There are many good reasons to start blogging.
You may want to practice your writing, create a following, establish your brand or use blogging as a marketing tool to increase site traffic. It’s also a great way to connect with like-minded people.
How do you choose the site to build your blog on?
There’s a wide choice of blogging platforms. The more there are choices, the harder it is to make up your mind.
To help you choose the right blogging platform for yourself, we will first talk about what to look for in a blogging solution. After that, we’ll examine the pros and cons of the best blog sites.
Below, you’ll find some of the most popular blogging solutions in the world and how they compare to each other.
Among the best blog sites, the self-hosted version of WordPress is by far the most popular blogging platform in the world. The CMS powers over 30 percent of the Internet. It’s often confused with its close cousin WordPress.com. We will cover the latter as well. You can learn more about the differences of the two platforms in this article.
- Very flexible – WordPress gives you full control over every aspect of your site
- Highly extendable – you can add almost any functionality through plugins (The WordPress directory has over 54,000).
- Thousands of mobile-friendly themes allow you to switch the design of your blog at the touch of a button
- The platform is search engine friendly and works well with social media
- You will have full ownership of your content
- Its large community means lots of support options
- Beginner friendly, although running your own WordPress website does involve some technical things. For that reason, there is definitely a learning curve
- You are responsible for site maintenance including backups, security and performance. Fortunately, you can outsource most of that to WordPress hosting providers
WordPress is an open source solution which means it’s free to use. Bear in mind that self-hosted variety requires you to find a hosting provider (e.g. Bluehost). You also need to get your own domain. Costs to do that start from around $46 per month.
In addition to that, you might want to spend money on premium extensions and themes.
- Business blogs
- Online businesses
- Professional bloggers
- Bloggers who want full control over their site
Wix is similar to Squarespace. It allows you to put together your web presence via drag and drop and comes with blogging ability that you can add to your site. You can read about adding Wix in this article.
- Ability to customize your site with templates and third-party apps
- No coding skills required, you can achieve everything with the graphical interface
- Quick and easy setup, includes top-notch hosting
- Lots of design options and everything is built with HTML5
- Has a feature to automatically design your blog using an artificial intelligence
- Comes with free stock of images
- The free account comes with limited capabilities, traffic, storage and has Wix branding and ads
- The number of free apps is limited
- You are unable to change your site template after choosing it
- The e-commerce capabilities of Wix are limited, even on paid plans
- The service charges for many things so costs rack up easily
- You are unable to move your site elsewhere and take your content with you
Wix is a subscription-based and offers different packages. Starting at $5/month for 1GB of bandwidth and 500MB storage plus the ability to connect a custom domain (which you need to pay yourself). Higher plans add more bandwidth and storage, free domains, apps, the ability to create an online store and remove the ads. The most expensive plan ($25/month) also comes with VIP support.
- Business owners who need a blog with a website
Next on our list of the best blog sites is another open source content management system that you can use to build all kinds of websites. We have detailed information about it in WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal and in the post on how to create a website with Joomla.
- Powerful and flexible, suitable for building more than blogs
- Hundreds of professional templates make it easy to change the design
- Lots of available extension for adding more features and functionality
- More technical than other solutions on this list, basic knowledge of HTML and CSS is a necessity
- The responsibility for security, backups and performance is on you (although there is some Joomla managed hosting)
Joomla is free to download, costs only incur for hosting and a domain. For specialized Joomla hosting, check hosting reviews here.
- Business websites
- Online stores
- Technically advanced users
WordPress.com is a blog site hosting service by Automattic. You can get a free blog with basic features. For advanced functionality, you need to opt for one of their paid plans.
- Super easy to set up – just create an account and follow the installation wizard
- Hosting is included so you have less moving parts to deal with
- The interface is even more streamlined than on self-hosted WordPress
- No need to worry about site maintenance, everything is done for you
- Built-in stats and community functions
- Professional and dedicated support on paid plans
- The free account is very limited, e.g. your blog is hosted on a subdomain
- Narrow customization options, third-party themes and plugins are only available on Business plans
- Limited monetization opportunities, advertising is forbidden for lower plans
- You can lose your site if you violate the terms and services of the platform
- Ads and branding are present on your site unless you pay to remove them
Paid plans cost between $4 and $25 per month (billed annually). Each increases the amount of storage space, features (including monetization options) and support. With the Business plan, you have the ability to install external plugins and themes and connect your site to Google Analytics.
- Hobby bloggers
- Static websites
WordPress.com can also be a great starting point for blogging. If you ever decide to have more control over your site, it’s relatively easy to move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.
Medium is a publishing platform founded in 2012 by one of the people behind Twitter. By now it has become a popular community for writers, bloggers and journalists.
In addition to the ability to write blog posts, it also comes with limited social networking functions. You can comment on other people’s content and like it (likes are called “claps” on Medium). The audience is built into the platform.
- Just sign up and you are ready to blog
- Great user interface and elegant writing experience
- The focus is completely on content creation, not running or designing the site around it
- You are able to embed content from other services (YouTube, Twitter etc.)
- All blogs on Medium look the same, there are hardly any customization options
- Very limited marketing features
- No way to transfer your audience from Medium to any other platform
- Monetization options are absent
- Medium has control over your content
The platform is free to use. If you have your own domain, you can hook it up to individual stories. Unfortunately, not to entire user accounts.
- Writers who want to build their skills and brand
- Hobby bloggers
Medium is also a popular place to give your content a second life. Many people who have a primary blogging outlet re-post articles on Medium for additional exposure.