In this guide, we review some of the most popular blogging platforms. This comparison can help a seasoned blogger choose a blogging platform to create a blog or to move an existing blog to a more effective blogging platform than the one they are using.
For those considering starting a blog for the first time, there are a few things to consider before choosing a blogging platform. This guide also helps beginners and pros understand the features and benefits of these popular blogging platforms.
To Blog or Not to Blog
Seasoned bloggers already know this, yet they may need a gentle reminder. Newbies need to know this as well. Blogging is like brushing your teeth. It is better if it is done with proper care, done frequently, and on a regular basis. Blogging is not sustainable based on initial enthusiasm. Blogging works best if it continues.
If, as a writer, there is a subject matter, topical theme, or other things that you think and read about all the time, and talk about with others often, then that is something you might consider blogging about.
Personal Satisfaction, Popularity, and Monetization
A blog created for personal satisfaction is similar to writing in a diary or in a journal. It can be very satisfying. It can be shared with others. However, the most important reader is you. If you do not worry about attracting other readers, there is no pressure to write for this type of personal blog. You can add to it as you like. People, who enjoy creating a personal blog, like to write things down about their thoughts, dreams, worries, fears, and things they experience.
If you want a blog to be popular, then it is also created and written with an audience in mind. You will need to spend time and resources to make the blog popular. Just writing it may not produce any readership because there are millions of blogs already out there. The popularity of a blog goes hand-in-hand with whether you want a blog to make money. This is called “monetizing” the web traffic of the readers.
Blogs designed to make money are very different from a blog that is not meant to be a money–maker. One of the main differences is that using a free blogging platform is fine for personal blogs. However, if your aim is to start blogging for money, it is better to pay for premium blog service or pay for hosting a domain you own to use for blogging. Then, design the content presentation and merchandising to monetize it.
Start for Free and then Upgrade
Luckily, most of the blogging platforms that have paid premium version also offer a free version. With some systems, it is advisable to try the system for free and then shift to the paid version at some point, such as when you want to have ads appear on the blog or sell products.
Now that the distinction is clear between personal, popular, and money-making blogs; let’s closely examine the different blogging and hosting platforms to see what they offer.
We reviewed the following blogging systems in this guide:
OUR TOP PICK
- Offers an easy-to-use interface to make it easy to build your own website from scratch.
- Provides the Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) feature to build your customized themes.
- Features automatic website content creation.
- Get a free account to start your website, which can be upgraded to a premium account later (with free domain on first year).
Wix is extremely popular due to its ease-of-use and its extensive catalog of customizable themes. The drag-and-drop tool used to create a website is intuitive and even a beginner can learn how to make a website on Wix.
New users can start with a free account and then later it can be easily converted to a paid premium account. Wix Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) makes it easy to create a website with customized content by answering some questions. The answers are used to create the text for the website.
A paid premium account allows connecting to a custom domain and removal of the Wix ads that appear on the free account. A Wix website can be made into an e-commerce site for an additional fee.
A website on Wix needs to be marketed like any other website in order for it to make money.
- Many custom features are available.
- Learning how to use Wix tools is easy.
- Automatic website content creation.
- Premium features are sold separately and cost more.
- Less integration with third-party software than WordPress.
- Free version has Wix ads on it, which makes it look cheap.
A free Wix account displays Wix ads. Wix premium paid websites have no Wix ads. Paid accounts start at the basic Combo level for $132 per year. This level has a limit of 2 GB of bandwidth usage per month and a 3 GB storage limit. The Unlimited level has unlimited bandwidth and 10 GB for storage. It costs $168 per year. The VIP level has unlimited bandwidth and 20 GB of storage. It costs $348 per year.
All paid premium accounts include one free domain for the first year. After that, the user pays the domain’s annual renewal fee.
The Wix e-commerce accounts have no Wix ads. They offer unlimited bandwidth and do not have any transaction fees. The Business Basic level has 20 GB of storage and costs $240 per year. The Business Unlimited level has 36 GB of storage and costs $300 per year. The Business VIP level offers 50 GB of storage and costs $420 per year.
When compared to Weebly, Wix is the better solution for those who are more comfortable with using a drag-and-drop tool to create a website. WordPress is harder to learn how to use than Wix, yet WordPress offers many more features.
Weebly offers a system for website creation that can be used to make blogs and for creating online stores. The website creation tool is very intuitive. Elements can be moved and placed by drag-and-drop methods, which makes customizing a website easy to do.
Weebly websites are made to be easily indexed by search engines with automatic search engine optimization (SEO). Facebook ads can be created within the Weebly platform. Analytical tools are available to help owners understand the web traffic coming to their site. Users have the option to use their own custom domain for the Weebly system.
A website on Weebly needs to be marketed like any other website in order for it to make money.
- Easy to use.
- Beginners can create professional results.
- Offers a comprehensive blog and e-commerce solution.
- Low integration with third-party software and few plug-ins.
- Competitors offer more themes.
Weebly prices (as of December 2018) have four tiers for websites and four tiers for online stores. A Basic level website is free; however, it displays Weebly ads. The paid levels do not show Weebly ads and include a free domain. The Starter level is $96 per year. The Pro level is $144 per year. The Business level is $300 per year.
For online stores, the Starter level is for up to 10 products and costs $96 per year plus 3% for a transaction fee on every sale. The Pro level is for up to 25 products and costs $144 per year plus 3% for a transaction fee on every sale. The Business level allows unlimited products that are offered for sale and costs $300 per year. The Performance level allows unlimited products, has more features, and costs $456 per year. There are no transaction fees for either the Business or the Performance levels.
Weebly is a decent choice, but not the best solution for those that want to use a drag-and-drop website creation tool. The paid levels are more expensive than those offered by from its competitor Wix and it has fewer features than those found on Wix.
Pyra Labs invented the Blogger platform in 1999. Google purchased Pyra Labs in 2003. This popular system makes free blogging available to everyone. For those that already have a Google account, they can use a Gmail address to sign into Blogger and then create a new blog in a matter of a few minutes. For those creating personal blogs and those new to blogging, this system is an excellent place to start.
On the Blogger system, monetization is very limited. Blogger integrates with Google Adsense, which may provide some income from advertising revenues for the web traffic to the blog. If the blog is not promoted to create significant web traffic, do not expect very much revenue. You may earn nothing. This system is great for personal blogs; however, is not a good system to use if the goal is to create as much money as possible from blogging.
Tracking the visitors to a Blogger website is done easily using this system because of the integration of Google Analytics. This helps a blog’s creator understand where web visitors are coming from and gives some information about the characteristics of web visitors.
- No cost.
- Easy to use.
- Many languages are supported.
- Limited monetization.
- No integrated e-commerce shopping cart.
- Difficult to incorporate third-party plug-ins.
Blogger is a free service. There is no premium paid level. A free domain is included at blogspot.com in the format of username.blogspot.com or a blog can be redirected to a paid domain that is registered and paid for by a Blogger user. Using a custom domain does not increase the cost of using Blogger; only the annual renewal for the domain needs to be paid to the third-party registrar.
For personal blogs and blogs designed to generate popularity, the Blogger system is a very good free solution. This system is not so good for a money-making blog.
Medium, founded in 2012, is a platform that is designed for high-quality writing. It is more like a high-brow publication website than a typical blogging website. This is not a good website for simple, personal blogs. However, if the goal is to create popularity and become a major thought-leader on a particular topic, then Medium is a good choice for these purposes.
Postings on Medium can be shared in two ways, which are: 1) Shared only with Medium members who pay a monthly fee to be part of the system, or; 2) Shared with the public for anyone to read. The best postings from the ones that are open for public view are chosen by the Medium editors. They are promoted on the home page of the Medium website and in the Medium newsletters.
The Medium website gets about 250 million monthly visitors. It is ranked 15th in web traffic levels for the homepages of the social media sites. Getting an article published on the Medium homepage creates a significant readership of it by many millions of people.
Medium offers a monetization opportunity for writers who post articles for only the members to read. A portion of the monthly membership fees collected is used to paid writers for these postings based on the number of views and “claps” of approvals that a posting receives.
- Good to use for reputation building.
- Networking opportunities with other bloggers and writers.
- There is the possibility for significant exposure and recognition.
- It is not possible to have your own domain on this system.
- There are no advertising revenues.
- This system is not very good for building an email list.
Anyone with a Google account or a Facebook account can sign up for a free Medium account. Free accounts can view all the public Medium postings and can read a few of the Medium members-only postings. Paid accounts are $5 per month or $50 per year (as of December 2018). Paid members do not have to look at ads and have unlimited access to the articles posted for members-only.
Medium is a community of writers and bloggers who enjoy sharing high-quality content with their peers and the public. Medium is designed for readers, not writers. The quality of the content on this system is very high. Creating content for this system can be very helpful in enhancing one’s professional reputation as a writer.
The Squarespace platform is a website design system that offers many template choices and drag-and-drop website creation tools. This makes it very easy to customize a template in order to create a unique online presentation. Some templates have a design that is specifically created for use as a blog.
When using Squarespace for a blog, one of the best styles is to make the blog about things that can be sold in an online retail fashion. A blog that is integrated with an online storefront is the type that is most likely to benefit from being on the Squarespace system.
Squarespace offers many paid marketing opportunities for its users, which they can use to promote their websites and blogs. These include search engine advertising, social media campaigns, and email marketing.
The ability to earn money from a Squarespace website comes from generating web traffic from advertising revenue, sponsorship, and selling products online.
- Easy to use.
- Custom domain ownership is allowed.
- Website customization is versatile.
- Less flexible than using WordPress.
- Fewer third-party plug-ins.
- Costly when compared to competitive services.
Personal websites, without online sales capability, cost $18 per month or $144 per year. Websites for businesses cost $26 per month or $216 per year. For the business plan, there is a 3% transaction fee for online sales. Basic online stores cost $30 per month or $312 per year. Advanced online stores cost $346 per month or $480 per year. For the basic and advanced online store plans, there are no transaction fees for the online sales. All of these plans include the registration of a custom domain and its annual renewal cost. These fees are current as of December 2018.
To get the full benefits of monetization, a Squarespace blog needs to be at least at the level of the business version in order to be able to sell things.
Tumblr is a blogging platform that works as a social media system. Blog posts are shared with Tumblr users according to the interests that they select. Posts become popular when others repost them from your blog to their blog.
A Tumblr account can be set up in a few minutes. There are over 448 million Tumblr users. Tumblr gives users a free account on the Tumblr domain or users can pay to register a domain of their own to use with a Tumblr account.
Monetization using Tumblr is difficult. Tumblr is best used to create popularity and direct web traffic from the Tumblr posts to another owned domain where the traffic can be monetized.
- Easy to use.
- Has lots of web traffic.
- Difficult to monetize web traffic.
- Design is limited by having a few themes.
- Cannot be customized with third-party plug-ins.
Tumblr is free. There is no premium paid option. Users who want to use their own domain must pay for its registration and the domains annual renewal fees.
Tumblr is best to use for promotional and publicity purposes to gain popularity.
WordPress launched in 2003. There is a free version of WordPress available at wordpress.com and three levels of premium upgrades. WordPress is the most popular website creation tool on the Internet. Millions use it. The system was designed to be open source for many software developers to upgrade the capabilities of WordPress. Developers do this by creating website themes, plug-ins, and third-party software that integrates with WordPress. There are many to choose from when building a WordPress website.
It is possible to start with the free WordPress version and then easily upgrade to a paid version later when you want to add more features. Thousands of themes are available. Many are free and included in the premium accounts. Some cost a small extra fee. There is a large community of WordPress users that chat in a moderated forum where anyone can get the answers to WordPress website questions.
Besides using the regular ways of promoting a website, WordPress users, who have a paid for a premium account, can monetize their WordPress websites automatically. They do this by using the WordAds system that is already integrated with WordPress.
- Very popular.
- Automatic monetization.
- Easy to customize with thousands of themes and plug-ins.
- There is a bit of a learning curve to become proficient at WordPress website development.
- Hosting elsewhere may be more flexible.
- Hacking risk is high because the WordPress system is so popular.
There is a free version that displays WordPress ads. The paid version starts at the Personal level for $48 per year with 6 GB of storage. The Premium level is $96 per year with 13 GB of storage space The Business level is $300 per year with unlimited storage space. Bandwidth is unlimited for all account types. These prices are current as of December 2018.
WordPress is an excellent choice that offers very high value for the price. There is some effort needed to learn how to develop a WordPress website; however, it is easy to find low-cost workers to help with that since the software is so popular all over the world.
Customization of WordPress websites is very flexible with many third-party plug-ins and software available. It is important to always maintain a secure backup of a WordPress website because there is an increased risk of these websites being hacked when compared to less popular systems.
WordPress with Paid Hosting
Since WordPress is open source code, it is possible to download the software and then pay a hosting company to host a WordPress website. This method is for those that want to do lots of hands-on website development work or those who are willing to pay others to do it for them.
Hosting of WordPress websites is available from hosting companies that are dedicated to serving WordPress users such as BlueHost, DreamHost, and SiteGround. WordPress hosting is also available from popular hosting companies that offer other hosting services such as Hostgator or GoDaddy. Shop around to get the best deal.
WordPress websites are marketed just like any other website in order to generate income. It is possible to earn ad revenues, get pay for sponsored content, sell products, and participate in affiliate programs.
- Many option for customization.
- Constantly improving.
- Very popular.
- Need to be careful about security and backups.
- Not easy for a beginner to do alone.
- A favorite target of hackers.
The WordPress software is free. It can be downloaded from WordPress.org and then uploaded to a hosting provider of your choosing. Hosting of WordPress websites ranges from about $5 to $25 per month depending on the bandwidth and the storage used.
WordPress is the most popular website development software that is used by millions of websites. WordPress is a good choice for power-users who want a highly-customizable professional solution for their blog.
The best simple and free platform for a personal blog is the Blogger system, which offers the chance to earn some modest revenues coming from the integration of Google Adsense. The best free drag-and-drop style of the website platforms is Wix. The best paid solution for advanced users is WordPress that is either hosted on WordPress.com or on another popular hosting provider.
It has never been easier to start your own blog than now. There are hundreds of blogging platforms available today. So much in fact that it can be hard to choose the best platform to use. This FAQ’s section is dedicated to taking out all of the guesswork of choosing the right blogging platform for you.
General Blog FAQ
In this section, you will find general blog frequently asked questions. Learn what a blog is and who uses a blog today.
What is a self-hosted blog?
A self-hosted blog is a free blog similar to Blogger, Tumblr or WordPress that is used only on a self-hosted server that doesn’t cost anything to use. However, a self-hosted blog is limited in many ways.
How to create a self-hosted blog?
The best way to create a self-hosted blog is to:
- Find a host for the blog.
- Register a domain name.
- Install WordPress or other free blogging platform.
- Choose a free or paid theme for the blog
- Log into the blog and begin blogging.
What is a self-hosted WordPress blog?
A self-hosted WordPress blog is a blog published through the blogging platform known as WordPress. This platform makes it easy for anyone to publish a blog online, regardless of web development experience.
What is a blogging platform?
A blogging platform is a service or software that is used to publish content on the internet in the form of a blog. It is a specific form of a content management system where you can host blogs, images and videos.
What blogging platform does Zoella use?
Zoella, a popular fashion and lifestyle influencer uses WordPress as her primary blogging platform. While the software is free to use, it does have additional costs such as a paid theme, domain name and web hosting that Zoella uses.
What is the best blog platform for activism?
The best blog platform for activism is one that can be set up anonymously. Unfortunately, mainstream blogging platforms such as WordPress or Blogger reveal user’s identities once you build a blog using their platform. The best anonymous blogging platform to use for activism is Network23.
Can I have more than 1 platform to blog?
Yes. You can certainly have more than one blogging account on popular blogging platforms. In order to do so however, you will need to create new accounts for the number of blogs you want to create.
What blogging platform is BiggerPockets using?
The blogging platform that BiggerPockets is using is its name itself: BiggerPockets. BiggerPockets is an education site that features millions of pages of content that members can access for free.
Can you make money on any blogging platform?
Yes. You can make money on any blogging platform, including Tumblr. However, the platform that you use for your blogs may have limitations on monetization methods, so it is always best to check the blogging platform’s terms of service before trying to make money on it.
What blogging platform does TomsGuide.com use?
TomsGuide.com is not using a blogging platform. Upon conducting research, it seems the website has been custom built using HTML and CSS and is currently hosted on Amazon 53 name servers.
Is Podia also a blogging platform?
No. Podia is a platform that allows users to sell online classes, membership and digital content using an all-in-one platform that handles every aspect from downloads, a place to store online classes and membership fees.
Do people blog on multiple platforms?
Yes. While a majority of people tend to focus on using only one blogging platform, it is not uncommon for web users to use multiple blogging platforms to build their blogs.
What is the best platform for a fashion blog?
One of the best platforms to use for a fashion blog is WordPress. With WordPress, users can build blogs that focus on content and images. This blog can also be used to share affiliate links from the fashion niche.
When people create platform blogs, is it legal to criticize?
Whether it is legal or not, blog owners will always be criticized for their work, regardless of their niche. When it become illegal is when the criticism turns into a life-threatening situation where the blog owner is threatened.
General Hosting FAQ
In this section you will find frequently asked questions regarding hosting blogs. You will learn about the best hosting sites and the price of hosting a blog.
What is hosting for a blog?
Hosting for a blog is the strict business of housing, serving or maintaining web files from one or more websites. It basically means that you rent space on a computer to host your blog.
Why do I need a host for my blog?
If you want to create any type of blog online, you will always need hosting. There is no way around it. Hosting is essential for storing all of the necessary files for your website in order for it to function properly such as the HTML files, media files or CSS files.
Which blog host is best?
There are a variety of blog hosting providers and the best will ultimately depend on the needs of your blog. However, the best blog hosts are WordPress, Squarespace, WIX, Tumblr and Weebly.
How to host my own blog?
In order to host your own blog, visit a blog hosting provider such as WordPress, Squarespace or Weebly. Build your blog and begin adding content to the blog on a regular basis.
How to find a host for a blog?
The best way to find a host for your blog is to conduct a simple google search for “web hosting.” Visit the hosting sites you have found and find which hosting platform will work best for you.
What is the best free blog hosting site?
The best free blog hosting site is WordPress.com. WordPress is one of the most popular blogging platforms that helps those with no website building experience build a blog in just a few clicks.
How to host a blog for free?
To host a blog for free, you must first find a hosting platform that offers its services for free. To do this conduct an Internet search. Find the best free blog hosting platforms and begin building your blog. Learn more about how to start a blog.
What does it mean to have your blog hosted?
To have your blog hosted means to house your blog on a hosting service that holds the necessary files for your blog such as its media files, HTML files or CSS files. Hosting your blog can be free or require a monthly payment.
How much does it cost to host a blog?
The price to host a blog can range in monthly or yearly fees. While there are some blog hosting platforms that will let you host your blog for free, those who require a monthly payment can cost between $8 a month to as high as $20 a month.
Blogging Platform FAQ
In this section, you will find frequently asked questions pertaining to blogging platforms such as WordPress, Squarespace or Wix.
What is the best blogging platform?
The best blogging platform today is WordPress.com. Not only is it one of the most popular blogging platforms, but it is known for its ease of use, reliability and its free services.
Which free blog platform is the best?
The best free blog platform is either WordPress or Wix. Both of these blogging platforms allows members to build comprehensive blogs in just a few clicks and allows users to do so for free.
How to choose the best blogging platform for you?
In order to choose the best blogging platform that will work best for you is to identify what you need from a blogging platform. You will need to consider fees that you are willing to pay and the type of service you need from a blogging platform.
Is Tumblr a good blogging platform?
Tumblr is a great blogging platform. However, keep in mind that creating your own blog on Tumbler is harder in terms of creativity and you are limited in regard to audience and monetization methods.
Is Wix a good blogging platform?
Wix is a great blogging platform to use to create simple and stunning blogs. It features easy to use drag and drop blog templates that allows you to create your dream blog. It also offers free hosting.
What is the best platform to start a blog?
One of the best platforms to use to start a blog is WordPress. With millions of blogs created through WordPress today, it is not only easy to use, but it is free and allows users to create stunning blogs without difficulty.
What is the best blogging platform for SEO?
The best blogging platforms that are optimized for Search Engine Optimization is WordPress. WordPress blogs have the option of using free plugins that can help enhance search engine optimization performance.
Is Squarespace a good blogging platform?
Squarespace is similar to many other blogging platforms out there, simple to use with easy to use templates. However, Squarespace is a limited platform that doesn’t give many options in terms of creating unique and appealing blogs.
What is the best blogging platform for beginners?
The best blogging platforms for beginners to use are blogs built using WordPress.org or Wix. Both of these platforms allow users to build custom blogs without any website development experience.
What is the easiest blog platform to use?
The easiest blog platform to use is WordPress. WordPress gives blog owners complete control over every aspect of their blog, offers thousands of free and paid themes to choose from and makes blogs that are search engine friendly.
Does Google have a blog platform?
Yes. Google has a blogging platform known as Blogger. Blogger is a blogging platform that is primarily used by new bloggers because it is free to use, simple to customize and can be linked to your Google account.
Which blog platform is best for making money?
The best blog platform to use for making money is WordPress. With search engine optimization tools, monetization plugins and the ability to post ads from Google AdSense, WordPress makes it easy to make money with a blog.
Is WordPress the best blogging platform?
Yes. WordPress is one of the best blogging platforms web users can use today, especially beginners. WordPress has a simple to use interface that makes building a blog simple and can be done with just a few clicks of a mouse.
Is Medium a good blogging platform?
Medium is a good blogging platform especially for businesses and brands. Medium is a blogging platform that has a built-in distribution channel that can have brands promote their products and services to nearly 86 million monthly visitors.
What is the best blog platform for ecommerce?
The best blog platform to use for ecommerce depends on your specific needs. However, some of the best blogging platforms to use for ecommerce includes WordPress, Medium, Squarespace and Wix.
What is the best free blogging platform?
The best free blogging platform is WordPress. Not only is WordPress free to use, but if you use WordPress.org, you don’t have to worry about paying for hosting as it is a self-hosted blogging platform.
What is the best blog platform for writers?
The best blog platform for writers includes many platforms. The best blogging platforms are WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, Joomla, Squarespace and Wix. Many of these blogging platforms include special themes just for writers.
Who owns content on free blog platforms?
This ultimately depends on what blogging platform you use. Certain blogging platforms own the rights to the content you post and can do whatever they want with the content. Other blogging platforms will allow you to retain all rights of the content.
Does Microsoft have a blogging platform?
No. Unfortunately Microsoft closed its blogging platform Windows Live and aggregated all of its Window Live members to WordPress within a six-month time frame, allowing them to migrate their blogs to the platform.
How to identify a blog platform?
In order to identify a blog platform, you will need to take a look at the home page. Most blogs tend to have their latest blogs posted in order of date on the home screen, with small excerpts from the posts listed.
How many blogging platforms are there?
As of 2018, there are hundreds of blogging platforms available. Of course, each of the platforms have their benefits and disadvantages, depending on the need of the blog owner and the purpose of the blog.
Does Facebook have a blog platform?
No. Facebook does not currently have a blogging platform for its users. However, users are able to share blog entries on Facebook by posting links back to their site right on their Facebook wall or on the status of a Facebook page.
Hosting Platform FAQ
In this section, you will find frequently asked questions regarding hosting platforms for blogs such as how to set up a host and which hosting platform is the best.
Where to host a WordPress blog?
You can host a WordPress blog with any hosting platform such as Bluehost, HostGator or Namecheap hosting services. However, if you use WordPress.org, you do not need a hosting service as it is self-hosted.
How to host a WordPress blog on GoDaddy?
In order to host a WordPress blog on GoDaddy, you first must login into your GoDaddy account, click on the hosting option, click manage, click the WordPress option and click install. Once you complete the on-screen directions, click ok and your WordPress blog is officially hosted.
How to host a blog on GitHub?
To host a blog on GitHub, you must first go to GitHub and create a repository, clone the new repository, go into the project folder, add in the index.html file, push the changes through and your blog is officially hosted.
What blog hosting site should I use?
The blog hosting site that you should use will ultimately depends on what you need for your blog. You need to consider the size of all of the media files you need to host on the site, whether you need the blog optimized for SEO or if you are looking for a hosting site that has a fast loading speed.
How to host a WordPress blog on your own domain?
To host a WordPress blog on your own domain, you must connect your domain to the blogging platform. Go to the domains page and add click on the add new domain options. Point the domain name you own to WordPress and save the changes.