Choosing a blog platform is important, but if you are only starting out, you may not be aware of all the options and what is best for you. People will try to convince you that whay they use is the best (particularly if there are affiliate links invloved!). But what is best for one person, may not be best for you.
Or what if you already have a blog? You may be at a stage that the platform you are using no longer suits your needs? And need to decide your next move.
I hope this blogging and website platform guide, will guide you to make an educated decision and help you get started.
Things to keep in mind when choosing a web platform:
1. You can always change platform later.
2. Consider not only your needs now, but consider your long term goals. Even though you can change later, the longer you can stick with one the easier it will make things for you.
3. Don’t just use what someone recommends, but what is best for your needs, and what you feel comfortable with.
These are the platform I recommend looking at if you plan to make blogging your main feature. Even if you want extra pages, these are idea where the blog is your focus.
While there are many blogging platforms out there, the main platforms are blogspot, wordpress.com, wordpress.org (self hosted), tumblr, squarespace and typepad.
BLOGSPOT (Aka Blogger)
- No hosting required, it’s FREE
- Owned by google (which makes it very searchable)
- User friendly, great for anyone just starting out, and if you don’t have tech skills.
- You can export posts if you choose to move to another platform down the track
- You can link your own domain name to it, no fear of your site going down as it is hosted by blogger (not self hosted).
- Not fully customisable, it has certain limits. So if you want a blog that is more like a website or with special features not available on blogger, you may be better off with a more advanced platform.
- And blogger doesn’t have the best support, if you have problems, it is hard to get help, other than asking other bloggers.
- Blogger is not frequently updated or receive new features.
My take– This is a great platform when starting out as a blogger, as it is free and you can make it look really nice with a good theme and some customisation.
- This platform is usually best if you are already using it and have a good following, and don’t have the budget for paying for hosting (and therefore can’t upgrade to self hosted wordpress)
- You can customise CSS
- No set up required.
- If you plan to later upgrade to self hosted it is a great way to get to know the back end and how to blog on the wordpress platform
- Hosted with wordpress, so no fear of your blog going down.
- Can be limiting in what it can do, as you can only edit the css and not the html, and they charge extra to access the css.
- You also can’t use certain types of widgets/code, such as advertising.
My Take– Great for a beginner who plans to later get self hosted wordpress, and wants to get to know the backend, and how to blog with wordpress. Not ideal if you plan to monitize your blog and have a fancy design.
- A great flexible platform, which allows you to take your blog to the next level, and can expand it over time. You can also create a full website, if you want to have more than just a blog.
- It is a robust plaform and there are endless posibilities.
- Highly customisable, and plenty of plugins to add to it.
- Very popular, so there are plenty of forums and tutorials on customising it.
- SEO friendly
- Requires hosting, which will cost you extra money. Also it relies on your host, so if there are any problems on the hosts end, it could cause your site to go down.
- You do also need to protect it from possible hacking threats.
- Requires more management.
- Requires more tech skill to set up.
My Take– Ideal for the pro blogger, that wants to take blogging seriously or make a living from it. Also ideal if you want to expand beyond the blog and have extra pages and features.
- Good for those just wanting to post simple things like photos and quotes, rather than full blog posts.
- Good community (easy to share things from other tumblr blogs and others can share your posts too). It has an inbuilt social media aspect.
- Free , quick and easy to use.
- Limited features and customisation.
- Not ideal if you want to write longer/ informative posts.
- Can’t add widgets.
- Difficult to transfer to another platform later
My Take– Perfect for the visual casual blogger. If you are more about images then text and are just looking for an outlet to share and reshare pretty things, this is the place.
- All plugins are well tested
- High quality, great and fast support (good if you need easy help).
- Easy to use, and less need for coding knowledge
- Doesn’t require hosting
- All templates are responsive.
- looks good wit little to no tech skill
- Less powerful and customisable than wordpress and can be more costly to run depending on the package you sign up for
- Harder to back up data.
- Limited to the features provided (you don’t get the wide range of plugins like wordpress)
My Take– Perfect if you are on a budget (can’t pay a designer), and can’t code but want a beautiful professional design that is easy to maintain and can get good support. If you don’t need all the bells and whistles of wordpress but desire a professional look, this is a great platform.
- Simple to use.
- Good support and customer service
- Dosen’t require hosting
- You can add scripts, which means you can have advertising and widgets on your blog
- Customisable, lots of themes to choose from, unlimited photo albums.
- Content is hosted by typepad
- You have to pay to use the service
- Limited integrated widgets
- Less flexible than wordpress.
My take- I’d put this in between squarespace and wordpress. If you like a bit more customisation freedom then squarespace but don’t want the hosting of wordpress, then this may be the good balanced option.
- Customizable with templates and apps
- Easy to use, if you can’t code. (Drag and drop)
- Easy to set up and use
- Customisation is limited, and you can’t change your theme once you pick one.
- The free account is branded with ‘wix’
- Not as good SEO
My Take- Personally I am not a fan of Wix, it’s a bit clunky and poor aesthetic. But if you want something easy with drag and drop set up, and looking for an alternative to Squarespace, this could be the go.
- Similar to wordpress in terms of a robust platform and flexibility
- Plenty of themes, apps and customisation options
- Requires hosting
- Technical to set up
- Less support available then wordpress, as it is less popular
- Requires more tech savy/coding ability
My Take– I’d suggest this for the developer, who has a lot of coding know how and wants to experiment with an alternative to wordpress.
- A Niche platform designed for writing and journalism. Focused on blogging and writing.
- User friendly and clean. Focused on the writing.
- Fast and efficient
- Not highly customisable.
- Limited options and themes.
- Difficult setup if you install it yourself.
My Take– Ideal for Journalists who want to focus on writing, and keep things clean and uncluttered.
I hope this helps you make a decision about what is best for you!
What platform do you use, or plan to use and do you have any other thoughts beyond what I have mentioned?
p.s Anyone notice how most of these platfroms yse the colour blue?? Hmm Colour phycology!
Looking for more help with your blog?