How to Choose the Best Blogging Platform in 2021 (Free Guide)
Apart from writing your thoughts to the world, blogs have become one of the best business ideas to learn how to make money online this year. From individual bloggers to billion-dollar enterprises, everyone needs to choose the best blogging platform to reach their target audience.
If you want to learn how to start a blog, blogging platforms like WordPress and Medium have enabled budding writers to document their views and opinions in front of a huge audience.
Over the years, other blogging platforms have grown to offer state-of-the-art content management systems (CMS). These platforms enable users to choose their web hosting and set up their blogs with minimal technical expertise or coding requirements.
Below you'll find my list of the 15 best blogging platforms for both personal and business bloggers alike. To make your decision easier, go through each platform's key features, pros, cons, and final cost.
Check out my in-depth guide to launching a blogging business for more detailed information.
Let's get started.
Here are my top picks for the best blogging platforms:
WordPress is one of the most popular blogging platforms and powers more than 30 percent of the world's websites. The open-source blogging platform allows users to build a blog or website within minutes.
- Flexibility: WordPress gives users full control to create any type of website, including a personal blog or website, a magazine, a professional portfolio, a business website, a photoblog, a government website, and a news website, among others.
- Website themes: Users can make the website beautiful with hundreds of themes and extend it with plugins. It also enables users to build their own applications.
- Publishing Tools: Content management is super easy on WordPress sites. Users can easily save drafts, schedule posts, format your blog posts, and check out post revisions. Its user-friendly interface allows WordPress users to make the content public or private, and make posts and pages secure with passwords.
- Media Management: WordPress offers capabilities to easily and quickly upload images, videos, PDFs, and GIFs through its simple drag and drop feature. Users can also easily upload alt text, captions, and insert pictures or galleries in posts. There are also several image editing tools to enhance images while uploading.
- Plugins: WordPress’s plugin directory offers thousands of plugin extensions to add social networking, forums, complex galleries, calendars, fine-tune controls for search engine optimization, social media widgets, spam protection, and forms.
- Create a beautiful and functional blog using thousands of free themes and over 54,000 free plugins.
- WordPress allows you to build SEO friendly URLs, tags, and categories for the posts.
- It has a healthy repository of reliable and responsive themes that work efficiently on both desktops and smartphones.
- The availability of open code helps developers in saving a lot of time and resources.
- Make changes to the website from anywhere in the world through an internet-enabled computer.
- Its RSS feed feature allows bloggers to get the most value out of backlinking.
- Its WooCommerce plugin makes it an efficient alternative for eCommerce websites.
- WordPress allows users to make frequent updates to the content easily.
- Being an open-source platform, it is a prime target of hackers.
- Several themes require a lot of coding that could impact the speed of the website.
- Customization of WordPress websites could get expensive.
Pricing for WordPress is dependant on which web hosting service you choose to go with. Additionally, if you want more advanced features, then you’d have to pay extra for extra plugins, your own domain name, WordPress theme, etc.
To get started, I recommend you install WordPress through Bluehost web hosting.
You can get started with Bluehost for just $2.95/month (63% off) via my link below.
Squarespace has powered millions of websites and is one of the best website builders on the market. It enables its users to create stunning websites using its drag and drop builder easily.
- Blogging Feature: Squarespace is an excellent option for bloggers. It offers unique commenting features, AMP support, multi-author functionality, and post scheduling feature, among others.
- Customer Support: The blogging platform offers robust customer support through its Live Chat feature. They often take screencast recordings to provide more detailed solutions and answers.
- Mobile App: Users can easily edit and customize all aspects of their blogging site through Squarespace’s mobile applications on the go. This feature is not present in all the blogging platforms.
- Design: It offers more than 100 advanced themes, robustly optimized for smartphones and tablets. Users can leverage the Site Styles menu to customize templates at advanced levels.
- Unlike Wix, users can switch to different templates even after going live.
- It offers mobile-friendly templates and builder.
- Squarespace offers a high level of control and customization through its building blocks feature.
- Widgets are customizable and can be moved or resized as per the requirement.
- It also supports third-party widgets for more customization, which is a rare feature in a blogging platform.
- You can easily swap the template without affecting the content of the website.
- There is no auto-save option in the editor.
- Massive templates decrease the website’s load time.
Squarespace offers four pricing plans:
- Personal Plan: $12
- Business Plan: $18
- Basic Commerce: $26 per month
- Advanced Commerce: $40
You can try blogging on Squarespace with a free trial.
Wix is known to offer more premium user experience to bloggers. Its free version comes loaded with features that are enough for budding bloggers.
- High Speed: Blogs built on Wix.com open at a lightning-fast speed. It optimizes the website by default to ensure loading speed is not compromised.
- Huge Template Collection: Users can easily leverage its massive collection of templates to build the website within minutes.
- Drag and Drop: Bloggers can leverage its drag feature that is easy to use. You can easily customize through drag and drop. It also offers a mobile editor through which you can make changes through your smartphone.
- Built-In SEO: It allows users to fill in keyword tags, metadata, and customize URLs to make blog posts more SEO friendly.
- It also allows users to create social media posts for blogs through its basic but functional editor.
- It offers free SSL. This feature also helps your blog to rank higher as search engines gives preference to secured websites.
- Wix also offers a logo maker through which users can easily create a unique logo for their blog.
- eCommerce websites can easily integrate payment options.
- Its AI website builder feature helps you create stunning blogging site designs in minutes.
- Users can’t switch to another template once the website goes live.
- Bloggers need to spend more on third-party apps to add more features to the website.
- Too many customization options might look overwhelming to new users.
Wix offers a free plan. However, for advanced features like unlimited bandwidth, a free domain name, etc., you have to register for a paid plan, starting from $13 per month.
Get started with a free trial of Wix.
Gator Website Builder offers a simple to use drag and drop website builder that even bloggers with minimum expertise can use to build websites. It is also one of the most popular blogging platforms on this list.
- User-Friendly: Gator’s drag and drop features makes it super easy for users to customize the website. Moving things on Gator is as easy as it is on Microsoft PowerPoint.
- Templates: It offers a big collection of templates that users can use to customize their blogs on Gator. Templates are segregated into different categories to ensure users can easily search the relevant template.
- Responsive: Gator offers mobile-responsive blog sites to all of its users. It supports smartphones and tablets of all brands and models.
- Analytics: Its web analytics tool offers all the relevant information, including the number of visitors, geography, and demographics.
- Gator blogging platform comes bundled with SSL to add a protection layer. It also helps with search engine optimization (SEO) as search engines rank secure websites over websites with no SSL.
- Users are not required to purchase domains and subdomains from a third-party vendor.
- It allows easy integration of content from leading social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Users can simply copy and paste the code to embed third party social media posts.
- Efficient drag and drop elements eliminate the need for writing CSS or HTML codes for the website.
- It is highly customizable. Users can easily customize images, fonts, colors, and themes of the website.
- Zero ability to add marketing extensions, third-party apps, and tools.
- It doesn’t allow editing the specific section of the code, which is a significant hindrance to customization.
Gator offers three pricing plans:
- Starter Plan: $3.46/month
- Premium Plan: $5.39/month
- eCommerce Plan: $8.30/month
You can get started with Gator Website Builder for just $3.46/month.
People usually confuse WordPress.com with WordPress.org. The co-founder of WordPress.org Matt Mullenweg built WordPress.com to offer essential features to people planning to start their first blog.
- Essential Features: The free version gets all of the new features, including 3 GB of space and automatic updates or backups.
- User Interface: It offers a clean and simple user interface through which users can create a personal blog instantly.
- Easy Maintenance: Users don’t need to worry about security updates or periodic backup to keep the website safe from hackers.
- Easy Setup: It offers an effortless setup. All you need to do is create an account and give the URL a unique name.
- It offers a host of free themes and plugins through which you can customize the web pages of your website.
- You can add multiple pages as per the requirement.
- The WordPress blog is SEO friendly and can and up in search engines.
- A beginner can implement the features after a few minutes of reading.
- It offers highly responsive themes that are compatible with multiple platforms, including mobile, desktop, and tablets.
- WordPress may display ads on your page.
- You can’t monetize your web pages by integrating ads with AdSense.
- Users need to get a paid plan to have custom domains and subdomains.
If simplicity is key when launching your own website, you can do it with the WordPress.com free platform. For more advanced features, you’d have to pay for their premium plans.
Creat your website in minutes with WordPress.com.
Weebly offers several easy-to-use features than can be leveraged to make a highly customized blog easily. You get all the tools you need to create a website of your choice and grow your business.
- Responsive: Weebly offers an enormous library of responsive themes that you can leverage to deliver a remarkable mobile experience.
- App Center: App center allows bloggers to incorporate extra features on the website with just a few clicks.
- Team Manager: It allows multiple users to collaborate on the same website project. You can give access to various users to work on the same blog.
- Membership: This feature allows bloggers to keep particular sections of the website reserved for registered users only.
- It allows easy customization through drag and drop tools.
- It offers capable SEO functionalities to make sure that the website is discoverable by search engines.
- Integration with Google Analytics means that you can get an in-depth analysis of your content.
- No coding is required for customization and implementation of new design options.
- Very less learning curve is required to leverage its features.
- Third-party integration is limited to a few numbers.
- Challenging to export or migrate the website.
- Design flexibility is limited.
You get a freemium plan for basic use. After that, the paid plans start from $5 per month and range up to $25 per month, when paid annually.
Create your professional website with Weebly.
Constant Contact Website Builder is an AI-powered website builder through which users can easily create a free blog or business within a few minutes. It offers a fast and easy way to create a blog instantly.
- Customization: It offers highly customizable features through which users can simply put drag and drop their content and images on the page. It provides 3-5 different block options, and users also get the opportunity to add or eliminate elements from the page.
- Mobile Responsive: It allows you to preview the website from a smartphone or tablet. Moreover, it offers highly customizable themes that are compatible with mobile devices.
- Royalty-Free Images: Constant Contact offers integration with royalty-free images platform Unsplash. Hence, users can conveniently use free images for their websites from an extensive repository of images.
- Unlimited Pages: Its free version also offers the addition of an unlimited number of pages. Through its ‘Page Management’ feature, you can easily reorder pages to decide which page to show first in the navigation.
- Users can leverage its quick tutorial feature to understand how the blogging platform works. You can also leverage its support center to sort out issues and get answers to queries.
- You can integrate an online store free of cost to sell online service, digital, or physical products.
- It offers the option to edit web page images, add a link or change it through Unsplash.
- Its AI engine instantly changes the look and feel of your blog based on the keywords inserted.
- Mobile optimized templates allow simple operations with a user-friendly interface.
- The free version allows selling only three products online.
- Constant contact is not so impressive in its design department.
- SEO support is not great.
You get a freemium plan for basic requirements. However, the paid plans start from £6 per month if paid annually.
Blogger.com is an entirely free blogging platform offered by Google. The blogs are hosted by Google and accessed from a subdomain of Blogspot.com. With a Google account, users can easily set up a blog without any technical expertise.
- No Ads: Unlike WordPress.com, Blogger offers a choice to its users to opt-in or opt-out for ads on web pages. Hence, users get the option to keep their blog ad-free.
- Simple User Interface: Blogger offers a straightforward simple user interface through which users can set up the account within a few minutes. Gmail users can directly set up the account from their existing Gmail account.
- No Maintenance: Blogger covers all the maintenance work of a website, including security, speed, and other hosting issues of the website.
- Robust Google Integration: Blogger is the part of the Google ecosystem which means you can easily export your data through takeout.
- Blogger offers hosting services bundled with the blogging platform.
- Ensures that your website is fast and runs securely.
- It has several forums where employees and other users engage in sorting out Blogger related issues.
- It allows users to monetize web pages through easy integration with Google ads.
- It supports RSS, default comments and latest comments.
- You can have up to 100 blogs per account.
- It offers limited customization options with fewer templates and low-quality third party templates.
- It doesn’t offer any customer support. Users have to rely on forums.
- Design is too old school and simple.
It is entirely free of cost and doesn’t even offer any paid plans.
Tumblr.com is a microblogging site that blends together a blogging platform and a social media website. It gives you the best of both worlds, which is why the platform has a huge following among young internet users.
- Discussion Forums: People leverage its discussion forum features to have discussions on a plethora of subjects that matter. It is a great feature to incite engagement of users with your blog.
- HTML Editing: Users can easily customize the look and feel of your Tumblr microblogging platform as it allows HTML editing. It also allows you to use custom domain names.
- Dashboard: It offers a simple dashboard to leverage all the features of Tumblr easily.
- Share Multimedia: Tumblr is a great platform to share memes and jokes through pictures and videos. You can quickly create a post and share it.
- All its features, including messaging, design, and settings, are in easy reach to enable users to post blogs at a lightning-fast speed.
- Apart from customization through HTML, users can also leverage its healthy bank of themes to customize the look and feel of the blog.
- It allows bloggers to share their blogs within the platform and appear on trending topics. Hence, it is more engaging than other typical blogging platforms.
- You can use it for entertainment and discussion purposes on various topics.
- The ownership rights of the content stay with Tumblr only.
- Good themes come at hefty prices.
- You can’t use it as a full-fledged website.
Although it comes free of cost, you have to pay to use more advanced themes.
Medium.com has emerged as one of the most preferred choices for bloggers in recent years. Founded by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams in 2012, Medium has evolved into a robust community of writers, journalists, and bloggers.
- Quality Readers: Medium offers a paid subscription for its readers in exchange for clutter-free and quality content. Hence, if you want serious readers for your platform, then Medium is one of the most suitable platforms.
- User Experience: Medium offers a crisp and clean user interface with lots of white spaces that encourage both writing and reading. Users can easily set up an account and start blogging right away through a user-friendly editor page.
- Story Option: Medium allows writers to create a series of stories and tell users about upcoming posts to keep the readers engaged.
- SEO Friendly: Blogs posted on Medium regularly rank on top in major search engines. It offers URL customization and story description features to enhance the SEO of their posts.
- Medium offers the change tracker feature through which writers can easily track the changes to the draft of the blog before publishing. It ensures the elimination of redundant edits.
- Medium offers a membership program through which writers can easily monetize their blogs based on the visits and reading time. Its unique clap feature gives extra bonuses to writers.
- Medium's editor is clean, user-friendly, and clutter-free.
- Users don’t need to worry about the formatting of content as it automatically formats the content before it goes live.
- You can easily share your published stories on other platforms.
- Its analytics is pretty basic, and you can’t integrate it with Google Analytics.
- Bloggers have limited control over the design of their blog.
- You can only monetize based on the number of visitors. Users can't integrate Google Ads or other affiliate solutions.
Medium is again free of cost, but for $5/month or $50/year, you get unlimited, ad-free access to all the stories on Medium.
Typepad is an easy to use blogging platform that is also decidedly easy to monetize. The best part is that it offers straightforward and functional features for novice bloggers.
- Easily Upload Content: Typepad allows users to create and upload content from the dashboard easily. It allows quick posting of content within a few simple steps.
- SEO Friendly: It comes equipped with SEO tools that enable the user to optimize the content as per the best practices of search engine optimization.
- Live Video and Audio: Typepad allows bloggers to stream live video or audio broadcasts to their followers. It allows blog owners to connect with their audience and get feedback in real-time.
- Easy Monetization: Typepad offers several monetization options for users. This includes Amazon affiliate links, and Google Ads, among others. Users can also receive donations through the PayPal tip jar.
- Users can leverage the blog analytics to identify the response to content. From finding the number of visitors to the locations where the content got greater traction, it provides a plethora of actionable insights.
- It offers a healthy bank of themes that you can customize easily.
- You can also easily map your domain to the Typepad blog for greater customization.
- Users are allowed to post through email or mobile phone.
- It offers robust customer support assistance through its 24/7 chat support.
- Its templates and user interface look a bit dated now.
- Customization options are limited in comparison to other competitors.
It offers three levels of paid plan that cost $9, $15, and $30.
Joomla is an easy-to-use content management system (CMS) that offers a wide array of features for greater customization and stunning designs. It not only helps you build websites but also allows you to create compelling online applications.
- Ease of Use: Joomla’s installation process is quite similar to WordPress. Several hosting providers also offer a one-click installation of Joomla.
- eCommerce Support: It allows users to manage the content and online store from the same place. It also offers eCommerce store components that enhance the shopping experience for customers.
- PHP: Joomla leverages PHP scripts to minimize compatibility issues quickly.
- Flexible: Websites on Joomla can be easily scaled up whenever required.
- It offers advanced SEO capabilities to eliminate the dependency on third-party SEO tools to appear in the search results.
- It offers a healthy pool of extensions that provide almost all majorly used functionalities required for building a website.
- It has a vast community of developers through which users can take support and assistance easily.
- It offers a higher degree of customization with templates and themes.
- Users need to have at least some know-how of HTML coding.
- It is more complicated than other blogging platforms.
- It might face issues while installing several modules and extensions at the same time.
Building a website with Joomla is entirely free of cost. However, you’d have to pay extra for additional advanced tools and website themes.
Drupal has positioned itself as a great blogging platform for small businesses. It offers all the capabilities of an efficient content management system.
- Multiple Support: It offers support for content management, podcasts, P2P networking, and collaborative authoring, among other features.
- Extensions: Drupal offers a massive number of extensions. Its modules are efficient, reliable, and secure.
- Flexible Taxonomies: It offers the ability to manage content in several groups, including website subsections, fact sheets, and blog post articles, among others.
- Secured: Blogs on Drupal are less prone to getting hacked as it offers advanced security layers.
- Its access control system allows users to create access control for multiple users.
- Drupal has an extensive community that is always on its toes to help and resolve queries of Drupal users.
- It releases regular security updates to keep the system safe.
- Users can customize the blog by leveraging its open system code. It also offers a lot of themes and templates for easy customization.
- It is easily scalable to meet the rising demands of the website with just a few clicks.
- It is complex to use and requires a big learning curve.
- Many good themes are not free.
- Improper optimization might impact the speed of the website.
Creating a website with Drupal is entirely free of cost. However, the monthly maintenance cost of the site may go up to $500 per month, even higher.
The Ghost offers a clean and straightforward user interface for bloggers. The open-source platform’s premium service offers a plethora of features to customize the blog easily.
- Design: It offers a vast library of themes and templates. There are also paid themes to greater customization.
- Built-In Plugins: It offers integrated social media plugins and extensions. There is no need for external tools to incorporate these features, including a comments section.
- SEO Friendly: It offers capable SEO optimization tools through which bloggers can make their post SEO friendly and searchable over the internet.
- Use Interface: Ghost comes equipped with a clean user interface that allows you to read and write blog posts easily.
- You don’t need any set up for the hosted version.
- It offers some amazing themes to customize the blog instantly.
- Its accelerated mobile page function enables faster load time of mobile websites.
- See live blog post page previews for easy editing and customization.
- Its clean, intuitive, and streamlined user interface stresses on blogging.
- Customization is complex.
- The theme library is limited.
Ghost offers three pricing plans:
- Basic: $29
- Standard: $79
- Business: $199
The Ruby-based blogging platform offers a lot of features for bloggers to create stunning websites. Developed by Tom Preston-Werner, GitHub's co-founder, the software is available as open-source.
- Static Website: Instead of leveraging the database, Jekyll pulls the content, renders Markdown or Textile, and Liquid templates.
- Reliable: It can handle massive amounts of traffic efficiently and won’t let even extraordinary amount of traffic to crash your blog.
- Flexible: The platform is extremely flexible. It allows you to leverage different combinations with front end frameworks, including Semantic UI and Bootstrap, among others.
- Resourceful: It requires fewer resources and space. You can easily make your website live by using CSS, HTML, and Js files.
- Blogs on Jekyll are incredibly light and fast to load.
- It doesn’t require any back-end structure or database. Hence, it is decidedly safe and secure.
- Being a lightweight website, it puts minimal pressure on the server while bearing a load of a vast number of users at the same time.
- It offers a lot of customization features.
- New users will find it difficult to use.
- You might require a developer to incorporate even minor design changes.
Just like its host GitHub, Jekyll is an open-source platform for website building.
A blogging platform is a web-based tool that enables bloggers to set up a website to quickly post blogs on the Internet. Any person with an internet-enabled device can read your blog posts.
A blogging platform is almost similar to a content management system (CMS) that allows users to manage and track online content. For instance, WordPress was initially launched as a CMS and now powers more than 30% of blogging websites in the world.
Today, blogging platforms give you full control over the design of your site. For example, WordPress users can use a ton of free or premium WordPress themes to control the design and layout of their site without any coding or the need to hire a developer.
When deciding on a blogging platform, there are some set criteria it should meet. Here are the top six requirements to look for when making your choice.
Many bloggers and writing enthusiasts don't come from a technical background. Therefore, the blogging tool needs to provide an easy setup that anyone can execute within a few minutes. The platform should involve the minimum amount of coding to ensure any layman can learn the process efficiently and implement the setup.
However, if you do have a coding background, then you don’t have to worry about any required coding during setup.
The Internet is an unpredictable place where anything can go viral within seconds. Tons of blogs started small but have grown popular in their niche. Hence, look for a platform that is easily scalable and capable of supporting massive traffic at a single point in time.
Also, make sure that the platform you choose offers different payment plans for different needs.
Take a look at the Constant Contact's pricing plans:
When you're just getting started, you can opt for their freemium plan. However, once you see an increase in your blog’s traffic, you can move to a paid plan with more advanced features.
3. Website and Copyright Ownership.
Don’t forget to check out the content policy of your blog platform and whether you are the owner of your published content or not.
Some platforms control your content and might wipe out or censor the content you post. If you plan to own the content on your own blog, then it is best to go with a self-hosted platform like WordPress.org.
A majority of free blogging platforms don’t come with dedicated customer support. Even some of the paid ones only come with chat support that may turn out to be inadequate.
In this instance, having a robust community of bloggers and people with technical skills can help to answer your questions.
If customer support runs dry, look for a blog platform that has a vibrant community to answer your questions.
Many new bloggers and side hustlers might not want to spend big bucks on a blogging platform. How much you spend should largely depend on the purpose of your blogging venture.
If you're blogging just as a hobby or to fulfill a passion, then there are several free blogging platforms available, including WordPress.com and Blogger. These platforms would serve your purpose entirely without having to spend a penny.
Therefore, think about your blog's purpose first and then decide whether it’s feasible to spend money on a platform or not.
Blogs require different unique features – drag and drop functionality, the use of images, SEO tools, shortcode editors, integrations with email marketing services, etc.
While fundamental features largely remain the same with these tools, their unique selling points differ.
Do you want to own your own site and have top-notch SEO? Go with WordPress.org.
Do you want an easy drag and drop editor to blog about your small business? Wix would be a fine choice.
Ultimately, these six points should help you determine what you need so you can make the right decision.
Choosing a blogging platform depends on whether you want to monetize your blog, the features you need, and what you're willing to spend.
If you want to build a free website, WordPress.com and Blogger are two of the go-to options. However, you can also consider other emerging website builders like Squarespace and Wix that offer a clean and modern user interface.
My final recommendation is that you go with WordPress.org as it's the most robust, versatile CMS. It's also best-in-class when it comes to SEO, advanced features, and customization.
You can create your own WordPress site with Bluehost for just $2.95/month (63% off).
Here are some essential points you must consider before making the final decision:
- Make sure that the blogging platform is scalable and capable of accommodating the future needs of your blog.
- Look for a transparent pricing structure if you are going for a paid blogging platform.
- Check out whether it meets the design and functional requirements of your website.
- Test its customization options, including themes, plugins, and widgets.
- Make sure that the platform is responsive on all devices and browsers.
- Look for robust community support to ensure you always get assistance on time.
- Easy user interface and lesser coding will make your life easier while managing the blog on day to day basis.
- Efficient customer tool if you are buying the subscription for a paid blogging platform.
Once you ponder the points mentioned above, you’ll be in a better position to choose your platform of choice.
Are there any blogging tools that you use not listed in this article? Let me know in the comments.
Recommended Reading on AdamEnfroy.com: To take your blogging to the next level, check out my step by step guides to learn how to start a blog and how to make money blogging (how I made $203k year one).