Blogging for Beginners #2: The Right Platform

Welcome back to another post in this how-to blogging series. Last week, I covered the ‘why’ and ‘what’ part (check it out here if you missed it). After taking the first step and deciding that you should have a blog, the logical next question you should ask yourself is ‘where’. This is the focus of this week’s post, where I’ll be comparing the three most popular blogging platforms that I have had personal experience with, which of those I recommend to everyone and how you can choose between them depending on your requirements. Please note that I’m not going to be talking about self-hosting.

BFB 2

For all of those who have no idea what a ‘platform’ is, it is a service that lets you host your blog on their website. They provide you with a domain name, storage space and full back-end support so you don’t have to worry about any kind of coding, which is great for beginners as well as those who want to focus on the content more than the maintenance aspect. There are plenty of such platforms and it can be daunting for a beginner to choose between them. I’ll be talking about WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger here, which are all free to use, the pros and cons of each, and which kind of blogs are best suited for each platform.

1. WordPress

Suitable for: All kinds of blogs.

Note that there are two different solutions that WordPress provides – WordPress.com, which is the free blogging platform and WordPress.org for the self-hosted ones. Make sure to look for WordPress.com, which is what I’m using for this site as well.

Pros: Build professional-looking blogs, reasonably-priced plans for additional functionalities, popular, built-in stats, has a great sense of community.

Cons: Has a learning curve, no access to the site’s code, limited functionalities in the free plan.

I was initially hesitant because WP doesn’t provide access to the code, which I thought was a deal-breaker back then. I started with other platforms, but I currently have two blogs on here and couldn’t be happier. The sense of community here is amazing, so you are assured of readership, no matter how small your blog is. It takes care of all the technical stuff on its own so you can focus on content and promoting your blog. If your blog requires you to write long, textual posts, I would recommend this over the others.

2. Blogger

Suitable for: All kinds of blogs.

Pros: Can modify the site’s code, easy integration with Google’s other services.

Cons: Not so popular at the moment, Google might shut down the service without prior notice, limited selection of themes.

Owned and operated by the tech giant, Google, this was a popular platform back in the days when ‘blogging’ was a relatively new term. Personally, I feel that it has lost its charm and there is very little readership left. Even the blog’s layout looks nowhere as neat as those on WP. Due to its declining popularity, rumours are rife that Google might close it down, so I wouldn’t recommend this one. However, if you want to play around with HTML/CSS and don’t really care about stats, this could work as an adequate platform.

3. Tumblr

Suitable for: Microblogging (content that mostly contains pictures and multi-media).

Pros: Easy to use, outstanding help & support, allows access to site’s code, easy customisation, easy reblogging, good community.

Cons: No built-in comment feature, less original content.

Tumblr, a microblogging site owned by Yahoo, works great for content that is mostly visual. If you are planning a photography, cooking or ‘fandom’ blog, Tumblr is an option you can consider. However, reblogging is a feature that is used quite often in this platform. It works similar to the ‘Quote Tweet’ feature on Twitter, if you’re familiar with that. If you post original content on that, reblogging might be a bit of a bother. Also, blogs having textual posts tend to be on the lower side of the popularity scale. Getting famous and noticed usually (there are exceptions) involves trading follows and reblogging content from more popular blogs. Also, most of the people there are in their teenage or 20s, so blogs geared towards that demographic tends to do better.

blogging platform

Further reading: How to Choose the Best Blogging Platform by WPBeginner

If you decide to go with WordPress.com, here’s a guide for you to get started. I also highly recommend the checking out the Blogging University, which provides hands-on experience that will teach you better than any how-to guide can. I also found guides for Blogger and Tumblr (this is the latest article I could find) that you can check out. If you’re undecided, do more research on the Internet and perhaps you can check out the guides as well. Pick out the one that feels right for your blog. If you’re beginning to think a certain platform isn’t working for you, importing blogs between these three platforms is easy, so don’t be afraid to get started.

This series will focus exclusively on WordPress in the upcoming posts, so if you chose WP, welcome on board and don’t forget to follow your favourite blogs (including mine, if you so wish)! πŸ™‚

[On a lighter note, WordPress did not sponsor this post, although I wish they did.]


For the experienced bloggers out there, how did you zero in on WordPress? Do you blog elsewhere? Share your nuggets of wisdom in the comments section below. If you’re a new blogger and are just starting out, let me know if you have any specific areas you’d like me to address and I’ll talk about them in upcoming posts. Have a great weekend, everyone! πŸ™‚

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31 thoughts on “Blogging for Beginners #2: The Right Platform

  1. I am really glad I immediately started out on wordpress, I woudn’t want any other platform. Though, I would like to be able to edit the code, I don’t think I would be able to make it better (since I’m a shitty coder). I have been on tumblr for a while before, but not really blogging. I’ve had it for years and maybe had like 70 followers. Really, nobody follows (or likes/reblogs) me over there, and on my tumblr connected to my blog there are even fewer followers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree, Lia. Although I like the idea of editing the code, I just can’t, so WP is the best choice for me. πŸ™‚
      I’ve been on Tumblr since forever I guess and I have the same problems. Honestly, I don’t have the time to maintain one properly (or at least not as much time as I keep for WP) and a lot of people expect you to follow them back, so I lose followers as quickly as I gain them. Maybe one day I’ll get the hang of it or I’ll make enough time for it, but WP will be my focus for sure.
      I’m glad you started out with WP and didn’t face the troubles I did. You have a lovely blog, BTW! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      • No I don’t put much time into tumblr either. I just logged in today for the first time in a month or something. I really don’t do much with it anymore.
        Thank you! Your blog is lovely as well 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I also started out with WP. I’m not sure why (it’s been so long I can’t recall my decision-making process), but I’m glad I did. Maybe because it was my first platform, it’s more intuitive to me, and the array of themes was appealing. It also felt more community driven. Tumblr was something I tried but couldn’t get behind. I like to read other people’s Tumblrs, but I felt, and still feel, that it’s a difficult place to branch into. The community is tight and pretty specific, so I’ve always felt it wasn’t kind to beginners. As it stands, I’m going to stay on WP, and if I ever want more functionality, the leap to .org self-hosting isn’t too big.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree. Tumblr works great for some people, but not necessarily for writing and personal blogs, I feel. So WordPress has been my best friend for two years now. I tried again this year, but found it the same. Hence the two blogs on WordPress. I couldn’t be happier and I recommend this platform to everyone who asks me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love WordPress. I tried Blogger for a different blog and hated it. You’re right that the layouts generally look much more amateur than those on WordPress. Plus I found the editor difficult to use, and it would often glitch and not do what I wanted. Add that it’s hard to comment on Blogger and I often quit and just leave after trying to comment repeatedly on someone else’s blog…and it’s just not worth it. I actually didn’t think WordPress.com has too much of a learning curve. I’ve used it in classes I taught, and most of my students were able to deal with the entire process mostly by themselves. I also don’t think the lack of customization is a huge deterrent. The reality is that many people aren’t really going to mess with the code as much as they think they are, though if that’s something someone really wants, I think springing and paying for WordPress would be worth it to them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree 100% with you. I just tried to leave a comment on a new friend’s blog on Blogger, who complained that she gets no comments at all, and I was supposed to sign up for Google+ and had to complete 3-4 steps just to make a comment. I like it much better here on WordPress.
      I found WordPress easy to use as well, but some people I’ve talked to seem to have no idea how to go about the customisation or to schedule posts and things like that. That’s why I decided to make a series on the basics of blogging so I don’t have to repeat myself every time.
      I initially thought I would require to customise my blog a lot, but the themes here and the widgets are so good that I don’t need it. I’m quite happy with not having access to the code. I’m sure I’d mess up if I tried to tinker with it.
      Thanks for pointing all of this out, Briana. πŸ™‚

      Like

  4. THANK YOU of this post! I’m a newbie to the blogosphere and somewhat technology deficient and your posts (I just finished reading your “Should I blog” post :)) have been extremely encouraging and helpful. I knew from the start I wanted to share my thoughts about books with the world, but couldn’t figure out how to go about it, and wordpress for me, because it’s free and so easily accessible has helped tremendously and allowed me t read several other bloggers thoughts (like yours) about books and writing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m glad you found it helpful. πŸ™‚ That was the intent of the post anyway. I hope you’ll continue on with the series. Maybe you’ll find some other tips that will be of use as well. πŸ™‚
      I’m glad type chose WordPress. It’s a great platform, especially for book bloggers. There’s a huge community of bookworms here and I’m sure you’ll have plenty of followers in no time. πŸ™‚
      I have a separate book blog as well, if you want to check that out:
      http://unputdownablebooksblog.wordpress.com/

      Like

  5. i started off on wordpress because a lot of the blogs i was reading from were from wordpress. i hadn’t really gone out of my way to look at other places. i think i did have a tumblr back then but i never really considered it a “blogging site”. it just doesn’t have that feel, what with most of it having to do with reblogging and posting image heavy content. i do really like that you can mess with the code because themes are really crappy here on wordpress (or at least i haven’t really found one i LIKE yet. and on tumblr there’s so many nice ones)
    i tried using blogger once after i had my wordpress one but it was just really bad. it was hard to navigate and i couldn’t figure out how to use the like button (i think here you’re limited to one like per account versus over there it didn’t matter) . it just wasn’t very user friendly
    out of the three for blogging i prefer wordpress but i do crosspost some of my stuff to tumblr sometimes, have it redirect to my blog

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m glad you started with WordPress and still stick to it. I honestly love it for the community aspect and how you can make so many friends along the way, which I didn’t find on Tumblr or Blogger. Tumblr does have a PM-like feature, but me being a shy bean didn’t really help me make any tangible connections. Whereas I have tons of friends here and keep making more every other day. I also have such a good stats page compared to the other two and overall, I’m very happy with it.
      I do have a Tumblr as well, but right now it’s only cross-posting my WP articles and I’m yet to put some original content on there. I just haven’t found the time to look after my Tumblr properly. Also, I’m clueless what to post on there because I manage two blogs on here and for everything else, there’s Twitter. So, Tumblr and me don’t really get along.
      I’m sad to hear you haven’t found any WordPress theme to your liking. There are tons out there and maybe the right keywords will point you to one? Or you can always try contacting a developer with what you want and getting it done, but that will cost you a one-time payment, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Blogging for Beginners #3: Customisation | Pages That Rustle

  7. Thank you so much for this post! I am very new to blogging and have very little experience. I am constantly learning something new each time I go into wordpress. My question is, how can one search on wordpress for other bloggers with more updated content? I use the search on Discover tab but sometimes I feel like it doesnt show up alll possible posts and or current ones. Am I using this wrong? Is there a better way to search and see whats out there in the wordpress community?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Unfortunately, the Search pretty much works the same for me. *shrugs* By updated content I’m presuming you mean blogs that are actively publishing now? If so, head to the Community Pool posts in the Daily Post (which gets automatically followed once you create your account, I believe) every Monday. There are usually around a thousand comments in there, but you can find 2-3 blogs that might interest you within the first 50 comments. Regularly doing this will definitely help you find new blogs every week. This is the strategy I adopted, anyway. πŸ™‚ I hope this helps!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, hold on. So, The Daily Post is the official WordPress blog that sort of maintains the community, gives daily writing prompts and updates about latest WP news. Look for it in your Followed Sites, if you can find that. Or just use the Search. It will definitely show up. πŸ™‚ The Community Pool is a post that happens every Monday on that blog where other bloggers can leave links to their posts and ask others for feedback.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I went into some sort of loop going posts after the other..ended up on your new book blog! Followed there and quickly came back here for more newbie tips! Haha! One of my friend is a thinking about starting a blog and I’m sharing this post

    Liked by 1 person

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