Jun 03, 2022
Will M. & Astari S.
7 Best Blogging Platforms: An In-Depth Comparison
Finding the right platform helps to create a successful blog, whether it’s personal or for business. Only a blogging platform suitable for your needs will make creating and sharing your content easier.
Some blogging platforms can help you create a website with a personalized design. Meanwhile, other platforms focus primarily on content and provide the same layout for all profiles.
To narrow the options, we have compiled a list of the seven best blogging platforms. We will cover the pros and cons of each platform, along with what kind of blogger it’s best for.
Once you learn about the different blogging platforms, we will share the essential elements to consider when looking for the most suitable platform. Finally, we will list the benefits of starting a blog.
WordPress’s popularity comes from its extensive selection of themes and plugins that help create any type of blog. WordPress plugins also give users complete control over customization and content creation.
In addition, users have more opportunities to scale a WordPress blog, such as turning it into an online store or a business site after it gains more followers.
To create a website using the self-hosted WordPress version, install the WordPress software first. Afterward, buy a domain name and a web host. One of the most popular blog hosting services is Hostinger. Once you have everything set, select a suitable WordPress blog theme.
WordPress features blog content on the homepage by default. However, it is possible to create a separate page:
- Publish a new empty Page entitled Blog.
- Head to Settings -> Readings and select A static page next to the Your homepage displays section.
- Select the Blog Page on the Post page section and click Save Changes.
After setting up the blog page, start creating content by adding new posts. There is no limit to the number of blog posts you can publish on your own WordPress site.
A popular WordPress blog to inspire you is the Poor Traveler, which started as a simple blog and grew into an interactive website full of travel tips.
WordPress is the best blogging platform in terms of additional features. Its library of over 58,000 WordPress plugins helps enhance blogs by providing extra tools and functions. Here are the best plugins to install as recommended by our experts:
- Yoast SEO. This search engine optimization tool advises on how to improve certain elements, such as SEO titles or meta descriptions, to get higher rankings on search engine result pages.
- WordFence Security. This comprehensive WordPress security solution keeps blogs secure by protecting them from malicious IP addresses and other security threats.
- Site Kit by Google. Track website analytics by recording the amount of traffic, engagement, and clicks that a blog gets. In addition, learning the readers’ demographics will help improve and adjust content.
- Beaver Builder. Customize layout freely using this drag-and-drop site builder. This plugin gives more control over a blog’s design.
WordPress also has other built-in blogging features, such as the comment section and a post-scheduling tool.
Finding a suitable theme, plugins, and tools can be overwhelming since plenty of options are available. Furthermore, as WordPress is open-source, not all plugins and themes are high quality and secure.
To use the self-hosted WordPress, you will need to get your own domain name. Alternatively, use a WordPress hosting provider like Hostinger. Even though we don’t provide free domains for life, we offer a whole year of domain for free with our hosting plans:
- WordPress Starter costs $3.99/month – best for blogs with fewer than 25,000 monthly visits.
- Business WordPress costs $6.99/month – suited for blogs with around 100,000 monthly visits.
- WordPress Pro costs $11.59/month – perfect for blogs with around 300,000 monthly visits.
Note that premium themes and plugins can cost up to $250/month.
How to Create a WordPress Blog – Video Tutorial
WordPress is well-suited for all types of blogs, from personal to professional ones.
IF you’re planning to use WordPress as your online blogging platform, watch the following video.
Blogger is one of the best free blogging platforms, powering over 617,000 blogs. Its large community helps increase exposure faster since this publishing platform connects your blog site to other Blogger sites, especially those covering similar topics.
As this blogging platform is owned by Google, you will only need an email address to create an account. It is possible to build up to 100 free blog sites and have 100 authors using the same Google account. Even though there is no limit to the number of published blog posts, there is a maximum of 20 static pages.
In comparison to WordPress, Blogger is more beginner-friendly to set up. This platform is designed for bloggers specifically, so it includes the appropriate blogging widgets and functions by default.
Here are the steps to create a blog site with this free blogging platform:
- Choose a blog title and author display name.
- Select a domain name for your blog. Blogger provides a free subdomain using blogspot.com.
- Head to Dashboard -> New Post to create content.
Once you have your blog, adjust the Theme and Layout to make the blog more unique. Blogger offers 12 custom themes with customizable layouts. However, you do need to know HTML and CSS to make advanced changes.
A great example of a successful Blogger site is the blog of Ann Althouse. She consistently shares short content, making her blog one of the most popular sites on the platform.
This free blog platform integrates with multiple Google services, such as Google Domains, Google Photos, and Google Analytics. Each service offers additional tools and functions to optimize a blog.
Another notable feature is Google AdSense that helps monetize a free website. Google also provides security features for all Blogger websites, such as giving a free SSL certificate.
In addition, some gadgets work as extensions to improve your free blogging site:
- Blog Search. Help visitors find a specific blog easily without having to look into all of your posts.
- Contact Form. Increase visitor engagement by making it easy for them to communicate with you.
- Translate. Visitors will be able to read your blog in their native language.
Blogger isn’t the best blogging platform when it comes to handling massive traffic and complex content types. Its limited scalability and customization make it hard to grow a blog into an online store or any other kind of website. In addition, users have minimal control over the blog’s speed and security as the platform uses Google’s servers.
With Blogger, users can go online without spending any money. However, there is an additional cost if you choose to use a custom domain name. As Blogger only offers free subdomains, it is possible to purchase a custom domain elsewhere. The cost of a domain varies, but the average price is $10-15/year.
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Verdict: Who Is Blogger Best For?
Blogger is one of the best free platforms for new bloggers interested in joining a community. Bloggers using this platform have more opportunities to attract readers faster. In addition, its minimalistic interface is better for those who want to create quick and straightforward content.
Joomla is another open-source CMS and one of the most popular free blogging sites . Same as WordPress, Joomla is also known for its flexibility. Although it is not only for blogs, Joomla’s advanced user management and multilingual support help optimize any type of blog site.
Joomla uses a robust PHP application-building framework that provides a great foundation to scale a blog into an application or other digital entity. What’s more, the built-in cache management feature can boost the blog’s speed and performance by caching static pages.
Follow these steps to create your own blog with Joomla:
- Get CMS web hosting, a domain name, and install Joomla.
- Create a new category by heading to Content -> Categories to organize your content better.
- Once you have created a new Blog category, head to Menus -> Main Menu and add a New blog menu.
- Click the blue Select button for the Menu Item Type and choose the Blog category.
- Head to the Blog Layout tab to select how many articles to show on a full-size display.
Once you have finished the blog setup, select a theme and customize it to make your site unique. For an example of a personalized Joomla blog, take a look at Jason Scott Montoya’s blog that also works as a portfolio.
Joomla has powerful built-in features, such as the integrated multilingual support to translate blog content into over 75 languages and a banner management tool to add advertisements and monetize a website.
Furthermore, Joomla offers over 8000 extensions for additional tools and functions. Some extensions worth checking out are:
- EasyBlog. Share your blog posts on any social media platform automatically.
- CComment Core. Make it easier for visitors to leave comments on your blog posts without reloading the web page. This saves server bandwidth and provides spam protection.
- Shack Editorial Calendar. For owners of busy Joomla sites, this extension helps manage large amounts of Joomla articles by creating, editing, and scheduling content on a single calendar.
Joomla uses many web development terminologies on the control panel, so it has a steeper learning curve. In addition, even though this platform offers many features, some of the different modules, extensions, and plugins are incompatible with one another.
Joomla is a self-hosted platform, meaning the software itself is free. However, users will need to get their own domain name and web hosting. Here are some of our Joomla hosting plans that include both:
- Premium Shared Hosting costs $2.99/month – for 100 GB SSD storage.
- Business Shared Hosting costs $4.99/month – for 200 GB SSD storage.
While many Joomla extensions are free, premium extensions that include better tools and functionality can cost up to $200 for a one-time payment.
Verdict: Who Is Joomla Best For?
Even though Joomla is flexible, we recommend this blogging platform for professional blogs, especially those with multiple authors as they will be able to benefit from Joomla’s user management tool.
Medium is another popular blogging platform that also provides space for bloggers to network. It has a large audience that helps establish an online presence faster for your blog. This platform attracts 170 million unique users per month and has a total of 725,000 subscribers.
In comparison to other best free blogging platforms, Medium uses the same template for all profiles. Its simplistic design makes it easier for readers to focus on the content. In addition, Medium also gives all users a free subdomain under medium.com.
To create a blog using Medium, users only need to set up an account with an email address. Even though there are no themes or layouts, users can still include a profile picture and a header. Once the profile is set up, bloggers can start making posts right away.
Its distraction-free editor makes it the best blogging platform for those who do not like customizing website designs. Both writers and visitors can focus on content. For example, Cory Doctorow runs a popular Medium blog that features different types of daily content with over 51,000 followers.
Even though the Medium blogging platform has limited customization, it offers unique features. One of them is its Partner Program which helps Medium bloggers earn money from visitor reading time and referred membership.
The more time Medium members spend reading your blog’s content, the more money you’ll earn. Another way to monetize your blog is by referring your readers to become Medium members – the blogging platform will pay you half of their membership fee as long as they remain members.
To be eligible for the Partner Program, you must publish at least one story per six months and have more than 100 followers.
Another notable feature of Medium is its built-in analytical tool. By using the Stats feature, users can analyze the articles’ views and engagement right away.
In addition, its recommended system makes it easier for new bloggers to build an audience. It is a content-based filtering system that helps readers find relevant content. Medium also offers a rating system to measure engagement using the Clap feature.
Even though Medium has a large audience, it is hard to make your profile stand out in terms of design. In addition, the platform also has a few content types, mainly focusing on writing, images, and videos.
Another downside of using Medium is that your content can be removed if you include third-party ads or sponsored content.
It is possible to create a free blog with Medium. However, the free account can only accommodate up to three articles per month. The subscription price is $5/month or $50/year to get unlimited access to all the stories on Medium without advertisements.
As a member, you will also be able to see some stories behind a paywall. In addition, you will be able to support other writers through the Partner Program.
Verdict: Who Is Medium Best For?
This blogging platform is great for people who want to focus solely on content. In addition, it does not require technical knowledge, so it is suitable for beginners.
Drupal is another CMS that offers great tools and features, making it one of the best platforms to start a blog. What makes this platform unique is its flexible API architecture that supports different platforms. In addition, its built-in performance features can improve a blog’s speed and security significantly.
Compared to the other CMSs or free blog platforms, Drupal websites can handle higher web traffic. Its ability to support complex blogs with thousands of pages is one of the benefits this platform offers.
Here are the steps to create a self-hosted blog using Drupal:
- Get a web hosting plan and a custom domain name and install the software.
- Add a content type by heading to Structure -> Content types -> Add content type.
- Start with the blog content type and click on the Save and manage fields button.
- Turn on the comment section by clicking on the blog content type and selecting Add Field.
By default, visitors can’t comment without registering or having a Drupal account. To change this, head to People -> Permissions and tick on Post comments under Anonymous user. When adding content, make sure to choose the blog content type.
Due to its complex setup, Drupal can be a good platform for bigger websites that feature a blog. For example, Harvard University’s blog section has a straightforward layout that invites visitors to read more posts.
Drupal’s great built-in features include automated translation that supports over 100 languages. In addition, bloggers can create personalized customer experiences using geolocation, browser history, and behavior taxonomies.
Drupal Security’s strong coding standards and strict community review process also help prevent security issues.
Drupal also offers extensions if the in-built features are not enough. For example, social media integration helps connect your website with social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook.
Although Drupal is great for blogs with large traffic volumes, it has a steep learning curve. It isn’t the best blogging platform for simple personal blogs, as its setup requires web development skills and experience.
As a self-hosted platform, the pricing for Drupal depends on the chosen web hosting and custom domain name. Check out Hostinger’s Drupal hosting plans that come with a free domain:
- Premium Shared Hosting costs $2.99/month – for blogs with up to 25,000 monthly visits.
- Business Shared Hosting costs $4.99/month – for blogs with up to 100,000 monthly visits.
Verdict: Who Is Drupal Best For?
Drupal can be the best blog platform for advanced users who wish to create large-scale and complex sites.
Zyro is a beginner-friendly website builder that offers multiple unique tools to optimize and design a site. This drag-and-drop website builder uses cloud hosting for more reliable performance and minimal downtime.
Due to Zyro’s What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) interface, you can see changes made to the site right away. In addition, its high-quality themes are suitable for different types of blog sites. We also recommend Zyro because of its excellent customer support.
Here’s how to create a personal blog with Zyro:
- Create a Zyro account and select a template for your blog.
- Start customizing your theme.
- To add content, head to Dashboard -> Blog -> Add New Post.
- Once you are ready to publish your blog, click on the Publish website button. Zyro does offer a free subdomain using zyrosite.com. Alternatively, get a custom domain.
An example of how Zyro can accommodate a great design with a simple interface is the Lovemeloveyou website. This site features regular podcasts as part of the blog, demonstrating that Zyro can also display different content types.
The best feature of Zyro is its third-party integrations, from Google Analytics to social media platforms. In addition, all Zyro-built websites have a content delivery network (CDN) enabled by default to increase site speed
What’s more, Zyro’s artificial intelligence tools make it stand out from other website builders:
- AI Website Heatmap – highlights page areas that are more likely to get attention or clicks.
- AI Content Generator – helps create copy based on the selected topic.
The interface also provides live blog previews, post descriptions, and SEO tools to help customize the blog content.
Even though Zyro is easy to use and flexible, users cannot switch templates without moving content. As a consequence, making design changes will take more time. Furthermore, Zyro also has limited scalability as users do not have access to their sites’ backend.
All Zyro pricing plans come with a free SSL certificate, managed cloud hosting, AI tools, and SEO tools. The plan most suitable for blogs is Website at $2.90/month with unlimited bandwidth and storage.
Verdict: Who Is Zyro Best For?
Overall, Zyro may be the best blogging platform for beginners who wish to create a high-quality design but lack the technical knowledge to do so elsewhere.
Ghost is a free and open-source platform mainly focused on creating blog sites. It is a headless node.js content management system, meaning it has faster loading times. In addition, Ghost blogs are more lightweight as it is easier to create static pages.
A great benefit of using Ghost is that it provides an automatic content backup system. In addition, there is a live preview of your site when making changes.
There are multiple ways to install Ghost. The simplest one is to install it locally. To do so, you’ll need a computer running macOS, Windows, or Linux, a supported version of Node.js, yarn or npm to manage packages, and an empty directory.
Once you have installed the software, just add a new post to create content. It is a minimalist blogging platform that lets you focus only on writing blog posts without any distractions.
Most of Ghost’s built-in features focus on optimizing blogging sites. For example, its simple user-administration tools help assign roles and permissions. The dashboard is also easy to use and manage and features a night mode.
The most significant feature of Ghost is the signup forms, which can transform a simple blog into a publishing platform with memberships. With this feature, collect emails from your readers to make them your subscribers.
Ghost also has a marketplace that features additional themes, third-party application integrations, and the ability to hire experts. Some Ghost integrations you should use on your blog include:
- Google Optimize. Test the overall visitor experience, including a home page design or the performance of a call-to-action, using different testing systems.
- Azure Storage. Manage sites with a high volume of images or blogs that require a media library management interface with more security.
- Circle. Invite members to join the discussion and build a thriving community by adding new members or sharing new posts with your community.
The small selection of themes makes it harder to customize the design and layout. In addition, the initial setup is not suitable for beginners. You will need web development or coding skills to use the Ghost blogging platform.
- Starter costs $9/month – for one admin user and up to 500 members.
- Basic costs $29/month – for two admin users and up to 1,000 members.
- Standard costs $79/month – for five admin users and up to 1,000 members.
- Business costs $199/month – for unlimited admin users and up to 10,000 members.
When you pay annually, you get a 20% discount. In addition, Ghost also has member-based pricing that depends on the number of members you have.
Verdict: Who Is Ghost Best For?
Ghost is the best blogging platform for professional bloggers who already have a following.
What to Consider When Looking for the Best Blogging Platform
Now that we have listed some of the most popular blogging platforms, it’s time to discuss the features you should consider when choosing the best platform for blogging that fulfills your needs.
While some blog platforms are more suitable for users with coding experience or web developers, beginners can create a blog without coding or web development knowledge.
In our list, we have mentioned the target audience for each platform. Make sure to choose a platform that is best suited for your skills.
Take note that the learning curve affects the blog’s flexibility. More advanced platforms give more flexibility to create a complex website. In comparison, beginner-friendly platforms often have limited customization and tools.
The price of creating a blog site depends on what the blog platform offers and what you need. Consider starting a blog as an investment and think about how much you are willing to spend on it.
If you are still a beginner and just want to create a personal blog, we recommend choosing one of the free blogging platforms. However, if you are planning to create a professional blog, consider spending more to optimize it.
You can also spend more as your site grows. Users can start with a free blog and invest in it after attracting more readers.
Keep in mind that free blogging platforms are often more limited in terms of flexibility and scalability whereas paid options have more tools and features to optimize your site.
Customization is an essential part of making your blog stand out from others. Some platforms give full control over the customization, such as by using a drag-and-drop tool. Other platforms focus solely on content and offer minimal customization.
If you want to create a blog with a custom design, it is essential to choose a flexible platform. However, if you focus solely on creating blog content, use a platform that does not require much customization.
Tools and Features
All blog platforms come with their own libraries of widgets, plugins, integrations, or extensions to help expand the functionality of your content. Platforms that offer more blogging tools will be able to create complex blogs.
However, some blogging platforms offer limited tools and features that only provide the necessary features. Some platforms keep the extensions limited to ensure that they are all of high quality and value.
If you plan to create a standard blog, you won’t need a platform with many tools and features. However, if you want to personalize your blog and include different types of content, we recommend using a blogging platform that offers a wide range of tools and extensions.
A blogging site can grow into a different type of website, such as a media platform or an online store. If your long-term goal is to develop your blog into a more prominent website, check whether the platform offers the scalability you’ll need.
As mentioned in our best blogging platforms list, some are more suitable for personal blogs, and some are better for professional blogs. Depending on how you want to grow your blog, choosing a wrong platform can hinder its growth.
Why Start a Blog?
A blog is a website or part of a site that features regularly updated content. Because of the frequent updates, blogging is one of the ways to attract organic traffic to websites. However, there are plenty of other benefits to starting a blog.
Earn Extra Income
Blogging is an excellent opportunity to earn extra income. How much you can make depends on the platform, but the average income is around $0.01-0.25/page view. Most successful bloggers make money as their blogs attract high traffic, around 100,000 page views a month, and they earn up to $10,000/month.
Bloggers interested in earning additional income can join affiliate marketing programs or include ads on their own websites. In addition, many blogging platforms also offer other ways to monetize blogs, such as adding AdSense.
Check whether the platform you’re considering has a personal program to monetize your blog. If not, check the available extensions and plugins for additional tools to earn money online.
Build a Community
Blogging is also an opportunity to have a personal and meaningful conversation with like-minded people. By sharing your blog posts on social media platforms, you encourage people to contact you.
Blogging also makes it possible to expand your network by connecting you with the existing audience of the chosen platform.
Develop Your Skills and Gain More Opportunities
You will have to post regularly to keep your blog exciting. Just like a portfolio website, a blog can help improve your writing, photography, videography, or podcasting skills and knowledge on specific topics.
Thus, blogging can become an opportunity to connect with potential employers, clients, or customers. Furthermore, it can lead to other business or traffic generating opportunities, such as public speaking appearances or press coverage.
Later, your blog can gain authority and be considered a credible source of information.
Don’t forget to include ways for visitors to contact you to take advantage of these opportunities.
Finding the right blogging platform is an essential first step for all bloggers. There are plenty of platforms available, but not all of them might be suitable for your needs.
We have covered the seven best blogging platforms for you to choose from:
- WordPress – popular software that offers thousands of additional tools and features using plugins. With this platform, users can create any type of blog.
- Blogger – a free blogging platform with a large community and an easy setup. Blogger might be the best free blogging platform for beginners.
- Joomla – a flexible content management system that offers excellent built-in features. This platform is most suitable for small to medium professional blogs with multiple authors.
- Medium – a straightforward online platform with thousands of already existing members and a fast setup. This blogging platform is great for building a following and readership.
- Drupal – a CMS for blogs with high traffic that share other content outside of blogging. We recommend this platform to users who are familiar with web development.
- Zyro – a beginner-friendly drag-and-drop website builder that offers high-quality themes. This website builder is most suitable for bloggers who want great design but lack technical knowledge.
- Ghost – a headless CMS that focuses on blogs and publications, known for its fast loading times and the built-in membership feature. This software is best for bloggers who already have a large following.
When looking for the best blogging platform for your needs, consider your technical knowledge and budget. In addition, determine how much customization, additional features, and scalability your blog will require.
Remember that a blog can be a way to earn extra income, build a community, and gain more opportunities. Knowing this will make it easier to choose the most suitable blogging platform for you.
Now that you know the best blogging platforms available, we wish you good luck with your blogging journey.