How to Choose the Best Blogging Platform in 2021 (Compared)
- May 18, 2022
Are you looking to start your own blog, but can’t figure out how to choose the best blogging platform? It’s a tough choice since there are several different blogging platforms out there. How do you find out which one is right for you?
In this article, we’ll help you choose the best blogging platform by going over the pros and cons of the most popular blogging sites.
Here are the popular blogging platforms we’ll be comparing in this article. If you’re interested in a particular platform, you can click the link to skip ahead in the article.
- HubSpot CMS
Choosing The Best Blogging Platform – What to Look for?
Before diving in the list, it is helpful to know what you’re looking for in a blogging platform.
As a beginner, you’ll want a blogging platform that’s easy to set up, has a low learning curve, and doesn’t require any coding skills.
You’ll also need to think about what kind of blog you want to create, now and in the future.
As your blog grows, you may want to change the look of your site and add more features for your growing audience. That means it’s important to choose a blogging platform that’s flexible, with room to grow.
Starting off with the wrong platform can make it very difficult to switch later on.
Lastly, even if you don’t have plans to make money blogging right now, it’s smart to make sure you have the option to do so in the future.
With all that in mind, let’s compare the best blogging platforms for beginners.
WordPress.org is the world’s most popular blogging software. Started in 2003, WordPress now powers more than 42% of all websites on the internet.
Note: It’s easy to confuse WordPress.org with WordPress.com, which is a blog hosting service mentioned later in this list. See our guide on the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com.
WordPress.org is an open source free blogging platform that allows you to build your website or blog within minutes.
It is a self-hosted solution which means that you will need to sign up with a WordPress hosting provider. WordPress is a great option if you want to have full control over your blog’s future.
- WordPress.org gives you control over every aspect of your website.
- You can grow your blog and add extra features like forums, online store, paid memberships, and sell online courses. This makes WordPress the best blogging platform to make money.
- There are thousands of free themes available for WordPress. This allows you to create a beautiful website that stands apart from the crowd. Most popular WordPress themes come with built-in customization options that gives you full design control.
- You also get access to more than 58,000 free WordPress plugins. These plugins are like apps for your WordPress blog that allow you to add features like contact forms, galleries, etc. See our list of must have WordPress plugins for all websites.
- WordPress is search engine friendly. You can easily create SEO friendly URLs, categories, and tags for your posts. Plus, there’re a good number of great SEO plugins for additional optimization.
- You can easily enable Google Analytics powered website analytics in WordPress, so you can see the stats that matter. This helps you grow your new blog traffic and subscribers.
- Last but not least, WordPress’ drag-and-drop editor makes it easy to create any type of content on your blog site. It also has options to embed dynamic content like videos, social media feeds, Google Adsense, graphs, charts, and more without any technical know how.
- Managing your own website comes with a bit of a learning curve.
- You will have to manage your own backups and security.
WordPress software is free, but you’ll need to have a domain name (about $14.99/year) and hosting (usually starting from $7.99/month).
You need a domain name and web hosting for starting any type of website.
WPBeginner users can get started for only $2.75 per month with Bluehost, an official WordPress recommended hosting provider. They are offering our users 60% off on web hosting and a FREE domain name.
See our guide on how to start a WordPress blog for complete step by step instructions.
Overall, WordPress is an excellent choice for both personal blogs as well as professional blogs.
Majority of the well-known bloggers on the internet use WordPress as their content management system because it’s user-friendly and comes with all the functionality that you’ll need to create a successful blog.
Bonus: Aside from creating a blog site, you can also use WordPress to create a small business website as well as an online store. For more details, see our detailed guide on how to make a WordPress website.
Web.com is a well-known website builder platform that comes with the built-in feature to add a blog section to your business website or online store.
Their drag & drop website builder platform is extremely easy to use for non-techy users, and they offer very affordable prices to get started ($1.95).
You can choose from their dozens of pre-made template and then customize your blog layout without writing any code. It comes with all the powerful features like SEO tools, blog security features, autosave & backup, website analytics, and more.
- Beginner friendly drag and drop website builder (no coding needed).
- Dozens of fully customizable templates for your blog.
- Easy setup with no hassles, since Web.com takes care of all the technical details of hosting your website.
- Affordable starting pricing – $1.95 per month and it includes all the essential features
- Free domain is included with all paid plans.
- 24/7 customer support available via phone, live chat, and email.
- The extensions / app ecosystem is small, so there aren’t as many third party plugins like WordPress.
- Blogging features are no where near as powerful as WordPress.
- Since Web.com is a proprietary website builder, switching your website to another platform later is difficult.
Web.com pricing starts at $1.95 per month for their website starter plan which comes with their drag & drop site builder, blogging platform, hundreds of beautiful templates, thousands of free stock images, and a free domain.
If you want their powerful SEO tools or eCommerce features, then you’ll need to upgrade to their Marketing plan starting at $2.95 per month or their eCommerce plan starting at $3.95 per month.
These prices are available for WPBeginner readers as part of our Web.com coupon deal. All you need to do is click on our link to get these special prices.
If you’re a small business who don’t want to use WordPress, then Web.com is the next best choice considering everything you get for the price.
Wix is a popular hosted platform to build websites. Their drag & drop website builder offers a solution for small businesses to easily build a website. You can also add a blog to your website by adding the Wix Blog app.
Wix.com was founded in 2006 as a platform where anyone could create their own stunning website with no coding skills required. It has currently over 110 million users across the globe.
- You can customize your site using dozens of templates and third party apps.
- Build your site with easy drag and drop tools; no coding skills required.
- Setup is quick and easy.
- The free account is limited and shows Wix branding and ads on your site.
- Free third party apps are limited.
- Once you choose a template you cannot change it.
- Ecommerce features are limited to paid plans, and even those features are limited.
See our article on Wix vs WordPress for a detailed comparison of the two platforms.
The basic Wix website builder is free. With a free Wix account, you’ll get a Wix subdomain that looks like this: https://username.wixsite.com/example.
However, you can add a custom domain for $4.50/month. Their premium plans start from $8.50/month and go up to $24.50/month.
4. HubSpot CMS
HubSpot CMS Hub is an all-in-one blogging platform for small, medium, and enterprise websites.
It’s built on top of HubSpot’s marketing and CRM tools, so you can use a single platform to create a website, get more subscribers, send newsletters, manage your customer list, and more.
Their website builder makes it easy for you to customize your website design layout, and you can even personalize the content readers see based on their past behavior.
- Easy-to-use drag and drop website builder with no coding skills required.
- Quick and easy setup, since HubSpot will host your website for you.
- Fully optimized for SEO and conversions.
- Free SSL certificate is included.
- While the HubSpot CRM itself comes with free tools (like contact management, email marketing and forms), the CMS does not have a free version available.
- Pricing may be steep as you move up the tiers.
- If you’re moving from another blogging platform, the migration process may be lengthy, depending on your previous provider.
HubSpot CMS plan starts at $25 per month and includes all the main features to have a secure, well-designed blog, as well as the marketing tools you’ll need to grow it.
For the custom SEO recommendations and advanced features, you’ll want to upgrade to the higher tiers.
WPBeginner readers get a free 14-day trial.
Note: You can use WordPress combined with HubSpot free plugin to combine the power of the best blogging platform and marketing tools.
5. Gator by HostGator
Gator is a website builder and blogging platform created by HostGator, the popular web hosting company that we use to host the WPBeginner website. Gator offers a drag & drop tool that you can use to build any type of website including blogs, business sites, and even an online store.
It’s important that you don’t confuse the Gator builder with HostGator website hosting. You can use HostGator hosting service to start a WordPress blog like we have done.
However if you are looking for a non-WordPress all-in-one blog platform and hosting solution, then Gator is the perfect option.
- Easy drag and drop builder to customize your blog & website design.
- Quick setup – no technical hassle.
- Backups, performance, and security is all handled by HostGator (no headaches).
- Free Domain and SSL certificate is included in all plans.
- Can easily add an online store to your blog with just a few clicks.
- There is no free account, but they do have a 45-day money back guarantee.
- Ecommerce features are restricted to higher plans only.
- Limited number of apps and extensions.
WPBeginner users get 55% off on all Gator builder plans. The Starter plan costs $3.46/month and it comes with all the features you need to start a successful blog including a free domain and SSL certificate.
You just need to make sure to use our Gator Website Builder coupon code: wpbeginner to get 55% off.
WordPress.com is a blog hosting service offered by Automattic, a company created by WordPress.org co-founder Matt Mullenweg.
WordPress.com offers a basic blog hosting service for free. You can purchase additional options like a custom domain name, additional storage, and other premium services.
Started in 2005 with a goal to bring WordPress experience to a larger audience, WordPress.com is a good blogging site for users who don’t want the advanced features of self-hosted WordPress.
- No setup required.
- Easy to use and manage.
- It’s completely free if you are happy with a WordPress.com subdomain. Your free website name looks like this: https://example.wordpress.com.
- Limited options to extend your own site. You cannot use custom themes and plugins for customizing your blog.
- You cannot run advertisements on your blog. Instead, WordPress.com will show their ads on your free website.
- You do not own your blog, and WordPress.com can suspend your account if they find you are violating their terms of service.
The basic WordPress.com account is free, but it will have WordPress.com ads and branding.
You can upgrade to their Personal plan for $4/month (billed yearly) to remove WordPress.com logo and advertising from your website. You also get a custom domain (such as www.yoursite.com).
For $8/month (billed yearly) you can get additional design tools and extra storage.
Because of the similarity in names, beginners often start with WordPress.com thinking they are getting the powerful WordPress.org software. After seeing the limitations, users often end up switching from WordPress.com to WordPress.org to have more features, ease of use, and control over their website.
Blogger is a free blogging service by Google. It offers a quick and easy way to create a blog for non-tech-savvy users.
Blogger is one of the earliest blogging platforms in existence. It was first launched in 1999 by Pyra Labs. Later in 2003, Google acquired Blogger and redesigned it as the product we know today.
All you need is a Google account to start a free blog on Blogger.
- Blogger is free.
- It’s easy to use and manage without any technical skills.
- Has the added advantage of Google’s robust secure platform and reliability.
- You’re limited to basic blogging tools, and can’t add new features as your blog grows in popularity.
- Design options are limited, with fewer templates available. Third party templates for Blogger are often low quality.
- Blogger does not receive frequent updates or new features.
- Google can suspend your blog at any time, or even cancel the Blogger service altogether. (They have a history of abandoning projects without warning, such as Feedburner.)
For more pros and cons of Blogger, see our comparison of WordPress vs Blogger (Pros and cons).
Some users start out with Blogger because it’s free, but eventually as their blog grows, they end up switching from Blogger to WordPress to get more features and control over their website.
Blogger is free with a Blogger subdomain like https://example.blogspot.com. If you want to use a custom domain, you need to buy from a third-party domain registrar.
Tumblr is a little different than other blogging platforms. It is a microblogging platform with social networking features including following other blogs, reblogging, built-in sharing tools, and more.
- Tumblr is free with a Tumblr subdomain like https://example.tumblr.com. You can also connect a premium custom domain name.
- It is very easy to set up and use.
- It has an integrated social media component.
- As a microblogging tool, Tumblr makes it easy to quickly blog videos, GIFs, images, and audio formats.
- Tumblr comes with a limited set of features that you cannot extend as your blog grows.
- There are many themes available for Tumblr, but they can’t offer additional features.
- Backing up your Tumblr blog or importing it to other platforms is difficult (see our guide on how to move from Tumblr to WordPress).
Tumblr is free to use. You can use a custom domain (purchased separately) for your Tumblr blog, and there are also third-party themes and apps available to purchase.
Launched in 2012, Medium has grown into a community of writers, bloggers, journalists, and experts. It is an easy-to-use blogging platform with limited social networking features.
Medium works much like a social networking site where you can create an account and start publishing your articles. After you sign up, you’ll have a profile address like this: https://medium.com/@yourname. But you cannot use your own domain.
- Medium is easy to use, with no setup required and no coding skills needed.
- It allows you to reach an existing online community of people of similar interests.
- You can focus solely on writing, instead of designing a website.
- Features are very limited in terms of design or building a brand.
- Medium owns your audience, so losing your blog means losing all your followers.
- You cannot use your own domain name. You’ll simply get a profile page like in Facebook, e.g. https://medium.com/@yourname.
- You cannot run your own ads to make money.
For more detailed comparison, see our guide on WordPress vs Medium – which one is better?.
Medium is free to use.
While the platform looks attractive at first, the lack of monetization and control leads to most people switching from Medium to WordPress.
Squarespace is a website building service that allows you to create beautiful websites using easy drag and drop tools. It focuses on small business owners who are looking for an easy way to create an online presence.
Started in 2003, Squarespace currently powers millions of websites online.
- Squarespace is simple and easy to use for beginners who aren’t very tech-savvy.
- It has beautiful professionally designed templates.
- It separately offers domain name with SSL/HTTPs and eCommerce stores.
- Squarespace is limited to the features built into their proprietary platform.
- Integrations are limited to a select few services and tools.
See our guide on WordPress vs Squarespace for a more detailed comparison.
Squarespace has different pricing plans for websites and online stores.
Pricing for their Personal website plan starts at $16/month, or $12/month if you pay for the year in advance. For the Business plan, pricing starts at $26/month, or $18/month billed annually.
Whereas pricing for online stores starts from $26/month and up to $40/month.
Often users end up switching from Squarespace to WordPress to minimize their expenses and add more features on their websites.
Ghost is a minimalist blogging platform with features entirely focused on writing blog posts. Started in 2013, Ghost is available as a hosted platform and as a software that you can install / host yourself. We’ll take a look at both options.
- Focused on blogging and writing.
- Clean, clutter-free, and intuitive user interface.
- No setup required for the hosted version.
- Not easy to customize with apps.
- The simplified user interface means options are very limited.
- Not enough themes to change appearance of your site.
- Complicated setup if you install it yourself.
Take a look at our comparison of WordPress vs Ghost for more details on the topic.
The self-hosted version needs a custom domain (about $14.99/year) and web hosting (starting from about $7.99/month).
Pricing for the hosted version starts at $29/month for 2 staff users with a 100k page view limit. Unless you buy a custom domain from a third-party domain registrar, your blog will be a Ghost subdomain ending with ghost.io.
Weebly is a well-known website builder platform owned by Square’s payment platform. They offer easy to use website building tools for business websites and eCommerce stores.
They also have a blog feature along with free blog templates that you can add to your website.
- Fully hosted website and blogging platform.
- Seamless integration with Square payment platform.
- No setup required for the hosted version.
- Free plan has limited features and bandwidth. It also includes Weebly branding.
- Paid subscription are expensive compared to top blogging websites.
- Blogging and SEO features are not as powerful as WordPress.
Take a look at our comparison of Weebly vs WordPress for more details on the topic.
If you’re looking to switch from Weebly to WordPress, we have created a detailed step by step tutorial on how to properly move from Weebly to WordPress.
They have a limited free version that comes with Weebly branding and ads.
Their paid plans start from $8 per month billed annually. The pro plan costs $12 per month, and their business plan costs $25 per month.
Our Pick for the Best Blogging Platform
We believe that WordPress.org outperforms all other blogging sites. It is powerful, easy to use, affordable, and the most flexible of all available blogging platforms. Here are all the reasons why you should use WordPress.
To help you start your own WordPress site, we have created a complete guide on how to start a blog in 7 Easy Steps.
If you need help, then WPBeginner’s team of experts can even help setup your blog for free. Learn more about our free WordPress blog setup service.
If you’re looking for a WordPress alternative, then our second choice for the best blogging platform would be either Web.com or HubSpot.
Their drag & drop website builder makes it easy to build any type of website from blog to business website to an online store at a very affordable price.
We hope this article helped you choose the best blogging platform for your next blog. You may also want to see our guide on 27 proven tips to increase your blog traffic, and how to create an email newsletter to grow your blog subscribers.
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