5 Questions to consider when choosing a blogging platform.
Looking for the best blogging platform?
Lost in a sea of options?
Then congratulations, you just found a great resource to help you navigate those choppy, digital waters.
We’ve researched all of the major blogging platforms that are making waves in 2019 so that you don’t have to.
Enough with the ocean metaphors, let’s dive in (groan!).
5 Questions to consider when choosing a blogging platform.
Now you might be thinking “surely I should just go with WordPress.org and get on with it”?
While WordPress.org is certainly a great choice for a lot of people (indeed, it’s number 1 on our list), there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to blogging platforms.
In 2019, there are lots of great blogging platform options on the market, so it’s definitely worth checking out a few others to make sure you get access to the right features, depending on your needs.
The good news is that by the time you’re done reading this no-nonsense guide, you’ll have found (or at least be one step closer to finding) “the one”.
So what questions should you be asking yourself?
Do I want to monetize?
If you’re looking to monetize, either now or in the future, you need to choose a platform that will allow you to do so with minimum fuss.
How easy do I need the setup process to be?
If you’re super technical, you’ll probably want an open-source platform that offers a lot of advanced options and that will allow you to flex your programming muscles.
How are people going to find my blog?
You certainly don’t want to spend a ton of time and effort creating an awesome blog that no-one can find.
Nobody wants to be on page 9 of the Google search results. That’s why it’s important to check out the SEO (search engine optimisation) tools on offer.
You’ll also want to check the social media integration and email marketing options.
What’s the focus of my blog?
Is your blog going to be incredibly wordy, more image-based or an even mix?
Who is my target audience?
Who you’re targeting (and where they are most likely to be found online) can be a major factor in making your decision.
Are you going to be targeting a micro-niche? If you are looking to use your blog as a means to connect with people who have similar interests, then a blogging platform like Tumblr might be a good fit for you.
Read any of the thousands of articles about wordpress.org and the author will proudly tell you that Worpress.org powers over 30% of all websites on the internet.
I don’t know how many websites that is exactly, but I’m guessing a fair few.
WordPress.org is indeed the most popular blogging platform out there and with good reason.
It manages to successfully balance usability, flexibility and power.
WordPress.org is also self-hosted which means that you will need to sign up with a web-host provider that’s compatible with WordPress.
WordPress.com v’s WordPress.org.
Don’t get confused between wordpress.org and wordPress.com. They both offer blog hosting but the main difference is that .org lets you host your own blog whereas .com takes care of the hosting for you.
The bottom line is that it’s easier to get started with .com but you have far less freedom than you do with .org. You can not easily monetize your blog with wordpress.com and your site will have wordpress branding.
- Complete control over your site and blog.
- Plenty of room for growth and monetisation (you can easily add extra features like an online store or a forum).
- Creative freedom – Customisation options are endless (especially if you know how to code).
- Access to great SEO tools and social media integration plugins (there are currently around 54,000 free plugins to choose from).
- Data analytics – WordPress.org offers plenty of graphs and charts to help monitor your blogs performance.
- Steep learning curve. You need a bit of technical know how to really fly.
- They don’t take care of everything. You’ll have to manage your own plugins, domains, hosting backups and security.
- It’s not completely free. You’ll have to fork out for a domain name and web-hosting.
Constant contact website builder.
Constant Contact’s web builder is powered by A.I. which gives it major cool points, obviously.
With CC, you can create a blog, a business site or an online store in less time than it takes to do a workout class.
And if that’s not fast enough for you, you can synch CC up to your Facebook page and the A.I. software will make suggestions based on your page and pull content across.
Whether you choose to sync up FB or not, they have a wide variety of templates to choose from and you can use the user friendly drag and drop interface to fully customise your blog.
Need a logo? No problem, just use their handy (free) logo maker. They also have over half a million stock photos for you to use.
- Beginner friendly. – Super easy to use and navigate with no technical skills needed.
- Simple and fast set-up. The A.I makes things really quick and easy and time is saved as hosting is included.
- You can get a free plan. The free option is quite generous, though it is somewhat limited.
- Data analytics is included. You can access crucial analytics to help you grow.
- Caters for e-commerce. Try building your online store before you buy.
- Domain and ssl is thrown in free if you opt for any of their paid plans.
- Not as many features. There is certainly a lack of third party plugins compared to competitors like WordPress.
- Lack of integration options. Choices for integration with 3rd party platforms are limited.
- Migrating is difficult. Moving over to a different provider can be a bit of a headache.
- You might have to upgrade. It’s 10 dollars per month to connect your domain name to your site.
There are currently over 470 million blogs on Tumblr.
Tumblr is extremely popular amongst microbloggers who are building their empire on their smartphones.
If you want a couldn’t-be-easier to use platform where you can share clickable short form image based content (like gifs, memes and polls) regularly then you should probably make Tumblr your blog’s new home.
This platform has a playful and youthful feel and market, great if your trying to target a demographic within that arena.
Tumbler is free, but there are also plenty of awesome paid templates available.
While Tumblr is great for connecting via social media, it’s not so great for social media marketing, and monetization isn’t an option.
- Quick and easy to upload and share content.
- Mobile friendly. Tumblr is the best platform to use on a smartphone.
- Cost. Tumbler won’t cost you anything unless you upgrade to a paid template.
- Good social media integration.
- Great for reaching younger demographics. 46% of Tumblr users are between the ages of 16-24.
- Not suitable for publishing longer content.
- It’s difficult to backup your blog.
- No room for growth and marketing. Tumblr simply doesn’t have the features or the infrastructure needed for this.
- You can’t monetise. That’s a pretty big negative for some.
- SEO can be tricky. Publishing only short form content can have negative effects on SEO which must be handled.
They offer great customisation options, plenty of free blog templates, and a wide range of social media integration options.
Everything is done via drag and drop, so it’s pretty easy and enjoyable to create your blog.
There are SEO, as well as social sharing tools at your disposal. So it’s easy to improve your rankings and to schedule content.
There are also options for integrating a store front.
- Quick and easy set-up – perfect for beginners.
- Free plan. As long as you don’t mind having a Weebly subdomain.
- Free SSL. Security is free no matter which package you choose.
- Great blogging features such as comment management and scheduled sharing tools.
- Good email integration. It’s easy to start and grow your email list.
- Migration to another platform is difficult. It’s a real headache to switch providers.
- Not as many compatible 3rd party solutions. As with Constant Contact, there are fewer options when it comes to 3rd party plugins and integrations.
- Limitations and lack of flexibility. The tools for creating a website are pretty limited.
- It will cost you $4 a month to use a custom domain.
Squarespace is an easy-to-use website and blog builder that requires little to no technical skill in order to create an awesome blog.
If aesthetics are of the utmost importance and you truly want to create a thing of beauty, Squarespace might be the right fit for you.
Their templates are a designer’s paradise and some have even won awards. They are also integration options with the likes of Getty Images, Unsplash and Google AMP.
There are quite a few pleasing templates to choose from and each one has hundreds of customizable options so you don’t need to worry about your website looking too generic.
If you opt for the annual subscription, Squarespace will waive the domain name registration fee, which is a nice little perk.
Squarespace also caters well to those who want to collaborate. Whether you are working with multiple writers, designers or content creators, Squarespace has got you covered.
You can also integrate easily with multiple social accounts, making it easier to manage your blog post comments.
With Squarespace, you’ll have access to some pretty good marketing tools too. Lead generation, email marketing, SEO and analytics tools all make life a little easier and help you grow.
- It’s a nice platform to use. You’ll find that creating your blog on Squarespace is both easy and fun.
- The results are stunning. The quality is high and the Designs are top-notch.
- Creative freedom. Like tons of it. If you’re the creative type, you’ll be like a kid in a sweet shop.
- You can customise without having to code.
- Not the easiest of the easy blog platforms. Squarespace is easy-ish. If you like or need to keep it super simple, there are easier options like Weebly and Wix though.
- Good, but not cheap. Plans are more expensive than Weebly, Wix and WordPress.
Launched way back in 1999, Blogger is Google’s offering to the blogging world and it’s one of the longest running blogging platforms.
Blogger is not only quick and easy to use but it’s also absolutely free.
Plus, since it’s owned by Google you can take advantage of integration options with other Google products, most notably Google analytics and Adsense.
All Blogger blogs are hosted by Google (although you can opt to pay for a custom domain) and all you need to get started is a Google account.
Who doesn’t have one of those?
If you’re not too technical and you love to share content quickly and easily, Blogger might just be the platform you’ve been looking for.
Let’s take a look and the pros and cons.
- Cost. It’s totally free.
- Simplicity. Super easy for even the least tech-savvy user to get started.
- Google owned. The Google name brings with it reliability and quality.
- Excellent integration options. It’s easy to run Google Adsense (a great direct source of revenue) and Google analytics.
- Limited resources. In order to achieve simplicity, only the most basic and essential tools are offered.
- Design options are few. If image is everything to you, you’re going to want to look elsewhere.
- No room for growth. You can’t add new features, which is why many people start their blog on Blogger but then later migrate.
- Support is a little lacking. There’s a forum and a help centre but that’s it.
- No regular updates. Shockingly, Blogger is not updated regularly enough, which has caused some people to speculate that it might get shut down!
- Transition is difficult. If you decide to move to another platform, you may have a few issues to sort out.
Ghost is a no frills, open source minimalist blogging platform that focuses solely on written content.
The company positions itself as a modern and simplistic alternative to WordPress.
Ghost is a great choice for professionals. If you like simple, clean designs and a user-friendly interface that doesn’t distract, then this platform may be for you.
Many journalists and magazines use the platform to power their blogs because Ghost is both user focussed and elegantly designed.
It’s not the cheapest option on the market, so it might not be the best fit for those who are just starting out or who are on a tight budget (although there is an option to self host and download for free).
Ghost comes with built in SEO features and social sharing options. So you don’t need to worry about adding additional plugins. You also get SSL and access to over 1000 third party services.
- Speed. Ghost blogs are among the fastest on the net – this is great for SEO as load time is a key factor in improving your ranking.
- Simplicity. Ghost gets the trophy for simplicity in both design and ease of use.
- SEO comes as standard. You’ll get lots of goodies like canonical tags, meta data, AMP pages and XML sitemaps to help you keep Google happy.
- Social integration is included. No need to install a plugin to get those oh so important social media share buttons.
- It’s hard to customise with apps. Unfortunately Ghost doesn’t support plugins.
- Not enough themes. The number of themes is fairly limited compared to competitors.
- You can’t take full control of your site (unless you know how to code).
- Cost. Packages start at $29 per month.
Wix has great reviews.
It’s a versatile platform with a wide range of templates to choose from – meaning that everyone should find something that works for their blog type and business.
Wix allows you to create any kind of site, including e-commerce, so monetisation is definitely an option.
You can write, edit and organise your posts on mobile, or desktop, which is very convenient.
You can also easily access stock images and video, or add your own custom content to your blog posts.
With Wix, you’ll have access to SEO tools to help boost your organic reach, as well as email and social media integration.
You’ll also have access to a nifty analytics tool.
Everything is drag and drop so it’s easy to get set-up and you don’t need any technical knowledge to get going.
- Good customization options. Lots of templates and decent 3rd party apps to choose from.
- Quick and easy set up. Just drag and drop – no technical skill required.
- Optimised for mobile. – your blog will not only look good across a range of devices, but you’ll be able to manage content from your smartphone.
- Room to grow. Because Wix supports e-commerce sites, there’s plenty of room for growth and monetisation.
- SEO and social media integration. – There are some good tools to help you improve ranking and extend your reach.
- Wix branded. The free package will show Wix branding on your site as well as adds (you have to upgrade to get rid of them).
- Apps might cost you. While there are lots of options, free third party apps are limited.
- No freedom to change templates. Once you select a template – you’re stuck with it.
- No free e-commerce features. You will have to pay for a plan to access a limited number of e-commerce features.
- Very limiting for techies. It’s easy to get frustrated with the lack of technical options.
Do you want your blog to be taken seriously?
If the answer is yes, you might like Medium.
Medium is home to a large community of writers, journalists and expert bloggers.
It’s a great place to establish yourself as an expert in your field as well as to connect with like-minded professionals.
Medium is a bit like a social media site. You set up an account and get straight to publishing. You can also follow other people’s posts and leave comments.
With Medium its super easy to take content from anywhere online and share it directly with your followers.
The only drawback is that you can’t use your own domain so your blog address will look like this: name.https://medium.com/@yourname.
- It’s 100% free. There are no paid plans.
- Easy to set up and to use. – No technical skills required.
- You can connect with people in your field.
- You don’t have to worry about design. You can just get on with writing.
- There’s a reporting tool that can help you to improve your engagement.
- It’s not a place to build a brand. Options are very limited when it comes to design and features.
- Your followers are not your own. If you lose your blog, you lose your followers too.
- You can’t monetise. Running your own ads is not allowed.
I hope that this article has helped you to find the right blogging platform for you.