You're reading this article because you're interested in starting a blog. You're interested in the best blogging practices to make sure you set yourself up for success in the blogging world, right? Perhaps you have an online store, and you're starting your own blog in order to bring more eyes to your website.
Perhaps, you're looking for a free platform in order to showcase your written work and gather more clients since you're a freelancer.
Your first instinct may be to start a Wordpress blog since they're one of the most popular blogging platforms.
Wordpress hosting has a name in the industry for a reason, this isn't a dig at all! Nevertheless, there are other blogging platforms that may fit your needs, or your budget, even better.
No matter your reason for being here, this article will help you navigate 6 of the most popular blogging sites, evaluate their potential, and choose the features which are most relevant to your needs.
How to choose the best blog platform:
Before you input your credit card information for one of the popular premium blogging platforms, or open an account for any of the free blogging platforms, there are a few things to keep in mind.
In order to choose the proper blogging platform for your needs and niche, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Is web hosting included? If not, do you know how to find a hosting provider?
- Will the blogging platform provide a custom domain name? If not, how can you go about getting your own domain name? If they do offer a free domain name, is it a limited time offer?
- Are there free SEO tools inside the blogging platform that will help your blog gain more visibility?
- What sorts of themes do they offer? Can you browse the free and premium themes before starting your blog? Free blog templates are useful if you're unfamiliar with web design, so having a variety at your disposal is one less thing on your ever-growing to-do list.
- Is the blogging platform able to connect with Google analytics in a seamless way so that you may measure and track your progress and growth?
- Is their content management system, or CMS, easy to navigate from the user's perspective?
Best Free Blogging Platform: Wordpress.com
If you've typed "free blog sites" into Google, no doubt you've come across Wordpress. This option is great for beginner bloggers who want to try the product out, before dishing out the big bucks.
The main drawback with this Wordpress site is that you won't get a custom domain, but rather a sub-domain unless you pay for it. (Example www.yourblogname.wordpress.com)
- Mobile-responsive, which we know is important as Google is mobile-first
- Data insights, for you to understand your reader's behavior and find popular content
- Social integration, for easy sharing
Best Blogging Platform for Experienced Bloggers: Wordpress.org
What's the difference between Wordpress.com and Wordpress.org?
Org is the software itself, and you'll need to pay to host the website yourself and for your domain. Since it's an extremely popular blogging platform, there are tons of tutorials, ready-to-use plugins and templates to choose from.
Of the free platforms on the market, it has a lot of capabilities, but also a slightly higher learning curve. You'll have to make sure you know how to maintain this site as well.
- Control, with this Wordpress website, you're hosting and you have more freedom as it's your own site. Customization is next level!
- Lots of plugins and integrations
- The software is free!
Best Blogging Platform for Lifestyle Bloggers: Squarespace
Squarespace is trendy and known for its sleek design templates. What makes this blogging platform for beginners is its drag and drop capabilities. Simply choose a template that you find appealing, and start right away.
With Squarespace, you won't need to spend money on a a website builder as you can do all the heavy lifting yourself. It's very intuitive, but with convenience comes a cost. Another con is that it's not the most flexible and customizable platforms on the market.
- Beautiful, minimalist and modern design templates + free themes
- Mobile-ready blog site, e-commerce functionality
- Fast turnaround time to create a blog, negligible learning curve to get started
Best Blogging Website for Writers: Medium
It's not an easy task to choose the best blogging website! There are so many factors like hosting, domain, security, social media integrations, SEO tools and plugins.
My head is spinning just thinking about it all!
The good part about Medium is your only job is to write your blog post. That's it. Write, publish, share. There's an already large and engaged community on Medium, and dare I say, a Medium aesthetic of sorts. We're talking thought pieces, long-form and less frilly content.
Some have even gone so far as to claim Medium is the long-form Twitter, but I'l let you form your own opinion on that!
- Blog for free. Just write and share. Also, you can monetize your blog the more you grow, publish and get discovered.
- No need for a website builder as it's all done for your with a few clicks.
- One of the more well-known free blogging sites; it has its own community and following. People turn to medium for personal and meaningful conversation starters.
Best Blogging Website for Analytics Lovers: Blogger.com
If you don't feel like building your own Wordpress site, and you're a Google queen (or king) think about Blogger.
This platform is completely free, and you can access it if you have a Google account. In fact, you can have it all set up in a matter of minutes! If you're in a rush, and want to get started quickly this is one of the best free blogging platforms in that case.
- Access to both Google Adsense and Analytics
- Old-school with a proven track record. It launched in 1999!
- The free version includes basic blogging tools, drag and drop so you can start blogging asap.
Best Blogging Website for Designers who don't Code: Wix.com
Wix is one of the up-and-coming website builders great for beginners who have a creative vision, but lack code and more advanced design skills.
If you've ever wanted to start your own website, but felt held back, what you need is a drag and drop website with lots of customization properties.
- Forever free blogging service (unless you want to customize your domain)
- Wix mobile app to manage blog posts, post and respond to comments
- Super helpful marketing tools like emails, logo maker and social media post design option which makes it stand out from other platforms and free blogs. Making your blog SEO-friendly doesn't have to be stressful.
Choosing the best blogging website comes down to two main questions:
- What's your niche, sector or industry? Is ecommerce functionality something you need, or are you writing a blogger blog aka, focused on writing, not selling? As we all know, personal blogs have a very different function.
- What's your budget? Many free sites have limited features, others are more generous. Some have a free SSL certificate, Wordpress plugins, a blog hosting service and SEO features, whereas others require more mixing and matching to get the right fit for your needs.
If after reading this post you're feeling inspired to get started today, make sure you check out this article on the best SEO practices so that you avoid any rookie mistakes!
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