A blogging platform can make or break your blog: how to choose the best one




Blogging is one of the most widely consumed forms of media on the planet. In fact, as of 2021, nearly 20 billion pages of blog content are read each month by over 400 million unique users. That’s a pretty staggering number when you consider how wide of an audience the blogging medium potentially has.


Blogging helps businesses and personal influencers to reach a much wider audience. With blogs, you can target very important topics to your niche and drive up the SEO value of your website. This helps get more eyes on your brand and page through reaching higher Search Ranking listing levels. Blogs keep eyes on your website and bring new viewers each month.


However, knowing that a blog is important to business success is only half the battle. You actually need to set out to create the blog in the first place. And that is where things get very interesting. With hundreds and thousands of different blogging platforms available, which one offers you the best chance at success?


Let’s talk about some of the most popular blogging platforms, and what you can expect to get as a user.



WordPress



WordPress Overview


Let’s kick this off with a look at the grandfather of all web hosting platforms... WordPress. WordPress is far and away the most popular web hosting platform in the world. As of today, more than 39% of all websites on the entire internet are hosted by WordPress. This is largely due to the fact that WordPress offers a wide range of options, packages, and functions to choose from--paired with their rich infrastructure.


Now, with WordPress, you actually get two distinct versions available to you. These are:


  • WordPress.com

  • WordPress.org

Of course, this may seem a bit confusing, but don’t worry it all makes sense. WordPress.org is their primary hosting platform and is in fact actually a software program rather than a website. It is the tool that allows you to have 100% control over your website and blog, with access to nearly 60,000 plugins and all the benefits of owning your own exclusive domain name. This is free to use for the creative process but you will need to pay for the domain name and the right to host it on their servers.


This usually comes out to about $14.99/year and $7.99/month respectively.


With WordPress.com you get a more streamlined and cost-friendly service. It is 100% free to use and host your website, so long as you use the free domain options. These generally look like this:


Website.wordpress.com


Now the main appeal with WordPress.com is the absolute ease of use that exists there. You can have a blog set up and running in mere minutes and you can manage it from their simple to navigate dashboard. However, you are going to lose quite a bit of customizability when you choose the .com option over the .org software.


The Breakdown

Both WordPress.org and .com offer a lot to be loved about their platform. However, it’s important to know what you are getting. WordPress.org gives you nearly unlimited ability to customize and design your website. You can even add in subscription-based services and a store, etc. It is the best platform for turning your blog into a revenue stream.

However, using WordPress.org is not necessarily a simple task. There is quite a bit of learning curve, and for this many people turn to WordPress.com. Which is a website itself and is far more limited in capability and functionality. However, for those who simply want a basic blog hosting platform, WordPress.com is still a very good option overall.


WordPress.com is 100% free to use in its basic form. Although, both programs will cost you at least $4-8/month for the basic hosting fees and a small annual fee for the domain name should you want a custom domain. Just remember, these packages can only be paid for annually.

Thus, you will need a small lump sum upfront to get off the ground. WordPress is very cheap all things considered, and will always be the ‘mack daddy’ of blog hosting platforms.


Pros & Cons.

Pros:


  • Extremely comprehensive and vast in capability and scope.

  • Access to a massive and reliable network.

  • Ability to monetize easily.

  • Access to endless plugins and customization options on .org.


Cons:


  • A very steep learning curve for .org.

  • Very limited options for customization on .com.


Blogger




The Overview.


Blogger is one of the oldest and most used blogging platforms around. While not quite as ubiquitous as WordPress, it is a great platform that has been around for over two decades. Blogger began back in 1999, and was later acquired by the company that owns and operates them now… Google.


That’s right, Blogger is free to use blogging platform owned and operated by the giants of tech themselves. This is one big drawing factor for Blogger when it comes to getting newbies to host their blogs there. Blogger is backed up by the power and quality control of the largest website on the planet. So, you are getting quite a bit of security and peace of mind when you choose Blogger.


Blogger is centred around being extremely easy to use and set up. It is designed with the beginner in mind and holds your hand quite a bit during the setup process. This makes it a dream for beginners, but maybe a bit annoying for experienced bloggers.


To use Blogger, all you need is a Google account. There you can attach Blogger to your own existing Google platform, and simply use it as an extension of yourself and profile. It’s simple to integrate, especially for Chrome users. On top of all this, Blogger is always 100% free. There is no “premium” option that you can use. It’s always the same package with the same customization options for everyone.



The Breakdown


Blogger is very enticing largely due to the fact that it’s free to use at all times. However, this does come with a few drawbacks over a more premium paid service. As always, you get what you pay for. In this case, you are sacrificing two major things:


  • Customization ability is very limited.

  • You do not get a dedicated domain name.


Blogger aims to keep everything streamlined and simple. This reduces the amount of

‘bloat’ that can sometimes occur when blogging platforms try to get too fancy. This means you have access to a very limited set of customization options, but all of them are quite nice. In addition, you only have access to a subdomain that will look like this:


Website.blogspot.com


Many users choose Blogger because it is by far the most beginner-friendly platform around. Pair that with being free, and you get a recipe for perfection for those who want to start a blog now with very little resources. However, often bloggers find themselves moving on from Blogger if their audience grows too large.


Overall, Blogger is ideal for those who are just getting started. If you are not an experienced blogger or web designer, you likely won’t feel very restricted at all. It’s only when you begin to learn and grow that you see what you are missing. But, that’s okay for a lot of users!


Pros & Cons:


Pros:


  • Always 100% free.

  • Simple to navigate and create new posts.

  • Very sleek dashboard.


Cons:


  • Very restrictive when it comes to customization.

  • Does not scale well.



Medium





The Overview


Medium is what happens when blogging becomes social. It is the sort of spiritual successor to the once titan of blogging in the early 2000s--Bebo. However, Medium is a much more stripped-down version of what Bebo originally aimed to create. Which was a platform that is designed for blogging exclusively, inside of a neatly packaged social media frame.


Medium is a simple to use blog hosting platform online. It is designed for users to create a profile that is attached to them and publish blogs however they see fit. They can customize their pages to some extent and can post about whatever they like. Other users can find their content and read it, share it, like it, etc.


This creates a very unique ecosystem of users who follow each other's blogs and engage with each other's content regularly. This helps to establish a very fun blogging environment that is more socially focused than business-minded.


With Medium, you are using the platform to create a profile for hosting your content. You can gain followers in a way, and you can also generate revenue if you are part of their partner program. This makes it a lot more fun to write on Medium as it makes the entire process very social.


The Breakdown


To put it simply, Medium is not designed to be an all-encompassing tool for creating a blog. It’s simply a tool for having a blog. If your only goal is to showcase your writing skills and get your thoughts out there, then Medium is a great place to be. It allows you to put all of your attention towards writing, and none of it towards design and layout customization.


The simplicity and unique nature of Medium make it a very attractive sell for many bloggers with simple needs. If you are running a personal blog or simply trying to showcase your skills in writing for future clients as a freelancer, it’s the perfect platform. However, it’s not ideal for those who operate a business that sells anything.


Medium is 100% free at all times. There are no premium packages much like Facebook doesn’t have a ‘premium’ membership package. However, this does work a bit differently than Blogger in a way. With Medium, you do not own your own domain and you do not control it. The content is hosted on a profile much as it would be on Facebook or Instagram. It looks like this:


Medium.com/@username


This means that if the website ever goes down, or decides to take your content down they reserve the right to do so. So, you lose a bit of creative control over your destiny. However, this isn’t any different than hosting your content on YouTube. The content itself might belong to you, but the right to distribute it belongs to Medium.


In another comparison to YouTube, users of Medium can generate revenue based on reads and other engagement metrics. You can join the partner program (if you meet the criteria), and you will receive a small sum whenever someone visits and engages with your blog. This can be a nice little slice of income for popular writers! However, you do not have the option to control the ads users see.


Overall, Medium is a great platform for pure bloggers who simply want their voices heard. It is not designed for those who run businesses or need a full-scale website. Medium allows you to get social with your blogging and keeps everything simple and free to use.


Pros & Cons:


Pros:


  • The easiest platform to use by a long shot.

  • 100% free at all times.

  • The ability to earn passive revenue under certain circumstances.

  • Access to a large network of other bloggers.


Cons:


  • Very limited on customization options.

  • No access to a custom domain name.



Wix


The Overview


Wix.com is one of the most popular website designing platforms on the planet. With over 110 million active users, it’s safe to say that Wix is easily one of the most recognizable platforms on the market--and for good reason! Wix offers a lot to love when it comes to creating a brand new blog and website.


The first thing that should be noted is that Wix is not a completely dedicated blogging platform. It is more closely related to WordPress in this aspect. It is actually a website designing platform that has blog capability and functionality. Wix allows you to create and design a website from the ground up with zero codings or development knowledge.


Wix is popular because the tool itself offers a massive amount of customization and layout functionality. It can be designed and created in a very simple to understand ‘drag-and-drop’ format, and allows newcomers to create a brand new website without any headache. Through this, you can host your blog on that website through the Wix Blog application.


The main appeal of Wix is the ability to create a gorgeous website in minutes. This website allows you to sell your products and services, as well as host your blog. This can all be done for free with the very basic Wix service packages. You can, however, upgrade to a higher package for more encompassing features!


- The Breakdown.


As we already mentioned, Wix is not really a dedicated blogging platform. It’s a website creation and hosting tool that allows you to place a blog on your own website. This makes it ideal for users who need a more business-oriented approach to their blog in general.


Much like with WordPress, Wix allows users to have access to a massive list of applications and plugins that can make your website more unique. These plugins can help you utilize Ecommerce functions, blog functions, video hosting functions, and more. You can build a fully functioning website from the ground up.


One thing to note is that your free domain is not dedicated or custom--just like with WordPress. You will have a domain URL that looks something like this:


- User.wixsite.com/placeholder


This subdomain will be free, but will also limit you in a few ways. This is because certain apps and plugins are not available to free users. This will require you to upgrade to one of their premium packages which cost around $8-24/month. This is on top of the custom domain hosting which is about $4/month.


So, in many ways, Wix is very similar to WordPress.com (note this is not .org). It is a website design tool that allows you to showcase your blog in a more comprehensive way. However, exactly how comprehensive is up to you and your budget.


Wix comes packed with tons of different templates that are gorgeously designed and well thought out. However, this flexibility stops once you ‘lock-in’ your layout. Once you choose the design template, you cannot change it at all. All you can do is add to it and adjust small scale changes. This removes some of the customization flexibility that users of other platforms enjoy.



Pros & Cons:


Pros:


  • Extremely easy to use and very comprehensive.

  • Setup is fast and beginner-friendly.

  • The final result will be very polished and the applications are extremely useful.


Cons:


  • Access to applications is pretty limited at the free stage.

  • Lack of flexibility once you have locked in your template.



LinkedIn




The Overview


LinkedIn is one of the most popular social media and scouting websites on Earth. The platform itself has over 750 million unique users and a monthly active user base of over 250 million. This makes it one of the titans of social media! But, did you know that it has a blogging platform as well?


On LinkedIn, you can take advantage of their blogging platform known as Pulse. Pulse is the function that allows users to publish their blog posts directly to their LinkedIn profiles. This makes them likeable, shareable, etc,. It essentially turns your LinkedIn profile into a blog as well as a place to showcase your professional skills.


LinkedIn is a social media platform targeted towards professionals. It is designed to help professional individuals across every industry network and search for new employment opportunities. This makes LinkedIn a very unique place to post a blog and write about your skills, yourself, and your knowledge.


- The Breakdown.


LinkedIn is not designed to be a blogging platform exclusively. However, the Pulse portion of LinkedIn is a pretty exceptional tool that allows bloggers a very unique opportunity. You see, LinkedIn is made for those who are networking and seeking new employment opportunities. It is also for employers who are looking for new employees and partners.


When you post a blog on LinkedIn, you are posting directly to an audience of people who are interested in your profession or niche. It can help you get your ideas and skills put in front of future employers and talent scouts. LinkedIn is a great resource for networking and showing off your blogging skills to the people who really matter in your career.


LinkedIn is a 100% free service, as it is more of a social media platform than anything else. This means that you do lose all of the unique customizations that you would have with something like Blogger, or WordPress. But you are gaining something in return. Namely, you are gaining access to a pool of readers who are already connected to you and your niche.


With LinkedIn, you are simply getting your domain for your profile. You do not get a dedicated domain for your blog posts. Your domain for your profile will be:


Linkedin.com/examplename


The primary benefit of blogging on LinkedIn is business connections. Many freelancers will use LinkedIn to showcase their writing portfolio. You can also use LinkedIn to showcase your industry knowledge and get your thoughts and ideas in front of people who have the power to work with you.


LinkedIn is a platform for networking, and using it to post your blog posts is a great idea for those who are looking to grow within a very specific niche, and don’t care about having a dedicated page or domain to their blog.


Pros & Cons:


Pros:


  • LinkedIn will show your content to an audience that is already within your niche.

  • LinkedIn articles can be easily shared, and go viral quickly.

  • Access to basic analytics that helps you grow and evaluate post-performance.


Cons:

  • Lack of customization.

  • Lack of total control over your content as it is being hosted by a social media platform.

  • Potential for oversaturation in certain markets.



Final Thoughts


Choosing the right blogging platform is going to come down to your own needs and preferences. WordPress.org is by far the most powerful tool on the planet for creating a blog, but Medium is perhaps the easiest tool to use. These are things you need to weigh when it comes time to showcase your thoughts in blog format!

© 2020 di Luca Tagliaferro. Tutti i diritti riservati.