pricing depends on how many blogs you’re running).
The ease of use factor here certainly is nice, but the lack of external plugins, no included domain, and other omissions leave a bit to be desired with this one.
For a lot of people out there, the best blog platform that currently exists goes by the name of Squarespace. Squarespace has increased quite a bit in popularity over the past couple of years as a result of it’s incredibly simple-to-use-interface for creating blogs and entire websites. You can choose to just use Squarespace for a blog, but you can also use it as an e-commerce storefront and more!
Squarespace is one of the easiest platforms to use for creating your own blog, and the entire interface for the service is about as clean and simple as they come. There are plenty of different designs to choose from to keep your site looking fresh, and all of the available ones look quite striking.
Squarespace has all of the major and most critical plugins included by default, but there is a third-party site you can go to if you want access to more.
A domain is also included with Squarespace, but the catch here is that you’ll need to pay a monthly fee in order to continue use after a free trial. Prices range from $8 to $24/month depending on the plan that you choose. While not having a free version is a bummer, access to the excellent 24/7 customer service really is a nice touch for those who are just getting started with blogging.
Last but certainly not least, let’s take a look at Wix. Wix is another dead-simple blog and website builder, and in a lot of ways, it’s very similar to the likes of Squarespace. The core features are relatively the same, but the way that Wix goes about things is a bit different.
With Wix, more attention is placed on creating a website with a blog that’s included with it. It’s very simple to add and update a blog on Wix, but you don’t have a lot of customization over the way that it looks. There’s definitely more emphasis placed on the rest of the website-building process over blogging, so
Aside from that, the support that’s included with Wix is fantastic. There are plenty of step-by-step guides to help you through the user interface, and the inclusion of a free subdomain is also a nice touch. You can choose to pay up to $18/month for the service, but the inclusion of a free version is much-appreciated.
Out of all these options, which one is the best blogging platform? The answer to that question depends on what you’re looking for. Want something that offers as many features as possible but is a bit more complicated? Something like WordPress.org will likely be a solid fit.
Want something that’s easier to use? Check out the likes of Squarespace and Blogger. In any case, you really can’t go wrong with any of the options on this list!