Top 12 Blogging Platforms and Features

Blogging on Laptop

“Blogging is just writing — writing using a particularly efficient type of publishing technology,” says Simon Dumenco who describes himself as a “writer of things about stuff.” Whether you are looking for a new hobby, or seeking to boost your resume, blogging provides flexibility and freedom to produce content that you care about. There are numerous ways to go about building a blog, and here are 12 platforms that you should consider.

WordPress.org

WordPress.org is the most popular option among all the platforms listed here. The software is free to use, but you will need to find a hosting platform and a domain name. To give you a ballpark cost, I’ve been able to purchase a domain for $8.99 a year and a hosting plan for ~$4 a month which is $48 a year. Overall, WordPress.org is a flexible platform and if you plan on expanding your blog at some point, this platform has the capability to do so at no extra cost due to the abundance of plugins and themes.

Pros

  • Self-hosted; free
  • Free and Paid Themes and Plugins
  • No experience necessary
  • Post different content types: Text, Images, Videos, Tables, Slides
  • Own all your content
  • Monetizable through ads
  • Customizable – build a website of your design through plugins or HTML and CSS

Cautions

  • Not many SEO capabilities out of the box; you need to download plugins or access the code for advanced features
  • Must build a website before you can start blogging
  • Must pay for a domain name and hosting plan
  • Manage lots of plugins since many features do not come out of the box
FeaturesDescriptions
Ease of UseYou don’t need any experience to build a WordPress.org website. There are many tutorials online that can walk you through the process.
Themes and PluginsThere are 56,000+ plugins and thousands of themes available on WordPress.org that are both free and paid. Plugins give you the ability to customize your website in numerous ways. Here are some popular plugins:
• Woocommerce – a free plugin that provides e-commerce functionality on your website
• MonsterInsights – Reporting and analytics
• YoastSEO – advanced SEO features for website and page ranking
• UpdraftPlus – website backup, restore, and migration plugin
• Elementor – drag and drop page builder
• Cookie Notice – notifies your website users that there are cookies on the site
• Custom Share Buttons with Floating Sidebar – a free and customizable plugin for sharing on social media
PricingThe platform is free. However, it is self-hosted so you will need to pay for a hosting provider.
BlogYou can post any type of content such as text, images, videos, slides, tables, and more.
DomainYou will need to purchase a domain name.
WordPress.org Features

WordPress.com

Not to be confused with WordPress.org, WordPress.com is a hosted platform. You can immediately dive into building your website for free and upgrade your plan when needed.

Pros

  • Free plan w/domain name and 3GB storage
  • Free and Paid Themes and Plugins
  • No experience necessary
  • Post different content types: Text, Images, Video
  • Monetizable through ads
  • Customizable – build a website of your design
  • SSL Certificate included

Cautions

  • Paid plans start at $4/month
  • Must build a website before you can start blogging
  • Advanced website features require a paid plan
  • Website can be shut down if you violate terms and conditions
FeaturesDescriptions
Ease of UseYou don’t need any experience to build a website on this platform. It is slightly easier than WordPress.org because you don’t have to worry about hosting.
ThemesWordPress.com has 170 themes available to choose from.
PricingA free plan includes a domain name, 3GB of storage and a pre-installed SSL certificate. Paid plans start at $4/month and can be upwards of $45/month depending on the features desired.
Advanced FeaturesThe following features are part of paid pricing plans:
• Advertising
• SEO tools
• Google Analytics integration
• Advanced social media
• Auto backups
• Personalized assistance
BlogYou can post any content type such as text, images, or video. WordPress.com is also highly customizable—you can create a blog of your own design.
DomainThey offer a free domain which has the form yourwebsitename.wordpress.com. The paid plan includes a non-wordpress.com domain of your choice.
WordPress.com Features

Wix

Pros

  • Free plan with a wix.com domain name and 500MB storage
  • Free and Paid Templates
  • 300+ Free and Paid Apps
  • Drag and Drop builder
  • Post different content types: Text, Images, Video

Cautions

  • Paid plans start at $13/month
  • Wix can show ads on your site—removable through a paid plan
  • Advanced website features require a paid plan
  • Must build a website before you can start blogging
  • Website can be shut down if you violate terms and conditions
  • Cannot export website to another platform—you are “locked-in”
FeaturesDescriptions
Ease of UseWix is easy to use. You can build your website through its drag and drop builder and no programming is required.
TemplatesWix has over 500 fully customizable templates to choose from.
PricingThe platform has a free plan that comes with a wix.com domain name and 500 MB of storage. A paid plan starts at $13 a month.
SEOWix has page-level SEO. You can customize your page’s description, page URL, and add keywords.
BlogYou can publish videos, images, or text-based content on your website.
DomainWix provides a free domain for 1 year when you sign up for a yearly premium plan. After that, you will have to pay for your own domain or use the wix.com domain in the format of username.wixsite.com/siteaddress.
Wix Features

Joomla

Joomla is an open-source content management system (CMS) that has been around since the early 2000s. While it may not be the most beginner-friendly, its powerful interface gives a lot of flexibility to its users. You can always connect to the Joomla community via the forums on their website for support.

Pros

  • Self-hosted; Open source; free
  • 10,000+ Extensions and Templates (free and paid)
  • Supports many types of content—modules, menus, articles, tags
  • Native SEO
  • Multilingual Support
  • Caching for improved site performance
  • Simple Installation
  • E-commerce support

Cautions

  • Requires hosting provider (paid)
  • Platform has a learning curve and is geared towards tech-savvy users
  • Some extensions may become incompatible when the platform is updated so it’s important to know if the developer will be supporting your extension of choice.
  • Must build a website before you can start blogging
FeaturesDescriptions
Ease of UseJoomla has a steeper learning curve than WordPress.org, but it is significantly easier than Drupal. If your hosting provider has Joomla support, you’ll have an easy installation process.
Templates and ExtensionsThe platform contains 10,000+ extensions and templates both free and paid. Extensions can give you additional functionality for your website such as the following:
• Analytics and reporting
• Advertising
• E-commerce
PricingJoomla is open source and free, but you will need to purchase a hosting provider.
SEOJoomla SEO features come out of the box. Some features include:
• Search Engine friendly URLs
• URL rewriting
• Site name in page title
• Page title customizations
• Meta description and keyword customizations
• Image optimizations
• Inbound and Outboard link optimizations
BlogThe platform supports different content types such as modules, menus, articles, and tags. You can also add extensions for more features.
DomainYou will need to purchase a domain for your website.
Language supportJoomla has multilingual support which allows the content on your website to display in multiple languages.
CachingThe platform allows page caching, view caching and module caching to improve site performance.
Joomla Features

Drupal

Drupal is a free open source CMS that is widely used among enterprises. If you are not a programmer or are just starting out and looking for a quick way to get your site up and running, then Drupal is not the platform for you. But, if you are looking for a platform with robust functionality and have the technical means, Drupal can be a good option.

Pros

  • Self-hosted; Open source; free
  • 45,000+ Modules/Extensions (free and paid)
  • Supports many types of content—Page, Story, Blog entry, Book page, Forum Topic, Poll
  • Native SEO, Caching, Multi-User Creation/Editing, Statistics and Logging, Security
  • E-commerce support

Cautions

  • Requires hosting provider (paid)
  • Platform has a steep learning curve and requires a programmer
  • Must build a website before you can start blogging
FeaturesDescriptions
Ease of UseDrupal requires a programmer to build the website and there is a steep learning curve for the platform.
TemplatesThere are numerous 3rd party websites that contain free and paid templates for any type of blog.
PricingThe platform is free and open source, but it requires a hosting provider.
Content TypesDrupal supports many types of content such as:
• Pages
• Stories
• Blog entries
• Book pages
• Forum topics
• Polls
SEOMost SEO features are native to the platform, but you can also include extensions.
Integrations/ExtensionsDrupal contains 45,000+ Modules/Extensions, both free and paid.
Other Core Modules• Multi-user creation/editing
• RSS Feed
• User profiles
• Security
• Statistics and Logging
• Multi-level menu
• Advanced search
DomainYou will need to purchase your own domain.
Drupal Features

Squarespace

Pros

  • Free custom domain included with your site
  • Drag and drop builder; no coding required
  • Native SEO, E-commerce, Analytics, Ads
  • Beautiful templates
  • Podcast hosting
  • Ability to customize site via HTML and CSS

Cautions

  • Paid plans with free trial; Can be expensive if you’re on a budget
  • Limited number of integrations and extensions
  • Platform has a slight learning curve
  • Must build a website before you can start blogging
FeaturesDescriptions
Ease of UseSquarespace has a drag and drop interface that can build nice looking websites without having to code any HTML or CSS. But the backend of the website is not the most intuitive so you may need to spend some time learning it.
TemplatesSquarespace is known for its beautiful templates.
There are 100+ templates among 14 categories that you can choose from.
PricingSquarespace offers a 14-day free trial—no credit card required—after which you can upgrade to a paid plan starting at $12 a month.
SEOThe platform SEO capabilities come out of the box so you do not need to install any plugins or extensions. You can change the meta descriptions and the URLs of your website in addition to the title tags.
Integrations/ExtensionsUnlike its competitors, Squarespace has a limited number of extensions available. Be sure to check their list to ensure they have what you’re looking for if you are looking for advanced features.
BlogThere are numerous features such as:
• Commenting
• Likes
• Author Profiles
• Multiple authors
• Scheduling blog post
• Adding email subscriptions
• Using RSS feeds
• Podcast hosting
AnalyticsSquarespace contains a reporting platform that shows user behavior on your site. You can also integrate your site with Google Analytics.
DomainA free custom domain name will be included with your purchase.
AdvertisingYou can display ads on your website using 3rd party integrations such as Google AdSense.
E-commerceFull e-commerce functionality is included in their Commerce plans which start at $26 a month with a 0% transaction fee. You can get limited e-commerce functions with their Business plan which is $18 a month with a 3% transaction fee.
Squarespace Features

Weebly

Pros

  • Free plan with Weebly domain
  • Drag and drop interface; no coding required
  • 40+ responsive themes available on website and plenty more available on 3rd-party sites
  • 360+ free and premium apps for advanced features
  • Customizable through HTML and CSS
  • Mobile App (ios and android) – you can edit your site from the app and view site statistics
  • Weebly dashboard provides basic site statistics
  • Basic SEO capabilities
  • Can export your website if you want to switch platforms

Cautions

  • Paid plan starts at $6 a month if you pay annually
  • Must pay for custom (non-Weebly) domain
  • Free and personal plans include Weebly advertisements
  • Must build a website before you can start blogging
FeaturesDescription
Ease of UseWeebly has 40+ responsive themes. There are also several 3rd party websites that offer free and paid themes.
ThemesWeebly has 40+ responsive themes. There are also several 3rd party websites that offer free and paid themes.
PricingThe platform has a free plan which offers many features that are in the personal plan. The main difference is that the personal plan allows you to connect a custom domain. The pricing plans are as follows:
• Free – $0/month
• Personal – $6/month billed annually
• Professional – $12/month billed annually
• Performance – $26/month billed annually
SEOWeebly allows you to customize or add:
• Page URLs
• Page descriptions
• Page-level meta keywords
• Headings
• 301 redirects
• Canonical tags
And more…
AppsThe platform has over 360 free and premium apps for e-commerce, marketing, communication, social, and site tools & features.
BlogYou can add text-based content, images, and video content to your site. Also, the drag and drop builder can help you build your site quickly so you can focus your efforts on blogging.
AnalyticsYou can check real-time site statistics directly on the Weebly dashboard or from the mobile app. For advanced analytics, you can add Google Analytics code to your site.
DomainThe free plan offers a Weebly domain in the form of mysite.weebly.com. The personal plan requires you to purchase your domain. The professional and performance plan provides a free domain.
AdvertisementsWebsites on the free and personal plan contain Weebly ads. Upgrading to a premium plan allows you to remove advertisements.
You can also place ads on your websites through Google AdSense or affiliates
E-commerceAll Weebly plans offer basic e-commerce capabilities, but the premium plans also offer shipping calculators, labels, discounts, and abandoned cart emails.
Weebly Features

Ghost

Ghost is a blogging platform that was created by a former deputy lead for the WordPress User Interface team. Unlike the previous platforms that have been shown, Ghost is geared towards blogging. If you want a more sophisticated website design or e-commerce, you’ll need to find another platform.

Pros
• Free and open source
• Offers SEO capabilities within the platform; no extra plugins needed
• 80+ free and paid themes
• Hundreds of integrations with 3rd party apps
• You own all the content that you post on Ghost
• Ad-free – Ghost will not run their own ads on your content.
• Monetization – You can monetize your site with any sort of advertising
• Can import or export your site to/from another platform

Cautions
• Must pay for self-hosting or pay a minimum of $29/month for hosting by Ghost
• You will need to move to another platform if you need a website with e-commerce or other advanced features.
• Must purchase your own domain.
• Must build a website before you can start blogging

FeaturesDescriptions
Ease of UseGhost has a simple and clean interface that is user friendly. Many of the features on the site are built into the platform so you won’t need to worry about apps or themes becoming obsolete or out of date.
ThemesThe platform has over 80 free and paid themes. There are also several themes available for purchase from 3rd party websites.
PricingIf you choose to self-host your website, you will need to pay another provider for hosting. Ghost can also host your website for you. Here are the pricing plans:
• Basic – $29/month; billed annually
• Standard – $79/month; billed annually
• Business – $199/month; billed annually
SEOSEO is included within the platform, so you don’t need extra integration. Ghost can:
• Customize page URLs
• Add canonical tags
• Use XML Sitemaps
• Customize meta titles and meta descriptions
• Integrate with Google AMP
IntegrationsYou can integrate your website with hundreds of apps on Ghost.
BlogYou can write your blog in Markdown, which is plain text format, a much simpler format than competitor platforms. The platform also offers built-in social sharing buttons.
AnalyticsYou can integrate your website with 3rd party analytics applications.
DomainA domain name is not included. You will need to purchase one separately.
AdvertisementsYou can monetize your site with any type of ads. Ghost will not run any of its own ads on your site.
Ghost Features

Blogger

Blogger is a platform owned by Google that is dedicated 100% to blogging. It is free and while it doesn’t have many of the features that some of the other platforms have, it is a great option if you are just starting out and want to publish some content quickly.

Pros

  • 100% free
  • Includes a free domain
  • You don’t need to worry about software updates
  • Monetize your blog through ads
  • Built in SEO capabilities

Cautions

  • You don’t own the rights to your own content
  • Your blog can be suspended at any time
  • Website doesn’t allow for custom design unless you know HTML or CSS, and the customizations that you can make are limited.
  • No e-commerce functionality
FeaturesDescriptions
Ease of UseBlogger is easy to use. To start a blog, you only need to sign up for a google account, pick a theme, and start writing.
ThemesThere are various free themes you can choose from. However, they are simple and don’t allow for much customization unless you know HTML or CSS. You can also use a theme from a 3rd party site.
PricingBlogger is free to use.
SEOBlogger has the following SEO capabilities:
• Custom page URLs
• Add meta-tags and descriptions
• Customize robots.txt
GadgetsThe platform has gadgets by Google or 3rd party apps that you can integrate into your site.
AnalyticsBlogger has a Stat tracking system that you can access from the dashboard to see your site analytics. You can also integrate Google Analytics for in-depth statistics.
DomainThe platform provides a free domain which is in the form of mysite.blogspot.com, but you can also purchase a custom domain.
AdvertisementsBlogger easily integrates with Google AdSense so you can start advertising on your site.
Blogger Features

Tumblr

Tumblr is known as a microblogging platform that focuses on visuals rather than written content. Its ecosystem contains a community of Tumblr users, content recommendations, and the ability to build an audience on the platform. Tumblr won’t have advanced features for your website, but it’s good place to start creating content.

Pros

  • 100% Free; includes a Tumblr domain
  • Hundreds of Free and Paid Themes
  • You can place ads on Tumblr
  • Can build credibility through audience reblogs
  • You can reblog another user’s content
  • 7 different posting options – Text, Photo, Quote, Link, Chat, Audio, Video
  • Build an audience on the platform; connect to audience with similar interests

Cautions

  • Audience stays on Tumblr; cannot take audience if you go to another platform
  • Limited blog customizations
  • Focused on visual content as opposed to written content
  • Limited SEO capabilities
  • No analytics and reporting tools or e-commerce
  • Must purchase custom domain
FeaturesDescriptions
Ease of UseTumblr has a simple interface. You can create a new Tumblr blog and start posting content within minutes.
ThemesThere are hundreds of free and paid themes to choose from on the platform or 3rd party sites. You can also create your own theme by coding it in HTML and CSS.
PricingThe platform is 100% free. You have the option of purchasing a premium theme or a custom domain, but these are not required.
SEOTumblr allows:
• Customization of page URLs
• Title tags
• Reblogging by your audience which equates to a dofollow backlink
BlogYou can post the following types of content on your blog:
• Text
• Photo
• Quote
• Link
• Chat
• Audio
• Video
AnalyticsThere’s no way to view statistics for your blog directly on the site, but you can connect it to Google Analytics.
DomainThe platform comes with a free domain with the form of mysite.tumblr.com. You can also purchase a custom domain and integrate that with your blog.
AdvertisementsTumblr uses native advertising which means that the ads look similar to a user’s content. You can purchase for the following ads:
• Sponsored posts
• Sponsored trending blogs
• Sponsored radar
• Sponsored spotlight
For monetization, you can integrate your blog with platforms such as Google AdSense.
Tumblr Features

Medium

Medium is the social media platform of blogging, where the primary focus is on written content. You’ll be joining an existing community of writers, journalists, and experts for almost any topic. You will have a username, profile, and the ability to gain followers or follow others. Medium is great if you don’t want to build a website and want to publish stories (AKA articles) immediately.

Pros

  • 100% Free; includes a user profile
  • Build an audience on the platform; get exposure to new readers on a platform that has 60 million monthly active users
  • Publish content immediately
  • Include text, images, videos, and downloadable files in your stories
  • You don’t need to build a website to start blogging

Cautions

  • Your followers are tied to the platform so if you decide to leave the platform or lose your profile, you’ll lose your followers
  • Third-party ads and sponsored posts are prohibited
  • Medium uses your actual name—you can’t have a username or a domain name
  • Platform is focused on writing articles and may not be conducive for visual content
FeaturesDescriptions
Ease of UseMedium is a simple and easy platform. To get started, sign up with an account and select topics or follow people you are interested in reading about. You’ll see some recommended articles to read on your dashboard. After that, you can dive into writing stories.
PricingMedium is free to use.
SEOThe platform allows for the following SEO optimizations:
• Custom article URL
• SEO description
• Customizing canonical link
• Social sharing buttons
• Adding image alt text
StoriesStories can contain the following elements
• Text
• Images
• Video
• Downloadable Files
AnalyticsHere are some of the statistics that you can view on Medium:
• # of followers
• # of people you are following
• # of views for your story
• # of reads for your story
• Read ratio
• # of recommendations for your story
AdvertisementsThird-party ads and sponsorships are not allowed on the platform. You must also disclose any affiliate links.
Medium Features

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a platform for professionals and businesses to connect and share their work-related experiences. Like other social media sites, you’ll have a profile, connections, and the ability to follow other people and businesses. While LinkedIn has several features, I’ll focus on the aspects related to publishing articles.

Pros

  • Free and premium plans
  • Audience is your professional network
  • Publish articles immediately
  • You can use hashtags so other users can find your articles
  • You don’t need to build a website

Cautions

  • Interface is simple and not customizable
  • LinkedIn is for professionals and businesses so blogging about a casual hobby or something personal may not be appropriate for the platform.
  • Simpler statistics—you will have access to audience demographics, but there isn’t any detailed reporting
FeaturesDescriptions
Ease of UseLinkedIn makes it easy to publish content. At the top of the home page, you will see an option to “Write an article”. Once you click it, you will be led to a simple and uncluttered page with a few formatting tools, a blank page with a cursor, and the option to Publish your article.
PricingLinkedIn has free and premium plans, and you can start blogging for free on the platform.
SEOThere are no SEO tools for writing LinkedIn articles. However, blogging can help boost your social profile and credibility.
ArticlesIn addition to text, you can add the following content types to your article:
• Image
• Video
• Slide
• Link
• Snippet
AnalyticsYou can see Audience Demographics for your articles, which includes the top industries, job titles, and locations of your readers.
AdvertisementsYou can’t monetize your article as you would do in a normal blog. LinkedIn offers the following advertisements for its users to purchase:
• Sponsored content
• Message ads
• Dynamic ads
• Text ads
LinkedIn Features

Conclusion

These 12 platforms offer a variety of ways to build a blog. Whether you are an expert or just getting started, each platform has a unique offer. When choosing a platform, be sure to consider pricing, SEO tools, a platform’s custom features, analytics and reporting, the topic of your blog, content type, content length, and how you intend to build an audience. It’s a lot to consider, but one platform may suit your needs better than another, so do your due diligence.

Lastly, no matter what platform you use, it will take time to build an audience or get traffic to your blog. There isn’t a magic formula, but with time and effort, you can create a successful blog.

Top 12 Blogging Platforms and Features
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