Are you planning to earn a passive income online? Planning to start a blog? Are you confused about which blogging platform to choose with so many options around? Well, I will try to clear all your confusion in this article and will discuss the Best Blogging Platforms in 2020.
In this article, I will list out the major positives and negatives of a couple of blogging platforms ( Both paid and free) so that it becomes easy for you to decide which is the Best Blogging Platforms for you. Unfortunately, no blogging platform can satisfy all your requirements and you may need to make a compromise.
Well, Before going further I believe it makes sense to give a broad overview of ” What is blogging” and ” What is our goal from blogging“
What is a Blog?
A blog is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries. Posts are typically displayed in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent post appears first, at the top of the web page.
The popularity of blogging started over a decade ago. People are now more focused on building options to earn apart from regular jobs. Either to have a voice over the internet or just to make some extra money, blogging became very popular nowadays. Some blogs are run by a single person and some are run by big business corporate.
To create and run a blog, we need to have a blogging platform. Well, if we want we can develop our own blogging platform but that costs a huge amount of money and consume a hell of a lot of time. No one would like to go that way except big corporate. Right?
For a traditional blogger, out of the box blogging platform suits best as the framework is designed to offer a user-friendly interface for blogging. Those blogging platforms also take care of SEO and help you to grow faster.
What is your Goal from Blogging?
Many people jump into blogging just because others are jumping into it. That does not make any sense and soon or later they realize their mistakes. You should blog only if you love to blog.
Choosing a good blogging platform vastly depends on what is your goal from blogging.
For example, if you want to earn money from blogging through ads, then some blog does not allow third-party ads whereas some free blogging platform allows native and third-party ads from where you can earn money.
If you want to earn from affiliate marketing then there are some blogging platforms that might suit you more than the other. So first decide what is your goal from blogging.
Hers is a list of common goals that most bloggers usually have.
- Wants to earn a passive income
- Wants to become famous
- Wants to connect with people
- Wants a voice on the internet
- Wants to promote a brand
Know your capabilities
Well, it’s very important to know your capabilities before choosing a blogging platform. There is some platform that is great but you need to have a fair amount of technical knowledge to get it moving. On the other hand, there is some platform that offers everything out of the box. Choosing a blogging platform based on your capabilities saves you from future issues.
Below are a few questions that you should ask yourselves before choosing the best blogging platform for yourself.
- Do I have a basic knowledge of coding?
- Do I know how to host a website?
- Am I having enough fund premium platforms?
- Do I have enough digital marketing skills?
- Can I give enough time to grow my blog?
Well, after reading this article you might be able to get a fair answer about what is the best blogging platform for you based on the capabilities listed above.
How To Choose The Best Blogging Platforms?
If you want to choose the best blogging platform, you need to make a checklist of criteria based on those you will take a decision.
That makes a lot of sense for newbies as they may not have enough knowledge to navigate around. An intuitive interface with easy to use navigation comes in handy while choosing the best blogging platform
Usually, all free blogging platforms come with a very basic outlook. No one likes the basic look and you may feel to change the look right away. But does the platform offer a high level of customization? Look for this before choosing your best blogging platform
The theme is a great way of changing how your blog looks. You need to look at how versatile the theme options for the said platform. Also, need to look for how costly those themes are or do we have enough free theme in case you are out of budget.
A blogging platform without enough plugins is just not right. The blogging business is getting competitive day by day and you need to have few outstanding plugins to move your blog to the next level.
How about a blogging platform that you can customize like anything and also it’s easy to use but you cant optimize it? An under-optimized blog is of no use. You will have to optimize your blog for speed and SEO. Without these you cant rank on Google. So look for a platform that offers you the optimization option.
When you start a blog, you start from zero. But do your best blogging platform offers flexibility when your blog grows? Flexibility in terms of growth, geographical presence is very important.
In 2019, no one likes a rigid blogging platform. You may start with a traditional blog but later you may like to integrate affiliate products or you may like to integrate e-commerce. Do your platform has this modularity? If you think about a long-term goal, modularity is a must in blogging platforms.
Here comes the best part. If you ask Why Do you Blog? I won’t be surprised if 99% say? for money. It’s a fact and I can’t take the lie if you say that, I do blogging because I love to write, I do blogging because I want fame. So do your blogging platform offers a monetization option.
Monetization can be through advertisement, paid articles, selling affiliate products or services. Your best blogging platform should offer all sources of monetization options.
Types of Blogging Platform
Blogging platform can be categorized broadly in into two types.
Free Vs Paid
Almost all blogging platforms are free to use. However, there are some platforms that will charge you to use their platforms. We will also list major free blogging platforms in this article.
Self Hosted vs Platform hosted
Some platform offers the software so that you can self-host your blog while others offer to use their hosting to host your blog. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages.
You will have full control of the self-hosted blog and can use your own domain name. But you need to pay for domain and hosting. In the case of a platform-hosted blog, you cant use your own domain name ( Exception available), and usually offers limited features. One good thing about platform hosted blog is that you don’t need to pay for hosting unless you want to choose their premium plan.
Having known all aspects of blogging, our goals, and what we expect from the best blogging platform let’s dig into the list and explore possible blogging platforms. Here is the list on which I will talk about.
Best Blogging Platforms in 2021
First of all, don’t get confused between WordPress.org with WordPress.com ( Discussed in the latter part of this article). WordPress.org is for self-hosted blogs whereas WordPress.com allows you to create a blog in the subdomain of WordPress.com.
In this article, the term WordPress will be used multiple times. Please make a note that the term WordPress? will refer to WordPress.org unless clearly mention as WordPress.com
WordPress powers over 30% of blogs and one of the most popular and widely used blogging platform software. You need to buy a domain name and have to rent a hosting space to host a blog.
Once you are done with a domain name and hosting, you need to install WordPress which is very straightforward. There is a fair amount of learning curve in WordPress to make your blog moving but it, not something that casual bloggers will find hard.
WordPress is the best solution if you want to have full control of your blog. You can design the blog the way you want using many free and paid themes. You can also enhance the functionality of your blog by using over 50000 plugins available in the WordPress repository.
In terms of support, WordPress has community-based support, and it is very unlikely that you won’t get an answer to your query. For all plugins and themes, there is a support section where you can ask your queries and authors are prompt enough to answer those questions.
WordPress software is free to use and modify. To host a blog with WordPress, you need to buy a domain name that costs about $10 per year. You also need to buy a hosting package which usually varies based on your requirement.
Typically lowest plan starts from a dollar to hundreds of dollars for a premium plan. On average if you spend about $40- $50 per month, you can have a well-performing blog.
You can customize every aspect of WordPress to suit your need. You can install a theme to change the looks and you can use a plugin to enhance the capabilities of WordPress.
WordPress source codes are available to modify, so if you want to modify WordPress core files, that also you can do for your blog.
Monetization can be activated using Google AdSense or you can use any other Ad networks based on your requirement. You can also implement paid promotions, integrate affiliate marketing and even you can build an eCommerce website to earn money.
Since you are hosting a self-hosted blog, so you can have your branding the way you want. You can have your brand logo, brand templates, color scheme, etc. Also as you using a custom domain, it will increase the brand popularity of your blog.
WordPress is suitable for beginners to experienced. As I said before in WordPress there is a fair amount of learning. So once you are familiar with WordPress you can get the best out of it.
- You need to learn to get the best out of WordPress
- You need to buy premium themes and plugins to create a performing blog.
- You need to pay for domain and hosting.
- You will have to manage your own backup and security
If you want to have a video tutorial about how to create a blog using wordpress.org, here is one youtube video link.
WordPress.com is a blog hosting service that offers authors to host their blogs either free or pay a yearly rent to get premium service. It was started in 2005 with a goal to serve authors for free so that they can start their blogging journey in wordpress.com hosting facility.
I saw many new bloggers land in wordpress.com with a feeling that they are hosting their blog in WordPress itself. But later realize the pain that wordpress.com has limited options to explore or expand. Then they move to self-hosted blog using wordpress.org
You can start your blog on wordpress.com absolutely free. But you have to use their subdomain. For example, if you host a blog in WordPress.com your domain name will be like https://yoursite.wordpress.com.
In the free plan, you cannot monetize your blog and WordPress will show its own ads. The worst part is that you won’t get anything out of the ads that WordPress.com shows in your blog. So if you plan to earn from your blog, better stay away from WordPress.com free plan.
You cannot install a theme or any plugin to change the look and functionality of your blog and absolutely no support is available in the free plan. You cant even install SEO tools or google analytics. In a nutshell, I can say that in WordPress.com free plan you are not owning the blog at all.
If you decide to try their paid plan, then only the business plan makes sense which costs about $25 per month. You can use your own domain, 200 GB of disk space and you can use custom themes and plugins. In fact, you will have access to all premium themes which is really good. SEO tools and google analytics can be integrated.
You can run your own ads or integrated Google Adsense to earn money. You can run your affiliate marketing, sell custom services. But if you want to run an eCommerce business then you will have to go for their eCommerce plan which cost about $45 per month
If we leave apart the free plan, the paid plan starts from $5 a month for a personal plan to $45 for an eCommerce website. Beginners can start off with the $5 plan and can settle with a $25 business plan which has almost all the features of a self-hosted blog.
Customization is only available in its premium and business plan. You will have access to all free and paid themes if you choose the business plan.
You can run your own ads or Google AdSense ads only from the premium plan onwards. You can also run your affiliate marketing tools in the business plan.
You can have your own brand logo only from the premium plan. You can also choose a custom theme and modify that as per your branding.
I would say only for beginners it’s suitable. If you don’t have any knowledge about how to host a website or do not want to spend time on hosting and designing a blog, then wordpress.com is the best to start your blog.
- The only best plan ( Business) is very pricey
- Basic and intermediate plans do not offer basic blogging feature
- Very limited customization option
- You do not own the blog. WordPress can terminate your account anytime if they feel so.
Create a BloHere is one Youtube Video to show how to create a blog in wordpress.com free blogger platform
You will hardly find any blogger who never used blogger.com. In fact, during the early 2000, blogger.com was the only platform where you could have tried your blogging desire. Started in 1999 by Pyra Labs which was later acquired by Google in 2003. Blooger.com is one of the oldest free blogging platforms which is even popular in 2019.
Features that make blogger.com stand tall in the crowd are that it is completely free to use. If you have a google account you are good to go to start your blogging within a minute. You have plenty of templates to customize your blogger.com blog and there are a fair amount of other tools available to give your blog a professional look.
You can start using the blogger subdomain to host your blog or you can buy a domain name of your choice from any domain registrar and link the same with your blogger.com account. Though you can’t remove the blogger.com branding from your blog and if you use a custom domain it’s very difficult to figure out if it was hosted in blogger.com or not.
Regarding monetization, you can always add Google AdSense in your blog, integrate google analytics to get a snippet of how traffics is flowing. You can even sell services or products using the blog hosted on blogger.com.
At any point in time if you feel that blogger.com does not meet your need any more then there are a number of plugins that can help you to migrate your blog to WordPress or any other platform. This flexibility helps people to start their blog on blogger.com and then move to another platform when the blog grows.
Blogger is free to use and there are no premium plans offered. In fact, the free plan has everything that a beginner needs to start their blog.
There is a number of free template and plugin available to customize the look and functionality of your blogger.com blog.
You can use Google Adsense to monetize your blog. You can run affiliate marketing tools also. At present Google does not offer any other ad networks to show their ads in blogger.com blogs.
If you buy a custom domain and link it with a blogger.com blog then you can use your own branding stuff. At first glance, no one will even notice whether your blog is self-hosted or blogger hosted.
Suitable strictly for beginners as blogger.com underperform when your blog grows. There are numerous tools and plugin that can not be used in blogger.com which is required to grow your blog.
- Very limited feature options. Offers only very basic blogging tools.
- Customization options are very limited. No matter whatever template you use, but it still lacks the look of a premium WordPress blog.
- You can not use any third-party ad network apart from Google Adsense.
- Google is very strict about the terms and guidelines of the blogger.com account. So it is likely that your account may get suspended even if you do a small mistake.
- Updates are not very frequent.
Here is one interesting video on how to create a blog on best blogging sites like Blogger
I would say the medium is the most underrated blogging platform. I would blame the concept that medium use for this underrated tag. Medium is not available for everyone. You need to buy their monthly plan to read articles. That is one of the main reasons that medium is not that popular among the bigger audience.
The medium was started in 2012 and it is mainly focused on premium audiences who love to read premium articles at a price. So If you want to read an article in medium, you need to pay from $5 -$50 per month based on the number of the article you want to read.
As a premium member, you will get an ads-free article, daily emails containing article links of your choice, a monthly newsletter, etc.
You will also get an audio version of articles if you are having an issue with reading. This is something really a stand-alone feature which helps visually impaired audience to enjoy their favorite articles.
As far as monetization is concerned, there is no option of adding AdSense or any other ad network. You can not run any affiliate marketing promotion, neither you can sell any service.
The only way to earn money is by writing good content and get claps from audiences. You will get paid based on the clap you received and how many times your article was viewed. Medium pays a portion of readers’ subscription amount to authors so they are motivated to write.
Signing up in medium is very straightforward. You can use your google login to sign up. You won’t get any customized blog page for your medium account. But instead, it will be a profile page.
You can sign up for their publication agency tool which allows you to have a webpage like https://medium.com/your user name. It gives a professional look to your medium account. For authors, there is no limit on how many articles they can publish in a month.
At present medium only allows USA writers to earn from the medium as you need to have a social security number to earn from the medium.
You can connect your WordPress blog to medium and publish the same article in WordPress and medium. Hey, don’t worry. You don’t get punished for duplicate content. All article published from WordPress to medium has a canonical URL which shows that your WordPress blog is the owner of the article.
If you want to know how to auto-publish your WordPress blogs to medium then you can try the blog2social plugin or you can use other tools as mentioned in my other article mentioned below.
Medium has a great number of readers in the USA. So if you share your post from your WordPress blog to medium, you can expect to have good traffic.
Also, I have observed that the article shared in medium gets ranked really quickly. There are instances when my WordPress articles are not ranked, but the same shared in medium got ranked.
Absolutely free to use as a writer. If you want to read you need to pay a minimum of $5 to a maximum of $50
No customization apart from having a publication page which does not look bad at all.
You can join the medium partner program to earn money when someone visits your post and give a slap. No third party ads or Google Adsense allowed
No branding option apart from using your logo.
Only if you can write a premium article sign up for medium. Else stay away from it. Readers do not like poor articles after paying a hefty amount as a subscription.
- No monetization option using AdSense or any other third party ad network
- No customization or branding option.
- You only need to be in the US or a US citizen to earn from it.
- You only need to write premium articles. Well, that’s not a downside. What do you feel?
Video tutorial is always best? Is not it? Let’s watch this video to understand the medium wordflow process.
Tumblr is one of the most popular microblogging platforms primarily targeted towards a younger audience. Rather than a text-based blog, Tumblr focused on graphics and a media-based blog. Social networking is integrated into Tumblr. So you won’t be having any issue getting more traffic to your blog.
When you register on Tumblr, you will be given a subdomain like https://yoursite.tumblr.com. If required you can buy a domain name and connect to a Tumblr blog to give it a professional look. There are also a lot of customization tools to change the look of your Tumblr blog.
Tumblr allows you to integrate AdSense into your blog. You can also use another ad network if required. You can share your affiliate links in the Tumblr blog. But please make a note that too much sharing of affiliate links considered spamming and your account may get banned for that.
Tumblr is free to use. However, you can buy a custom domain and connect to Tumblr to give it a more professional look.
Tumblr has a number of free templates which can be used to customize the blog.
You can use Google Adsense or any third party ads for your blog. You can also earn from affiliate marketing.
Not much option to show off your branding apart from connecting your Tumblr blog to a custom domain.
Beginner to an advanced blogger can use this platform to generate traffic. The best option is to share WordPress posts on Tumblr and get referral traffic. But make sure you have the canonical URL when you share the post on Tumblr from WordPress.
Here is one video tutorial for Tumblr.
Ghost is a free and open-source blogging software. You can use the ghost software to host your blog using a domain name and hosting. Or else you host your blog in a ghost server saving the cost of your domain name and hosting. The concept is similar to WordPress.org and WordPress.com
Unlike WordPress, Ghost is purely a blogging platform and you cant create a static website in Ghost. Although Ghost blogs have a thin audience base it has been growing in recent years. Ghost offers many important features like AMP ( Accelerated mobile pages) SEO features out of the box. WordPress still lacks this feature and you have to depends on plugins to enable those features.
You can upload themes and plugins in Ghost much similar to what we do for WordPress. However, the repository has limited plugins. The ghost encourages to have a minimalistic design and that’s the reason ghost blogs load much faster than a traditional WordPress blog.
If you plan to host your blog on the Ghost server, you can do that by paying $10 for the lowest plan and $100 for the highest plan. The plan details are shown below.
You can customize your blog using a custom theme and plugin just like any other WordPress blog
You can use Google Adsense or any other third party ads in ghost blog. You can also run an affiliate marketing link to earn money
Just like WordPress you can change every aspect of your blog and add your branding stuff.
I would say its good for a newbie or casual bloggers as this platform is not that popular yet.Here is one video tutorial on how to create a blog on one of the best blogging platforms like Ghost.
Well, many of us might be using LinkedIn for a long time for our professional channel build-up. But we may not be aware of the fact that Linkedln also serves as a blogging platform. Due to the huge user database, you can be sure that your blog will rank quickly if posted on LinkedIn.
You can post a blog either in your profile or can also create a business page and post your articles over there. You can’t do much customization rather than adding your logo and banner. You don’t have any option to connect your LinkedIn profile with a custom domain.
You can share your WordPress post to LinkedIn to get referral traffic. WordPress offers the facility using the Jetpack plugin to share WordPress posts directly to LinkedIn. If you have more connection, your post with rank very quickly rather than the original post.
LinkedIn is free to use. Paid plans are available but as a blogger point of view, that is of no use.
No customization rather than your profile image and banner
You cannot earn directly from LinkedIn. You can share affiliate links, sell services or take coachings or seminar to earn money
Not much option available to do branding in Linkedln.
Not suitable purely for blogging but if your share WordPress post to LinkedIn, you have a chance to get referral traffic.
Weebly is basically an onsite website builder but it has a list of features to create a blog. Unlike WordPress where you have to download the software and use other page builder tools to make a blog, Weebly offers everything with a drag and drop option. The interface is also very intuitive and any casual blogger also can make a blog on Weebly.
Powerful blog SEO tools, analytics are preinstalled in Weebly and you can customize your Weebly blog with a huge number of themes and plugins. In fact, the free theme list is also very huge and you may not even need to buy a theme.
I have hosted a static website with Weebly for the last 10 years and I must say it’s super easy to create a website on Weebly. However, if you want to take your blog or website to the next level, then options are very limited.
By default when you sign up in Weebly, you will be allotted under a free plan. Fortunately, in the free plan, there are no annoying ads except the Weebly branding in the footer. There are also a couple of features like embedding audio is missing in the free plan.
Weebly has their plan starts from $5 per month for a basic plan and up to $38 per month for an eCommerce plan. In all paid plans they offer free domain names.
In the paid plan, you can use your own branding, use Google Adsense to earn money. Even you can use third-party ads and affiliate marketing tools in the paid plan.
Weebly is free to use but to enable monetization you need to buy the premium plan starting from $5 to $38 per month
The free plan has enough options, themes, and plugins for customization. However, if you are serious about your Weebly blog, you need to go for a paid plan.
In the paid plan you can enable google Adsense and other third-party ad networks
Except for the free plan, all other plans offer enough option to include your branding in the blog.
I would say if you love easy to use interface then go for Weebly. Either you are a beginner or a pro blogger, Weebly has everything on its shelves.
Wix is similar to Weebly in the sense that it is a website builder first and then a blogging platform. Like Weebly, you can use the drag and drop feature to design your blog. You can customize your blog using a huge free theme collection. There is also numerous free plugin available to enhance functionality.
One of the good parts about Wix is that once your blog is live, you can write articles from the frontend itself rather than login into the admin dashboard. You don’t need to think about SEO and promotion as Wix takes care of that.
The free plan in Wix comes with a subdomain and with Wix ads. The bandwidth and storage are also limited. But if you pay $ 2 for their basic plan you can connect your own domain.
Other plans range from $5 to $ 15 whereas the topmost plan offers a free domain, 20 GB disk space, customized favicon,$75 ad coupons, and most importantly you can run Google AdSense ads.
Free to use but to have AdSense paid plans are required.
Free themes and plugins available to customize the blog
The only paid plan offers monetization through Google Adsense
Paid plan offer option to have your own branding
Like Weebly, it is suitable for both experienced and newbie users if they don’t want the hassle of self-hosted blogs.
Squarespace is one of the most popular platforms for hosting a blog. Like Wix and Weebly, it also offers a drag and drop facility and you can take your blog live within a minute. Unlike Weebly and Wix, they don’t have a free plan. You need to pay a minimum of $ 12 a month to use their service.
In the basic plan, you will get a free custom domain with unlimited bandwidth and storage. SEO features are also built-in basic plans. If you move to a higher plan you can even host a full-fledged eCommerce website.
Unfortunately, Squarespace does not have an option to integrate Google Adsense. You will have to insert ad codes in the code snippet section to get the Google Adsense work. This makes it less popular for a blogger to try the Squarespace platform.
Conclusion: Best Blogging Platforms
Well, without a second thought I would recommend using WordPress software from wordpress.org and self-host the blog. If you are low on budget and you are a newbie, starting with Blogger can be an option. If you have excellent writing skills and live in the USA, You can try Medium to earn extra bucks.
WordPress, Blogger, and medium need a bit of technical knowledge from your side. If you don’t like to spend that effort you can try Weebly or Wix. But again I would say a self-hosted blog using WordPress software is the best bet for the long term. So WordPress is my Best Blogging Platform.