Are you planning to start a blog but not sure which blogging site to use?
You are not alone. In fact, the most common question I get asked is – What is the best blogging platform for beginners? When I started blogging in 2010, I wondered the same thing.
In this guide, I’ll share with you all of the available options. I will also give you recommendations based on my hands-on experience working with blogs for the last eight years. Also, our team has done several surveys and collected blogosphere stats to find the most popular free blogging sites (and premium) on the web and I’ll tell you all about those too.
Whether you want to blog as a hobby or to promote your business, finding the right tool is imperative for your blog’s success. Several best blog sites offer a range of capabilities – and one is bound to suit your needs.
|WordPress.org – The best open-source platform built for serious bloggers.||Get started
|WordPress.com – The best freemium platform for beginners to test WordPress CMS.||Try it for
|Wix.com – The best blog website builder for beginners with a free demo.||Try it for
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If you are a beginner, you will want a tool that is easy to set up and requires no coding skills. It’s essential to choose a flexible software that provides you room to grow and also gives you options to make money. I’ll explain what each blogging software has to offer, by highlighting their key features and showing their pricing plans.
The 10 best blogging sites and platforms
Let’s take a look at some of the best blog sites available on the web today and how they compare against each other.
- WordPress.org – Best platform for serious bloggers
- WordPress.com – Best free blogging platform
- Blogger.com – Publishing platform by Google
- Wix.com – Best blog builder for beginners
- Weebly.com – Plain drag and drop builder functions
- Medium.com – Simple platform for writing
- Typepad.com – Best for businesses and journalists
- Tumblr.com – Best microblogging site
- Postach.io – Blogging powered by Evernote
- Ghost.org – Best WordPress alternative
1. WordPress.org – Best platform for serious bloggers
WordPress.org is a free software that combines simplicity with powerful features.
We used this CMS (content management system) to build FirstSiteGuide.com and also recommend it as a preferred software for all serious bloggers in our How to start a blog guide.
This tool enables you to start a blog website from scratch in a matter of minutes.
Many popular bloggers (Tim Ferriss, John Lee Dumas, Pat Flynn, and more) use this platform to create highly functional and profitable blogs. It is easy to set up – all you need to do is select a reliable web hosting provider, install WordPress software, and explore the wealth of features that come with it. You get to create your blog just the way you want to, by using pre-designed free themes. There are templates that you can pick based on your preferred layout, look and feel, and color scheme.
WordPress also comes with a powerful administration area (Dashboard) for maintenance, easy content publishing, and an overview of what’s happening on your blog.
WordPress.org has a large community of experts who provide tutorials that help newbies. Here, at FirstSiteGuide, we also cover various WordPress topics. You can check out our Learn WordPress section to level up your skills and understand the best practices.
- Reliable and secure – keeps data safe from malware.
- Mobile-responsive websites and blogs – pick from many mobile-friendly themes.
- Free themes – select a customized theme from hundreds of options in the theme directory.
- More than 55,000 plugins – access plugin directory to find ways to enhance your site.
- Search engine optimization tools – install SEO plugins that help you rank high in search engines.
- Simple publishing process – create content, integrate media, and make it live with a single click.
Plans and pricing
Open-sourced tool. Your expenses will be a domain name and web hosting services of your choice.
Tip: To set up your own WordPress.org blog, you will need a web hosting space and a domain name. For new bloggers, we recommend Bluehost, a company that powers over 2 million websites worldwide. This option is our recommended way to start blogging. I was able to negotiate a special deal only for my visitors, that includes:
- Free domain name
- 30-day money-back guarantee period
- Discount price of $2.75 per month
Read more: The Best Web Hosting Services 2020
2. WordPress.com – Best free blogging platform
WordPress.com is a hosted version of the open-source software WordPress.org. It is a commercial project that offers a free plan option with upgrades for premium plans and custom domains. According to our survey, it’s one of the most popular hosted blogging platforms out there. If you are an absolute beginner with no coding skills or technical knowledge, but you want to build your blogging site, WordPress.com is the perfect place for you. I recommend this software to all new bloggers as a good starting point.
Read more: How to Set Up a Blog with WordPress.com
The online publishing software is free to use (but your domain name will be formed as a subdomain and look like this – yourblogname.wordpress.com), and you can test it out after you create an account on WordPress.com. This gives you a unique opportunity to try software and blog for free before you decide to upgrade for premium plans. With the upgrade, you will be able to set up a domain and use the advanced features.
The software often rolls out new features and updates to continually enhance user experience.
- Custom domains – free domain for one year, available for paid plans on WordPress.com.
- Get traffic stats – determine what your visitors find engaging.
- Create media galleries – integrate images and videos with the drag & drop option.
- Social media integration – share your posts on social platforms automatically.
- Comprehensive SEO tools – help your readers find you easily.
- Variety of personalized themes – with new themes being added every week.
- Mobile-responsive blog sites – select from several mobile-responsive themes.
Plans and pricing
WordPress.com comes with the following plans – Free, Personal, Premium, Business, and eCommerce:
Free of charge, use with limited features and subdomain only.
$4.00 per month (1 year plan billed as one payment of $48.00).
Comes with a domain name, and access to email and live chat support.
$8.00 per month (1 year plan billed as one payment of $96.00).
Comes with advanced design tools, custom CSS, and Google Analytics support.
$25.00 per month (1 year plan billed as one payment of $300.00).
Power your small business website with custom plugins and themes, 200GB space storage, and 24/7 live chat.
$45.00 per month (1 year plan billed as one payment of $540.00).
Best for online stores, powerful and flexible plan that lets you grow easily.
3. Blogger.com – Publishing platform by Google
Blogger is one of the best free blogging solutions that offers a secure and reliable way to create your blog.
This hosted blog platform was launched in 1999 and later acquired by Google. You don’t need a hosting provider to start using it. All you need to do is log in using a Google account – you’ll be asked to follow the simple guidelines provided on the Blogger to make a blog for free. There’s no need for technical knowledge or coding experience as the site is quite intuitive in design and setup. It remains a widely used solution; however, I see more people moving away from it. The good news is that it’s free, and you can test it without any commitment.
- Free or custom domain – free subdomain via blogspot.com or buy your own domain name.
- Easy to use templates – focus on design of your blog using flexible layouts and background images.
- Featured ads – monetize by integrating with Google AdSense.
- Analytics – assess your blog’s traffic and see the content getting the most visits.
- Secure storage – store your media files with Google.
Plans and pricing
You can connect a custom domain to your blog, by buying and setting it up.
4. Wix.com – Best blog builder for beginners
Recently, they’ve been tapping into a blogging vertical with a specific blog builder offer. You don’t need any prior coding experience or web development expertise to build a website or blog with Wix.
It’s simple to control and maintain blog sites with Wix. You can select a pre-made theme from their resources or customize an existing one according to your taste. In addition to stunning templates, Wix packs the power of these amazing features.
- Customizable templates – select a prototype and personalize it according to your blog’s theme.
- Mobile-responsive – mobile editor makes blogs mobile-friendly.
- SEO Optimization – create a personalized SEO plan to rank your blog.
- Freedom to design – drag and drop editor to customize any part of the blog.
- Third-party integrations – integrate apps without coding skills.
- Comprehensive site builder – building and maintenance needs in one place.
Plans and pricing
Wix blog builder comes with eight different plans – Free, Connect Domain, Combo, Unlimited, VIP, and Business &eCommerce (Basic, Unlimited, and VIP) plans:
With this plan, you can use wix.com subdomain, plus Wix ads displayed.
$4.50 per month (1 year plan billed as one payment of $54.00).
With this plan, you can connect your custom domain, but Wix brand ads will be displayed.
$8.50 per month (1 year plan billed as one payment of $102.00).
This plan comes with a free domain and Wix ads will be removed.
$12.50 per month (1 year plan billed as one payment of $150.00).
This plan comes with unlimited bandwidth and increases storage.
$24.50 per month (1 year plan billed as one payment of $294.00).
This plan comes with all the features as the Unlimited, plus get VIP support.
More plans for business and eCommerce
$17.00 per month (1 year plan billed as one payment of $204.00).
You can accept online payments and have 20GB storage.
$25.00 per month (1 year plan billed as one payment of $300.00).
You get increased storage and pro eCommerce features to grow your store.
$35.00 per month (1 year plan billed as one payment of $420.00).
You get the full suite, priority response with VIP support and 50GB storage.
5. Weebly.com – Plain drag and drop builder functions
Weebly is a simple yet powerful website builder with a blog set up option available via an easy drag and drop editor.
In 2018 Weebly was acquired by Square, a mobile payment company. This change is a sign that their focus is mainly around websites, particularly eCommerce and small business sites. However, the platform offers blogging services, and anyone can try it for free.
Weebly gives you complete freedom to build your blog using beautiful themes with builder functionality. There’s also a free built-in hosting provider that ensures fast loading time for your website.
All in all, this platform gives the right tools that work in combination with powerful features to create a blog in minutes.
- Drag and drop website builder – create your blog with powerful tools.
- Media management – gather images and create your galleries.
- Free personalized templates – alterable professionally designed templates.
- Search engine optimization – SEO tools to rank your website.
- App collection – multiple apps and third-party integrations that add functionality.
- Social media sharing – RSS integration to share content on social networks.
Plans and pricing
Weebly service is available in the following plans – Free, Connect, Pro, and Business:
Use it for free with Weebly subdomain and branding.
$5.00 per month (1 year plan billed as one payment of $60.00).
$12.00 per month (1 year plan billed as one payment of $144.00).
$25.00 per month (1 year plan billed as one payment of $300.00).
6. Medium.com – Simple platform for writing
Medium is different from the rest of the free blogging sites. It offers a no-frills approach to content publishing as it allows bloggers to write what they are passionate about without having to worry about coding, design, domain, or other issues.
I wouldn’t use Medium as a primary blogging outlet. You can use it as an additional channel to share your content; for example, you can repurpose content from your blog and post it on Medium. That’s how most professional bloggers use it.
You can post stories for the vast community of readers that visit Medium and get appreciation and feedback from them. It is also possible to connect with avid readers who are willing to pay for quality content through the Medium Partner Program. This way, you can monetize your blog posts while sharing your ideas and opinions with the world.
To start blogging with Medium, sign up, and share your content with the editorial team who analyze them according to their standards. If you create quality content that follows their guidelines you can start earning money by attracting subscribers.
- Vast audience – convert millions of site readers into your subscribers.
- A free app – access Medium on your mobile devices from anywhere.
- Monetization – earn money when someone reads your content.
- Social media integration – share your content on social networks.
- Media embeds – integrate various forms of media files.
Plans and pricing
Medium started as a free solution for publishers but recently started to offer membership subscriptions.
You can post your own stories. Plus, you get access to unlimited public stories and 3 per month exclusive stories.
$5.00 per month (or $50.00 per year)
With the membership, you can subscribe for unlimited access to the smartest writers and biggest ideas on Medium.
7. TypePad.com – Best for businesses and journalists
TypePad is a blogging service that was launched in 2003. It has a simple user-friendly interface and offers exceptional customer support.
I don’t know of many successful blogs that are running on this platform. However, one that comes to mind is a blog by Seth Godin. Seth used to run it with the subdomain sethgodin.typepad.com (archive link) but some time ago changed it to the custom domain seths.blog.
TypePad offers various design tools that breathe life into your blogs so that you can captivate your readers visually. It’s your choice to monetize with ads and services or not. Additionally, you don’t need to worry about any technicalities with this software as it is fully hosted.
- Flexible publishing – write and publish from any device.
- Google Analytics integration – analyze your audience engagement.
- Theme builder – build your site’s theme from scratch.
- Stunning templates – select beautiful themes and make them even better with design tools.
- Built-in tools – get noticed through social networks and search engine rankings.
Plans and pricing
TypePad service comes with a free to use period and four different plans – Plus, Unlimited, Premium, and Enterprise:
Note: When I last checked their site (on July 27th, 2020), I saw a popup message – “Typepad is currently not accepting new signups. New customers are encouraged to check out our partner, Bluehost.”
Use the service with a 14-day trial period.
$8.95 per month (billed month to month).
$14.95 per month (billed month to month).
$29.95 per month (billed month to month).
$49.95 per month (billed month to month).
8. Tumblr.com – Best microblogging site
Founded in 2007, Tumblr is a microblogging website and social media joined together. Tumblr’s main focus is on multimedia and short-form content. If you are a writer and planning to write longer-form content, I wouldn’t recommend starting with Tumblr. It’s often used as a social network website because you can integrate a variety of media files such as photos, videos, and audio files You can also embellish your blog with GIFS, stickers, and some text. Users have the option of designing their Tumblr page with customizable themes, fonts, layouts, and many other design options.
Tumblr is ideal for bloggers who have a heightened focus on visual content. It is a global site that is visited by millions of people every day who repost their favorite blog posts and initiate conversations.
- Custom domains – choose a domain name composed of 64 characters or less.
- Export tool – gathers your content in a ZIP file to export.
- Password-protection – blogs can only be viewed through the correct password.
- Customized themes – the ability to personalize anything you set your eyes on.
- Social media integration – share your Tumblr posts on social platforms.
Plans and pricing
You get to use this system as a free blog with subdomain, i.e., yourblogname.tumblr.com. If you wish to, you can connect your own custom domain.
9. Postach.io – Blogging powered by Evernote
Postach.io is a blogging platform powered by Evernote, and it enables you to convert your notes into blogs.
To sign up with Postach.io, you need to register a new account, or use an existing Evernote account. You’ll need to install Evernote and then integrate it with Postach.io to connect your notes. It is a convenient way to enter the blogosphere. Users are able to use the dashboard to personalize their blogging website according to their taste and write blogs on the go with Evernote.
You can set up a free blog with this software, but if you want a custom domain, subscribe to a paid package. Postach.io also offers a collection of free and premium themes to help you create a visually appealing blog.
- Add images – insert pictures to engage your readers.
- Evernote sync – integrate notebooks with Postach.io.
- Site editor – customize your blog site through a robust dashboard.
- Custom domains – optimize your site with a paid custom domain.
- Visual content – insert a logo or avatar to personalize your blog.
Plans and pricing
Postach.io available in four plans:
Create a free blog no credit card required.
1-5 sites plan
$5.00 per month, month-to-month (or $50.00 per year)
6-20 sites plan
$15.00 per month, month-to-month (or $150.00 per year).
21-50 sites plan
$25.00 per month, month-to-month (or $250.00 per year).
10. Ghost.org – Best WordPress alternative
Ghost is an open-source blogging platform meant for journalists, editors, and writers. The product was launched in 2013 through a successful Kickstarter campaign.
You can be in control of the design of your blog and the kind of experience you want to create for your readers. There are absolutely no rules when it comes to this tool – no limits on customizations or social media restrictions. Sign up to get started and publish your content for a vast audience as you target readers through email newsletters and monetize your written pieces through Ghost’s premium plans.
You can benefit from a collection of publishing tools perfect for professionals who want complete control over their site. These tools allow you to code and add functionality to your blog using modern technology.
Also, Ghost is fully managed through state-of-the-art cloud management technology and offers comprehensive developer control.
- Site editor – create and embed exciting media files and content.
- Content management – complete control over the content.
- Posts scheduling – create an editorial calendar to stay ahead of time.
- Powerful SEO tools – comprehensive SEO features for high rankings.
- Simple templates – use Handlebars stunning templates to build your blog.
- Automatic backups – never lose data with off-site location backups.
Plans and pricing
You can start using the platform for free and select one of the three paid plans after:
Get a 14-day trial period.
$29.00 per month (1 year plan billed as one payment of $348.00).
$79.00 per month (1 year plan billed as one payment of $948.00).
$199.00 per month (1 year plan billed as one payment of $2388.00).
A quick guide to selecting the right blogging platform
Now that you know about all of the options available to you, it’s time to finalize the perfect blog management tool for your needs.
Assess your options against the following checklist:
- Value for your money – Ensure that your chosen service is going to deliver precisely what you need. This means easy-to-use blog software, with all of the bells and the whistles you need for success.
- Types of solutions available – Explore the different solutions that are designed to support you, the blogger. Use these to build a truly unique blog. Options typically include free blog sites, self-hosted, and premium blog builders.
- Ease of use – Some platforms offer quite the learning curve that can discourage new bloggers. You need a simple building tool that doesn’t require any technical skills, design, or marketing expertise.
- Features – You might not need all of the features at the start, but make sure that your best blog platform lets you customize or modify your website if needed.
- Blog management – If needed, you’ll have to access the back-end or admin area to update your blog, make any changes, and fix the layout. It is crucial to make sure that this area is available, manageable, and easy-to-navigate.
- Rules and restrictions – Before you pay for a software, read through the ‘Terms of Usage’ so that you can be sure that you aren’t breaking any rules with the way that you’ll be using it.
This information should be sufficient for you to research and locate the best software for your needs.
As one of the most widely used best blogging platforms and self-hosted CMS, WordPress.org is recommended by a majority of blogging experts. This system has emerged as the clear winner for professionals because:
- It takes care of all tasks related to setting up and sustaining your blog.
- The integrated dashboard can make and finalize updates with a click.
- It offers comprehensive customizations and support for blog design and functionality.
While WordPress.org is our top recommendation, if you are wondering about how to set up your new blog, there are several other options as well.
For example, you can consider the following blog sites:
- Free blogging sites (hosted): If you opt for this option, your blog’s address will look like this: blogname.bloghost.com. The most significant advantage is that it’s free, but the shortcoming is that you’ll have to follow their rules. Besides, a name with a subdomain can make you look like an amateur.
- Freemium/premium options: If you become interested in a freemium/premium solution, you can experience it in all its glory during a free period. If you like it and choose to continue using it, you’ll have to start paying (up to $30 per month).
- Self-hosted blogs: Select this option if you want to host your blog site on your domain and name it however you want. You’ll have to follow some rules set in place by your domain registrar and hosting company, but other than that, you are your own boss. You’ll be fully responsible for the site and its contents. The Self-Hosted CMS is free as well.
- Website builders: These tools let you create simple blogs thanks to their drag-and-drop interface. Take advantage of the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) facilities when you use site builders.
How WordPress compares to other websites for blogging
As explained earlier, WordPress is the absolute best in its class. WordPress is actually home to 37% of websites on the internet, proof that its self-hosted version is very popular.
I’ve already written another guide wherein I compare WordPress with other leading CMS’ so we won’t go into those details here. If you’d like to read these in-depth comparisons, here are the links:
These other platforms have their own unique audience as well because they are great for beginners who want to make a blog. But if you want a solid foundation for your blog, nothing beats the self hosted WordPress.
Migrating your blog across platforms
If you’ve already started your blog with another platform, but then decided to move to WordPress, it is possible to do without any downtime. The ‘Import Tool’ with WordPress takes care of it for you.
Go to the WordPress Dashboard and head to the Tools section. Here you’ll find these options to help you import from other solutions:
- Blogger – import posts, comments, and users from a Blogger blog. Read our step by step guide on How To Move Your Blog From Blogger To WordPress.
- WordPress.com – import posts, pages, comments, custom fields, categories, and tags from a WordPress export file. Read our step by step guide on How To Move Your Blog From WordPress.com To WordPress.org.
- Tumblr – import posts and media from Tumblr. Read our step by step guide on How To Move Your Blog From Tumblr To WordPress.
- Wix – import posts and media from Wix. Read our step by step guide on How To Move Your Blog From Wix To WordPress.
- Weebly – import posts and media from Weebly. Read our step by step guide on How To Move Your Blog From Weebly To WordPress.
- SquareSpace – import posts and media from SquareSpace. Read our step by step guide on How To Move Your Blog From SquareSpace To WordPress.
- LiveJournal – import posts from LiveJournal. Read our step by step guide on How To Move Your Blog From LiveJournal To WordPress.
- Movable Type and TypePad – import posts and comments from a Movable Type or TypePad blog. Read our step by step guide on How To Move Your Blog From Movable Type And TypePad To WordPress.
It is important to remember that WordPress plugins offer other import options as well – try searching the official plugins repository for an importer tool that works for you.
What is a blogging platform?
A blogging platform is a service that’s used to create and manage a blog so that you can publish your ideas and words online. Choosing a blogging platform is the very first step towards blogging, and without it, you cannot start blogging at all.
Blog sites are also sometimes known as CMS (Content Management System) since they let you efficiently manage content publishing.
How can I create a blog for free?
You can quickly launch a free blog on WordPress or any other free blogging sites I mentioned in this article.
But if you decide to step up your blogging game and go further, I recommend a self-hosted version of WordPress. With WordPress.org you can build a website in under 10 minutes if you are ok with the default settings, and you find a theme you like.
What does “self-hosted” mean?
Self-hosted WordPress is the usual combination you are going to hear. This means that you, as a user, have to take care of your site. You have to find a place on the internet where you will store all the files and databases that are used for running a blog. Usually, this means paying for a hosting service that will take care of the server, store your files, and make sure that the website is always accessible.
What hosting service should I get?
If WordPress.org was your choice among all the others, I suggest choosing Bluehost as your hosting provider. They’re one of the rare hosting services recommended by WordPress itself; Bluehost is reliable and not as expensive as some competitors.
Do I need to know to code when creating a blog?
No. Whether you want to start with simple sites like Tumblr or want to blog on WordPress, you don’t have to know anything about programming languages or databases. Most of the available blogging platforms in the modern world let you build websites through their drag & drop builders. That means that you can sit, relax, and focus on the design.
But if you decide to improve and start a more serious online project that requires something unique, it would be good to know a thing or two about coding. However, even in this case, you can always hire an expert in the field to code something for you.
Can I earn money with free blogs?
Yes, even with a free blog, you can earn money with it. There are different ways of monetization (like showing ads, joining affiliate programs, or accepting sponsored content). However, to make money, you will first have to invest time (and usually money) into it. This is something all popular blogs and the best blog sites have had to do. I have previously written about how to make money blogging, where you can learn more.
Is it possible to move a blog from one place to another?
In most cases, yes, that is possible. Truthfully, choosing the best software at the very beginning is hard. People usually have to work with one blogging platform for at least a few until they realize what they actually need.
What should I write about?
Also, once you’ve decided on your niche, you still have to listen to your audience. Write about something you like, but also about something that people will be interested in. You can browse the web to see what others in the same niche are writing about, what people are commenting about, and what they like on social networks. Here are a few ideas you should take into consideration.
The best way to find the right solution for your needs is to understand how free blogging sites and self-hosted WordPress function. Also, your choice will depend on your budget, customization abilities, and ease of use of each software.
Through this guide, we have informed you of all the features and pricing range of the best blog sites. And now you know how to get started with each of them.
So which one will you choose?