How To Choose A Blogging Platform

How to Choose a Blogging Platform

Making the decision to start a blog comes with an AVALANCHE of choices to make. Creating a blog is much more complex than just writing blog posts and snapping a few photos! We wish it was this easy! One of the first crucial decisions you’ll have to make is which blogging platform to build your blog on. 

Where you build your site determines your blog’s design, functionalities, potential reach, growth opportunities, and SEO optimization. This choice impacts many different areas of your blog’s success both immediately and long-term. So let’s discuss.

Choosing a platform to create a site is low-key tougher than it sounds. There are tons of different web hosting options to pick from and each one of them has its share of pros and cons. You need to make an informed decision based on functionality and the way the platform fits your work style, business plan, and aesthetic needs. 

So, that’s why we decided to dedicate an entire post to some different content management systems and how they work for bloggers! Read on to learn how to choose a blogging platform:

How to Choose a Blogging Platform

How To Choose A Blogging Platform

Think about how your blog fits into your business plan. 

Take time to consider your goals for the future. Is blogging just a part of your marketing strategy? Or, do you want to be a full-time blogger focused on free content creation, affiliate links, and product reviews? Do you want your own product line one day? Or, are you planning to sell courses or services online? 

The real question is: is blogging just a side gig or are you planning to make this your full-time thing? These are ALL crucial questions you should ask yourself. Once you understand the purpose of your blog and visualize your long-term goals, you can start searching for blogging platforms. Your goals determine which platform will work best for you.

Consider your budget.

Different platforms come with different costs. Some of them, like Tumblr, allow you to blog for free, but offer fewer blogging tools. While platforms like Squarespace have a membership fee, and WordPress comes with programming and hosting fees. All these choices will take a toll on your budget. 

However, some expenses come with better functionalities, and less costs down the road if your plans change. So, always remember that your blogging budget goes hand in hand with the purpose of your blog. If it’s a hobby, best to stick to free platforms or platforms with minimal investment. If it’s a business, you’ll probably want to invest in a premium blogging platform with premium blogging tools. 

Look for monetization opportunities within each platform. 

Not all platforms allow for monetization opportunities! Depending on your business plan, you’ll want to make sure that your CMS lets you bring in the bacon in any way YOU need. So for example, does your CMS allow you to have ads on your site? Can you insert affiliate link widgets? What about selling products through a store and payment processing? And finally, does your CMS have a subscription service ability in case you plan on selling courses or memberships?

If your blog is just a hobby, then it doesn’t really matter as much. But if your blog is a business (or part of one), you need to think about potential revenue streams and capabilities! As always, it all depends on the purpose of each and every one of your blog posts. 

Harness your technical skills (or hire someone to help). 

Different platforms require different technical abilities! It’s time to be honest about how tech-savvy you are and what your programming budget is. Depending on where you choose to build a website, you’ll need to know how to design and manage a few technical functionalities. 

There are blogging platforms that make designing a website very easy, however they typically have less customization as well. And either way, there will certainly be a learning curve for most platforms for day to day use. 

The less technical ones are typically easier to get up and running, cost less to launch, but limit your growth and monetization opportunities down the road! The technical blogging tools of your platform of choice also limit your SEO strategies. So keep that in mind as well.

Compare website designs on each blogging platform.

Aesthetics are HUGE these days! You need to take this into account when choosing a blogging platform. At the end of the day, you’re the one who’s going to build a blog. So you should pick the design that speaks the most to you! 

As always, the free blogging platforms offer fewer customization possibilities and a more basic design. But, the premium platforms come with a steeper learning curve before the design really looks professional. 

With the right developer and the right customizable platform, you can create anything you want. On more limited platforms, you can probably create something yourself, but you’ll be using basic templates.

Prepare for future expansions.

What started as a blog could become a booming online business in no time. The possibilities are endless if you put enough effort and determination out there! But, you need to be prepared for these expansions. So by the time they come, you’re not stuck with a platform that hijacks your growth. 

If your blog will always be a hobby, then don’t even worry about it. If your blog is part of a full fledged business plan, then you’re better off investing in the right platform from the get-go. So think about where you want to take your blog in the future before you choose a blogging platform. Plan ahead and be strategic about it!  

Step-by-step guide on how to choose a blogging platform.

Best Blogging Platforms

WordPress.org:

Okay, so this is pretty much the MOST popular blogging platform out there! And if we’re being honest, WordPress.org is our favorite. We recommend WordPress hosting to anyone and everyone that asks where they should get started. 

That being said, we’re mostly working with bloggers that see their blog as a business. So we know that 90% of the time WordPress.org is their best option. Those who are dead serious about making their blog a business should put this platform at the top of their list. 

With 42% of the sites on the internet using WordPress.org, you can see why it’s a reliable choice! It’s an open-source platform that lets you build your blog from a variety of free and premium themes. It’s self-hosted, so you’ll need to sign up with a hosting and domain provider before you start to build your blog. Despite the set-up costs, this is usually the best option for those who are serious about blogging! 

Pros:
  • It has the most possibility for expansion and extra features. Ex. online store, forums, paid memberships, and podcasts. 
  • It’s self-hosted, so you are the full owner of the site and have more monetization options.
  • It lets you download custom plugins and thousands of different themes. 
  • The customization options are almost endless, so you can completely control your aesthetic.
  • Its customization ability makes it search engine friendly if set up properly and allows for easy yet in-depth optimization. 
  • You can embed dynamic content with the drop-in editor. 
  • It’s easy to connect with Google Analytics to track the traffic and performance of your blog. 
Cons:
  • There are no free options. The cheapest you can get your hosting for is about $5 a month, only if the hosting services include a free domain. 
  • You’ll have to go through a learning curve to get familiar with all of the blogging tools it offers. 
  • Most people require a professional programmer to build a WordPress blog and may need programmers on a regular basis to update plugins, fix broken elements of the site, or make design updates.
  • You’re in charge of your backups and site security. 

Pricing: The software is free, but you’ll need to buy a domain and a hosting service. These need to be renewed every twelve months and usually cost about $60-$150 per year. 

WordPress.com:

No, we didn’t get the wrong blogging platform. WordPress.com is the free version of the super-popular WordPress.org! It has about half of the features of its sister blogging platform, but that free service is enough to lure people in. 

It’s simple, less technical, but also less customizable. You don’t need a custom domain or hosting service since this platform does it for you, all for free. The best thing about it is that you can easily upgrade to WordPress.org whenever you’re ready!

Pros: 
  • It’s a completely free service. 
  • No coding or design knowledge needed. 
  • There are hundreds of free and stylish themes to choose from. 
  • No third-party services are needed. You handle everything through the WordPress.com blogging platform. 
Cons:
  • You have to pay to access most of the advanced features.
  • It has an amateurish look compared to its sister blogging platform. 
  • Your domain looks less professional, as it says “wordpress.com” at the end. 
  • The blog isn’t technically yours. 
  • You have no control over the advertising revenue and opportunities. 
  • WordPress can suspend your site at any time without warning.
  • No custom themes, plugins, or HTML editing features. 
  • They have a strict affiliate policy that limits your monetization opportunities. 

Pricing: The basic hosting service is free. Still, you have to pay for premium themes, a custom domain, and advanced features. 

Squarespace:

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for some time, you’re probably familiar with Squarespace. This blogging platform and website builder amassed a huge following in the past couple of years! 

The websites are beautiful and are easily created with a simple drag and drop builder. They have professional templates that look stylish and require no tech skills at all! We actually love Squarespace and enjoy working with Squarespace bloggers. 

We’ve found that Squarespace sites perform quite well from an SEO standpoint. Yes, there are some limitations. But we would say this is our second CMS platform choice behind WordPress.org. So, if you’re less tech savvy and want to DIY your website, Squarespace should be your top choice.

Pros:
  • No coding or design skills required. 
  • The templates are truly stunning and professional. 
  • It has a user-friendly interface.
  • It has good, out of the box SEO optimization abilities.
  • Drag and drop editor with many widgets available. 
  • It’s mobile-optimized from the get-go. 
  • It has a third-party content embedding feature. 
  • An E-Commerce platform is available at an extra cost. 
Cons:
  • It doesn’t have any free plans.
  • No additional SEO plugins or widgets available, they only have what is built by Squarespace.
  • Less design customization, you’re limited to what Squarespace allows.
  • The features are limited to the ones built by Squarespace.
  • The E-Commerce features don’t have Paypal integrations. 

Pricing: There are no free versions of Squarespace, though they offer different plans. Their Personal website plan starts at $12/month, while their Business plan starts at $18/month. Their E-Commerce services are slightly more expensive, starting at $26/month. 

Wix:

Wix is a very popular choice not only for beginner bloggers on a budget, but also for businesses who just want a quick site to put their info out there. It has a drag and drop builder that makes designing a beautiful website much easier than it sounds! 

This cloud-based blogging platform is super user-friendly and requires no learning curve at all. You can have your site up and running in an hour! We personally don’t recommend Wix for bloggers, as there just isn’t enough customization and SEO optimization capability from our perspective.

Pros: 
  • It’s user-friendly and easy to customize using different templates. 
  • The basic service is free. 
  • No coding skills are needed. Just use the simple drag and drop tools. 
  • It has smooth third-party integrations. 
  • The free designs are beautiful and stylish. 
Cons: 
  • The free service has limited features and shows Wix’s banner and ads on your site.
  • If you have a free account, you have no control over advertising money.
  • The free third-party apps are limited. 
  • After you choose a template there’s no going back – you can’t change it. 
  • There’s a lack of options for customization and future expansions. 
  • No access to HTML or custom plugins. 
  • Limited SEO features.

Pricing: The basic plan is free, but it comes with very limited functionalities. A custom domain costs $4.50/month and the premium plans start at $8.50/month up to $24.50/month.  

Blogger:

Blogger is a free blogging platform created by Google. All you need to access it is a Gmail account! Then, you automatically have access to up to 100 Blogger sites. 

It has a simple and non-technical system, which works well with beginners. You can just write, add an image, and hit publish. And it has been around for quite a while! Blogger was created in 1999 and then bought by Google to be transformed into what it is today. 

It’s reliable and extra user-friendly! While Blogger isn’t our favorite, it’s not terrible from an SEO standpoint. You’re just limited as far as functionality goes and in our opinion it’s less user friendly than WordPress.org or Squarespace.

Pros:
  • It’s completely free. 
  • No technical skills or design abilities required. 
  • Its simple publishing process allows for maximum effectiveness. 
  • Since it’s owned by Google, it’s guaranteed to be safe and reliable. 
  • It includes a drag and drop editor with widgets and HTML editing. 
Cons: 
  • The blogging tools are very limited and there’s no way to access new features.
  • There are few stylish templates available and third-party templates are often expensive and low-quality. 
  • Google can cancel the Blogger service at any time and your blog would be gone forever.
  • Your domain says “blogspot.com” unless you pay $10. 

Pricing: It’s a free service. 

LinkedIn:

LinkedIn, the hub for all job hunters and tech-savvy recruiters. There’s no denying the popularity of this blogging platform! Though it’s used more as a social media/networking hub than a blogging site, career or entrepreneur bloggers might find it a nice fit for their needs. It’s also a nice way to drive traffic to your own site! 

We are always advocating for bloggers to own their own platform. So while we like LinkedIn as a content distributor or supplemental content platform, we don’t recommend you make it your blogging home. We also highly recommend you consider your niche, because LinkedIn is definitely more of a professional, hiring, and career oriented space.

Pros:
  • It’s a free blogging platform integrated with your Linkedin account. 
  • User-friendly process. All you need to do is write and hit publish.
  • No coding, design, or technical knowledge is needed. 
  • Great for those in the career/entrepreneurship niches. 
  • LinkedIn hashtags are an efficient way to reach your target audience. 
  • It can help you grow your following, even if your main blog is on another platform.
Cons: 
  • You don’t have a proper blog with a home page, about page, and different categories. 
  • There are no advertising options AKA fewer monetization possibilities. 
  • You don’t own your blog and LinkedIn could take away its articles features at any time. 
  • You can’t build a website that looks stylish and professional. 
  • Unless you’re in a career-related niche, LinkedIn’s built in audience is probably not your target audience.
  • It has minimal SEO functionalities. 

Pricing: This is a free Linkedin feature. 

Medium:

Medium has grown increasingly popular over the past few years. And with good reason! This platform is used by business owners, bloggers, and digital marketers to promote their content and services. It’s less of a place to build your blog and more of a blogging platform to promote your site (and your blog posts) in front of a wide audience. 

If you’re in the coding, UX design, tech, or digital marketing niches you should especially consider Medium as a blogging tool to drive more traffic to your main site! 

Pros: 
  • It’s the perfect social networking site for bloggers.
  • There’s no setup tech or design work required. 
  • It’s a free blogging platform. 
  • There’s a wide community feature and you can easily find an audience. 
  • You can focus all of your energy on writing instead of worrying about coding or design.
Cons: 
  • You have no stylish site for your blog. 
  • There are no customization features whatsoever. 
  • Medium quite literally owns your audience. 
  • If you close your account you lose your blog posts and followers.
  • You can’t use a custom domain. It’s only a username. 
  • There’s no possibility to expand your services.
  • You can’t run ads to start monetizing your blog posts. 

Pricing: Medium is 100% free for its users. 

Tumblr:

So we all know Tumblr, right? This social media platform peaked a few years ago. But it’s still pretty popular with younger audiences these days. The microblogging platform features are basic but super aesthetic and work well with those who enjoy blogging as a hobby. If you’re trying to reach a young audience, especially one into fandoms, Tumblr might be a practical option for you! 

Pros: 
  • It’s a free blogging platform. 
  • Has unlimited storage. 
  • It’s fully integrated with the Tumblr social media platform. 
  • Efficient for reaching younger audiences. 
  • It’s user friendly and easy to set up. You can just focus on your writing instead of worrying about plugins and design templates. 
  • You can easily add blog videos, GIFs, images, and audio formats. 
  • There’s about 1,000 themes to choose from. 
Cons: 
  • There are no possibilities for expanding the functionalities of your blog. 
  • You can only get a Tumblr subdomain, unless you pay a premium price for a custom name. 
  • It’s hard to export from Tumblr to other blogging platforms. 
  • Limited features and customization.
  • No advertising available. 
  • Tumblr owns your blog and it could disappear at any time. 
  • Almost no SEO optimization features.

Pricing: Tumblr is a free microblogging platform and anybody can make an account. You will need to pay a premium fee to buy a custom domain name. 

The Best Blogging Platforms
Which blogging platform is the right one for your blog?

Okay guys, that’s all you need to know before choosing a blogging platform! As you can see, there are a lot of things to consider before taking the plunge and deciding on which platform to build a blog. You need to take all the details into account first! 

Hopefully, this in-depth post on how to choose a blogging platform helped you gain some clarity about your options. If you still have doubts about how to choose a platform to build a website or have any other blogging questions, shoot us a DM on Instagram. You can also reach out to us directly via the contact form at the bottom of our services page. 

We’re always happy to help and answer any questions you might have about creating a supercharged blog that converts. Let’s build your blog together!

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