When I first landed in the blogging world, I was clueless – I didn’t even know the right platform to use to launch my blog.

After doing some shoddy research, I created a Blogger blog. I thought it was the best option for me. Blogger was very easy to use and, honestly, I felt it was what I needed to succeed as a blogger.

As I began to appreciate better other available options, I jumped from one blogging platform to another – Tumblr, WordPress.com and Weebly.

Ultimately, it was the advice I got from a friend, Stephen Kavita of http://www.workonlinelegit.com/, that convinced me of the benefits of WordPress.org (self-hosted). Since then, I’ve never looked back.

Choosing the best platform for starting your blog is important for creating a name for yourself as a blogger. Whereas it’s understandable to switch from one platform to another, you should not be hopping the way I did.

If you want to establish your footing in the Internet, you need to find one blogging platform that will work for you instead of having a fragmented presence across multiple platforms.

To ensure your blogging ship set sail smoothly, I’ve compiled a rundown of the advantages and disadvantages of eight of the most popular blogging platforms available out there.

  1. WordPress

wordpress logoWordPress is the most used platform in the blogosphere. In fact, statistics point that one in every six sites is run using this platform. WordPress also power this site you are reading now.

The WordPress blogging platform comes with two variations: WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

The main distinction between them is that the WordPress.com provides free hosting on WordPress’ server while with WordPress.org, users have to pay to host their sites through third-party hosting companies such as Hostgator.

a) WordPress.com

If you use WordPress.com to start your blog, you will not need to worry about hosting costs, as it will be done for you free of charge.

Therefore, it is an easy way to start on the blogging journey. However, you will be limited in terms of functionality, so it’s not advisable to use it for a business blog where you require complete control and convenience.

WordPress.com advantages

  • It’s fairly simple and easy to use
  • You will not need to incur any hosting charges for operating your blog
  • It’s more than a decade old, so it’s considered reliable and stable

WordPress.com disadvantages

  • It has inadequate functionality unless you pay to get additional features
  • Your blog may show advertisements from WordPress, which might dilute the perception of your brand and business

Recommended for

  • Casual bloggers
  • Businesses that need a simple blogging platform for communication purposes

b) WordPress.org

WordPress.org allows you to gain complete control of your blogging experience. You’ll be able to use your own domain name, add more robust features, and accomplish other many things.

However, you’ll have to pay for your site to be hosted by an external hosting provider.

Fortunately, hosting is not expensive, especially if you go for a competent company like Hostgator, you can start hosting your site for as low as below $4.

WordPress.org advantages

  • You’ll benefit from the ability to choose from over 35,000 plugins available in the WordPress Plugin Directory to enhance the features of your site
  • You’ll enjoy complete control of your site
  • You’ll benefit from the flexibility to orient your WordPress blog to suit your preferences, whether it is developing an eCommerce store or creating a video-focused site
  • The ready availability of several themes implies you can customize the design of your site to suit your needs
  • The vibrant community of WordPress experts will assist you in case you experience any issues
  • It is frequently updated to ensure that it’s up-to-date with the recent technological advancements

Recommended for

  • Professional bloggers
  • Businesses that need a reliable, authoritative and professional blogging platform

2. Blogger

blogger logoEven though I initially experienced blogging using Blogger (also called BlogSpot), I am not a big fun of the platform owned by the big G.

Since it is a product of Google, it integrates flawlessly with other items from the search giant, including Analytics, Google+, Google Apps, and many more.

Advantages

  • The platform was one of the earliest blogging services to be created, so stability issues may no longer be a problem
  • It is easy to monetize because of the integrated Google Adsense elements
  • It is free, easy and simple to use, even a caveman will be able to navigate around it without any difficulties

Disadvantages

  • Because of its limited features, it’s not suited for a business that wants to gain authority and high presence in the online space
  • You will not be able to set up your own domain name
  • It has unattractive design options
  • Unavailability of robust community support as present in other platforms like WordPress

Recommended for

  • Novice bloggers
  • Businesses that need a simple blogging platform for communication purposes
  1. Tumblr

tumblr logoTumblr is an interesting platform that pioneered the tumblog or microblogging avalanche. Rather than creating complete posts, users are able to share images, quotes, audios, videos, links, and chats to their own Tumblelogs.

Tumblr is suited for short posts which other users of the platform can “reblog” at their own convenience.

Advantages

  • It is free and very easy to use
  • The Tumblr community is huge and vibrant, so the possibility of your posts to go viral due to reblogging is very high
  • You’ll be able to publish posts fast and according to your convenience through SMS, email or audio message

Disadvantages

  • Since the platform encourages visual designs, it may not be suited for heavy text-based blogging
  • Emphasis on reblogging dilutes the need for unique and original content, especially text-based content
  • Since Yahoo! purchased the platform, users may soon start seeing advertisements displaying on it

Recommended for

  • People who are more expressive with visual content and need something between Twitter and WordPress
  • Businesses focusing on promoting their services by means of visual content
  • People who find writing content to be too demanding
  1. Weebly

weebly logoWeebly provides free and easy-to-use platform for creating websites and blogs. Although it is easy to navigate across its functionalities, it has not won my vote has the best blogging platform.

Advantages

  • It has an extensive array of themes you can choose from
  • It is simple to set up a blog or a website with the tool

Disadvantages

  • It has limited customization possibilities
  • You will not enjoy the full control of your blog because Weebly hosts it for you
  • To get rid of the Weebly branding and add your own, you will need to pay $4 to $8 per month

Recommended for

  • Casual bloggers who need something basic
  • Businesses that need to add simple blogging applications to their websites
  1. SquareSpace

squarespace logoThis is a premium platform for creating websites and blogs. SquareSpace’s most notable feature is its useful drag-and-drop layout tool that enables fast and easy customization. Using SquareSpace attracts a monthly charge starting at $8.

Advantages

  • You will be able to customize the site according to your needs
  • You’ll access a wide array of visually appealing templates
  • You can easily import blogs built on other platforms such as WordPress and Blogger
  • The platform is less vulnerable to viruses and hacking

Disadvantages

  • It is costly to operate. If your site has over 20 pages, you’ll be required to upgrade to an account starting at $16 monthly. If you want to include eCommerce capabilities to your site, you’ll be paying at least $24 monthly.
  • You will not be able to modify the backend code of the platform

Recommended for

  • Serious people and businesses who need a cloud-based, hardcore blogging platform with widespread customization possibilities
  1. Typepad

typepad logoTypepad is acclaimed as one of the oldest premium blogging solutions still present today.

Before Blogger, WordPress and Tumblr were launched, Typepad was already commonly used in the Internet.

You’ll have to pay a monthly fee starting at $8.95 if you want to enjoy its services.

Advantages

  • It is a very stable platform. Because the code is closed-source, hacking it is not easy
  • Typepad has a wide range of already integrated analytical tools
  • You can publish posts via different sources – mobile devices, desktop or apps

Disadvantages

  • It is costly, particularly when powerful free options are available
  • It is short of the functionalities and flexibility of WordPress

Recommended for

  • People requiring a semi-robust blogging solution that falls in between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
  1. Drupal

drupal logoDrupal tends to be more of a content management system (CMS) than a tool for launching blogs.

Whereas it can be used for building blogs, you can also use it for building huge websites, discussion boards, online stores, and many other things.

So, you may not find it beneficial if you an average blogger.

Advantages

  • It is very powerful since it has an extensive range of features and customizations
  • It is free to use
  • Drupal has a passionate community that readily provides assistance whenever possible

Disadvantages

  • You need some technical knowledge to navigate the software easily
  • You need to buy hosting from a third-party hosting provider

Recommended for

  • Businesses that need to develop very complex websites that include a blog
  1. Joomla

joomla logoJust like Drupal, Joomla is another content management system that allows you to create almost any kind of website.

Joomla is much easier to navigate around than Drupal, but it’s more demanding than WordPress. Joomla exceeds WordPress in terms of the complexity of the content management options it provides. However, they are not as good as what Drupal provides.

Advantages

  • It allows you to build a complex website with a blog
  • It is simpler to use than Drupal
  • It is free

Disadvantages

  • It requires more expertise to use than WordPress
  • When compared to Drupal, its features are not very comprehensive
  • You need some technical proficiency to operate the tool easily

Recommended for

  • Businesses that require more elaborate websites than WordPress can manage but are not willing to use Drupal

Bottom line

Ultimately, the platform you will choose for blogging will depend on various factors, including budget, needs, technical skills, and target audience.

Importantly, you should go for a platform that offers you the features, flexibility, simplicity, and customization you require to portray conveniently your brand and business to the visitors of your site.

So, before you choose a blogging platform, do a thorough background check to ensure your choice is in line with the reasons why you want to start a blog.

  1. Timely and informative. My own blogs are spread out all over the place but I have always intended to migrate everything to wordpress. I hope in your next post you talk of self-hosting. It’s all so confusing to me

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