August 26, 2020
August 26, 2020
If you’re looking to start a new blog, your first (and most important) choice is which platform you’ll use to power it. Not all blogging platforms are equal and the one you pick needs to have all the features you require to build a successful website.
There are a lot of platforms you can use to set up a fully-working blog and even have your first blog post available for people to see in a matter of hours. In most cases, these blogging tools fall under the category of Content Management Systems (CMS), which are platforms built to help you publish content on the web.
When you’re looking for the best blogging platform, you’ll want a CMS that offers several key features:
That’s a long list of criteria you’ll need to keep in mind while looking for the best free blogging platform for your needs. Fortunately, these days there are a lot of amazing platforms to choose from. Let’s talk about our top picks!
Grab a web hosting plan and set up your blogging platform of choice with a single click!
Before we dive in, it’s important to understand that all the platforms on this list are self-hosted CMS. They’re all free to use, however you’ll need to procure your own hosting.
Which hosting provider to use is up to you, but if you don’t know where to get started, check out some of Hostinger’s hosting plans.
Here is a list of the best blogging platforms for 2020 based on popularity, features, and ease of use:
WordPress powers over 35% of the web, which makes it a juggernaut. However, that doesn’t mean it’s automatically the best blog platform for you.
What sets WordPress apart is its ease of use, customization options, and extendability. These days, most blog hosting providers enable you to set up your WordPress site with just a few clicks. Then, you can easily find themes and plugins to help you implement almost any feature you might imagine.
Apart from its massive library of add-ons, WordPress has the advantage of a thriving community. If you run into any issues, finding tutorials or other forms of help is simple. To sum up, WordPress is a free and safe blog choice that provides unlimited potential for growth, even if you’re entirely new to blogging. Let’s check out the pros and cons.
When people debate over the best CMS, Joomla! is one of the names that tend to show up right alongside WordPress. These platforms share a lot in common. For instance, they’re both open-source and provide amazing extendability and customization options.
Having said that, self-hosted Joomla! offers its own unique experience. It gives you a broader range of settings to work with than WordPress does, which you can see with a peek at its dashboard:
While having more settings to play with is useful, it also means that the learning curve is a bit steeper. On the plus side, Joomla! makes your blog very easy to maintain. It’s not common to run into issues after you update Joomla! or any of its extensions.
Ultimately, a lot of people choose to use WordPress or Drupal because both offer more add-ons. However, Joomla! stands nicely between the two free platforms. It’s easier to maintain, it doesn’t require you to be a developer to set up a website, and it offers enough options that using extensions may not be essential. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
Drupal is another big name that gets a lot of attention during the best CMS debates. This particular platform is popular among enterprise-level websites since it offers superior performance.
When it comes to the best free blogs, Drupal provides all the features you’ll need to create a fantastic website. It includes built-in content creation functionality, editing features, and much more. However, the platform really starts to shine once you move beyond just blogging.
Another reason Drupal is a top pick for big sites is that it’s incredibly secure, and is more powerful than either Joomla! or WordPress. However, Drupal is harder to pick up if you don’t have any experience as a developer. Plus, it can be overkill if you just want to set up a simple blog.
With that in mind, using Drupal makes sense if you want to start a blog for your company and you’re willing to invest in a developer (or you are one). Otherwise, you’ll need to do a lot of tinkering to get things working just the way you want. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
Pyro is a free Laravel-based CMS, which prides itself on being an excellent platform for developers. With blogging, Pyro offers a grid-based layout system, which gives you full control over the way your posts look. On top of that, this platform makes it easy to edit all of your content with its drag and drop tool.
When you get started with Pyro, the first thing you’ll notice is that its dashboard looks both modern and organized:
Overall, Pyro is an excellent option for simple blogs and more complex websites. However, once you move beyond a basic blog, things start to get complicated. You’ll need to customize your website’s code yourself to make any major changes. Likewise, a lot of Pyro extensions are rather expensive, so costs can quickly add up for blogs with a lot of functionality.
If you’re looking for the best blogging platform that offers a combination of ease of use and power, SilverStripe is an excellent option. At first glance, this free CMS doesn’t look as flashy as some of the other best blogging platforms we’ve seen so far, but don’t let that fool you.
This free blogging platforms’ editor enables you to preview your blog posts as you write them. It also provides you with built-in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) options to help you improve your content’s rankings. Moreover, the platform also features error reports, which allow you to monitor any problems with your site from your dashboard.
In our experience, the only area where SilverStripe disappoints is when it comes to free blog templates. There are only a few dozen options to choose from, and not all of them hit the mark. You can always customize your pages using HTML and CSS, but that can be a lot of work if you’re new to creating websites.
If you’re looking for a free CMS that is more on the mild side, then Textpattern might be the best blogging platform for you.
Out of all the platforms we’ve seen so far, Textpattern is the simplest. Its dashboard is a reflection of that fact:
While it does support themes and plugins, its selection of both types of add-ons is bare. Although there are some excellent choices among them, Textpattern assumes that all you need is a very simple blog and that you know enough coding basics to set it up with only a bit of help.
Serendipity bills itself as a weblog engine instead of a CMS and that’s appropriate given the features it offers. This free platform is all about blogging and it’s a solid option if you’re looking to set up a simple blog with few frills.
While Serendipity does offer templates, most of them are quite basic. However, what Serendipity lacks in style, it makes up for with its blogging-friendly features. For instance, it features a powerful text editor, media management, and advanced taxonomy settings.
On top of that, the free platform also includes built-in spam protection and support for multiple users. In short, it has all the features you’d expect to see from one of the best blogging platforms, and it doesn’t require you to have any background in web development.
Jekyll is unlike any of the other free blogging platforms we’ve featured on this list. This platform works entirely from your command line and doesn’t have a graphical interface. If that’s not something you’re comfortable with, feel free to jump to the next platform on the list.
If you’re not intimidated by the command line, however, Jekyll has a lot going for it. It’s the best blog platform if you’re looking for something ultra-lightweight and allows you to create blazing fast static websites.
With Jekyll, you’ll need to use HTML, CSS, Markdown text, and Liquid templates to create simple sites. The philosophy behind Jekyll is to remove as many frills as possible from the content creation process and enable developers to set up blogs in a matter of minutes.
Despite its straightforward approach to blog building, Jekyll does support basic features such as pages, blog posts, custom layouts, and categories for your content. However, it doesn’t use databases or support site comments.
Now, let’s take a look at Subrion. If we had to compare this free blogging platform to one of our earlier entries, it would be WordPress. In fact, the first impression you get when you log into your dashboard is that it looks very slick:
As far as features go, Subrion packs all the basics you’ll need for blogging. It enables you to set up blog pages and posts, and it includes a robust text editor. It also offers built-in SEO features and plenty of other functionalities.
One of the best features Subrion offers is it allows you to manage subscriptions for your website. That means you can use it to set up a private blog, for example, and you can even monitor your earnings from your dashboard. It also supports themes and templates, although it doesn’t offer as many options in either department as other blogs do.
If you’re looking for a robust free platform that doesn’t require you to use many plugins, Ghost is a worthy option. It comes with plenty of tools that let you publish and manage posts easily.
Ghost also has built-in SEO features, including automatic sitemaps, metadata for every blog page and post, canonical tags, and permalinks. Moreover, it provides integrated AMP support, which can help your blog load faster on mobile devices and rank higher in search results.
For teams, Ghost offers user-administration features for assigning roles and permissions. And since this platform has an automatic content backup system, it can prevent loss of data.
However, Ghost has a steep learning curve since it utilizes a Markdown editor instead of a visual editing page. It is also built on Node.js, which isn’t generally supported by many hosting providers.
With Postleaf, users won’t need to worry about the sizes of their pictures. This free platform can automatically resize images based on the dimensions that a visitor’s browser requests. What’s more, crop, flip, rotate, and even blur photos easily when you use Postleaf to start blogs.
Postleaf features a zen mode editor that lets users write without distractions. It comes in two interface versions — day and night mode. This editing page doesn’t have font, size, and color options, which helps the writer focus more on the content.
Managing your web files is also simple with Postleaf. With its integrated file manager, users can easily drag and drop images to upload them. This feature also supports multi-select, deleting, downloading, and image previews.
Another notable feature that Postleaf has is a quick blog post. This function makes it possible to create a draft or post your ideas instantly from your phone.
Postleaf is a self-funded project with no dedicated support team, so it can be challenging to get help when facing issues. But you can leave a comment on its community forum.
And like Ghost, Postleaf is also coded in Node.js. If you’re more into PHP development, it might take more time to install and use it.
Omeka is designed specifically for sharing online digital collections, like images, videos, and audio recordings. This free blog maker is suitable for scholars, librarians, and museum professionals.
Although Omeka isn’t as customizable as other free popular blogging platforms, many academic institutions opt for this service due to its impressive features for creating online exhibitions.
Omeka has a built-in exhibit plugin that can combine items on your blog with any narrative text. This tool can also configure your exhibits with different themes or logos.
Users can let their visitors contribute and share images, articles, and other files with Omeka. Visitors are also able to share their favorite content on social media networks.
What’s more, Omeka lets users import metadata sets or create their customized metadata vocabulary, allowing their visitors to search and find any information on a site quickly.
Though Omeka includes all necessary tools to create comprehensive digital archives, it might not be the best free option for an individual or group project. Installing and using it requires coding knowledge, so it needs more people and resources to maintain and develop a site.
Omeka also lacks in plugins, giving you fewer options to boost your site performance.
Another free blogging platform that offers a modern and straightforward interface is ImpressPages. It comes pre-built with a drag and drop editor, making it easy to create blog posts or pages without using any code. It also has a user-friendly dashboard that helps you build a free online blog in no time.
Since ImpressPages supports plenty of content types — images, HTML code, and videos, for instance — users can use this CMS for building other types of websites aside blogs.
ImpressPages also provides free multilingual support for your blog. Its translations engine can interpret any string in your code with ease, so you won’t have to use any plugin to make your blog accessible across the globe.
Should you want to upload any content and make it downloadable, use its built-in file widget to add the item to your site. Plus, you can utilize the form feature of ImpressPages to create a subscription form and grow your email address list.
No need to worry about SEO when using ImpressPages, since it’s designed to make your site rank higher in search engines. Some free tools it includes are auto sitemap generations, social media, and SEO friendly URLs.
However, ImpressPages doesn’t have a lot of extensions and themes. But if you have the technical knowledge, you can customize and enhance your website’s performance using code.
As the name implies, this CMS ensures an effortless experience of creating and managing content. With its robust WYSIWYG editor, users can make changes and see the preview on the same page.
CMS Made Simple doesn’t include unnecessary functions that you won’t use, which can slow down your site’s loading performance. Instead, you can pick the modules that best fit your needs.
Besides modules, CMS Made Simple also offers themes, dynamic menus, tags, and translations. Nevertheless, this platform still requires coding knowledge of at least HTML and CSS to get the best out of it.
If you need a module or a web design that doesn’t exist in CMS Made Simple archive, you might have to code your own add-on or hire a developer to create the feature.
That’s why CMS Made Simple is mostly suitable for designers or developers since it has all features and flexibility to create a powerful website fast and easy.
If you plan to sell products on your blog, Soholaunch is worth a try. This free blogging platform comes with a comprehensive shopping cart feature, including tools such as payment options, exchange policies, and coupons.
Soholaunch also utilizes an easy to use visual editor. You can customize your website by adding elements such as text, photo albums, online forms, and maps.
Make sure to use its blog manager features, as it has a clean interface and includes useful blogging functions, from unlimited entries to blog archives.
To help you capture targeted visitors, Soholaunch enables you to give a unique title, description, and keywords to each page. This platform can also create static versions of your web pages, making them more accessible to search engines.
Another plus point of Soholaunch is its event calendar feature. With this tool, you’re able to advertise upcoming events and sell registrations on your website.
Unfortunately, Soholaunch’s plugins aren’t available on the latest version of this platform. Still, all impressive features that it offers out-of-the-box are enough to create an impressive blog.
It’s important to pick the best free blogging platform for your specific needs. We’re big fans of WordPress, but it’s not the only strong option. Each of the best blogging platforms we’ve covered on this list shines for certain types of projects and users.
Remember that each of these free blogging platforms is self-hosted and will require a web host. Make sure to check out different hosting options and compare the costs per month. Look for extra perks like a free custom domain name or integration with Google Analytics.
Do you have any questions about how to pick the best blogging platform to build your site with? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!
April 16 2019
So, I have decided to start blogging and have limited experience. My goal is to turn blogging into a money generating endeavor. The "theme" of the blog, in a nutshell, is Lifestyle and Inspiration. I plan on incorporating a lot of my own photography into the blog but will also, often, want/need to use stock photo. Price isn't the main concern, I just want the best platform that will grow with my business. Of course, I always hear about WordPress but there are so many options now it makes my head spin. The blog will be authentic and unique to my personality so customization may be the key issue. I also want something easy to maintain so that I can focus on the content and creativity (also I mentioned that I have limited experience? But I am a fast learner and well-educated :) ) Down the road, I may need to incorporate e-commerce. AND, I want to have linked email... Help!!!
Replied on February 29 2020
Hi India, Hopefully reading this helped point you in the right direction :) Good luck to you and your blog!
May 01 2019
I think people only need simple pages that gives valuable information with images and headings. You can also try monopages.com
July 09 2019
Great post! Thank you for sharing your ideas about Article writing. It helped me a lot in improving my site to make it effective. Thanks again.
July 16 2019
Nice guide for making money via blogging. These are all the great ideas make money via blogging. Thanks for sharing this post.
February 26 2020
it is very help full in this site good information