Are you ready to start your blog…
… but can’t figure out how to choose the best blogging platform?
There are a lot of options out there. How do you decide which one is right for you? In this article, I will compare some popular options to help you choose the best paid or free blogging platform.
An important thing to keep in mind is that as a beginner, you probably want a solution that’s easy to set up and manage, and doesn’t require coding skills.
However, as your blog grows, you may want to add more features to your site, or change the look. That’s why it’s important to choose a blogging platform that’s flexible and has different options that allow you to adapt as your blog grows and evolves.
Making the right choice when you start out is important, as it can be very difficult to switch if you start on the wrong platform.
WordPress.org is the world’s most popular blogging software.
WordPress.org is an open-source software blogging platform that allows you to build your website or blog on your own. It is a self-hosted solution, which means you will need to sign up with a hosting provider.
WordPress.org gives you control over every aspect of your website; you can grow your blog, and add extra features like membership areas, forums, or an ecommerce store. There are thousands of free and premium themes available for WordPress, so you can create a unique blog easily. A wide range of available plugins allows you to integrate additional features. You can add different features with different plugins. In addition, because you have complete control of your blog, your content is your own.
The WordPress.org software is free, but you’ll need to buy a domain name (about $10-15/year) and hosting (usually around $100/year).
For comparison, WordPress.com is a blog hosting service offered by Automattic.
They offer a basic blog hosting service for free. If you want to upgrade your blog, you can purchase additional options like a custom domain name, more storage, and other premium services. No setup is required; you can start blogging immediately.
Unfortunately, you don’t own your blog and WordPress.com can suspend your account if you violate their terms of service.
The basic WordPress.com account is free, but it will have WordPress.com ads and branding. You can upgrade to their Personal plan for $2.99/month to remove WordPress.com logo and advertising from your website, and get a custom domain (like www.yoursite.com).
For $8.25/month you can get additional design tools and extra storage.
Wix is a hosted platform designed for building websites. It offers an easy way to build a website with drag and drop simplicity. You can also add a blog to your website by adding the Wix Blog app.
There are a lot of themes you can choose to build a unique website, and it’s very easy with the drag and drop tools—no coding skills required.
However the free account is limited, and shows Wix branding and ads on your site. Another downside is that there is limited selection of plugins and third party apps available. In addition, once you choose a template you cannot change it without essentially starting over.
The basic Wix website builder is free. You can add a custom domain for $4.50/month. Premium plans start from $8.50/month and go up to $24.50/month.
Blogger is a free blogging platform and host owned by Google, meaning you can build your blog on it without having to purchase separate hosting. It doesn’t require coding skills, and it’s quick and easy to use.
But you’re limited to basic blogging tools, and can’t add new features.
Also design options are limited, with a relatively small number of templates available. And don’t forget that Google can suspend your blog at any time, or could even cancel the Blogger service altogether.
Blogger is a free platform.
Tumblr is a microblogging platform with social networking features. You can follow other blogs, share them, and re-post them. It’s free and very easy to use.
It’s cool that Tumblr lets you post videos, GIFs, images, and audio formats. But it also comes with a limited set of features that you can’t expand on as your blog grows.
Tumblr is free to use. You can use your own domain that you purchased separately, and there are also third party themes and apps available to purchase.
Squarespace is a website building service that allows you to create your own website, using easy drag-and-drop tools. It’s simple and easy to use for beginners with no coding experience. It has beautiful, professionally designed templates, but it has limited features, and third party integrations are also limited to a select few services and tools.
Pricing for their Personal plan starts at $12/month. For the Business plan, pricing starts at $18/month.
Joomla is an open-source software content management system, much like WordPress.org. It’s self-hosted, which means you will need a domain name and web hosting to use it. You can create your own unique website, and there are hundreds of templates to help you with it. You can also integrate plugins and third party applications. However, the Joomla community is much smaller than WordPress, so the overall selection of templates and features available for use is more limited.
Joomla is free but you will need a domain (about $10-15/year) and hosting (around $100/year) to use it.
Similar to Wix, Weebly is a hosted platform that allows you to build your website using easy drag-and-drop tools. It comes with a lot of ready-to-use themes that you can customize. However, the built-in features, as well as the selection of third-party apps, are limited.
Weebly’s paid plans start from $8.00/month, and include limited features. To unlock all the available features, you have to pay up to $49.00/month.
So what is our recommendation?
I use a self-hosted WordPress blog, with my own domain, hosting service, and the WordPress.org software.
It’s very easy to use, has a lot of features, is reliable, and gives me virtually unlimited freedom in building my blog. If you start out with other blogging platforms I mentioned above, you can change later to your own WordPress website.