With so many people starting a blog these days it’s not surprising that many of them are wondering what the best blogging platform is that they should be using.
In my mind it’s no argument and I’ll save you the trouble of reading the post – your own self-hosted WordPress is the best platform for most people.
However, there are a ton of WordPress alternatives and I owe it to you guys to cover some of the more popular platforms.
This way you can get a better idea of what’s available for you to use for blogging.
You can also make up your own mind after checking out all of the different platforms to see which one is the best for your blogging and website needs.
Ultimately it depends on what your blogging goals are when it comes to choosing the right platform.
For those of you looking to monetize your content and make money blogging you’re going to be a lot better off with something that you host on your own.
If you just want to share some helpful content without worrying about monetizing and you want to start a blog for free then there are also some great platforms for you.
With that in mind let’s just jump right into it!
A Look at the Best Platforms for Blogging
Here on my blog you’ll notice that I talk about WordPress all the time.
For most people I think that it’s the best platform for blogging especially if you’re hoping to make money online and you want to be taken seriously.
The reason I specify “self-hosted” is because there is a free WordPress platform that you can use but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re blogging just for fun or on a super tight budget.
I wrote a post on why you should use WordPress so check that out for a more in-depth look at the platform.
One of the main reasons why I would recommend starting a blog with WordPress using your own hosting is because you have full control over your content, your monetization options, and the appearance/features of your blog.
With WordPress there are a ton of different themes and plugins to choose from as well as a great support system that you can rely on if you ever need any help.
Nearly 30% of blogs and websites online are running WordPress and you can set it up pretty easily for just a few bucks a month.
Some of the benefits of using WordPress include:
- The platform is easy to use and comes with a ton of options for customization
- There are thousands of different themes and plugins so you can design your blog/website however you want
- Reasonably priced to get started with your own blog where you have full control over the content, monetization options, and appearance
- No surprises – WordPress is a reliable platform
- Works right out of the box with smartphones (mobile-friendly) and search engines
Some of the drawbacks of using WordPress include:
- You’re going to have to set up hosting on your own which can be pretty tricky depending on your internet skills
- WordPress is very secure but it’s a popular target for hackers because of how popular it is
- You might not be interested in having a lot of options and would prefer something super simple
For the most part I would recommend starting a blog with WordPress and despite all of the alternatives I still find it to be the best blogging platform for most people.
WordPress (.org) is the platform you use when you’re blogging with your own hosting while WordPress.com is the free platform available for everybody.
It’s definitely the best option if you’re looking for a free blogging platform and you just want to easily share content without having to worry about too much.
It’s very similar to having a self-hosted WordPress blog and many of the features are identical.
For example, you can use different themes, have your own unique domain, connect your blog with the different social media platforms, and easily share your content with everybody online.
However, there are a few problems with using the basic WordPress.com platform.
You can’t install any plugins which really limits the functionality of your blog.
You also can’t have a domain like “blogname.com” and instead have to rely on something like “blogname.wordpress.com” which is pretty ugly and unprofessional.
On the other hand, it is really easy to use and it’s a great choice if you’re looking to start a blog on a budget or you just want to dip your toes in the blogging world and see how you like it.
You can always upgrade to your own self-hosted WordPress plan in the future depending on what your goals are and where you want to take your blog.
Some of the benefits of using the WordPress.com platform include:
- It’s free to use and easy to set up
- There are a ton of different themes that you can still choose from
- You don’t need any technical knowledge or coding skills to get your blog up and running
Some of the drawbacks of using the WordPress.com platform include:
- You’re not able to use your own custom themes
- Your URL has the “.wordpress.com” suffix
- You can’t edit the HTML of the theme to make any specific changes
- Limited options for monetization
- WordPress has full control over your website/blog
Would I ever recommend using WordPress.com?
It’s good if you’re looking for a free blogging platform where you can share thoughts and ideas with friends and family.
However, if you want to monetize your content, look like a professional blogger, and grow your audience effectively then it’s not going to be well-suited for you at all.
One of the more popular free blogging platforms is Blogger.
It’s run by Google so you know it’s a pretty reliable platform to start a blog on and it’s a suitable choice for beginners on a budget that are looking to start sharing content online.
There are a lot of limits to using the Blogger platform but it’s not a bad way to go if you just want to get started and test out the blogging world before diving right in.
With Blogger you can actually using Adsense and there are some other features including in-depth statistics, an intuitive dashboard, and plenty of templates to choose from.
Eventually you can even buy your own custom domain, otherwise you’re stuck using the “.blogspot.com” suffix.
Some of the benefits of using Blogger include:
- It’s completely free to start using
- It’s really easy to use even for beginners
- You can quickly start sharing content online
- The Google platform is fast, reliable, and completely secure
Some of the drawbacks of using Blogger include:
- The options for monetization are limited
- There aren’t that many templates and themes compared to other platforms
- The platform doesn’t get updated very often
- Having a “.blogspot.com” suffix isn’t very professional
- Your account can be suspended at any time which puts all of your content and hard work at risk
Compared to the free WordPress.com platform Blogger is a great alternative if you’re hoping to start a blog on a budget or you just want to write regularly and not worry about anything else.
The Google platform is really reliable but it’s still not ideal to not have full control over your own content depending on what your long term blogging goals are.
Wix (Best Website Builder)
Wix is a great platform to use if you want to start your own blog and have full control over how everything looks.
You can choose from two types of plans – paid or free – depending on your blogging and you’re blogging goals.
What I love most about Wix and what sets it apart from WordPress is that it’s both a blogging platform and a website builder.
This means that you can fully customize the look and appearance of your blog using the easy-to-use drag and drop tools that Wix provides.
Right out of the box Wix comes with a range of different useful features that make it a great choice for beginners or anybody looking for an easy way to start blogging.
Some of the different features include:
- Mobile-friendly design
- Wide range of different templates
- Essentially unlimited options for customization
- Social buttons
- Online store capability
- Custom domain names
With the Wix free platform you’re still able to access the drag and drop editor, you have 500 MB of storage for images, you’re able to enjoy the free hosting, and your website is automatically optimized for mobile users.
Starting at just $5 per month you can take advantage of the premium features.
With a premium plan you get things like more storage, you’re able to connect your domain, and you can remove Wix ads (that get shown on the free plan)>
The benefits of Wix include:
- Easy to customize your blog or website without any coding knowledge
- Popular platform means lots of support for any questions you might have
- Tons of different ready-to-use templates to choose from
- Reasonably priced monthly plans
- Able to connect your own custom domain
The drawbacks of Wix include:
- Limited free plan features
- Ugly “.wix.com” suffix on the free plan/lowest premium plan
- Not well-suited for SEO
- Ads shown on some plans
- Not many options for plugins/third-party apps
Just like with WordPress.com, I would recommend Wix for anybody looking to start a blog for free.
The great thing about using this platform is that you can eventually upgrade to a premium plan if you ever want to take your blogging journey more seriously.
In the future I’ll be writing a Wix vs. WordPress post so make sure to check back to see that if it’s something you’re interested in.
Squarespace is another website builder and blogging platform that makes it really easy for you to customize the appearance of your blog and just start blogging right away without having to worry about any of the smaller details.
Using the drag-and-drop tools provided you can design a beautiful website and with the free trial you can explore the platform for a few days before deciding on whether or not it’s for you.
Squarespace is a great choice for small business owners and busy bloggers that want to focus on getting their content online as quickly as possible while having it presented in a beautiful and engaging manner.
Some of the benefits of using Squarespace include things like:
- It’s really easy to use and you don’t need any coding/technical experience to set everything up
- There are a wide range of different templates to choose from
- You can continually add services to your website if you’re growing your business
- The drag and drop feature gives you a ton of options for customization
- There’s a free trial that you can use if you’re just starting out
Some of the drawbacks of using Squarespace include things like:
- The monthly pricing can be quite high
- There aren’t a lot of options for themes and plugins
- You might have to do some coding if you want specific plugins or themes
- The features available are quite limited
- There aren’t great options for integrating new services and tools into the Squarespace platform
When it comes to the cost (see Squarespace pricing), you can expect to pay at least $16 per month for your own blog or website and at least $34 per month if you want to set up your own online store.
Squarespace is a good choice if you’re too busy to focus on setting up your own website or blog and you want everything done for you with very little input on your end.
On the other hand, it can be quite pricey depending on the plan you need and for most people I’d recommend starting your own blog with WordPress or going with a different platform like Wix.
I just recently heard about Ghost and I’m quite surprised to learn that it’s an open source blogging platform.
This means that you have full access to the “coding” part of the platform and if you have the skills you’re able to make any changes that you want.
Even if you’re not that technical at all, Ghost is still easy to use and features a simple and intuitive interface that’s well-suited for beginners.
What I really love about the platform is that you can actually see a live preview of your post when you’re writing it so that you know exactly how it’s going to turn out when you’re ready to hit publish.
Some of the benefits of using Ghost for blogging include:
- It’s open source so you can set it up how you want
- It’s easy to use for beginners and provides a lot of customization options for more advanced users
- Managing your content is really easy
- The platform comes with SEO already built in to help you out in search engines
Some of the drawbacks of using Ghost include:
- There is a monthly fee for using the platform
- It can be pretty tricky to install if you don’t have any technical experience
- Pricing plans come with traffic limits
- Limited options for themes and user interface
If you want to use Ghost you’re going to need to already have your own domain and it’s a good idea to also have your own hosting if you want to save a little bit of money.
Anybody looking to be able to have full control of what’s going on behind the scenes with their blogging platform is going to want to consider using Ghost.
Otherwise, if you’re looking for something easier and less hands-on then you’ll probably be better off with one of the other platforms that I’ve mentioned.
I come across a lot of content on Medium and it’s becoming quite a popular platform for blogging.
It’s especially a good choice for people that don’t want to spend any money starting a blog but they still want to be able to share their content online for a large audience to see.
The great thing about using Medium is that they already have an audience and you can really gain a lot of traffic depending on the topic of what you’re writing about.
Signing up for Medium is completely free and you’re able to post just about any type of content that you want as long as it meets the guidelines of the platform.
Some of the benefits of using Medium for blogging include:
- Really easy to use – just sign up and start blogging
- Plenty of great features including commenting, recommended posts, total view count, and total read time for content
- Already an audience available for you to share your content with
- Easy to embed YouTube videos or share your own images
Some of the drawbacks of using Medium include:
- Your account can be shut down and your content can be deleted at any time
- Content needs to be relevant to what the Medium audience wants otherwise it’s quite hard to get traffic
- Difficulty when it comes to monetization
- Not a professional blogging platform
If all you want to do is showcase your content somewhere online without having to worry about anything else then Medium is a great option.
Even if you already have your own blog, you can write content on Medium and include links back to posts on your blog which can help you get more traffic and build your own audience.
For monetization I would recommend going with a different platform but for sharing content Medium is a great place to start.
Final Thoughts and My Recommendation
When it comes to starting a blog and sharing content online you really can’t go wrong with your own self-hosted WordPress site.
Using WordPress you have full control over all your content, you can capture emails from your traffic, you can monetize however you want, and with your own domain a WordPress blog looks a lot more professional than most of the alternatives.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t use a different platform – it really depends on what your blogging goals are, what your budget is, and whether you just want something really easy or you don’t mind spending some time learning how to use a platform.
WordPress is a fan favorite for a reason.
It works really well right out of the box, it’s easy to use even for total beginners, and thanks to the different plugins and themes available you can set up your blog however you want to.
If you’re not on the fence about using WordPress then I encourage you to try out some of the other platforms to see how their work before settling on any specific one.
This way you can get a better idea of which of the different platforms are going to be best for your needs.
Hopefully I’ve been able to help you out in choosing the best blogging platform!
If you have any questions or suggestions please don’t hesitate to let me know down in the comment below.