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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)! 🙂
[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! 🙂