In 2020, the number of bloggers is expected to reach 31.7 million, which means the best blogging platforms are in high demand.
Blogs are one of the easiest ways to get started with building an online business. You can monetize your blog in many different ways, from affiliate marketing to starting a full-fledged membership site. There are even plugins that allow blogs to take donations.
The question is, how do you get started with your blog?
If you want to start a blog, you’re going to need more than some basic writing skills and a topic that you want to cover.
In fact, one of the most important things you’re going to need is one of the best blogging platforms you can afford. If you want to generate excellent results, that is.
The bad news is that there are a lot of different choices out there today.
The good news?
You don’t have to search through them all yourself.
We’ve put together a list of the best blogging platforms (including one paid option), to help you make the right choice.
Let’s start with perhaps the most popular choice of all – WordPress.org. This is the self-hosted version of WordPress, and is not to be confused with WordPress.com.
Currently, WordPress.org powers 34% of the websites around the world, making it the go-to choice for any business owner.
With endless plugins to choose from, so you can customize your site any way you want, and a host of impressive themes, WordPress.org is the best option for any blogger who wants the freedom to build their site however they see fit.
You can even choose how you want to monetize your blog and generate more income.
Keep in mind, while WordPress.org is free, you will need a WordPress web hosting company to get your company up and running online.
- Maintain complete control over your blog thanks to this robust content management system
- Run any kind of blog, and even add an eCommerce store
- Extend the design and functionality of your blog with plugins and themes
- No coding experience necessary
- Add tracking scripts, such as Google Analytics to track important data and improve your blog
- Security isn’t handled for you
- You’re in charge of updates (unless you use a managed WordPress host)
- Not always beginner-friendly
Cost: WordPress.org is free, but you’ll need to pay for a domain name and web hosting.
Compared to WordPress.org, Medium offers a very different experience for bloggers. It’s not an environment where you’ll build your own website from scratch. Instead, you simply publish your content on a pre-made platform for other people to read.
Medium is a great choice for business leaders searching for free blogging platforms in which they don’t have to worry about choosing a domain name or buying hosting support.
With Medium, you’re able to easily share your content with a new audience. And you never have to learn about coding.
- Very easy to use with no setup or coding required
- Reporting features included so you can track your top performing content
- Excellent for those who want to focus on writing and nothing else
- Established presence, so you don’t need to build from scratch.
- No monetization options
- Limited content control or customization features
Cost: Medium is completely free to use.
If you’re looking for one of the best blogging platforms in the industry, then it makes sense to examine a solution with “blog” in the name.
Blogger is a platform owned by Google, and it’s a popular option among beginners. A lot of people start with this solution when they’re just jumping into content creation for the first time. Unfortunately, while Blogger is very easy to use, it’s also limited in features.
One of the major downsides of Blogger is that you don’t get any control over your new domain name. You’re always going to have the .blogspot subdomain, which doesn’t look particularly professional.
On the plus side, because Blogger is owned by Google, you’re not going to have to worry about things like security and updates when you’re getting started.
- Very easy to get started
- No coding knowledge required
- Free for anyone with a Google account to use
- Backed by Google for excellent security and support
- Great for people who just want to get started quickly
- Vert limited feature set without a lot of customization options
- Design options are quite restricted
- Not a lot of updates (dated)
Cost: Blogger is free to use.
If you’ve been looking for the best free blogging platforms for a while, then you’ve probably already heard of Weebly. This easy-to-use platform has been popping up a lot recently in the online world, with bloggers constantly raving about its wide selection of features.
The basic version of Weebly is free to use, but you can always upgrade if you want access to more functionality and customization control.
That said, the free version of Weebly probably won’t be enough to give professional bloggers everything they need. Although you can use it to take a look around what you can do on Weebly, you won’t be able to create a real business until you upgrade.
On the plus side, every website from Weebly comes with a free SSL certificate for extra security, and there’s also a handy promotional feature too.
- Range of freebies like a free SSL certificate to get you started
- Easy to use for beginners with a free version available
- Promotional tools built in to help grow your email list
- Not easy to export to another platform
- Limited feature set for customization
- Not many integrations with other tools to help you grow and manage your online business
Cost: Weebly is free for the basic option, or $4 per month if you want a custom domain. If you want to remove Weebly branded ads from your site, it’ll cost you $8/month.
Wix is another popular contender when it comes to the best blogging platforms on the market today. Chances are you’ve already seen other companies using Wix on your Facebook newsfeed or even around the web.
And while Wix might not be the most advanced website building solution in the world – it’s excellent for a free platform.
The Wix system comes with a free drag-and-drop editor to help you build your website, which is similar to what you get from WordPress.org.
Additionally, Wix is very easy to use when you’re just getting started online since it requires no coding knowledge.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer the same customization as you’d get from competitors like WordPress, and you’ll need to pay for your custom domain too.
- Simple drag-and-drop design functionality
- Third-party applications available
- eCommerce available with premium plans
- Great for beginners
- Limited number of templates and themes to choose from
- Free account is very limited in terms of functionality
- Need to pay for extra bandwidth, professional domain, and more
Cost: Free for beginners and available upgrades for extended functionality and design.
Last but not least, we come to our one premium option in this list of the best blogging platform options.
Squarespace might not be free to use, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not an excellent tool for beginners. Squarespace is great for people who don’t need the kind of customization and functionality that more robust platforms provide because it keeps everything as simple as possible. In fact, it comes with lots of demo content you can customize to make your own.
If you want to skip all the headaches of setting your business up with technical components, then Squarespace could be the ultimate option. It’s way simpler to use than most other self-hosted offerings, and you’ll still have a range of templates and customization features to choose from. It’s not a full replacement for WordPress.org, but it’s fine for beginners.
In our opinion, if you want more customization and functionality, you’re probably better off going with WordPress.org. However, Squarespace can be an excellent alternative for those who don’t like WordPress.
- Very easy to use with drag-and-drop functionality
- Plenty of templates and customization options to choose from
- Free trial to get you started
- SEO features included and hosting is taken care of for you
- No third-party theme options
- Expensive compared to some alternatives
- Limited functionality
- Can become very expensive to maintain
Cost: 14-day free trial followed by either $12 per month or $18 per month depending on the plan you choose.
Which is the Best Blogging Platform For You?
Choosing the ideal blogging platform isn’t easy – particularly in an age where there are so many free and premium choices to pick from. If you want to make the right selection, you’ll need to think carefully about the kind of features and functionality that you’re going to need.
The range of options above should give you plenty of chances to make the most out of your new blogging strategy, whether you’re looking for a basic platform to get you started or something customizable. Our favorite option by far is WordPress.org, simply because it’s so extensible, with endless themes and plugins to explore.
If you’re ready to take our recommendation, check out this in-depth tutorial on how to start a WordPress website so you can launch your new blog sooner than later.
Which blogging platform do you prefer to use? Is there one you think should be added to the list of options? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!