While you may continue to come across that same handful of blogging platforms as you read your favorite authors of explore starting your own blog, there are a lot of great options available when it comes to publishing on the web.
If you are looking to change platforms and give your blog a fresh look or you are just starting a blog, here is a quick and comprehensive guide that outlines your options and provides some insight into which platform may be the best choice for you and your audience:
WordPress is one of the longstanding leaders of blogging, in part, because it continues to be updated and improved in order to keep up with, and in some cases, stay ahead of technology and a competitive market. Unlike other platforms, WordPress is extremely customizable. You can easily change themes, increase functionality through additional plugins and create a professional looking website.
In addition, because it has been around for so long, WordPress users enjoy an extensive support network with designers from all over the world who can help your troubleshoot problems or offer coding solutions. It truly does provide a community of fellow users.
Pros: Old reliable.
Plenty of available support.
Offers total user control.
Cons: There is a learning curve. The more you want to customize your original theme, the more you will have to become familiar with the intricacies of the program.
Free accounts offer limited access to plugins making it harder to customize.
Some claim that it is just plain boring.
Tumblr is probably another name you recognize and for good reason. It allows users to quickly setup their blog and get to posting. Like other blogging program standards, it also comes with its own community of loyalists. This is great when you need technical support and can also help you get your blog noticed. It tends to attract a younger, hipper crowd who likes to post a variety of different content. In some ways it seems to be more about self-expression than trying to turn a blog into a commercial success, which makes it a great place for artists, writers and other creatives.
Pros: Easy to setup.
Thousands of theme options.
Strong community of bloggers
Cons: Depending on you and your audience, this platform trend a little too much toward the hipster side of the tracks.
Very social media oriented.
Design is perhaps too elementary.
People tend to associate Squarespace with creating business websites, but it is also a great go-to for bloggers as well. For just $8 a month, you can create and maintain a personal blog without having to learn any coding. This platform provides a wide range of pre-designed themes that can be uploaded. However, if you are a coding guru, you can build your own theme and customize it to meet your preferences. In addition, you can easily expand your blog to include an entire website that works in conjunction with your blog. Embedding images and videos and navigating the user interface is extremely easy.
Pros: Super user friendly
Extensive capabilities that go beyond blogging.
Easy to set up and get started.
Cons: Monthly fee – no free plans available.
May be more difficult to customize than other options.
Not as popular or well-known.
The biggest advantage of choosing Posthaven as your blog publishing platform is that you never have to worry about the service ceasing to exist. This site offers plans that will last “forever,” a concept that came about after the demise of the site’s original forbearer, Posterous. Posthaven was created to replace Posterous after it was taken offline soon after being acquired by Twitter. Posthaven is meant to alleviate any consumer anxiety and ensure that blogs continue to exist on the web despite any outside influences. Simply put: it has been design to last.
Pros: Quick and easy to set up.
Won’t be going anywhere any time soon.
Information and posts are protected.
Cons: Costs $5 per month to use.
Very basic design means that it offers limited features.
Not as advanced as other available options.
Ghost is the child of a Kickstarter campaign that raised $300,000 to launch the service. It is based on the latest technology known as Node.js, which provides the fastest response times available. You won’t have to worry about load times even when the system is being heavily taxed. Not only does this improve the user experience, but as the host and blogger, you are able to quickly add photos, posts and make changes that can appear in real-time. As the site continues to gain followers, it is also building a community of users who can help share ideas and answer more technical questions.
Pros: Super fast.
Constantly expanding to offer new features.
Cons: More difficult to self-host than other options.
Still in development, so features are limited at the moment.
Cost is $8 per month.
Kirby may not come with a lot of flash right out of the box, but don’t be fooled by its diminutive appearance. Its simple CMS and PHP based design make it one of the most customizable options available on the market. If you have any coding experience, you can create sophisticated and impressive themes that will really showcase your posts. For this reason, Kirby caters more towards developers who have some custom design abilities. Third party plugins also help users further customize their pages and turn simple templates into awesome sites. Anyone can try out the program for free and creating a personal license only requires a one-time $15 fee.
Pros: Super intuitive for those with CMS experience.
Free to try and cheap to use on a more permanent basis.
Cons: Those without coding experience won’t be able to take full advantage of the program’s capabilities.
Very simple design does have limitations.
Not for novices.
When it comes to designing posts, Medium is the best choice. Medium makes it easy to style text, all quotes, insert media and tweak the look of posts. It is a great choice for those who are almost exclusively interested in publishing blog posts. The format is clean and modern and the user interface revolutionized the blogging world with it came on the scene in 2012. Since then, this platform have become increasingly popular not only for its editing capabilities, but also for its built in sharing features. If one of your published posts receives enough recommendation, the site will actually automatically send it to email inboxes or post it on a homepage.
Pros: Sleek and modern design looks great.
One of the most user-friendly editors around.
Site helps you with promoting your posts.
Cons: No custom domains.
No self-hosting, which can mean limited control of your site.
Limited customization options.
In a lot of way, Svbtle is similar to Medium. If you are the type who wants to get up and start writing and publishing straight away, then this may be a good option. It is designed with writers in mind. The ultimate goals is to simplify the writing experience and make is as easy as possible to create, edit and publish posts. This means that most posts will end up looking fairly plain. It is difficult to arrange images and text, but if you are looking for simplicity and ease of use, then this Spartan platform delivers.
Pros: Easy to edit text and publish.
Designed for writers.
Simple design is easy to use.
Cons: Very limited ability to arrange text and images.
No mobile app available.
Postagon is another option, but in general it doesn’t have a lot of stand-out features. Like many other platforms, it is designed to allow users to quickly create a clean and simple post. Perhaps that main difference is that it offers both a quick setup process and a long list of available features. You can opt for a minimalist design or add your own array of bells and whistles. It also caters towards bloggers by offering RSS feeds, plenty of social media sharing options and easy editing even across browsers. Postagon provides plenty of features, but can still be limited when it comes to adding custom features.
Pros: Minimal set up
Lots of features included
Low monthly cost
Cons: Features have not been updated in some time.
Easy to edit posts.
Jekyll truly does represent a different take on the typical blogging platforms. This site limits the number of moving parts on your site, making it easier to handle heavy traffic and avid technical issues. It acts as a “static site generator,” which means that you simply write a post and use a command line to generate and publish HTML files. It may not be for the faint of heart, but if you are looking for something new, Jekyll offers the chance to build highly-customized pages and retain full control of how and when you publish posts.
Pros: Great for high traffic sites.
Static pages create a solid website.
Cons: Coding and command lines may be outside of your comfort level.
Not the best choice for beginners.
Requires some prior knowledge.
If you are an experience developer who likes the challenge of starting from scratch and would rather design your own theme than start with a template, then Contentful is the platform for you. The basic idea that that you write a post and then take the time to code a separate interface. Once that is complete, your information is pulled from the cloud and published. Essentially, you build the entire site according to your specifications. Contentful provides you with the necessary tools and it is up to you to create the rest by using your own coding skills.
Pros: Total freedom.
Not limited to a certain code language or interface.
Fully customize your site.
Cons: Labor intensive
Need coding experience to use.
Only for those who enjoy a challenge.
Pros: Tons of features.
Easy to install.
Retain full ownership of your content.
Cons: You will need to know how to code.
Must be comfortable designing your own site.
Can be more labor intensive than other options.
Silvrback has a lot in common with both Medium and Ghost. It provides a sleek and beautiful design that allows you to easily blog without getting bogged down with the details of design. By incorporating as many design elements as possible, Silvrback does a lot of the work for you so that you can focus on writing engaging posts. It also offers a number of great features, including: custom domain support, email subscriptions, and syntax highlighting for developers. This modern platform allows anyone to create beautiful and professional looking sites that will attract readers and help you get noticed.
Pros: Sleek, beautiful and modern design.
You can do as much or as little design work as you want.
Super easy to use.
Cons: Design options are more limited.
Only hosted form is offered.
Built to cater to beginners and novices.
While LinkedIn isn’t necessarily a traditional blogging platform, it is becoming an increasing popular place to publish business-centric posts. It is a great option because it allows you to reach a very specific target audience who is interested in your industry. In addition, it comes with a variety of tools that will help promote your posts and make sure that the right people come across your work. If you are looking to connect with industry leaders and make a name for yourself as a business blogger, then this is the perfect platform to help you get started.
Pros: Direct access to your target audience.
Built-in social media tools instantly amplify your content.
Good content is rewarded.
Cons: Not every LinkedIn member can view your content.
Very limited configuration options because it isn’t a traditional blogging platform.
Once you publish, you lose ownership of your content
If you have already been working with Evernote, Postach.io can turn your notebooks into a blog. Once you connect the programs and add tags, you can quickly publish your content. It is an extremely easy way to setup and publish posts in just a matter of minutes. The big drawback is that it comes with very few options and working through Evernote doesn’t feel as organic as other publishing platforms. Ultimately, this platform doesn’t have much universal appeal, but it can provide a handy tool for those who loyally use Evernote to do their writing. Otherwise, there are a variety of more versatile options available.
Pros: Easy setup.
Integrates with programs you already use.
Quick publishing capabilities.
Cons: Very limited design options.
Only compatible with Evernote.
Designed for a small set of users.
Instantly turn a Dropbox folder into a blog with this handy publishing platform. The goal of Scriptogram is to make is as easy as possible to post documents on the internet. You can choose from available themes or use CSS to create a theme from scratch. The choice is up to you. To use the program, all you have to do is create a Markdown file in your Dropbox and hit the synchronize button in order to instantly publish your content. This program is completely free even if you want to use a custom domain. Scriptogram makes blogging hassle free and cost effective.
Works directly with your existing Dropbox.
Publishing just requires the push of a button.
Cons: While it is still a free service, the site may start charging fees down the road.
Not the best choice if you aren’t familiar with Dropbox.
Actually a pretty solid choice as long as you are familiar with its purpose.
This opensource platform is an offshoot of Github and meant to integrate your writing with an existing Github account. Because it is specifically designed to work in conjunction with Github, it is not the best choice for everyone. However, it does include a user-friendly interface, a community of collaborators and a free hosted blog. The pages designs are simple and clean, which means less clutter and clear focal points that will guide readers. If you are looking for a hassle-free way to turn your documents into blog posts, you can harness the power of your existing Github account and instantly create blog posts.
Pros: Easy to use.
Great for developers.
Cons: Only compatible with Github.
If you aren’t familiar with Github, using Tinypress can be difficult.
While you might not think of this program as a traditional publishing platform, it is becoming increasingly popular among younger generations. You can actually create content in the notepad app on your phone and instantly publish that material on your social media accounts. There simply isn’t a faster or easier way to publish content. It is especially useful if you are discussing current events. You can stay on trend and help make sure that you content is seen simply by being one of the first to publish. In some ways, Screenshorts represents a new wave in blogging may be a harbinger of the future.
Pros: Instant publishing.
Easy to write and promote on social media.
No setup required.
Cons: May not do much to establish your credibility as an industry leader.
Design is not really a factor.
Could simply be a passing trend.
Typepad is another reliable publishing platform that has managed to withstand the test of time. It offers reasonable pricing, great customer support, and unlimited storage. The starting cost is around $9 per month, but for a little extra, you can opt to host an unlimited number of blogs. Typepad is also a popular choice because it offers tons of great themes and features. You can easily customize your site and collaborate with others to solve problems and come up with new design solutions. It provides a solid and versatile programs that meets the needs of a wide range of bloggers of all skills sets.
Pros: Limitless storage.
Great customer support.
Your choice of expertly designed themes.
Cons: Simplicity of design makes it harder to customize.
Difficult to backup files.
Not as flexible as other options.
3. Movable Type
In some ways, Movable Type is the younger, hipper sister of WordPress. Both these programs offer similar capabilities and are versatile options. Like WordPress, Movable Type has a large community of users who can offer helpful advice and it comes with a whole host of third-party plugins that makes it simple to customize your site. Movable Type has a leg up on the competition because it offers free hosting, greater control and a more advanced system that caters to experienced developers. You may also find that it is easier to integrate social media and other promotional tools using this platform.
Pros: Mobile-friendly, responsive themes.
Plenty of plugins to meet your specific needs.
Established network of bloggers that can help you succeed.
Cons: Set up can be more complicated.
Requires a certain amount of prior experience to run smoothly.
Free version only allows one blogger per site.
Over the past few years, Wix has made its way to the head of the pack when it comes to website building programs. It is capable of creating clean, modern websites and straightforward blogs that are completely mobile friendly so that your readers can view your blog on a variety of devices. Wix is also a versatile option because you can either opt for a clean, simple theme or spruce things up by adding custom features. The great part is that even the most basic themes offer a modern and professional feel. You can use the platform for free, but if you want your own domain name or access to customer support, you will have to pay a monthly fee.
Pros: Modern themes.
Simple user interface.
Cons: Not ideal for e-commerce sites, but great for blogging.
Difficult to make blogs SEO friendly.
Navigation needs to be more intuitive.
You can set up a free WordPress site of you can pay a monthly fee to have your site supported by a hosting provider. This option allows you to create a custom domain name and have complete control of your website. If you are simply blogging for your own pleasure, then you probably don’t need to worry about self-hosting. However, if you are interested in becoming a recognizable name and building a following, then you should create a unique domain name that can be optimized and is easy to remember. Whether you are a beginner or an expert developer, WordPress caters to all skill levels and allows you to fully customize your website. It won’t take long to realize exactly why WordPress is the leader in blog publishing.
Pros: Custom domain name.
Full control over your website.
All the versatility of WordPress.
Cons: You have to pay a small monthly fee.
Despite all the choices available there is one clear standout when it comes to choosing the best blogging platform. Starting a self-hosted WordPress site offers by far the most advantages at the greatest value. This options also caters to the widest range of bloggers from beginners to experts. If you are ready to start publishing, pair your WordPress site with iPage, which is the leader in hosting services. Check out this step-by-step guide that will help you get started and have your blog up and running in around 20 minutes!