The Best Blogging Platforms Compared (2019)
Ready to start your own blog? There are so many blogging platforms to choose from including WordPress, Blogger, Wix, Tumblr, Medium and others. It’s a tough choice. In this post, I’ll help you choose the best blogging platform by looking at the pros and cons of the all the major platforms.
The list of blogging platforms I will compare are below.
How to Choose the Best Blogging Platform
As a new blogger you want to choose your platform carefully. It is difficult to switch blogging platforms once you start creating your content.
A blogging platform that is easy to set up and use is most bloggers’ first choice. However, you will also want a platform that has room to grow. The easiest blogging platform is usually not the most powerful.
As traffic increases most bloggers add additional features to their site. Therefore, a flexible platform that can be customized without coding skills is a good choice.
If your success continues, you will also want a platform that allows you to run advertising or sell products.
WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com
Before we start the comparison, you might have noticed WordPress appears twice in the list. Automatic, the company that created WordPress, offers two distinct blogging platforms.
Option 1 – WordPress.org
WordPress.org is the place where anyone can download the completely free full version of the WordPress blogging software. You do not need to download the software here, however, since most hosting providers will pre-install the latest version of WordPress for you.
Option 2 – WordPress.com
WordPress.com is the place where Automatic runs the WordPress blogging software for you and charges various prices for some but not all of features that are found in the free WordPress.org software. The price of hosting your blog at WordPress.com is free to start and the charges for more advanced features are reasonable. However, I ultimately cannot recommend using WordPress.com as a host because of the functional limitations it places on WordPress. You are much better off starting your blog for a few dollars a month on a host like Siteground or Bluehost that will install the full WordPress.org software for you.
As you will see in our comparison below, both options will end up costing you a few dollars to get started. Keep in mind that only the full software from WordPress.org has all the features and room to grow.
WordPress.com offers basic hosting and management of a WordPress blog for free. Additional features such as your own domain name (yourblogname.com), additional storage for images and options to customize the look of your blog are premium services. Most bloggers end up paying $5-$15 per month for premium features at WordPress.com. Beginning bloggers who are serious or running a business find that the limited customization at WordPress.com is unworkable and they migrate to a host running the WordPress.org software.
- Free initial setup. Create an account and start blogging right now.
- Easy to use.
- Fully managed and updated by the creators of WordPress.
- Very limited flexibility to extend your site compared to WordPress.org.
- Advertising and other monetization is either restricted or severely limited.
- WordPress.com could suspend your account for violating their terms of service and your blog could be lost.
WordPress.org only provides a download of the WordPress blogging software. To run the software you need a properly configured server on the Internet. Thankfully there are literally thousands of web hosts that will run the WordPress blogging platform for you for only a few dollars a month. I recommend starting your blog at Sitegrounds for only $3.95 per month.
When you choose a hosted WordPress blog you have the flexibility to customize the look and functionality of your blog with thousands of themes and plugins.
- Full control and flexibility.
- Easy to grow your site with plugins to connect to social media, optimize for search engines, capture user emails and more.
- There are endless theme choices available right from the WordPress dashboard as well as support for paid third-party themes.
- Monetize your blog traffic once you gain an audience.
- WordPress has a large support community and lots of documentation.
- Managing your blog takes a little effort.
- WordPress is more expensive when you begin purchasing premium themes and plugins. (You do get a lot more functionality!)
Ready to start a WordPress blog? I recommend you start with Siteground web hosting. Siteground gives you good hosting performance for the cost and has an easy upgrade path as your traffic grows. Siteground will handle daily backups so you never lose your site and has a 30 day money back guarantee. Start at $3.95 a month today. Be sure to follow our first steps to a new blog guide.
Blogger is a free platform owned by Google. Blogger is easy to get set up but lacks many advanced features. Blogger may be a good choice for a hobbyist who just wants to put their thoughts down. While Blogger does allow some advertising, it is not a common choice for a business blog. Blogger is poor choice if you think you might turn your blog into a business or try to make income from blogging.
- Blogger is free.
- Blogger is very easy to set up and use.
- Blogger is backed by Google and is reliable and secure.
- Blogger allows you to run ads with Google’s Adsense advertising.
- Blogger lacks the features of many other blogging platforms and is not updated very often.
- Blogger is a poor choice for selling products, memberships and earning income from advertising because of its limited features and flexibility.
- The choice of themes and visual styles available at Blogger is very limited compared to WordPress.
- Moving a site from Blogger to another blogging platform is complicated.
Tumblr is a popular blogging platform often used for short-form or micro blogging content. Tumblr allows rich media posts and integrates several social sharing features. Tumblr users are encouraged to discover and follow new blogs and use hash tags. A Tumblr blog can also be made into a private community where the author chooses who has access.
- Tumblr is free to start. Custom domain names are reasonably priced.
- Built in community of users that share, “reblog” content.
- Tumblr can be monetized with advertising and affiliate links.
- Tumblr has a minimal set of features compared to many other blogging platforms.
- While Tumblr works well for short form content, it is a poor choice for any kind of business content such as selling products, memberships or earning income from advertising.
- The themes and visual layouts available at Tumblr are very limited compared to WordPress.
- Moving a Tumblr blog to another blogging platform is complicated.
Medium is great platform for distraction free writing with built in engagement features. Many writers and journalists publish high quality content to Medium. Unfortunately, Medium is a poor choice for businesses because it lacks branding control. A custom domain is not allowed at Medium. You also cannot run advertising on Medium.
- Medium is free, fast and secure.
- Medium has a minimal and sleek user interface.
- Medium has built in engagement features including commenting and following, and a large audience.
- Medium blogs are fast and have good SEO.
- Medium does not allow custom domains.
- Medium does not permit publishers to earn money from advertising.
- The earnings potential of Medium’s Partner Program is limited compared to platforms that allow advertising.
- Medium’s platform is not flexible enough to run a product store or membership site.
- Exporting your Medium posts to another blogging platform is complicated.
Wix is well known platform that many small businesses use to create their first online presence. With the Wix site builder anyone can create a nice looking website without any computer coding knowledge. While Wix is a good platform for an existing business to create an online presence, it is generally a poor choice for a blog or purely online business. Ultimately, Wix is similar to WordPress but in a walled garden where the full flexibility and features needed by a range growing businesses are just out of reach.
- Free to start. (Sub-domain only.)
- Powerful and easy to use website builder and editor with a drag and drop interface.
- 500+ pre-made themes which you can further edit to your liking.
- Wix App Market place with apps that offer extended features and customization.
- Free account is limited.
- While the Wix site builder is powerful and easy to use and the Market place has many Apps, the flexibility and customization options still do not compare to WordPress.
- If you are looking for an easy to use managed platform to sell products, the features of the Wix Ecommerce plans are limited and you would be better off at Shopify.
- For the price of a Wix’s plan that allows a custom domain and removes their advertising, you could have a fully featured WordPress website at many hosting providers.
- Wix does not provide tools to export a site to another blogging platform and actively discourages you from doing so.
Ghost is a simple and straightforward blogging platform. Like WordPress, you can download Ghost for free and self-host or pay for managed hosting on Ghost’s own server. The themes available for Ghost are limited but with the help or knowledge of web developer the visual style of a Ghost blog can be highly customized. Ghost is just a blogging platform to create and edit posts.
- Simple platform to just blog on.
- Minimal and easy to use interface.
- Fast and SEO friendly.
- No setup if choosing a premium paid plan from the creators of Ghost.
- Just blogging, no real customization options.
- Poor theme choices. Further customization requires a paid developer or web development knowledge.
- Ghost lacks many of the features necessary to run an online business.
- Ghost only has a free trial, no free plan. For the price of a hosted plan you could have the power and features offered by the WordPress platform.
Conclusion and Recommended Blogging Platform
While there are many blogging platform choices, there is reason why WordPress powers approximately 30% of all websites on the Internet. WordPress is the most powerful and flexible platform. The cost of starting a WordPress blog is minimal and it offers the best opportunity for a new, growing or changing business. Get started now at Siteground for $3.95 with a full featured WordPress blog and be sure to follow our tutorial.
If you have any questions or comments be sure to leave them below.
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