There are tons of different blogging platforms out there for bloggers to journal their thoughts and share their adventures. What should you consider when choosing a platform, and which will be best for your audience?
Congrats! You’ve decided to explore your passion and start a blog. No matter if the blog is to simply share your thoughts or establish an online presence, you’ll need to choose a blogging platform to start. From the best free blog platforms to the most aesthetically beautiful sites or best blogging platforms to make money, the choices are endless.
This breakdown will guide you to the right platform for your needs. Read on to get your blogging career started!
It’s always best to start your search with what’s important – in this case it’s the content. Think about the kind of blog you want. How do you want people to feel when they see it and browse through it? Different blogging platforms are created for different purposes, like Tumblr that’s meant for artsy bloggers, while Medium is catered toward the opposite audience.
If you’re moved by things you see on a daily basis and want to share them with the world, Tumblr is the perfect platform for you, and best of all it’s free. It’s great for artists and photographers because it’s a visually oriented platform. Tumblr is also a popular option for artists because it has a good mobile app that makes blogging and posting on-the-go really simple. Additionally, it has a social media aspect that lets users follow each other, comment on posts, and re-blog content.
If you're not interested in posting photographs and artistic content, but rather want to write long and thought-provoking posts, Medium is your answer. It’s clean and simple, and the absence of distractions, sidebars, and widgets allow your words to shine front-and-center. Medium has a built-in community, so you don’t have to be a famous blogger to get your writing seen. It curates content and suggests pieces to community members using algorithms based on relevancy. After posting an article, you can request readers’ feedback, link to other articles, and tag people.
If you’re less concerned about the content of your blog, and are looking for a site based on ease of use, we’ve got you covered. Blogging platforms range in degree of complication. Many are quick to set up and design, while others can be cluttered and overwhelming, with widgets you may not even know how to use.
The easiest platform to get up and running is Wix. It emphasizes simplicity and usability. You can choose to use the free or paid version, the difference being that you don’t get your own unique URL with the free version and your blog will feature Wix ads on the page. Wix is a great option for new bloggers. It has a drag-and-drop editor that makes designing your page super simple. Just drag shapes, buttons, and text boxes from the elements available to where you want them. You can even use free stock photos to jazz up your blog. The only downside of Wix is that it’s not the best as far as SEO, so you might have a hard time getting readers.
Another straightforward platform ideal for beginners is Weebly. Just like Wix, it has a flexible editor that lets you drag-and-drop elements to create your blog in less than an hour. You can design your own page, or choose from a selection of pre-built and customizable templates. Weebly also offers users the option to put in Google Analytics code, so you can track clicks, views, and bounce rates on your site. Unfortunately, you’re only given 500MB of space while using the free version, so you may not be able to use as many photographs or include much media in your posts.
If you want a blog that offers advanced features, yet is slightly more difficult to set up, give Joomla or Jekyll a try.
With Joomla, you can either use the Joomla domain, or host the site yourself to use your own domain name. There are lots of options and complex features, for those that want them. What makes Joomla great is its huge collection of extensions, templates, and themes to choose from.
Jekyll is another slightly more complex blogging platform, but a top choice for those that know how to code. The site takes plain text written in HTML and transforms it into a static website or blog. It’s not the simplest option, but a great one for the right blogger.
There are big decisions to make after setting up your blog, including SEO and monetization. SEO (search engine optimization) is the practice of ensuring your blog ranks high on search engines to increase your readership.
Some blogging platforms emphasize SEO more than others, one being Ghost. It offers a suite of advanced publishing tools, including one for SEO. As opposed to downloading an external SEO service, Ghost makes it simple with permalinks, sitemaps, tags, and automatic metadata.
If you’re less concerned about ranking and want to monetize your current blog, Google’s blogging platform, Blogger, can help. It comes integrated with Google AdSense, which makes monetizing easy. It also integrates with many other apps that can be beneficial to you like Google+ comments, Amazon Associates, and Google Toolbar.
Support is another big concern when choosing a platform. One of the top rated sites offering excellent customer support is SquareSpace. The site is super easy to use, and creating a blog is very simple, but if you need extra assistance, it’s available to you. It offers guides and tutorial videos, as well as an award-winning email and live chat support.
One of the most used and well-known platforms, WordPress, also has tons of documentation. There are over 60 million websites using WordPress, which means that if you run into a problem, someone else has likely run into it as well. It has tons of plugins, widgets, and features that can really take your blog to the next level.
To create the best blog possible, you’ll first need to pinpoint your needs and what you’re looking for. Simply put, if you aren’t happy with your selection, it’ll be obvious to your readers. Your blog won’t look its best, and your posts won’t be as impactful as they could be. So make your content shine by choosing the best free blogging platform based upon your needs. Happy blogging!