As a new blogger, it doesn’t take long to get overwhelmed by the many choices and decisions you have to make when you first start your blog.
Some blogging platforms may be cheaper, but that doesn’t mean they are the best for monetizing your website.
That’s why we are now going to compare blogging platforms. Hopefully, this article will help give you a better grasp of all options on the table, so that you can make a more informed decision.
First, let’s talk about what a blog platform is and specifically, how it differs from blog hosting (because you need both).
What is a blogging platform?
Well, let’s start with the basics of how websites operate.
A blogging platform serves as the foundation of your website.
It carries pre-coded templates that allow you to create and customize your website without writing a single line of code.
What is blog hosting?
All blogs and websites need to be hosted by a server to actually put your blog online.
Blog hosting companies own tons of these servers. Their main job is to make sure that your blog is online and that people can get access to it.
My #1 recommendation for blog hosting for beginners is Bluehost.
You may be wondering why should pay for blog hosting (even though it’s just a couple of bucks a month) when there are free options.
Simply because there are many limitations that come with free blog hosting:
- Ability to make money with ads
- Ownership of your URL name
- Access to plugins
- Customization Options
- Storage space
- Access to premium themes
- And more…
The biggest problem I have with free blog hosting options is how it impacts your ability to monetize your blog.
Unless you are absolutely certain you do NOT want any extra income as your blog grows, you do want to get real blog hosting. (It can be tedious to switch from one to another – so do get it right the first time!)
The 4 best blogging platforms to make money
With the above in mind, we’re going to go over the best and most popular blogging platforms.
WordPress is the #1 most widely used blogging platform in the world!
There is a free version of WordPress and a paid version of WordPress. The free version has the same limitations I described above.
The rest of this section will be about WordPress.org (the self-hosted, paid version) that comes with a lot of extra features you can use to monetize your site.
One great thing about WordPress is that you get access to hundreds of plugins, many free of charge, that enable you to personalize your blog with unique features. All without writing any code.
For example, if you want to sell stuff on your blog, you can simply install the WooCommerce shopping cart plugin – absolutely free!
Other blogging platforms are no longer as frequently used, so they have fewer plugins, themes, and different customizations to pick from. Even if they do, these additional options typically require extra costs.
- Tons of ready-made design templates that are customizable as well
- Access to heaps of plugins and ways to personalize your blog
- Most hosting providers are optimized for WordPress and include 1-click installations
- Easy integration with other software and plugins
- Slightly more of a learning curve than other platforms
- You need to handle security and backups – though you can always ask your hosting provider for help
Price: As low as $2.75/month, however, depends on which blog host that you use
Bottom line: You will have a lot of extra tools to pick from if you choose WordPress.
Our recommendation: Pair WordPress with a web hosting plan like Bluehost. You can sign up for Bluehost for as low as $2.75/month and set up WordPress on your site in just one click! Your Bluehost package additionally comes with a free domain as well!
WIX is well-known for its drag-and-drop software. This makes it user-friendly with less of a learning curve.
There is a free version as well. However, there are very few customizations offered on the free version and you end up with advertisements all over your site.
The paid model is definitely the way to go if you are a bit more serious about it.
- Easy-to-use drag-and-drop feature makes it especially beginner-friendly
- Far fewer options for themes and plugins
- Websites are less customizable due to a lack of web hosting options
- Extra costs if you want to do eCommerce
- Free model is exceptionally restrained and consists of WIX advertisements on your site
- Far fewer software program integrations than WordPress
Price: $11/month and up, depending on what internet hosting format you decide to go with
Bottom Line: WIX is less complicated to use than WordPress, but it’s quite a bit more costly for a paid option and has restrictive customization options.
It’s much less complicated to get started and plan your blog on WIX, but you will eventually hit roadblocks due to the limitations of the platform.
Squarespace, like WIX, has drag-and-drop capabilities. This makes their user interface easy to use for novices.
- Beginner-friendly, drag-and-drop
- Great for small businesses
- Far fewer options for plugins
- Plans are more costly to add eCommerce shops and different add-ons
- Far fewer software integrations than WordPress
- More pricey than the previous choices discussed
Pricing: Starting at $12/month
Bottom Line: This is a good choice for those who are less tech-savvy. However, you will find yourself with obstacles down the road when you are looking to grow your blog and monetize it.
Squarespace is perfect for small organizations looking for an online presence but not for full-time bloggers looking to run their complete commercial enterprise online.
Weebly is like the previous drag-and-drop site-building platforms. But it’s less common than WIX and SquareSpace, and has fewer options.
- Beginner-friendly, drag-and-drop
- Few software integrations available
- Significantly more expensive
Pricing: Starting at $8/month for a very confined option
Bottom Line: If you are going the path of drag-and-drop website builder, go with WIX instead. It affords greater customization options and a bigger bang for your buck.
Other Blogging Platforms
Blogger is a free blogging platform by Google. It provides a speedy and convenient way to create a blog.
All you need is a Google account to start blogging on Blogger.
- Blogger is free.
- It’s easy to use and manipulate the site without any technical skills.
- Has the added gain of Google’s platform and reliability.
- You’re confined to a basic blog
- Design choices are limited, with fewer templates available. Third-party templates for Blogger are often low quality.
- Blogger doesn’t get new software updates or features often these days
- Google can suspend your blog at any time, or even cancel the entire service altogether.
Some users begin out with Blogger because it’s free. Eventually, as their blog grows, they end up switching from Blogger to WordPress to avoid the limitations.
Tumblr is different from the other blogging platforms we’ve talked about so far. It is a microblogging platform with social networking features such as following different blogs, reblogging, built-in sharing tools, and more.
- Tumblr is free with a Tumblr subdomain like https://example.tumblr.com. You can additionally add your own customized URL name.
- It is convenient to set up and use.
- It has an integrated social media aspect.
- As a microblogging tool, Tumblr makes it first-rate handy to quickly blog videos, GIFs, images, and audio formats.
- Tumblr comes with a restrained set of points that you cannot expand as your blog grows.
- Backing up your Tumblr blog or importing it to different systems is difficult.
Ghost is a minimalist running a blog platform completely focused on writing blog posts. Ghost is handy as a hosted platform and as a software that you can install yourself. We’ll take a look at each option.
- Focused on blogging.
- Clean, clutter-free, and intuitive consumer interface.
- No setup required for the hosted version.
- Not easy to customize.
- The simplified consumer interface alternatives are limited.
- Not sufficient options to change the look of your site.
- Complicated setup if you install it yourself.
The self-hosted version needs a custom domain (about $14.99/year) and internet web hosting (starting from $7.99/month).
Pricing for the hosted version starts at $29/month for two personnel users with a 100k web page view limit. Unless you purchase a customized domain from a third-party area registrar, your blog will be a Ghost subdomain ending with ghost.io.
My pick for the best blogging platform
I believe that WordPress outperforms all different blogging sites. It is powerful, easy to use, affordable, and the most flexible of all the blogging platforms discussed in this post.
Most importantly, WordPress lets you problem-solve and monetize your website easily. If you are looking to make money off your blog, whether immediately or down the road, just go for WordPress and Bluehost.
If you’re searching for a WordPress alternative, then my second best pick would be WIX. Their drag-and-drop website builder makes it easy to build any kind of internet site from blogs to online stores.
What are your thoughts? Which blogging platform are you signing up for? Leave your comments below!