11 Best Blogging Platforms & Why You Must Use WordPress

best-blogging-platformsThere are a ridiculous number of blogging platforms.

What platform should you use for your blog?

In this post, I’ll break down:

  • What is a blogging platform?
  • The top 11 blogging platforms
  • 5 reasons you must choose WordPress

What is a Blogging Platform?

A blogging platform is a CMS (content management system). It takes much of the manual work of site creation and maintenance. The software will tie all of your posts and pages together into an easy-to-navigate site – both for you and your readers.

Many new bloggers start off with Blogger. It is easy, free and linked to their Goggle/ Gmail account. But if you are planning on starting an income blogdon’t use Blogger.

Here is a breakdown of the top eleven blogging platforms:

11 Best Blogging Platforms

These platforms are listed as “best” because of their popularity. In my opinion, there is only one blogging platform for business: WordPress. See more on WordPress below this list.

  1. WordPress.org: {Free} A self-hosted WordPress blog is the choice of 11 of the top 20 blogs worldwide. In my opinion this is the best platform for blogging and online business. See a detailed list at the end of this post. Use WordPress.org.
  2. WordPress.com: {Free} While it might sound like the same thing, it is actually very different. Unless you signup for their premium packages ($1000’s / month) this tool is limited. While it is the best option for a free/family blog, this isn’t a good choice for an income blog. Avoid for business.
  3. Blogger: {Free} Owned by Google, this tool is popular because it is easy to setup. It looks bad and has almost no ability to customize or monetize. Avoid this platform.
  4. SquareSpace: {Pay} While I have never used SquareSpace, it looks like a great tool. They offer solid hosting, ecommerce capability and costs begin at $10/month for 1 product or $20/month for up to a 20 product store. Because of limited expansion and customization this platform is not recommended.
  5. Moveable Type: {Pay} Pricing starts at $595 for up to five users. For unlimited users price increases to $1,195. I’m not sure why someone would purchase this when a superior platform (WordPress) is available for free. I like the looks of the tool, but if you want a stable, premium CMS – why pay for something that you can get for free? Avoid.
  6. Joomla: {Free} Very popular here in Ecuador, Joomla is a great choice if you like ugly, animated websites. From what I have seen, you need to be well trained to do anything with this software  – and even then the results range from disappointing to sad. Avoid.
  7. Drupal: {Free} Similar to Joomla. Avoid.
  8. TypePad: {Pay} Without doubt, the most popular TypePad blog is run by marketer Seth Godin. It is a minimalist design and a stable platform. If you want your blog to be separate from your site you can use TypePad. Otherwise you should use a platform that properly integrates both into one. Costs from from $8.95 – $49.95 per month. Not recommended.
  9. Tumblr: {Free} Great for microblogging and for curating related photos of your favorite topic this is not a business blogging platform. Avoid.
  10. LiveJournal: {Free} Another popular yet pointless blogging platform. Much like Tumblr, LiveJournal happily allows you to blog on their domain and help build their domain authority. This might be great as a hobby, but if you are going to start a business, you need to own your own content and your domain authority. Avoid.
  11. Weebly: {Free + Pay} This service has improved dramatically over the past few years. You can build a custom site for free, although the premium options will give you more flexibility and a more professional look. Might be good for photographers or someone who needs a brochure style site. Not recommended.

best-blogging-platforms

Why You Must Use WordPress

If you want to run an online business, you need to consider WordPress. Here are 5 reasons why:

  1. Popularity: Because of its popularity, users know how to find their way around WordPress. The menus, sidebars and footers are generally the same across the hundreds of WordPress themes – making it easy for site users to navigate. This is an important factor to consider. If a reader cannot easily find what they are looking for (or figure out the menus) then they won’t stay around – resulting in an opportunity lost.
  2. Stability: WordPress is popular for one primary reason. It is stable. This means that it just works. It is fast and almost never crashes.
  3. Cost: WordPress is free. You will have to purchase hosting (I recommend starting with HostGator) and a theme (I recommend premium Thesis or Genesis). Or you can use one of the free themes that comes with WordPress to get started.
  4. Flexibility: Because of the huge number of plugins (small programs that run inside of WordPress) you can easily optimize your site to improve conversions, social sharing, monetization and navigation.
  5. Great Documentation / Training: This is no small matter. You will have questions. Without proper documentation, how will you get answers? WordPress.org has a free forum that is very active where you can get many questions answered. But because of it’s popularity, there are hundreds of bloggers that create tutorials and answer questions for WordPress issues. Here are a few books that cover WordPress tutorials.

The best web hosts offer an auto install for WordPress. You get the benefit of WordPress.org without having to manually upload and install the software on your server.

What should you do next? Visit HostGator and setup your new WordPress blog now.

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Post Categories: Blog Tools, Start Your Blog

{ 17 comments… add one }

  • Ashish Ajani August 23, 2014, 1:04 am

    I like the way you shown reasons to use WordPress and it is my favorite blogging platform along side with Tumblr and LiveJournal. Great stuff.

    Reply
  • Maggie May's Gifts May 29, 2014, 1:39 pm

    Thanks for another great article.
    Are you familiar with doing the switch from wordpress.com to wordpress.org?
    I’ve heard it can be tedious and have some glitches. I am nervous to try it myself and have come across a company that says they do it for free but not sure what the catch is.
    Just curious if you had any opinions or advice about getting switched over. Thanks!!

    Reply
    • Bryan Haines May 29, 2014, 3:48 pm

      I have plans to produce a tutorial about the switch. I would be careful about giving site access to an unknown company.

      Reply
  • Anders Jensen May 28, 2014, 6:47 am

    Great article! We are running a small blog in three languages. We are trying set it all up i Wrodpress but so far it is A LOT of work! My fear is that with every upgrade in WP we will have issues… We have implemented the WPML tool but we are still FAR away from a launch on that platform. The “look, feel and interaction” is not easy to get exactly right. We might be extremely difficult, I don’t know… If I could combine my 5 favourite templates by just drag and drop I would be happy… I agree that all the work eventually should pay off. Wordpress is great in ONE language, but one of our unique selling points is in fact the multi language bit.

    Reply
    • Bryan Haines May 28, 2014, 7:11 am

      Interesting project. We considered publishing our blog in two languages and decided against it because of complications. This is something we would like to do in the future – because it reaches a larger audience with (essentially) the same content.

      Have you considered running them as separate blogs, but on the same domain? You could just use three installations of WordPress – one for each language. Install the principal language in the domain root and the other two in a subdomain. threeonthego.com english.threeonthego.com or threeonthego.com/english and then you could also translate the url of each post.

      I checked out your site and it looks good.

      Reply
  • Jay Lickus May 27, 2014, 10:47 pm

    Bryan,

    I have been using the free Weebly D & D for over a year with virtually no problems. Although the support is outsourced to India ( I guess based on the names used in comments ) they are responsive and quick. They have tweaked and added some widgets and the like to help me with my analytics and SEO that were not part of the original platform which was very helpful. Although there are a few things I would like to do that are beyond the free platform capabilities I would have to say that I am happy overall.

    Reply
  • Geri J. May 27, 2014, 2:58 pm

    One of your main criteria for a blog platform seems to be the ability to monetize it. I have no intention of ever monetizing my blog and don’t do anything fancy. Therefore Blogger works well for me and for others who need a simple text-oriented platform to which you can add some images. And, while some of their templates are a design nightmare, they do have simple formats that get the job done without offending the eye.

    I did try WordPress a couple of years ago and found that even though I am not techphobic, it was too much trouble to get it to play well with my Mac. To use WordPress, I would have had to hire a web designer who could set it up so I could maintain it and update my blog entries. As my blog needs are simple, it seemed like WordPress would be like using Thor’s hammer to pound a penny nail.

    As a blog reader, my main problem with the monetized blogs (and even some major websites) is that there are now so many tracking mechanisms and “opportunities” to buy stuff built in that the sites can take forever to load. Once load times approach the old AOL browser times, I stop following them. It’s just too much trouble. Ditto for blogs and sites that do not understand how to compress their photos for the Web. Those big direct download photos also take forever to load and also are seriously annoying.

    So, while I agree that WordPress is a good platform for those who intend more complicated blog uses, for those who merely wish a text-based format with limited photo inclusion, Blogger can work just fine.

    Reply
    • Bryan Haines May 27, 2014, 3:13 pm

      You make a very good point. If someone just wants to blog as a hobby or for family and friends the blogging platform isn’t all that important. For hobby blogs, I think that the free version of WordPress.com is the best option. You can avoid the technical issues with self hosted WordPress and still get the stable and attractive look of WordPress.

      While some bloggers try to monetize by filling the site with ads and offers, to really make money from a blog it needs to be fast and user-friendly. This post (and site) focus on making money from your site – actually making it a business. This doesn’t mean being spammy, but in offering a solid product supported by great content. To properly monetize a blog, there is a need to consider usability first – because without users, the business will fail.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment!

      Reply
  • ricardo schillaci May 27, 2014, 12:57 pm

    Great post. Thanks!

    Reply
  • Ryetr May 27, 2014, 12:07 pm

    Thanks for your great articles. I always appreciate your candid sharing. I do want to change sites for my blog, but I am concerned about losing all of the 75 blog posts that already are posted on Blogspot. I have not had any luck finding someone to help me with this, but I intend to keep trying. On Blogspot since their update last year in April I have only had one comment vs many each blog in the past and I do not have any new followers even though I have over 10,000 hits on my site world wide.

    What type of training or expertise should a person have to do this? Shouldn’t a person who builds websites understand or would they be able to link so that the other blogs show up?

    Thanks so much. I love your family’s blogs!

    Reply
    • Bryan Haines May 27, 2014, 12:25 pm

      We’ve heard the same issue from other readers. I am going to look into this and publish a tutorial about how to do it.

      Thanks for your feedback on our sites!

      Reply
  • Pijush Mitra May 27, 2014, 11:29 am

    Very good analysis on why self-hosted WordPress is the best blogging platform.

    Reply
  • Mi Muba May 27, 2014, 10:12 am

    Hey Bryan Haines
    thanks for sharing such a wonderful list.
    You are right there is no match of WordPress with rest of the blogging platforms because of diversity in convenience, comfort and simplicity. All bloggers are not much techie that is why they want a platform easy to handle and for that WordPress is the best one.
    Thanks again to write such a great list.

    Reply

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Who is Blogger Abroad?

I'm Bryan Haines, a Canadian living in Cuenca, Ecuador with my wife and daughter. I write about how to generate passive income with your online business while traveling or living abroad.

If this is your first visit, start here. If you are planning a trip or move abroad (but aren't filthy rich) you're in the right place. On Blogger Abroad, I provide the resources and motivation needed to start and grow a successful online business. - Bryan Haines

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