Choosing a Blogging Platform

 Choosing a blogging platform

 

When choosing a blogging platform there are a few things to consider: Free or paid? Simple or robust? Small learning curve or big learning curve? It really depends on what you’re looking for. Do you want a blogging platform that’s simple to learn, free to use and easy to share what you’ve got to share? Or do you want a blogging platform that you’ve paid for, a drag and drop interface with customer support? Do you want the ultimate in content management software with a big learning curve, but ultimately an awesome looking website? It all depends on what you’re looking for.

There are so many blogging platforms to choose from. It can really be overwhelming at the beginning. I’m gonna break down the pros and cons for some of the most popular blogging platforms. This is not an extensive list of pros and cons, but more of a jumping off point. You can probably decide what you definitely don’t want in a blogging platform from this post. Okay, let’s get started with choosing a blogging platform!

Free blogging platforms

     Using a free blogging platform is a great way to get started especially if  you’re unsure about blogging or just trying it out for the first time. When it comes to being flexible and expandable, free platforms can be limiting. With free platforms you don’t really own the blog, the host owns it. Ultimately, they could delete your blog because of all sorts of reasons, but it’s definitely an element that could happen. Is it likely, probably not, but it’s a possibility. Usually, they don’t want their platforms to be used for making money. You’ll have to check the terms of use. It can be difficult to move your blog to a hosted site later on.

Blogger

     Blogger is run by Google and is a great platform for a hobby blogger that doesn’t want to invest too much into it. It’s a great platform to test the waters and maybe after a few months to see if investing more is what you want to do.
Cost: Free
Pros
     User-friendly and easy to get started
     You can use a domain name if you have one
     Free hosting
Cons
     Limited capabilities – to change the look a lot, HTML and CSS is needed
     If you don’t have a domain name, you’re stuck with the blogspot.com subdomain
    Google owns it. If they shut it down, you’re out of luck
    Not meant for very powerful sites

WordPress.com

There are two kinds of WordPress sites- wordpress.com and wordpress.org. They can get easily confused when starting out. WordPress.com used to be completely free, now they have updated to having optional add-ons for a fee. Even with the paid add-ons, it’s still not as robust as using a self-hosted WordPress.org.
Cost: Free + Paid Add-ons
Pros
     Easy to setup
     You can try out a limited version of the WordPress CMS for free
     Maintenance is taken care of by WordPress.co
     Simple customization is available
Cons
     No ads allowed
     Customization is limited – no plugins, limited themes
     Not optimized for search engines
     To use premium features, you will have to pay

Paid blogging platforms

With paid blogging platforms there is more versatility, flexibility and the options for design are endless. Some paid platforms come with varying degrees of support. You own publication of your blog and are able to make money without any penalties.

SquareSpace

Squarespace is the new kid on the blog block. It has a very easy to use drop and drag system.
Cost: varies from $5/month to $70/month
Pros
     User-friendly – drag and drop interface is easy to use
     Fast, 24/7 Support
     All Inclusive (domain name and hosting are including in fee)
     Responsive, beautiful, professional themes to choose from
     Offers Student Discount
     Provides SEO
     Easily integrated e-commerce store
Cons
     No apps, extensions or plugins
     Limited theme options
     It’s not fully customizable

WordPress.org

WordPress.org is a self-hosted platform. This requires it to be hosted on a web server that’s paid for either monthly or yearly. WordPress.org is a free and open source, which means everyone can contribute to making it better through free or premium, i.e. paid plugins. Checking the ratings and getting plugin recommendations is a great way to find good plugins. Plugins make WordPress.org robust and versatile.
Cost: $3/month to $200/month (bluehost, hostgator, eleven2)
Pros
     Customizable with plugins, widgets, themes, and HTML/CSS
     Compatible with lots of programs
     A very robust content management software (CMS)
     Monetization is available
Cons
    Updates and finding support are your responsibility
    Big learning curve if you’re not very techy
    Hosting costs can vary
     I use wordpress.org to run this site. There will be times on this blog when I make wordpress.org specific suggestions and have posts dedicated to WordPress only features. The plugins that come with WordPress make it a very robust CMS to use and I love the ease of the dashboard and options available. I enjoy it very much and that’s why I use it. I try to learn new things about WordPress to help me grow as a developer as well. I’ve been using it for years, but there is a bit of a learning curve when you’re starting out.
Also, I wanted to share a few blog posts about choosing a blogging platform, so you can see what other people have chosen to use.
Chantal tells us why to use WordPress.
Jessica explains choosing your blogging platform and shares 5 platforms options.
Ultimately, when choosing a blogging platform, the best platform is the platform that you will use. It’s that simple.
What blogging platform do you use? I’d love to know, please share with us in the comments.
P.S. Sign up for my weekly newsletter about blogging and business. I send it out every Monday.

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