If you are reading this , then you most probably are new in the blogosphere and wonder how and where you can start new blog.You probably also can’t wait to start writing articles for it. Having a blog is a great thing because you can share anything you want and even make some money out of it.
Most significant Platforms for Blogging
Today I’ll try my best to explain what is a blogging platform and why we need a blogging platform at all. Then I will go through all popular Blogging platforms and mention the benefits and all drawbacks of using each one of them briefly.
In my post I will talk about:
First things, first. Let’s see now what means a blogging platform, and then I will go through a list of all essential and popular blogging platforms so you can decide later on what is a blogging platform for your new blog.
What is a blogging platform?
Blogging platform or Platform for blogging is either a service or an app that provides a medium for the creation of your blog and publishing your content. To have a blog, first, you will need a blogging platform.
The blogging platforms exist in the forms of :
Website builders or content management systems (CMS) like WordPress.org,WordPress.com, Ghost, Wix and many others (*)
Blogging applications like Medium,Blogger.com and others
Simplified, ready to use and user-friendly blogging and microblogging platforms like Reddit, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and many others.
In this write-up, I try to go briefly through the best available blogging platforms and also will mention the microblogging platforms for newcomers who want to create a free blog or a microblog up and make it running. These services will allow you to launch a personal or corporate blog quickly so that you can promote ideas or make money on the Internet.
WordPress vs WordPress.com
Disclaimer: There are two utterly different versions of WordPress, and most of the people are confused about the differences between both WordPress.org (also known as “self-hosted WordPress” or just “WordPress” for disambiguation purposes) and WordPress.com.
I will explain first about the self-hosted version of WordPress, and then I will do the same about the free hosted version of WordPress (the WordPress.com version).
WordPress (WP or WordPress.org)
WordPress.org is the free, open source, self-hosted solution, which means you own your website’s content and have full control over it. WordPress is software designed primarily for blogs that you can download and install on your or any web host.
As it is with many other independent solutions, you will first need to buy a custom domain name separately and then sign up a contract with a hosting provider for the hosting of your new weblog. Finally, you have to download and install WordPress on your hosted server, which is a simple task even for people without experience. Honestly.
Negative sides of using WordPress as a platform for your blog
The cons of using WP as a platform for your blogs are as follows:
-The initial investment for a domain name (URL) and website hosting is required.
-Can be expensive to maintain. Running a website or blog on WP can be costly because WordPress relies on plugins and themes for customisation and many of the beautiful themes and useful modules or plugins are not free. Unless you are familiar with coding and WP system itself, then help from developers could be required at some point;
-Need to take care of updates regularly, which is very important to keep your blogging platform up to date. Sometimes the updates can cause malfunctioning of the site;
-Wordpress can be vulnerable to potential hackers due to its open-source origin and the significant number of available plugins and themes, build by different third parties developers;
-Spamming. Spammers often overrun WordPress, which is annoying ;
-The speed of a website build by WordPress it is dependent on the used modules and themes and this cause slow load times. To rectify such a problem or get the situation improved is possible but this usually requires some technical knowledge;
Positive sides of using WordPress as a platform for your blog
The pros of using WP as a platform for your blogs are as follows:
-Free platform and Blogging system;
-Great for Beginners.WordPress is famous for its easy installation process. The system is suitable for people with little or no experience. For a beginner, WordPress is a great way to learn how to create a blog and start blogging;
-Easy to handle. WordPress is a user-friendly content management system, and by using the provided documentation and online guides it is straightforward to understand how it works and start using its powerful interface;
-Lower Cost of Ownership. Even with the investment required for hosting your website and the money you should put on a good domain name, still running your blogging website with WordPress will be cheaper compared with the majority of the other available platforms, mainly due to its simplicity;
-There are tens of thousands of available themes and plugins for WordPress;
-Mobile-friendly.Majority of the themes built for WordPress are suitable for mobile devices;
-Very good for SEO. When using WP for your blog site, people can find your content and benefit from it. Your audience can easily see your content on the web because the plugins for WordPress are designed and built for simplicity and SEO purposes.
-Monitoring progress and statistics for your blog posts is simple;
WordPress.com is a hosted blogging service, similar to Blogger, Tumblr or Medium, which allow others to create their web presence hosted and maintained on servers owned by a company named Automatic. Automatic use WordPress as the software running the website WordPress.com.
If you choose WordPress.com to be the solution for your blog, then you should know that the free option applies to the limited Basic plan.
If you choose it, you get your own site on a subdomain of WordPress.com.Your site URL will look something like this “NameOrBrand.wordpress.com.
With the free plan you will be eligible to access dozens of free themes, some basic options for customisation of the design and free storage space for the files used on your blog (3GB space is provided for images, etc.).
In general WordPress.com hosting platform is quite limited when you’re on the free, personal, or even premium plan. To use some advanced features, you have to be either on Business or on the VIP plan, which is quite expensive. My advice is if you are a personal blogger, and you don’t care about making money from your website, then choose the free WordPress.com, but if you are a blogger that wants to make money from your site, then choose the self-hosted WordPress.
Negative sides of using WordPress.com as a platform for your blog
The cons of using WordPress.com as a platform for your blogs are as follows:
– You cannot upload plugins or custom themes if you use free version;
-Advertisements are present on all free websites. If you choose the free plan for your site hosted on WordPress.com, then your visitors and readers will see ads. If you don’t want your audience to see ads, then you can upgrade to a paid plan. You don’t make money from the shown ads on your blog if you choose the free program;
-Only The Business plan users can install Google Analytics. If you use the free version of WordPress.com, then you cannot add any powerful tracking platform ;
-WordPress.com does not offer any eCommerce features or integrated payment gateways. Hence you cannot use WordPress.com for building membership websites;
Positive sides of using WordPress.com as a platform for your blog
The pros of using WordPress.com as a platform for your blogs are as follows:
-No initial investment is required. The free version of WordPress.com can suit your needs if you are a hobby blogger or if you don’t plan to make money by your blog. WordPress.com it is free for up to 3GB of space used on the server. If you need more space for your blogging site, then you will have to choose a paid plan ;
-Automatic updates or backups. You don’t have to worry about making backups of your website or upgrading the WP system to the latest version. This is because the WordPress.com platform takes care of it;
Blogger is the second free most used blogging platform worldwide after WordPress, and millions of people widely use it.
Google owns this blogging platform, and Blogger could be an excellent choice for people who want to start a simple blog with not that many possibilities for templates or options for customisation. If you decide to use and start a free blog on Blogger.com, you usually get a domain name like “name.blogspot.com”, and this is what we call as a free domain name.
Having a free domain name has many disadvantages, but Blogger also offers an option for custom name domains at a monthly fee, which can be a good option if you choose to use Blogger as a platform for your very first blog.
If you have your domain name already, then you can point your blog’s URL address on Blogger to a custom domain address for free.
One of the drawbacks of this content management system, which many bloggers dislike is the lack of many templates or plugins so, the scope of customising the site is minimal. At the same time, there are also many bloggers who like the minimalistic look and its ease of use. The latter is one of the many reasons why Blogger is considered to be second among the best free blogging platforms.
Negative sides of using Blogger as a platform for your blog
The cons of using Blogger.com as a platform for your blogs are as follows:
-Poor in regards with customisation. Blogger has free templates and widgets included, but if you need something different than the included ones, there is no such a variety as it is with WordPress, for example.
This is usually the most common reason why many bloggers decide to start on Blogger, and after a time, when their blog gets more traffic, they move to some other service which offers more options and tools for customisation. In short, Blogger has very little to offer regarding content management;
-Spam. Similar to WP, Blogspot is one of the favourite systems of the spammers, and this can be a headache if you don’t correctly set your blog system up;
-Your domain name will have an extension. If you go for the free option for a domain on Blogger, your blog’s domain name will be with something like “NameOrBrand.blogspot.com”.Not a big issue, but if you plan to build a brand then you should think of having your decent own domain name “YourNameOrBrand.com” set up from the very beginning of the blogging process ;
-You can’t upload media files like various documents -i.e. PDF, .doc, etc. to your blog server, which can be a disadvantage sometimes, depending on what is the primary use of your blog;
-You are dependent much on Google products. One of the drawbacks of Blogger (known as Blogspot too) is that is more or less Google-centric. For instance, to start a blog with Blogger, you will need a personal Google account. Google provides a vast amount of free software and platforms, but there are many examples when the company has decided to discontinue a particular product, and you can’t do much about it;
-Not very SEO friendly. Lousy permalink structure of published pages make Blogger not very friendly for Search engine optimisation;
-Your blog can be deleted if it violates Google’s policies for content publishing;
Positive sides of using Blogger.com as a platform for your blog
The pros of using Blogger.com as a platform for your blogs are as follows:
-Blogger focuses 100% on blogging ;
-Free blogging system and platform ;
-There is no need to take care of hosting or installing and setting the system up. Blogger is ready to use after registration;
-You will get unlimited storage and bandwidth for your website. The latter is an essential benefit of Blogger, which should be considered if you have plans to utilise the advantages of blogging and make money with your weblog;
-Suitable for newbies. Blogger’s interface is friendly and straightforward.You can start your blogging site and have your first blog entry published for less than 20 minutes;
-Great for beginners. For a beginner, it is a great way to learn how to create a blog and begin the blogging process;
-Immediate indexing of your blogs in Google ;
-Easy social sharing of your blog posts. You can announce your new blog entries on Google Plus once you create an original new blog post on Blogger, for better exposure. This helps to build an audience or stay in touch with and update your readers and friends;
-Easy AdSense integration and approval. If you decide on using Blogger as a primary system for your blogs it is good to know that the AdSense integration and support is a natural, straightforward process, so if you plan to monetise your blog in future, consider this one;
-Linking your weblog to Google Webmaster tools and Google Analytics is very simple;
-Monitoring stats and progress of your posts is easy;
Tumblr is one of the SAAS (Software As A Service) blogging platforms available today. Owned by Yahoo, Tumblr can be a good option if you seek something quick and easy to start with as a new blogger. The online platform supports custom domain names and is extremely easy to use even from mobile devices, which is one great benefits for bloggers and microbloggers.
Because of its ease of use Tumblr is among the favourite, simplified systems for blogging and microblogging. Users’ posts and content can be republished or reblogged to a Tumblr account, that makes it a different kind of platform to the likes of Blogger or WordPress.
Here is the time to mention that SAAS blogging platforms like Tumblr can provide the advantage of already existing communities, and this has its benefits, especially for the new bloggers who are interested in building audience and followers.
Tumblr is considered to be more of a social network than a platform for blogs only, and its users often utilise this platform to curate items, instead of for creating new, original content.
If your plans include you to develop and grow as a blogger and have control over your online presence to generate leads or customise it for something else, then Tumblr might not be the best choice for a blogging platform;
Negative sides of using Tumblr as a platform for your blog
The cons of using Tumblr as a platform for your blogs are as follows:
-There are limitations to design and functionalities. Tumblr offers design customisation for its themes, but it is relatively limited. Besides if you’re looking for some extra plugins or widgets, Tumblr indeed isn’t your best option.
-A specific format. Bloggers must adapt to a form specific for Tumblr and adjust their content accordingly to create engaging content on the platform. This means if you’re writing long-form articles with no images then Tumblr probably is not the best platform for blogging for your needs.
As Tumblr is a highly visual blogging platform, publishing and sharing animated GIFs, videos, individual photos or groups of images is what work best for bloggers using the system. Text posts are also favourite too, but what rocks this platform is mainly the visual content;
-There is no option to use the platform on own server. Tumblr requires you to use the designated Tumblr server to host your blog. This can be a security concern and also if the server goes down, so does your blog;
-No much room for growth. If you opt to use Tumblr you might not be able to develop further your ideas, whereas with other systems such as WP you can quickly turn your blog into something else in case you want to change the primary goal of your website.
-Uncontrolled Freedom. On Tumblr, people can write what they want, and anyone who sees it can respond to it, but sometimes this can lead to misinformation, annoying arguments, not very pleasant to read posts and cyber-bullying. Tumblr is full with many interesting posts, but at the same time you can encounter a significant number of porn pages, useless posts and countless requests from dead souls, using the flexible blogging system for links building and promoting of low-quality content;
Positive sides of using Tumblr as a platform for your blog
The pros of using Tumblr as a platform for your blogs are as follows:
-Simple to Use. If you’re looking to get started blogging immediately without wasting any precious time, then probably Tumblr will work well for you. As you can see, there are some similarities between Twitter and Tumblr regarding the ease of use. You can think of Tumblr as “Twitter for Blogging;
-Free blogging system. Tumblr is free of charge, but it is good to know that there is also a possibility to choose the premium option.
You might want to subscribe for the paid version if the basic version doesn’t work right for your blog. Even the basic version of Tumblr is good enough to create a great blogging platform. The premium version enables the users to do further customisations of their blogs.
-Easy to start your blog. You can set up a functioning blog on Tumblr literally in a matter of minutes by using the premade, customizable themes, which doesn’t require assistance from third-party developers.
-Suitable for beginners. Tumblr is an ideal as a platform for beginners in the blogosphere ;
-Mobile friendly. Tumblr has high-quality apps for all essential mobile platforms iOS, Android, and Windows, hence your blogs are automatically mobile friendly and optimised.
-A large audience. The existing communities are one of the most valuable features which you can find on Tumblr. The current vast audience is a good start for every new blogger, and if you manage to provide exciting, unique and engaging content, then you can build your community of followers and readers relatively easy.
– Scheduling of your blog posts is available. As you know, there are many free and paid tools for Social Media Management available on the Internet today.
Tumblr allows you to schedule your blog posts, which can be a benefit when simulating a permanent online presence, thus eliminating the need for third-party software like SocialOomph, Hootsuite or Zoho Social.
-Simple analytics is available for your blogs. Tumblr gives you the ability to connect to Google Analytics your Tumblr’s account and follow the changes in the popularity of your blog posts, published on the platform;
-Freedom.As Tumblr is a blogging platform people can write what they want. Besides anyone who sees it can respond to it;
Medium was build by the creators of Twitter and provides an excellent medium for publishing and showcasing content.
It has a minimalistic modern look and at the same time looks classy. The content discovery method of Medium lets your blog article to be submitted to multiple collections, which helps with your article being discovered and reach a broad audience. Medium offers bloggers and content creators a useful free SAAS platform for blogging.
Negative sides of using Medium as a platform for your blog
The cons of using Medium as a platform for your blogs are as follows:
-Basic analytics of view statistics. Medium has a well-integrated system for the bloggers to see the performance of each publication. Though it is not feasible for Google Analytics to be integrated into your blog;
-The audience is not yours. The followers and the audience of your blog are “part” of Medium’s platform. In case you decide not to use the platform in future you can lose your fans and readers, or at least part of them;
Positive sides of using Medium as a platform for your blog
The pros of using Medium as a platform for your blogs are as follows:
-Focuses 100% on blogging. Medium has a very functional and straightforward writing interface to concentrate on writing and blogging;
-Beautiful, simple and easy to use. The Medium’s platform doesn’t require any coding knowledge or skills, and no setup is needed so you can start blogging immediately after registering;
-Suitable for beginners. Medium is ideal as a platform, to begin with, blogging;
-Can reach a broad audience. On Medium it is easy to get your blog post discovered and to reach a large community of people with same or similar interests. If you are interested in exposing your content in front of as many readers as you can, Medium has it;
-Designed to showcase content. One of the benefits which Medium has is that the bloggers can share posts from their existing blogs and at the same time to use the platform of Medium as another, secondary blog. Your blogs can be grouped into one or more collections;
-Sharing content. Medium has excellent integration with Twitter; hence the newly published content can be shared straight after publishing;
-Great for SEO. Medium is well built and is superior concerning SEO, which means your freshly released publications will be found very fast by the search engines. The platform supports tags and collections by topics and interests;
-Inline commenting. Users can comment and applaud other authors for their blog posts;
Ghost is a pure, fully open source, an adaptable platform for building and running modern online publications and blogs.
Ghost is a blogging tool that relies on a minimalistic user interface.
Unlike other platforms Ghost it is purely designed as a blogging platform, and for this reason, it should be employed only for blogs.
Whether you’re running one of the world’s leading online publications or growing a brand new blog from scratch, Ghost can be adapted to suit your personal needs. Similarly to WordPress, Ghost comes in two versions: free and paid.
The free version can be downloaded, installed and hosted on your server. The paid version can be used on Ghost’s own servers without the necessity to upload it. With Ghost blogging platform users can upload their own themes and content by FTP, regardless of which version Ghost (free or paid) you are using.
As a blogging platform Ghost offers decent social sharing features and super well-optimised SEO settings, so you do not need external modules to install. Ghost’s is designed and built with the idea for blogs and blogging.
This being said the minimalism is present not only in its design but also regarding integrated functionalities. Indeed, you can create and edit posts, and this is pretty much all. Ghost is good enough to be used as a blogging platform for personal blogs, but if you need a software for an online media magazine or multi-author blog, then you might need for another solution.
Based on Node.js, Ghost is built from the ground up to be simple, sleek and easy to use.
Negative sides of using Ghost as a platform for your blog
The cons of using Ghost as a platform for your blogs are as follows:
-Limited support. Ghost is a relatively new blogging tool and due to this fact, has a smaller community and support forums. The countable support for Ghost is not yet as good as it is with other platforms for blogging;
-Use of Markdown writing method. Ghost is using the markdown writing method which can be a drawback for some users;
-Limited customisations. With Ghost, there are options to customise themes, but they are limited for people who don’t have experience with coding;
-Some background is required. If you want to change the theme or the subject of your Ghost blog, for example, you need to upload the files manually, and afterwards to activate the theme from the admin panel;
-Lack of flexibility. Ghost merely is excellent for people who want to create just a beautiful blog, but you can’t use it for anything else;
Positive sides of using Ghost as a platform for your blog
The pros of using Ghost as a platform for your blogs are as follows:
-An open source blogging platform. Ghost allows bloggers to use a free platform for publishing content;
-Ghost is optimised for mobile devices;
-Very fast and with excellent performance. Ghost is powered by modern technology, and for this reason, the Ghost blogging platform is high-speed;
-Ghost is user-friendly and straightforward. Even if you are new for this blogging tool you will find out soon how simple to use it is with almost no learning curve;
-Suitable for beginners. The dashboard of Ghost is more accessible and friendlier than the panel of WordPress;
-Ghost focuses 100% on publishing and blogging. On Ghost, everything revolves around your content because the platform is explicitly built for blogging and publishing;
As stated by the creators of this platform “Svbtle is a reading and writing network designed from the ground up to work the same way your brain does. Svbtle will help you to curate ideas and includes everything you need to develop and publish your thoughts to the world”.
Svbtle platform is suitable for beginners in blogging who want to be all about blogs and writing and have zero contacts with design, SEO, or anything else which could be somehow complicated. Even if Svbtle is not a completely free blogging tool (6 $ is an affordable price per month though) and has the features that could be seen in other blogging platforms, it still could be attractive to serious content creators.
If you decide to use Svbtle, you will have to learn Markdown, as it is with Ghost but this is not complicated, and the process will probably not take you more than one post. Svbtle is good for blogging and for curating exciting and engaging content from any writer who registers on the site, similar to the concept of Medium.
Negative sides of using Svbtle as a medium for your blog
The cons of using Svbtle as a platform for your blogs are as follows:
-Svbtle is a blogging platform with everything else removed. If you are something other than a writer or plan to make money blogging, then you should also consider other blogging tools and options.
-It’s not free.
-Similar to other existing platforms for blogging. There are other available blogging tools which can be used for free;
Positive sides of using Svbtle as a medium for your blog
The pros of using Svbtle as a platform for your blogs are as follows:
-An innovative and nice dashboard;
-Blogging and Content curation under the same roof;
– Custom domain. You can choose either your own domain or svbtle.com subdomain for your new blog;
-Beautiful design. The Svbtle layouts have distinct and clean style;
-You blog stays forever. Your published content will remain online forever as per the promise of Svbtle;
– Decent writing and pleasant reading experience;
Final Thoughts and The Verdict:
The presented here platforms for blogging are among the most popular solutions for bloggers available today. Each one of them has a long list of advantages and disadvantages. I hope this overview helped you to compare the benefits and the drawbacks of most popular platforms to use for own blog and to give you ideas about which one is good to choose for this purpose.
Which one of the existing platforms you should use it is a decision strictly made by personal choice and needs.
My advice is (if you can afford it) to test each one of the blogging systems before you take a firm decision which ones would work best for your blogging needs.
Have a nice Blogging Day!