Before getting to know what are some best blogging platforms and sites, it is important to understand the need for blogging. There are many good reasons to create a blog.
You may want to practice your writing, create a following, establish your brand or use blogging as a marketing tool to increase site traffic. It’s also a great way to connect with like-minded people.
How do you choose the site to build your blog on?
There’s a wide choice of blogging platforms. The more choices there are, the harder it is to make up your mind.
To help you choose the best blogging platform for yourself, we will first talk about what to look for in a blogging solution. After that, we’ll examine the pros and cons of the 15 best blog sites.
Ready? Let’s get started…
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST BLOGGING PLATFORM OR WEBSITE?
For making a decision, it helps to know what you are looking for. As they say – if you don’t know where you are going, every way is the right way. Below are some categories to judge the candidates by:
- COSTS – An indispensable consideration. It’s not only important that your blogging platform of choice fits within your budget but what you also get for your money. A free offer is worth nothing if it doesn’t do what you need.
- BEGINNER- FRIENDLINESS– Beginners need a blogging solution that is easy to set up, manage, and doesn’t need coding skills to run. They also have to be able to find support when they run into trouble.
- FEATURES AND EXTENDABILITY– Over time, your needs and requirements for your site will change. You might want to modify or overhaul the design, add features, or make other drastic changes. A good blogging platform needs to be able to accommodate that.
- MAINTENANCE – How much hands-on work does your blogging solution need? Does it take care of most of the activities and features for you, or do you have to do everything by hand? This will have a serious impact on your workflow.
- MONETIZATION OPTIONS – Many people start a blog or website to eventually earn money. If that is your objective as well, you better choose a platform that enables you to do that in a way that works for you.
The weighing of the factors above will be different depending on your skills, goals, and requirements. Keep them in mind while we compare the best blogging platforms out there.
BEST BLOGGING PLATFORMS AND SITES- BOTH PAID AND FREE
1– WORDPRESS.ORG- BEST FOR SELF HOSTED BLOGS
Among the best blog sites, the self-hosted version of WordPress is, by far the most popular blogging platform in the world. WordPress powers over 90 percent of all the blogs on the Internet. It’s often confused with its close cousin WordPress.com. We will cover the latter as well.
WordPress.org self-hosted version is perfect for all kinds of blogs, but mostly for those who are serious about blogging:
- Personal blogs
- Business blogs
- Online businesses
- Bloggers who want full control over their site
Very flexible – WordPress gives you full control over every aspect of your site
- Highly extendable – you can add almost any functionality through plugins ( The WordPress directory has over 55,000).
- Thousands of mobile-friendly themes allow you to switch the design of your blog at the touch of a button
- The platform is search engine friendly and works well with social media
- You will have full ownership of your content
- Its large community means lots of support options
You need to have a web hosting and a domain name.
The first step to start a high-end blog is to sign up for web hosting with Bluehost.
You can get started with them for just $2.95/month (63% off) and start your blogging empire.
SETUP AND PRICING:
WordPress is an open-source blogging platform which means it’s free to use. However, to set it up, you’ll need a domain name ($10/year) and web hosting ($4/mo). Also, you may want to spend money on paid plugins and themes that add more flexibility to your blog.
- Setting up a self-hosted WordPress blog is relatively easy, all you need is a web hosting that offers “one-click-installs” for WordPress, such as Bluehost.
- We also wrote a step-by-step guide on how to build a self-hosted WordPress blog,
2- WORDPRESS.COM: BEST FOR FREE BLOGS
WordPress.com is a blog site hosting service by Automattic. You can get a free blog with basic features. For advanced functionality, you need to opt for one of their paid plans. It can be a great starting point for blogging.
If you ever decide to have more control over your site, it’s relatively easy to move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.
- Small hobby blogs
- For people who want to test waters with blogging
It’s a good option for small blogs or hobby blogs that are not actively maintained.
Super easy to set up – just create an account and follow the installation wizard
- Hosting is included, so you have less moving parts to deal with.
- The interface is even more streamlined than self-hosted WordPress.
- No need to worry about site maintenance, everything is done for you.
- Built-in stats and community functions.
- Professional and dedicated support on paid plans.
- The free account is very limited, e.g., your blog is hosted on a subdomain.
- Narrow customization options, third-party themes, and plugins are only available on Business plans.
- Limited monetization opportunities, advertising is forbidden for lower plans.
- You can lose your site if you violate the terms and services of the platform.
- Ads and branding are present on your site unless you pay to remove them.
SETUP AND PRICING:
Paid WordPress.com plans cost between $4 and $25 per month (billed annually). Each tier increases the amount of storage space, features (including monetization options) and support. With the Business plan, you can install external plugins and themes and connect your site to Google Analytics.
Signing up with WordPress.com and building a limited free blog can be done here – WordPress.com.
3- WIX – BEST FOR SMALL WEBSITES
Wix is a website builder. It allows you to put together your web presence via drag and drop and comes with blogging ability that you can add to your site.
- Small business owners who need a blog with a website
- Creative artists who mostly share photos
- Ability to customize your site with templates and third-party apps
- No coding skills required, you can achieve everything with the graphical interface
- Quick and easy setup, includes top-notch hosting
- Lots of design options and everything is built with HTML5
- Has a feature to automatically design your blog using an artificial intelligence
- Comes with free stock images
- The free account comes with limited capabilities, traffic, storage and has Wix branding and ads
- The number of free apps is limited
- You are unable to change your site template after choosing it
- The e-commerce capabilities of Wix are limited, even on paid plans
- The service charges for many things so costs rack up easily
- You are unable to move your site elsewhere and take your content with you
SETUP AND PRICING:
Wix is subscription-based and offers different packages. They start at $13/month for 2GB of bandwidth and 3GB storage plus the ability to connect a custom domain (which you need to pay yourself). Higher plans add more bandwidth and storage, free domains, apps, the ability to create an online store and remove the ads. The most expensive plan ($39/month) also comes with VIP support.
4– Constant Contact Web Builder– AI-Powered Web Builder – Ideal for new bloggers
Constant Contact’s A.I.-powered website builder is fast. Really fast. Just answer a few questions and the website builder creates a personalized website based on your business or passion-complete with images and suggestions for the best content to include.
It’s easy to edit and add new pages or sections. You can customize your website as much as you want and never worry about ’breaking it’ , because their built-in design protections ensure your site will always look great on any device.
- Constant Contact has integrated Unsplash directly into their image library. They have over 550,000 free professional-quality images to choose from
- Fast image load times as they provide with CDN
- Easy to create and publish an online store within your website, and start driving sales fast.
- Seamless integrations with Google My Business
SETUP AND PRICING:
You can start for free. Their paid plan goes up to $14/ month. Either plan provides you with unlimited storage, basic to advanced analytics, social sharing, contact form management and 24/7 support.
5 – GATOR – PAID BLOGGING PLATFORM
Created by the popular hosting company HostGator, Gator is an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop blogging platform and website builder you can use to build any website, including blogs. Gator can even be used to create an online store.
The Gator builder is separate from HostGator’s website hosting. Many bloggers use HostGator hosting with WordPress to start a blog, but Gator provides you with an all-in-one hosting solution and blogging platform, allowing you to control every facet of your site from a single location.
- Beginning bloggers
- First-time website owners
- Anyone interested in an all-in-one blogging/hosting solution
- User-friendly, drag-and-drop website builder and blogging platform
- Quick and easy setup with no technical know-how needed
- The free domain name and SSL certificate included
- Performance, security, and backups handled by HostGator
- Adding e-commerce functionality only takes a few clicks
- No free account, but there is a money-back guarantee
- Limited apps and extensions
- Can only access e-commerce features with higher-priced plan
SETUP AND PRICING:
There are three different Gator website and blog builder plans. The Starter plan starts at $3.84 a month and includes free hosting, free domain name and SSL certificate, the drag-and-drop builder tool, customizable templates, site analytics, and 24/7 support.
The Premium plan starts at $5.99 a month and includes everything in the Starter plan plus priority support. Lastly, the e-commerce plan starts at $9.22 a month. It includes everything in the other plans but offers e-commerce functionality as well.
Drupal is a great option for blogs associated with businesses because it is not just a blogging platform, but a complete content management system. This means that along with your blog, web pages and other online content can be created and organized within this platform.
Drupal does not host blogs for users, so bloggers using this platform will have to find their own host someplace else.
Drupal is also not a platform that readily accommodates beginners, so it is better for those upgrading from a free blogging platform rather than for the blogger just starting out.
- Great for building advanced, feature-rich sites
- Access to tons of free modules and features
- Custom content types for added flexibility
- Built-in access control system helps manage user permissions
- Great taxonomy system for handling tons of data
- Core multilingual site support
- Not very beginner-friendly and as easy to use like WordPress or Joomla
- Installation requires technical expertise
- Need to add modules to get rid of Drupal’s out-of-the-box feel
Drupal is an open-source platform, so it’s completely free.
- Anyone with the patience to learn the ropes
7 – JOOMLA– FREE BLOGGING PLATFORM (HOSTING & DOMAIN REQUIRED)
If you are looking for a full content management system, Joomla is another great option for bloggers. In terms of the ease of use, Joomla may have more of a learning curve than WordPress but can be much easier to use than Drupal.
Many businesses and large corporations prefer this type of platform because it can give you flexibility with a wide range of content options.
Joomla is an open-source content management system and free to use, however, you will need to buy hosting and a domain name. For many novice bloggers, this can be a high cost unless the blog is attached to an existing business that already generates a profit.
- Very flexible and suitable for creating several types of websites, not just blogs
- Dozens of professional-looking templates
- Easy to make design changes
- Lots of extensions available for more blog features and functionality
- Not beginner-friendly
- Requires some HTML and CSS coding knowledge
- Security, performance, and backups are your responsibility
Like several other blogging platforms that require a little knowledge and work by their users, Joomla is completely free to download. When building a blog with Joomla, you simply need to pay for a domain and hosting.
- Technically advanced users
- Business websites
- Large, dynamic blogs
- Online stores
8– MEDIUM– FREE BLOGGING PLATFORM
There are many great platforms out there for starting your own blog. They include sites with customizable HTML and CSS for those with more advanced skills.
Medium.com is a place to share your thoughts and writing with a wide audience. Unlike some of the other blogging platforms, Medium has a built-in audience of over 60 million, which makes it often debatable whether it’s a publisher or a platform.
Individuals or businesses can sign up for a Medium account since it’s free. Those individuals or businesses can publish their own posts, add their voice and style to other publications or curate posts or publications.
Publications are collections of posts that are curated by users and Medium itself.
POSTING AND COMMENTING
Readers can comment on other’s posts, recommend posts and follow and share their favourites. The process is like many other blogging platforms except that Medium has a slight twist on the commenting process. Readers can highlight and focus parts of the text and make their comments in the margins.
Medium allows third party embedding from other sites around the web. Creators can embed videos from YouTube or Vimeo. They can add content from Twitter, Vine, Instagram and SoundCloud.
TRAFFIC AND VIEWS
On every post, readers get to see how many minutes it would take to read a post. They’ll immediately know whether they have time to read through the story or whether they should bookmark it for later.
Another feature on the front page for viewers to see is how many views it’s gotten on the platform. Recommendations and reads are also available to creators. The dashboard allows creators to see where the traffic originated from too.
BEST PRACTICES TO CREATE POSTS
There is no minimum word count for posts, but Medium suggests that content over 400 words are popular. The headline should be compelling and clickable, but should also stick to the topic of your content. They recommend high-quality photographs for the content as well.
GREAT FOR BEGINNERS
The platform is a terrific starting point for beginners to the blogging world. It’s simple to use and doesn’t require coding knowledge. It’s also used by brands to recycle their content onto another platform to gain further reads and new readers of their content. A highly recommended free blog site for small business owners and freelance professionals.
- Professional writers and bloggers
- Hobby bloggers
- Anyone looking to improve their brand visibility through great curated content
- Completely focused on blogging and content creation
- Quick and easy to sign up and get started
- Excellent user interface
- Ability to embed content from Twitter, YouTube, and more
- Very few customization options
- You don’t control your content
- No site migrations
- Limited marketing features ad monetization options
Medium is free to use. You can hook your domain up to individual stories, but you’re unable to sync it to user accounts.
9– WEEBLY- FREE & PAID BLOGGING PLATFORM
Another best blogging platform that is great for businesses who want to maintain a blog on their website is Weebly. This platform provides a wide range of easy-to-use features, including drag and drop options for those who do not want to learn coding to make simple changes.
Since Weebly can be used for blogging and web building, business owners find this platform a lot easier to use than other platforms where blogs and websites are created separately.
To start with you can sign up to their free plan which will give you some practice writing and constructing blog posts without spending any money.
Expert coding options are also not available on this platform. If you are a blogger who wants to be able to change and customize HTML or CSS on the blog, this website Weebly.com makes it difficult to do so because it focuses its services on those who want to quickly create and update a blog without a lot of hassle.
- Easy to use with drag-and-drop blog building tool
- Good selection of mobile apps
- Strong SEO features
- Integrates with Google Analytics
- Few integrated features
- A limited number of third-party integrations
- Difficult to export sites
- Free plan features Weebly branding and subdomain
Weebly offers a free account, but it’s limited to 500MB of storage and includes Weebly branding and a subdomain. As far as paid plans go, the initial plan comes with a custom domain and costs just $4 a month.
If you want site statistics, membership options, video backgrounds, and other features, you’ll need to go with one of the higher-tier plans, which costs $8-$25 a month.
If you want to create an online store, Weebly has separate e-commerce plans that cost a little more.
- Beginner bloggers with little technical skills
- Business websites in need of blogging capabilities
- Portfolio websites
10 – SQUARESPACE – PAID BLOGGING PLATFORM ($12- $40/MONTH)
When it comes to customization, Squarespace is a platform that offers a wide variety of options. The best part about customizing your blog on this platform is that you can change everything without knowing how to code.
It is also a platform that lets your expand your services which is a great option if you are using your blog for your business. It also has its own analytics dashboard, so you can see where your website’s traffic is coming from, what pages your visitors are looking at, how they’re engaging with your content and so much more.
The downside to Squarespace for bloggers is that theme and plugin support is not as great as it could be. If you want these options on Squarespace, knowledge of code will be necessary.
- Very beginner-friendly and easy to use
- Hosting and custom domain included
- Variety of professional design templates to choose from
- Built-in SSL encryption
- Ecommerce functionality
- 24/7 support
- Limited to only using the platform’s features
- Very few third-party integrations
- The personal plan allows for a limited number of pages and contributors
Like many other paid blogging platforms, Squarespace operates via the subscription model. You can choose from one of two plans. The Personal plan is $16 a month and the Business plan is $26 a month.
Both plans offer unlimited bandwidth and storage. However, the Business plan also includes several marketing features, the ability to customize designs, and the ability to create an online store.
- Professional and hobby bloggers
- Business owners
- Ecommerce stores
- Portfolio websites
11 – TYPEPAD– PAID BLOGGING PLATFORM ($8.95 to $49.95/ MONTH)
Typepad is a blogging platform that provides an easy-to-use interface for beginners and experienced bloggers. The platform provides a wide range of themes to choose from as well as plugins so you can make your blog your own.
A key drawback to using Typepad is that all of the blogs are hosting by them on their server, so you do not have the option to use the platform with your own blog host.
It is also a platform that makes editing code difficult because it is geared towards bloggers who may not be as confident in editing HTML code for example.
- Active dashboard for quick drafting and publishing of content
- Several social media integrations
- Google-friendly posting features
- Supports live audio and video podcasts
- Unique tip jar and other monetization features
- Both blog and individual post data analysis
- Free 14-day trial, but Typepad is a paid platform
- Restrictions on the number of blogs you can create
- Few integrated widgets
Typepad offers several pricing plans to meet the needs of a variety of users. The Plus plan is $8.95 a month. With it, you get unlimited storage, an array of design templates, domain mapping, and personal support.
The next step up is the Unlimited plan at $14.95 a month. With Unlimited Plan you get everything in the Plus plan as well as fully customizable designs and the ability to publish unlimited blogs. Meanwhile, the Premium plan is $29.95 a month, and it includes all of the above plus priority support. There is also an enterprise plan for $49.95 per month.
A free 14-day trial is available with all of the plans.
- Professional bloggers
- Industry influencers
- Large organizations
12 – BLOGGER– FREE BLOGGING PLATFORM
If there is one platform that is easy for beginners to use, it is Blogger. This is a free blogging platform that is simple to use for anyone just starting out with a blog.
With this platform, a user can just type their content, add photos and publish. Blogger.com also lets users edit HTML and add widgets to blog, which many blogging sites for beginners do not offer. Blogger is a Google service, so users will have to have a Google account and may find the Google-related add-ons redundant or useless for their blog.
It is also one of the blogging platforms that many bloggers grow out of once they learn more about blogging since it does not have any upgrade options.
- Free and easy to use
- Takes care of hosting, maintenance, and more
- Several mobile responsive templates to choose from
- Integrates with Google Drive and other Google products
- Anti-spam comment feature
- Limited blogging tools
- Zero integration with third-party apps and services
- Few design options
- Ads are displayed on your blog
Blogger has been around for what seems like forever, and while it lacks the functionality and design options of WordPress and several other of today’s popular blogging platforms, it costs absolutely nothing to use. In fact, the only expense you’ll have with a Blogger blog is a custom domain, but going this route is completely up to you.
- Hobby bloggers
- Personal blogs
13- TUMBLR.COM – FREE BLOGGING PLATFORM
Tumblr is a blogging platform that is very popular with younger audiences. Traditionally created for “microblogging”, the platform itself is very simple to use and enables the user to obtain a free website ( although you will never own the content or domain name.
One of the best features of Tumblr is that it is focused on the community of bloggers, so it provides a variety of options for sharing and reblogging content.
The downside to blogging on Tumblr.com is that it does not focus on text content, but photos and GIFs. Visual bloggers will love it, but writers may want to find another platform to use.
The idea of reblogging content may also lack appeal with bloggers, particularly if you are blogging material that you want to have complete control over copyright and other such protections.
- Free and easy to use
- Includes hosting, but uses a subdomain
- Integrated sharing and re-blogging social features
- Several design options
- Easy to publish images, videos, audio, and other multimedia
- Features are quite limited
- Backing up your files and content isn’t impossible, but it’s definitely not easy
Like Blogger and several other blogging platforms, Tumblr is completely free to use. There are costs for a custom domain and third-party themes and apps, but these are optional.
- Hobby bloggers
- Personal and micro-blogs
14 – GHOST.ORG PAID BLOGGING PLATFORM ($29 – $199/ MONTH)
Ghost is an open-source and one of the best blogging platform that provides a simple, clean interface that makes it very easy to use. It also provides a live preview of your post while you are writing it, so you can easily correct any writing or coding mistakes as you go along.
This platform can be great for beginners because of its ease of use, but expert bloggers may also prefer it because of its interface compared to other blogging services.
The downside to Ghost is that it can be difficult to install at first but once it is, it can be a great tool for any blogger.
Again for running a blog on Ghost, you will require web hosting – I recommend BlueHost.
- Emphasis on blogging
- Clean, streamlined, and intuitive interface
- Live blog post previews
- Built-in social media and SEO capabilities
- Accelerated Mobile Pages function
- Zero setup for the hosted version
- Customizing could be easier
- Limited configuration options
- Limited number of themes
- Self-hosted version is difficult to set up
The self-hosted version of Ghost is completely free, but it’s difficult to set up and definitely not for everyone. Fortunately, Ghost offers paid hosted plans as well. As with most paid plans, the more you pay, the more storage, bandwidth, and features you receive.
The Basic plan costs $29 a month, or $19 if you opt for annual billing. With it, you get a blog, SSL encryption, a CDN, and up to 50,000 monthly page views.
For $79 a month, the Standard plan provides up to 500,000 monthly page views, more resources, and priority support. The top-tier Business plan is $199 a month, and with this, you get a whopping one million views per month, subdirectory use, a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee, and more.
- Bloggers in need of advanced technical solutions
- Professional bloggers with a growing online presence
- Serious publishers
15- JEKYLL– BLOG HOSTED BY GITHUB
The latest version of Jekyll (4.0.0.) is a “simple, blog-aware, static site generator.” Content gets created in TXT files, which get placed into folders. Then you build your site via Liquid language templates. Jekyll then merges the content and the template together, and voila, a website is generated that can be uploaded to a server.
For those that need a host, there is integration with Jekyll to host the website for free on GitHub.
While there is a comprehensive ‘quick-start guide’ on the Jekyll website, it hardly offers the simplicity of some competing blogging platforms that can do this all from a web interface.
However, the benefits that Jekyll offers are advanced features, which include options for paginating posts, available plugins, templates, and community-maintained themes. It also supports blog migration from other platforms.
The plus here is that there is no cost to the platform, but the downside is that there is only community support, and the work takes place in the Ruby development environment, so many newbies will be put off.
BEST BLOGGING PLATFORMS AND SITES-LET’S WRAP IT UP
When looking for the best blogging platform, you have many candidates to consider. Each comes with its pros and cons.
There are three varieties: self-hosted blogging platforms, hosted blog sites, and site builders that also have blogging capabilities.
Which is the most suitable for you depends on your needs, goals, and preferences. Here on ubqdigitalmarketing.com, we like the self-hosted WordPress. It’s what this site is built on and we have had solid experience with it. It’s powerful, super flexible, and deserves to be among the best blog sites for a reason.
The best way to find the right platform for your needs is to understand whether each platform focuses on beginners or experts, how much it costs to use and how much customization your audience will demand.
Remember that it can be easy to upgrade to a better platform in most cases, so starting with an easy-to-use option is great for anyone just starting out in the blogosphere and wanting to learn how to start a blog.
That’s the end of our guide. If you haven’t decided on a blog platform yet – don’t worry.