Do you want to start a blog but aren’t sure which blogging platform to use? With so many free and paid platforms available today, which one would work best for what you want to accomplish?
If you are new to blogging, you’ll need to find the best blogging platform that makes it simple to set up your new blog without having to learn any code.
It should be SEO-friendly, have plenty of customization options, and be adaptable enough to accommodate future development.
Choosing the proper blogging platform can turn out to be a make or break decision and one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make when starting your new blog.
In this blog post, we’ve put together a list of the best blogging platforms available, so you can make an educated decision about the best website builder that will meet your specific needs.
We’ll also cover their key features, along with the pros, cons and costs of the blog platform, if it’s not a free blogging platform.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
What is a Blogging Platform?
Simply put, a blogging platform is a portal to allow you to create and publish blog posts in an easy and effective way. Platforms like these have pre-coded templates, allowing you to create a blog without messing around with any coding.
This means you don’t have to learn any coding to create and design your blog. We’ve created a detailed, step-by-step guide for how to start a blog that makes money ← ← ← right there.
Most of the blogging platforms have created customizable themes, so simple to use that with a few clicks of your mouse, you can alter these themes to meet your specific needs.
These platforms have evolved quite a bit since their original inception and have become much more than their intended purpose.
For instance, you can create a complete business website or an eCommerce store through most of the blogging platforms.
When it comes to the blog platform, you only have 2 choices, the paid version or the free blogging version.
How to Choose the Right Blogging Platform for Your Specific Needs
To choose the best blogging platform for your specific needs, you must first figure out whether its features and add-ons will match your requirements.
If you’re looking to build a business site for making money, then choosing the best blogging platform that will offer the tools needed, including built-in SEO tools, which will help you gain traffic back to your site, would be the right choice.
Since TheBlogPilot’s ultimate goal is to help you “find freedom through blogging – to start, grow & build a sustainable, money-making blogging business,” that’s the direction this post is going to take you.
Let’s have a look at one of the most important characteristics you’ll need for your blog. This list will give you some ideas for what to look for in the different blogging platforms.
Blogging Platform Themes
In case you’re new to the blogging world, a blogging platform theme is a pre-designed template that changes the look of your blog.
Some platforms, such as WordPress, have thousands of free and paid themes to choose from. Others, like Blogger, have themes but are much more limited in their selection.
The important thing to consider when choosing a blogging platform is to make sure the platform you choose gives you a wide variety of theme choices so that you’ll be able to find one that suits your particular style and needs.
A word of advice – if you’re wanting to make money from your blog, investing in the proper blogging platform is the only way to go.
Below, you will find 11 totally different blogging platforms, each with a different purpose.
Let’s take a look at our #1 pick for the best blogging platform to start an online, money-making business.
#1 – OUR TOP PICK – WordPress.org combined with SiteGround
WordPress.org is one of the most popular blogging platforms for both beginner and expert bloggers alike. WordPress is the best open-source platform used by nearly 43% of all the websites on the Internet.
As of 2021, there are about 1.3 billion total websites on the Internet. More than 455 million of those sites use WordPress.
The functionality and scalability of WordPress are the reasons it’s so popular. It’s an open-source content management system (CMS), allowing you complete control and authority over literally every aspect of your WordPress blog.
Because it’s a free and open-source platform, anyone with access to the internet can add their own WordPress themes or plugins (customize and extend functionality) to their blog.
At the time of this writing, there are nearly 60,000 free WordPress plugins, with thousands of premium ones to choose from.
Another reason it’s a smart move to choose WordPress for your blogging platform is that, besides its super flexible content management system (CMS), it’s been known to be the best platform when it comes to search engine optimization.
WordPress creators have always known the importance of search engine optimization if you want to survive in the competitive world, so they’ve made it their mission to take WordPress to the next level and make it the most user-friendly CMS for ranking higher in search engines.
There are WordPress plugins like RankMath for WordPress, which will help you to optimize your content for maximum organic reach.
Having plugins like RankMath will help your blog posts rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPS), which is important for any business.
The WordPress content management system has been poked and prodded to be one of the most user-friendly blogging platforms in history.
You can easily add images, videos, downloadable PDFs, and pretty much anything else you can think of without having to touch a line of code.
But, like with anything else, there’s always a learning curve. But, due to the popularity of WordPress, you can find literally anything on the Net referencing WordPress.
All you need to do is a simple Google search for anything related to WordPress, and you will find a walk-through, written or video tutorial.
Hosting your WordPress blog
Now, you need to know that WordPress.org isn’t a blog platform on its own, it’s a self-hosted WordPress solution that only offers you the software you’ll need to create your blog. This is where the investing in your business part comes in.
You’ll need to invest in web hosting in order to make the WordPress blogging platform work.
Lucky for you, we’ve got the solution that I’ve been using for 5 years now, am extremely happy with, and fully endorse.
Since 1999, trusted by over 2,800,000 domains, SiteGround has been the Most Cost-Effective – Officially Recommended by WordPress.org – WordPress Blog Hosting for the money?
When I first started looking to change hosting, I was looking into SiteGround and was skeptical. But I took the leap and haven’t looked back. I have yet to find a better, more reliable web hosting service for the money.
I personally consider SiteGround to be the best blogging platform because it’s known for speed, built for security, and optimized for WordPress. And it’s also second to none, with a customer satisfaction rating of 98%.
If you find a hosting service with a better satisfaction rating than 98%, please write to me, and I’ll consider switching.
Back to discussing SiteGround!
Once you sign up, it’s super easy to install WordPress, just click a button, and it’s done in about 10 seconds, OK, maybe it’s 15 seconds, but it’s fast regardless. What can be easier than that?
The Pros of WordPress.org are:
- You can literally find a WordPress theme for just about any type of site you want
- The blog platform is getting more and more user-friendly
- It’s easy to add plugins to increase its functionality
- You’re in full control of your blog, AND you own it
- It’s designed to be the best blogging platform for Search Engine Optimization
- Extremely affordable (WordPress is free, and hosting for WordPress is cheap)
The cons of WordPress are:
- You’re responsible for keeping your self-hosted WordPress blog up to date (w/SiteGround, you can set up automatic updates if you choose)
- You need to find web hosting and pay for it (duh, I recommend SiteGround)
- There are other blogging platforms easier to use (OK, there’s a learning curve)
WordPress combined with SiteGround starts at $2.99/month for shared hosting. SiteGround comes with a free domain and also offers a 30 Money-Back Guarantee. What do you have to lose?
OK, now pay attention because the list below is fairly unique!
Some hosting companies offer most of what’s on the list, but the majority doesn’t without tagging on an extra cost.
Most of the companies that offer all these FREE features cost a Helluva lot more.
SiteGround comes with:
- Free eMail
- SSL (HTTPS) to encrypt your blog, so Google knows it can be trusted
- Content Delivery Network (CDN), so your site loads fast from anywhere in the world
- Backups of your site, so you’ll never lose any of your data. I’ve used this feature on more than one occasion, which has saved my site from disaster, and I’m an experienced blogger
Now that we’ve looked at our top pick for the best blogging platform, hands down, let’s take a look at some others.
Paid Blogging Platforms
Weebly is another powerful blogging platform. The package includes a website builder with professionally-designed and fully customizable themes.
It’s a great option if you don’t have any coding or web design in your portfolio.
Designing and hosting your blog with Weebly is a breeze. With a few clicks, you can add impressive design features to your blog.
Finding a blog template from its huge stock that will offer unique design elements to fit your needs won’t be an issue. You can also add some amazing effects, such as Parallax scrolling.
With your design out of the way, Weebly will also assist you with marketing. Weebly has useful and effective marketing tools to help you reach new heights with your blogging business.
With Weebly’s tools, you’ll be able to optimize your site for the search engines, which will help you gain traffic back to your site.
- Highly customizable
- Completely self-hosted platform
- Integrates well with the Square payment platform
- Recommended for beginners
- Simple setup procedure
- Can’t offer sufficient bandwidth
Aside from the free plan (basic version), they have paid plans too. In order to have your own custom domain name, you’ll need to purchase a paid plan, which will cost anywhere from $6/month (billed annually) to $26/month (billed annually).
Talking about the best platform for blogging, Wix manages to secure a place on our list for the most convenient to use compared to other blogging platforms.
It’s not my favorite because I’m biased toward WordPress because I’ve been using it since 2010, but it’s quite popular because of its easy-to-use, user-friendly, drag-and-drop interface.
It has a much smaller learning curve compared to the other platforms, in which the other blogging platforms could learn a thing or two.
If you listen closely, you can hear the owners of the other blog platforms in their board meetings saying, we need to make our blogging platform as easy to use as Wix.
Although the paid version of Wix is pretty expensive, it does serve as an ideal choice if you’re looking to make money with your blog with the creation of an eCommerce shopping site.
Wix strives to be the best value for the money with its impressive features. With more than 800 templates to choose from, Wix makes it possible to create a professional-looking website, to meet your specific needs.
Wix does offer a free trial for 14 days. You can try any of their premium plans, and if you discover that Wix is not for you, you’ll receive your money back, no questions asked.
- Drag-and-drop software
- Self-hosted platform
- User-friendly drag-and-drop user-interface
- Great selection of eCommerce tools
- Easily to learn
- Creating your website is a breeze
- Limited themes and plugins
The basic plan starts from $16/month (for personal use). Business plans for eCommerce to accept online payments start at $27/month. However, the Business VIP plan costs $59/month.
Squarespace is an all-in-one website blogging platform that makes it possible to create beautiful websites and blogs.
Its most impressive feature is its drag-and-drop editor, which makes it an amazing option for any new blogger or someone trying to start a small business.
Learning this platform has been known to be super simple, with its setup wizard, which will guide you through every step of the way. Meaning you didn’t need to graduate from MIT with a website design degree.
It’s as simple as selecting a design template from the platform’s extensive library, adding a blog page, tweak some design customization and start cranking out articles.
On the subject of personal branding for your blog, there’s a wide range of options to choose from. For example, there are virtually, unlimited color patterns to choose from, different layouts, fonts, and designs.
Squarespace gives you free access to royalty-free, high-quality images from Unsplash. They also have a photo-editing tool right there within their platform to help you with any necessary changes you require.
The paid plan offers a variety of advanced features and add ons including, SSL Security, along with a custom domain name.
And if you’re stuck while choosing the best blog name, we’ve already published a detailed guide on how to choose a blog name.
- Easy-to-handle interface
- Self-hosted platform
- Suitable for beginners
- Access to stunning and professionally designed templates
- Impressive analytics and marketing features
- Minimum integration options
- Not as flexible as WordPress
SquareSpace is available at a price starting from $23/month or $16/month (paid annually) for personal use, $33/month or $23/month (paid annually) if you want to start taking payments.
5. BigCommerce Essentials
BigCommerce is considered the best blogging platform if you’re wanting to start an eCommerce store.
This platform has high-end blogging features and would be considered the best choice if you’re wanting to sell products and services online.
With BigCommerce, you can easily create an online store, monetize it for making money, drive traffic, and start selling products.
To get started with BigCommerce, simply design a storefront using their built-in, user-friendly ‘Page Builder tool’. Create a checkout page and integrate it with your preferred POS provider. Start adding products to sell.
BigCommerce offers inventory management and shipping tools, so you can manage the day-to-day operations, along with any orders you receive.
This platform provides a basic functionality, yet a highly customizable blog design depending on your specific branding needs using their preferred design features.
To help boost your visibility, BigCommerce will allow you to integrate with mega eCommerce stores like Amazon, Google Shopping, eBay, and Facebook, just to name a few.
- Top choice for eCommerce businesses
- Capable of integrating with popular POS providers and marketplaces
- Built-in SEO, shipping, and inventory management tools
- Simple and effective page builder
- Slightly Expensive
This best blogging platform for small businesses costs $29.95/month (Standard Plan) to $79.95 for more blogging tools to help increase conversions. A free plan is available to try it out, but for no more than 15 days.
Drupal is a flexible and advanced platform for bloggers. Not as user-friendly as other platforms, but it’s a great option for users with advanced blogging needs. Drupal is another choice when you’re looking for a self-hosted option similar to WordPress.
Being a top blogging platform, Drupal offers a variety of unique and out-of-the-box features.
If you’re willing to invest some time to learn this platform, Drupal will serve as a powerful solution. It’s really capable of meeting all your blogging needs.
If my next line of information is speaking another language to you, this might not be the blogging platform for your specific needs.
Drupal has compatibility for multiple content types, taxonomies, blocks, and page templates.
With its advanced and secure user permission, similar to WordPress, other users have permission to access their permitted content, which is controlled by the administrator.
- Ideal for meeting most of your blogging needs
- Advanced content management system features
- Advanced user permissions
- Helps to create a professional-looking blog
- Difficult to learn for beginners
Like WordPress, Drupal is an Open-Source software, free to use, but requires web hosting.
7. Ghost – Best for Content Membership Sites
Ghost is a blogging platform that is specifically designed for writers and bloggers.
The most talked about feature of this platform is its minimalist approach. It requires a minimum amount of effort to create and publish a blog post.
We can say that this platform, Ghost is a smaller version of WordPress as a simple yet effective open-source platform.
Ghost is less flexible compared to it’s competition (WordPress & Drupal), yet it works hard by staying focused on providing the best possible experience while creating and publishing a blog. This is made possible with its rich content editor.
Formatting posts are fairly easy with Ghost, meaning, you can create the best piece of content to attract and engage your audience.
This blogging platform offers a wide selection of tools to help writers create amazing and catchy content.
Ghost comes with built-in registration forms, native SEO features to help you gain traffic, subscription support, along with membership management tools.
- Created specifically for writers and bloggers
- Simple and easy-to-learn interface
- Impressive layouts and free themes
- Doesn’t require much of a setup procedure
- Comes with a wide range of tools and features
- Fewer themes available
- If you’re wanting to make money, consider another platform
Ghost’s paid plans are on a sliding scale and start with the Starter plan for up to 500 members at $11/month or $9/month (billed annually). Or, the Creator plan for up to 1000 members at $31/month or $25/month (billed annually).
* * * I’m not going to tell you how much their Business plan costs (billed annually), because, most likely you’ll pass out and not finish this article. If you truly wanna shock yourself, follow the link, then click on Pricing, but prepare yourself!
Best Free Blogging Platforms
After exploring the paid versions of the best blogging platforms, it’s time to jump in head first and discuss the best free blogging platforms.
Although free versions aren’t as flexible and functional as paid platforms, depending on what you’re looking to accomplish with your blog, they can still provide you with a nice foundation.
Even though site-building tools and customization options are limited, these free blogging platforms can still allow you to create a nice, functional blog.
If you’re interested in a free blogging platform, take a look at the following options.
WordPress.com is the sister of WordPress.org, which was the first platform we discussed and was our #1 pick.
There are 2 versions of WordPress, one that requires self-hosting (WordPress.org) and is a platform if you’re wanting to turn your blog into a money-making business, the other option is the free version for hobbyists and personal blogs, which is the one we’re discussing here.
WordPress.com is free, as long as you’re ok with ads on your site, limited customization options, and enjoy a long, but free domain name. Example: “https://yourblogsname.wordpress.com”.
If you are wanting to create a blog to make money, this is NOT the blogging platform for you.
If you’re willing to pay the fees to unlock customization options, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan.
Being an open-source blogging platform and website builder, WordPress.com will allow you to modify your blog to meet the required needs.
If you’re looking for a blog for personal use, WordPress.com would be, in my opinion, the best choice for a free blogging platform.
WordPress.com will allow you the flexibility and customization to create the best possible blog.
- Ideal for hobbyists
- A decent range of customization options
- Customer support (Paid WordPress.com Version)
- Shows compatibility with various software
- User-friendly interface
- The free version has a single WordPress subdomain restriction.
- You don’t own your site, whether Paid or Free
- It’s very limited for customization
Hobbyists and Personal Use bloggers can take advantage of a free version of WordPress.com. However, the paid version starts at $5/month (billed annually) to $15 for the Pro Version, which is, unfortunately, still limited in functionality.
Blogger is a popular blogging platform when it comes to freebie platforms.
Blogger is specifically designed for beginners. Although most of the content management tools are missing, Blogger still offers many of the key features required for blogging.
In fact, Blogger is considered a feature-rich option when compared to other free platforms.
The biggest advantage of Blogger is that you can easily build and customize a basic blog.
Blogger proves to be an ideal blogging platform for creating a lifestyle blog.
To get started with Blogger, you’d just need to create a Google account and go to the blogging section.
Once on this page, choose the desired template and start publishing your blogs.
Another great quality of Blogger is that you can purchase a custom domain name, allowing you to optimize your SEO settings.
- Ideal for lifestyle blogging
- Feature-rich free blogging platform
- Simple interface
- Suitable for the newbies
- Free to use
- Not possible to change display settings
- Limited design options
- You don’t own the blog
Tumblr, being a free and easy-to-use blogging platform for hobbyists, it comes with impressive social networking and marketing features.
Tumblr offers almost everything that you could possibly need while your blog grows. Tumblr will allow you to choose from their selection of themes to create a professional-looking blog.
You can add social sharing buttons, sidebars, comment sections, and much more.
If you aren’t happy with their free subdomain website address, Tumblr will allow you to purchase a custom domain name to personalize your brand.
With some HTML coding skills, it’s also possible to create a customized blog.
Signing up for this free platform is easy and will allow you to publish killer content to grab the attention of Tumblr’s potential readers.
Tumblr seems to appeal to both bloggers and businesses alike. Individual bloggers can easily promote their content, while businesses can showcase their brand’s personality.
- Suitable for both individuals and brands
- Loaded with blogging and social multimedia features
- Helps to attract and engage the online community
- Easy to use
- Restrictions on publishing posts
- You don’t own your site
- Limited features
HubPages is an intuitive and free blogging platform. It’s a good option for those who are looking for ways to create and publish simple blog posts.
HubPages gives you the experience of writing content as a virtual journal. If you prefer a platform with a minimalist interface, HubPages is a good option.
Being free and one of the best free blogging platforms, HubPages will allow you to write down your thoughts in a blog post and publish it. It’s a good choice for complex and advanced blogging, it serves as a tool to share your thoughts with the world.
HubPages has a wide range of sections to choose from so that you can easily find your niche.
This platform will help you showcase your blog to a wide audience, but you won’t have much control over the looks of your blog posts. In fact, you are stuck with the pre-designed setup.
- Free to join
- Easy to use
- Ideal option for beginners
- Ranking a blog on HubPages is easier
- Can serve as a source of passive income
- Decent customer support
- Not suitable for professional bloggers
- Limited flexibility
- You don’t own your site
Which platform is best for you?
Well, once you have gone through our list of the 11 blogging platforms, choosing the best blogging platform for your site shouldn’t be that difficult.
While making a selection, pay attention to the functionality and flexibility of the blogging platform that you are considering. This will help you meet your blogging needs and achieve your goals.
You can also visit our recent and updated post, which will keep you informed with the latest blogging help and advice.
It’s truly the only blogging platform that you OWN and can take it with you if you decide to make a change for any reason.