Every blog needs a foundation. Platforms provide that foundation, and a framework on which to build your blog. They are what you attach both the internal workings and the public exterior. There are a number of platforms, but only some are worth considering.
This section provides a detailed overview (plus reviews from real customers) of self-hosted, freemium, and free blogging platforms available on the web today. With the help of this information, you will be able to find the best option for your needs and understand how to use it.
How to Start a Blog
No worries if you are fish out of water here. Everyone that has a successful blog has been in the exact same boat as you at one point or another.
Follow this guide to learn how to start a blog in less than one hour!
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For only $2.95 per month, you can have your blog setup in less than an hour. You will also receive a free domain name as a bonus.
What are blogging platforms?
Read on to dive deeper into the matter and explore the world of blogging platforms from their early days to their rise to popularity.
A blogging platform is a type of software or service that you use to create a blog so that you can publish your content online. Creating a blog involves several steps, but the first one is choosing a system that will best fit your needs. Without it, you cannot proceed to the other steps, and you cannot start your blogging adventure.
You can safely say that a blogging platform is some CMS (Content Management System) since it enables you to easily manage your content once you have your blog up and running.
How to choose a blogging platform
At this stage, you’ll need to determine the blog management platform/tool you want to use.
Tip 2: The blog setup is called self-hosted because you will use your own web hosting space and name for your blog. We highly recommend Bluehost that powers over 2 million websites worldwide and only for our visitors, they offer a special deal that includes a FREE domain name.
The above choices are our recommended way to setup your new blog. To convince you that you are making the right decision, let us describe all the available option below in more detail. And give you few more additional tips when you are picking the blogging platform.
When it comes to starting your blog you have the following options:
- Self-hosted platforms (recommended)
- Free and freemium platforms
Self-hosted platforms allow you to run a blog on your own domain. Aside from following your domain registrar and web hosting company’s rules, you’re fully in charge of your blog and its contents.
You have number of choices when it comes to a self-hosted blog system (also called Content Management System or CMS).
What do The New Yorker, Boing Boing, the Chicago Bulls, BBC America, Beyonce, Vogue, The Rolling Stones, and thousands of other people have in common? They all made their official blogs with WordPress.org. Launched in 2003, it doesn’t need any introduction except the long list of sites using it today and the fact that it powers around 25% of blogs on the web. Just don’t confuse this open-source CMS and hosted blogging software WordPress.com, and here is the comparison video.
WordPress.org is something you should be familiar with and at least, try it once. There are good reasons it is one of the most popular choices when it comes to managing your blog or site. It has a learning curve and it will take some time to learn it, but that is the cost of having a professional site or blog. Having said that, there is one thing that you won’t get with some of the blogging platforms, and that is 100% ownership of your content. In the long run, it will probably be the biggest benefit than with free hosted solutions.
- Open source and free
- Professional and easily navigable dashboard
- Versatile and customizable
- Thousands of themes and plugins
- Owning your own content
- Versatile and customizable
- Taking care of hosting yourself
- The learning curve for installations
The good news is that WordPress software is open-source and totally free, so there will be no additional costs on that side, even when there are upgrades. Yes, all upgrades are also free, so the only worry you will have is how to install it and for that, you can use our one-click instructions. But you will need to use your own web hosting space and domain name for your blog. This normally costs $4 to $8 per month for the web space (hosting account), depending on the company you choose, and $12 to $15 per year for the name (domain). Your yearly cost for a personal blog will be lower than $100.
Free or freemium platforms
For many new bloggers, the availability of free blogging platforms such as WordPress.com, Blogger, or Tumblr is tempting. The benefits include being free and quick to start. But having a blog name in this form—yourname.wordpress.com or yourname.blogspot.com, is the sign of an inexperienced beginner who likely won’t be taken seriously.
By keeping your blog on a free platform, you let the platform own your name. You’ll be subject to their rules and restrictions, they may limit or prohibit ads on your blog, or they may even place their own ads on your blog. If you’re serious about blogging, we recommend to move away from this option.
If you spent some amount of time on the internet in the last decade then you’ve probably heard the name WordPress. Launched in 2005, WordPress.com (which should not be confused with similar WordPress.org) is a popular freemium blog hosting service. There are over 50 million users on this platform, or at least that many people tried to use it. It’s hard to say how many people are actively using this platform, but it’s definitely a popular choice. But is it all hype?
There are very few things that aren’t in favor of this blogging provider. Handling is easy for everyone no matter how educated in blog hosting they are. Unlike its fraternal twin WordPress.org, this is a hosted service, so you don’t have to worry about downloading and installing a software. However, when it comes to hosted solutions, you don’t always have a 100% control over your blog. If you want to own your content and perhaps cut down some costs, along with a custom domain, perhaps you should look into WordPress.org or other platforms.
- Easy to get started and use
- Hundreds of free theme designs
- Don’t have 100% control over your blog
- Limited options to extend website functionality
- Free plan is quite limiting
WordPress.com is essentially a free blogging provider, but it has some limitations. The free plan gives you a blog that is restricted to yourname.wordpress.com domain with only 3GB of space, and it may show some ads. If you need a blog with a custom domain and you would want to remove those limitations. A premium plan costs $99/year and it will remove ads, give you 13 GB of space, and a custom domain, among other things. A business plan costs $299/year and it will give you unlimited space, e-commerce, and other advanced things. Depending on your needs, a free plan may seem like a good start and playground, but keep in mind all the restrictions.
When it comes to blogging platforms, one of the first providers that will pop in most people’s minds is Blogger. Founded in 1999, it is one of the oldest providers still active. In 2003, it was acquired by Google and that change is still shifting the way users are working with Blogger. Blogger is relatively easy to use. It is completely free and you can somewhat monetize it through ads. Customization options are limited, so in the long run expansion is not welcomed. It’s been present online for over 15 years, so many bloggers are familiar with it, or already have tried it. If you want just a hobby blog, Blogger could be enough for you. If you want your blog to be taken seriously, we would not recommend it. down some costs, along with a custom domain, perhaps you should look into WordPress.org or other platforms.
- Everything is free
- Beginner friendly and easy to use
- Unlimited bandwidth and 100% uptime supported by Google
- A lot of outdated templates
- Limited customizability and lack of plugin diversity
- Rudimentary picture management and lack of spam filtering
- Domain name with .blogspot.com extension (if not setup with custom domain)
Blogger is a free platform and you will automatically get a “yourname.blogspot.com” name for you blog. If you decide to move away from that, you will have to buy your own domain with one of the domain registrar companies like GoDaddy.com or Google domains. It could be easily done with Settings in the left menu. Click Settings > Basic > Publishing and under your current domain, click set up a 3rd party URL for your blog.
Tumblr, or better to say, “Tumbler,” is a media-rich blogging platform. Founded in 2007 as a social network and a (micro)blogging platform, it was acquired by Yahoo in 2013. It has famous active users like Taylor Swift, Grace Helbig and Tyler Oakley. However, when it comes to text-based content, you will have a serious lack of tools. It is a great start if you are a beginner and/or have an artistic side.
- Adjusted to photo and media content
- Free and easy to use
- Social network features to connect with other users
- Not for usage if your content is mostly text based
- No spam or comment filtering
- No easy SEO options and statistics
Free setup comes with yourname.tumblr.com extension. If you want, you can buy and use your own domain. Since Yahoo owns it, your best bet is to buy a domain from Yahoo Domains since there will probably be the least amount of possible complications. They have a guide on how to setup your domain. As an option, you can buy premium themes from $9 to $49, but they are not a necessity. Plugins are free, but unfortunately besides basic things there are not too many plugins.
Blogging Platform Reviews
This section provides a detailed overview of self-hosted, freemium, and free blogging platforms available on the web today. With the help of this information, you will be able to find the best option for your needs and understand how to use it.
WordPress is the most widely used self-hosted content management system (CMS), recommended for blogging.
WordPress.com is the most famous blog hosted platform and one of the fastest way to create a free blog.
Blogger is one of the oldest and reliable blogging platforms on the web. It is owned by Google and developed for beginners.
Tumblr is media oriented free blogging platform with a wide variety of themes that is very popular among younger population.
Medium is a free, open platform for people to read, write and share posts easily online. It is a blogging platform but it’s also a place to read articles on the Internet.
Movable Type excels as a fully integrated, scalable, proven social publishing platform upon which to build highly interactive websites, blogs and social networks.
Typepad is the reliable, flexible blogging platform that puts the publisher in control.
Ghost is a fully open source, hackable platform for building and running a modern online publication.
Svbtle is a writing and reading network designed from the ground up to work the same way your brain does. It helps you think.
Website builders that offer blogging solution
Since blogging became so popular, many website builders started offering blog solutions.
Website builders provide all-in-one solution to build a website or blog. Unlike CMS platforms that have to be installed and configured on your web hosting account, website builders allow you to create websites, blogs and e-commerce stores inside their own platform.
Below, we’re going to look at the most popular website builders: Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly.
Wix is a website builder that can be used to create stunning, professional websites. It also offers solution for bloggers. It features a user friendly Drag n’ Drop Editor, and can be used by anyone, without any knowledge of coding. It’s one of the easiest website builders to use. All you have to do is place elements on your site exactly the way you want them to appear to your site visitors. As a result, you enjoy the benefit of WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) when you create a website with Wix.
- Dozens of templates and third party apps
- Easy drag and drop tools, no coding skills needed
- Quick and easy setup
- Limited features for free account
- Shows ads and Wix branding on free accounts
- You cannot move your site elsewhere or change template
Wix offers free accounts and you can sign up to test their tools without paying a penny. Of course, you will want your website on your own, professional domain. Free sites have names that look like this yourname.wix.com. But opening a free account gives you the opportunity to test what they have and decide if you like it or not. Once you’ve created your website and are happy with the outcome, you can upgrade to one of the plans and establish a custom domain for your website. Wix offers five different plans:
|Most basic||For personal use||For entreprenurs||For small business||Priority support|
Squarespace is one of the most popular all-purpose website builders in the marketplace – and it has only improved since the introduction of Squarespace 7. It is a hosted solution, which means it is easy to setup and customize a fully functional website without getting too involved in how the hosting works. You can also create a beautiful blog to share your passion with the world.
- Easy to use for beginners
- Beautiful professional templates
- Domain name with SSL/HTTPs
- Limited to the features offered by platform
- Limit of 20 pages and 2 contributors for Personal plan
- Limitations to integrate third party services and tools
Squarespace doesn’t offer a free plan, but there’s a 14-day risk-free trial. Users can sign up for to test their website before making a decision. Beyond that, there are three packages:
|$16/month or $144/year||$26/month or $216/year||$30/month or $312/year||$46/month or $480/year|
For existing domain names, you have to configure your domain with Squarespace. This involves editing your DNS records and pointing them to Squarespace servers. You can also buy a new domain with Squarespace and the process is discussed in details here.
Weebly was founded in 2006. For the past nine years, it has continued to grow, month after month, to become one of the top website building platforms in the world. While some people have web design experience, others don’t know the first thing about getting started. And this is where Weebly comes into play.
Weebly is built on the premise that anybody can create a website. It doesn’t matter if you are creating a personal blog, an online store, or a website for your small business, this platform allows you to do so with ease.
- No technical knowledge need it
- Quick and easy setup, with drag and drop functions
- Free plan to test the tool before you buy
- Features are limited to what offered within their ecosystem
- Moving your website to another platform is hard
- Limitations to integrate third party services and tools
You are probably wondering how much it costs. If you only need to test the tool, you can opt for the free version. This gives you unlimited features, free of cost. You will also get an access to a fully integrated eCommerce platform in addition to all the features. Here are 4 plan options that they offer:
Website Builder Reviews
This section provides a detailed overview of 3 most popular website builders used for blogging available on the web today. We analysed the ease of use of each provider and made recommendations based on the user experience. With this information, you will be able to pick the perfect tool.
Wix.com is a leading cloud-based development platform with millions of users worldwide. Their website builder is very popular and easy to use by anyone who wants to create a high-quality free website.
Weebly is a web-hosting service featuring a popular a drag-and-drop website builder which is very simple and sophisticated, and can be used by anyone.
Comparisons of Blogging Platforms and Website Builders
Blogging platforms сomparison chart
We’ve compiled a list of platforms that can serve as viable candidates for your blog creation. Using the listed features and customer feedback as your guides, you’ll be able to select the right tools with greater confidence.
Website builders comparison chart
We’ve compared top 3 web builder services, so that you can decide which one of them can meet your blogging demands. You will be able to find all the relevant information related to these web builder tools like: monthly package cost, free trial period, storage space, bandwidth, mobile editor etc.
Based on our knowledge and on the research we’ve conducted, the best blogging platform out there today is WordPress.org. Keep in mind that this platform is powering 25.4% of all websites in the world and responsible for over 76.5 million blogs.