When starting a blog, you have to choose a blogging platform to build your blog on. And since there are dozens of blogging platforms available to choose from, it can be really difficult to find one that suits your needs.
Once you have started your blog, it can be really painful and costly to switch to a different platform. So, it is necessary to choose the best platform right from the beginning of your blogging journey.
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To save you hours of research and make things easy for you, in this article, I will go through the most popular blogging platforms and their pros and cons of each to help you pick the Best Blogging Platform in 2017.
WordPress.org (Self-Hosted WordPress)
WordPress is an open-source Content Management System. It is one of the most popular blogging platforms and powers over 25% of the entire web. The ease of use, security, and extensibility offered by WordPress makes it the best choice for starting a blog.
When starting a blog with WordPress, you can either go with WordPress.org (Self-Hosted) or WordPress.com. The major difference between the two is the hosting provider.
WordPress.org is simply a blogging software that you can download and install on your server. To use WordPress.org, you will have to buy Web Hosting and manually install WordPress on your site. On the other hand, WordPress.com is a platform that manages everything for you.
Self-Hosting your WordPress blog gives you full control over your website and allows you to customize it however you want.
- Complete control over your website.
- Thousands of free and premium themes available.
- Customize and Extend your website however you want.
- You will have to manually set everything up.
- Comes with a bit of a learning curve if you are a beginner.
- You will have to backup your blog on a regular basis yourself.
Price: While WordPress is a free software, you will have to pay for web hosting and a domain name.
WordPress.com is simply a blog hosting service by the creators of WordPress. It is a platform that handles everything for you. With WordPress.com, you don’t need to worry about installing WordPress or getting a web hosting service. All you need to do is sign up for a free account and you can get started blogging.
While WordPress.com makes the process of running a blog easier, it only allows you to install plugins and themes that are already available in the WordPress.com directory. This means you are limited to the themes and plugins allowed by WordPress.com and cannot install your own custom Themes and Plugins.
- Free to get started.
- Get started in just a few minutes.
- Free subdomain to help you get started.
- You cannot edit the plugins, themes, CSS and HTML used by your website.
- A limited number of themes and plugins available.
- WordPress.com can suspend your blog any time without prior notice if you go against their rules.
- Ads are placed on your free blog. You have to pay a fee to get them removed from your site.
Price: You can get a basic WordPress.com blog for free. But if you want premium features and no WordPress.com branding, you will have to upgrade. Premium plans start at $2.99/month.
Blogger is a free Blogging Platform by Google. It is one of the oldest blogging platforms on the web.
Being a totally free blogging platform, Blogger comes with a lot of limitations. One of which is the lack of customization features. You are only allowed to make changes to the HTML and CSS part of your blog. That means, you are limited to the functionality offered by Blogger and cannot add custom features to your blog.
It is best for creating free personal blogs.
- Totally free blogging platform.
- Get started in just a few minutes.
- Comes with a free subdomain to get you started.
- Not as powerful as other blogging platforms on this list.
- Google has the power to suspend your blog anytime you go against their rules.
Tumblr is a very popular microblogging platform. Unlike other blogging platforms, Tumblr acts more like a Social Network. It is perfect for bloggers who want to publish short-form content like Images, Quotes, and Videos.
- Free to use.
- Perfect for creating microblogs with short-form content.
- Not a full-featured blogging platform and cannot be used to create a business blog.
- Limited features offered.
Medium is a free blogging platform launched in 2012. It has been gaining a lot of popularity lately and has grown into a community of more than a million bloggers. If you just want to build your personal brand and want your voice to be heard, Medium is a great place to start.
Unlike other blogging platforms, Medium offers almost no customization features. It’s just for blogging. There is no way to customize your Medium blog or add more features. It acts like a basic social network where every profile is a blog.
When you write articles on Medium, it’s algorithm will display your articles to interested readers and your bloggers. And if you are lucky, your articles might even go viral if they end up in the “Editor’s Picks”.
- A great platform to build your personal brand and following.
- Really easy to use and 100% free.
- Your articles reach an existing community of readers on Medium.
- Very limited control over the branding of your blog.
- If Medium suspends your account for any reason, you will lose all your followers and audience.
SquareSpace is a drag and drop website builder. It is a website builder and not just a blogging platform. It’s really easy to use and allows you to easily create professional-looking websites within minutes.
SquareSpace is best for creating business websites. If all you want is a blog, then Squarespace might not be the best choice. It offers tons of useful customization options but limits you to the built-in features offered by the platform.
- An easy to use drag and drop interface for editing your website.
- Get started within minutes.
- Great for creating business websites. You will get all the tools you will need to run a business site.
- Their personal plan limits you to just 20 pages (not posts).
- Really expensive if you just want a personal blog and don’t need the customization features offered.
Price: Starts at $12/month
Wix is a DIY website builder. It is similar to Squarespace and allows you to build beautiful-looking websites with just drag and drop. It offers a lot of templates and third-party apps to customize your website. Take a look at this complete guide to Wix if you would like to read about it in more detail.
- Dozens of beautiful templates to choose from.
- Third-party integrations to help you extend the functionality of your website.
- A simple drag and drop interface.
- Ads are placed on your site on their Basic free plan.
- Limited customization options offered.
- You cannot change the template once you have chosen it.
Price: The basic plan is free. Premium plans start at $8/month.
Weebly is a drag and drop website builder. It allows you to create professional-looking websites with no prior web experience. It is a hosted platform built with small business owners in mind who want to quickly get their websites online.
- Easily create professional-looking websites within minutes.
- An easy to use drag and drop builder.
- Dozens of beautiful templates.
- Offers a free domain when you sign up for a premium plan.
- Doesn’t allow custom code.
- Limited built-in features and third-party integrations.
Price: A basic free plan available. Premium plans start at $25/month
Ghost is like WordPress, but unlike WordPress, Ghost is focused more on Blogging. And just like WordPress, Ghost is offered as a downloadable software and a hosted solution.
If you want full control over your website, you can download it and host it yourself. But if you don’t want to deal with the Web Hosting side of the things yourself, you can build a blog on their platform and get started within minutes.
Unlike WordPress, Ghost lacks a lot of customization options and doesn’t offer any plugins to extend its functionality.
- A beautifully designed interface that is really easy to use.
- Optimized for Speed and SEO.
- Focuses on Blogging.
- Limited customization options.
- No way to extend the functionality as there are no plugins available for Ghost at the time. The only way to extend its functionality is to hire a developer.
- If you are planning on extending the functionality of your website, Ghost is probably not a good option.
Price: If you want to host it yourself, you can download it for free. But if you don’t want to host it yourself, the pricing for the Hosted (Pro) version starts at $19.
Joomla is a free open-source content Management system that powers millions of websites. It’s a self-hosted solution and offers you full control over your website. And just like WordPress, it offers hundreds of extensions (plugins) to help you extend the functionality of your website.
- A powerful Content Management System that can be used to build any kind of a website.
- Hundreds of extensions available.
- Hundreds of beautiful templates to choose from.
- Unlike WordPress, the Joomla community is relatively small.
- Paid support can be difficult to find and costly.
Let me make it easy for you.
If you just want an extremely simple free personal blog, Blogger is the best choice for you. It is 100% free and comes with everything you will ever need to run a personal/hobby blog.
If you want full control over your website, We recommend you go with self-hosted WordPress, it’s the largest and most popular CMS for a reason – there are so many plugins and themes and other related services available for it you can use it for blogging or just about any other type of website you can think of.
If you don’t want to deal with web hosting yourself, you can go with WordPress.com. It manages everything for you and offers a lot of customization options, you can always move the site to a self-hosted version instead.
If you just want a place to share your thoughts and build a personal brand, medium is the way to go. It has a large community of bloggers and writers and if your posts become popular and gain traction this can help build your brand.
I personally like to use WordPress for most of my projects as it is the most affordable, offers the most features and flexibility. But depending on your blogging goals, you might want to choose a different platform.
If you want full control over your website, you will have to self-host your blog because hosted blogging solutions limit you to their built-in features and don’t offer a way to extend the functionality.