We’re going to go over the six largest and most popular blogging platforms and then follow it up with a couple of additional free blogging platforms.
WordPress is the #1 most widely used blogging platform in the WORLD!
There are two versions of WordPress: WordPress.com (free) and WordPress.org (paid).
The free version comes with the same limitations that we described above, so the rest of this section will be about WordPress.org (the self-hosted, paid version) that comes with access to a LOT more features.
By far the best part about WordPress.org is that you get access to THOUSANDS of plugins that allow you to customize your blog in a variety of ways, including adding contact forms, email forms, social media buttons, and so much more.
Other blogging platforms are not as widely used, so they have fewer plugins, themes, and other customizations to choose from.
Let’s look at the practical side of that.
When you’re trying to install social media buttons or some other feature on your blog and you Google how to do this, the articles on the first few pages of your search will all be for WORDPRESS plugins – not relating to Wix, Squarespace, or any of the other blogging sites that we will discuss.
- More control over your blog designAccess to thousands of plugins and themes to customize your blogGreat customer support plus TONS of articles written on using the platformEasier to integrate with most other software as you grow your blog
- A little bit more of a learning curve compared to some other blogging platformsYou need to handle your security and backups
Price: As low as $2.75/month but varies depending on which blog host that you use to host your WordPress blog
Bottom line: You will have FAR more blogging tools to choose from if you choose WordPress.
WordPress offers the best price for the most customizations, including themes, plugins and other software integrations.
Our recommendation: Pair WordPress.org with a great hosting plan like Bluehost. You can sign up for Bluehost for as low as $2.75/month (through our discounted link) and install WordPress on your site in just one click! Your Bluehost plan also comes with a free domain name as well!
Wix is probably best known for its drag-and-drop software. This makes it incredibly user-friendly with a much smaller learning curve. There is a free version as well, but it is even more limited than the free version of WordPress.
There are very few customizations offered on the free version and you are stuck with Wix ads on your site. The paid version is really the only way to go if you are looking to make money.
- Easy-to-use drag-and-drop software makes it incredibly beginner-friendlyLess of a learning curve when building your site
- Far fewer options for themes and third-party pluginsPlans are less flexible due to lack of hosting optionsCosts extra if you want to build an eCommerce store on your siteFree version is very limited and includes Wix ads on your siteFar fewer software integrations than WordPress
Price: $14/month and up, depending on what hosting plan you choose
Bottom Line: Wix is easier to use than WordPress, but it’s quite a bit more expensive for a paid plan and ultimately more limited as far as customizations available.
It’s much easier to get started and design your blog on Wix, but you will ultimately hit roadblocks in your growth due to the limitations of plugins and other software integrations.
You’ve probably heard a lot more about Squarespace lately because of how much they have ramped up their advertising. I know I see it all over Facebook and YouTube.
As of right now, Keanu Reeves, aka the most likable guy ever, is their spokesperson. What a power move!
Squarespace, similar to Wix, also has drag-and-drop software, making their user interface great for beginners with no prior website design or coding knowledge.
- Beginner-friendly, drag-and-drop softwareGreat for small businesses
- Far fewer options for themes and third-party pluginsPlans are less flexible and more expensive to add eCommerce stores and other add-onsFar fewer software integrations than WordPressSignificantly more expensive than the previous options discussed
Pricing: Starting at $14/month
Bottom Line: This is a great option for those that are less tech-savvy, but you will still find yourself with limitations and fewer options down the road when you are looking to grow your blog and monetize it.
Squarespace is ideal for small brick-and-mortar businesses looking for an online presence but not for full-time bloggers looking to run their entire business online.
Weebly is yet another drag-and-drop website building, although it’s lesser-known than Wix and Squarespace and has fewer options.
- Beginner-friendly, drag-and-drop software
- Very few software integrations availableSignificantly more expensive
Pricing: Starting at $6/month for a very limited plan
Bottom Line: If you are going to go the route of the drag-and-drop software, go with Wix instead. It provides more options and customizations and much more bang for your buck.
Other Free Blogging Platforms
The free blogging platforms described below are all going to have the same limitations that other free blogging sites have, but we still felt that they were worth mentioning and comparing in this article.
Blogger is actually owned by Google, so it’s one of the only free blogging platforms that you can install Google AdSense on and earn ad revenue. You also get access to Google Analytics to track stats on your site.
Unfortunately, you will still run into the same problems of limited access to third-party software and plugins. Blogger also isn’t updated very often, so the software that is available can sometimes be outdated and less reliable.
Aside from the ability to earn ad revenue, it is still much harder to monetize your site with Blogger.
There are no paid hosting options and you also can’t have your own domain name (your blog name will have “.blogspot.com” in the URL).
Tumblr is a great place to network with other bloggers and content is shared regularly in the form of “re-posting.”
This adds an additional way to get exposure to your content that other platforms don’t have because it is somewhat of a “social” media platform itself.
That being said, the design capabilities are extremely limited on Tumblr. You are limited to a set of themes or templates to choose from.
The design and software limitations of Tumblr make it much more difficult to monetize.
One upside of Tumblr compared to Blogger is that you can purchase your own domain name to use with your site.
Medium is a much different blogging platform from the other options that we have described so far because it is actually a community of writers and bloggers.
While Medium is easy to get started and set up a basic web page, it’s not ideal for those looking to build an online business.
Medium is more of a place to write, have your thoughts heard, and connect with others. You cannot put ads on your site and you don’t own your audience.
On a traditional blogging platform, you drive traffic to your blog, own your social media accounts, and can build an email list.
With Medium, you don’t own any of these sources of traffic and do not have the usual list-building tools available to you.
To summarize our above comparison of the best blogging platforms…
WordPress.org + a paid hosting plan is the only way to go if you are serious about starting an online blogging business and growing it quickly.
This blogging platform and blog hosting plan will give you access to thousands of themes, plugins, and other software integrations to customize your blog as well as allow you to monetize exactly how you want it to.
If you don’t start out with WordPress, we can guarantee that you will be switching over to them somewhere down the road anyway.