Whether you are trying to position your business as a thought leader in your industry, looking for a creative outlet to share with other people, or just need a place to rant about the world these days, there are plenty of reasons to start your own blog. If you are considering doing so, one of the very first action items on your to-do list will be to pick a blogging platform to post on. Most people start a blog with the intent to attract readers. In order to attract an audience (and hopefully keep them coming back to your site), the website needs to stand out from the millions of other blogs out there.
Perhaps even more importantly, you will want something that is easy to use for both you as the blogger and those coming to your blog to read your posts (e.g., intuitive navigation and site mapping). There are a lot of platforms out there designed to support blogs and choosing the right one will help make blogging life easier and keep you motivated to continue posting. After scouring the internet, we have done the research for you and have surmised that the following five platforms are the best options to host your blog. Read on to find out which one will best suit your blogging needs.
Before WordPress became the giant that it is in the digital landscape today, it was once a humble platform that was meant for the casual blogger. It remains one of the best blogging platforms to make money on for several reasons.
Fun fact: 27% of all websites on the internet are using WordPress, including Facebook
Firstly, what helped WordPress dominate the web was the fact that it was, and still is, one of the most customizable and scalable platforms on the web. Additionally, for all its potential applications and capabilities, it is relatively easy to use. Because many bloggers are not computer programming experts, this advantage has served WordPress well and kept people on their platform. Secondly, starting a site on WordPress is free. You might think that because you are not a web designer and would rather have a professional design the blog, WordPress might not be the platform for you. But you can purchase one of (literally) thousands of pre-packaged templates created by top-dollar web designers often time for less than $100.00.
WordPress also offers a host of other benefits including security updates, community support for questions, excellent page speed, and a variety of plugins you can install for your website (such as analytics trackers, widgets for taking payments, or installing comments boxes on your posts) making it by far the most customizable and scalable option. WordPress is compatible with a variety of plugins (such as Yoast) that help optimize the content, making your blog more easily found by users, which makes it the best blogging platform for SEO. For all of its advantages, WordPress does often require some level of technical knowledge to implement visual and layout designs that deviate from what is already built into the template you decide on.
HubSpot might be a better option for those who are looking to create and maintain a blog for the sake of positioning themselves as thought leaders in their industry (i.e., using their blog as a professional tool). HubSpot allows for the integrations of social media platforms and email services. That means that once the blogger is done creating and publishing an entry, they can then promote it across a variety of media, all right there from the HubSpot dashboard. Additionally, HubSpot offers native analytics that measures the post’s performance and provides valuable feedback about how each post does on across various channels.
Additionally, HubSpot is a closed source platform (unlike WordPress) which allows them to provide their users with more security features. HubSpot is a paid monthly subscription service. However, it offers a variety of plugins and features that otherwise need to be paid for to third parties and integrated into WordPress individually as part of the package, so it is possible that in the long run, the cost will be similar.
Weebly was designed with the most novice of users in mind. It could be likened to the iPhone of the blogging platforms: Very intuitive and arguably the easiest to use of all the blogging platforms. One of its key characteristics is its drag and drop feature that allows users to customize the look and feel of their website by dragging page elements around to design the front end look for website visitors. However, not every feature on the site is customizable. Weebly is ideal with bloggers who may be blogging for personal reasons or interests, such as a person with a strong interest in cooking or woodwork who do not anticipate a large scaling of their blog’s traffic (in which case, WordPress would likely be the better pick, keeping scalability an open option in the future).
Nonetheless, Weebly can offer users an elegant, but simple website that will not cause them troubleshooting headaches. Like WordPress, Weebly offers a built-in tool to help readers find the content online, making it one of the best blogging platforms for SEO. It is significantly easier to use than WordPress and does not offer the promotional social media, email, and campaign capabilities that HubSpot offers.
Like HubSpot, Weebly is a closed source platform, so any technical issues that arise are handled by Weebly’s technical support team. As a result, users do not need to have any coding knowledge. Weebly offers four different plans ranging from $60 per year to $540 per year. The more premium plans give access to more features. It is considered one of the easiest platforms to use to get a blog up and running in a short amount of time.
Related: SEO Blogging Tips
Squarespace has been growing in popularity among bloggers in recent years. One of Squarespace’s key selling features is that they offer a variety of expertly and beautifully designed templates that look professional right out the box. They offer these predesigned templates tailored to various industries and subject matters (such as an artist’s portfolio) helping bloggers take the guesswork out of which template is right for your blog.
Squarespace also offers the Style Editor tool, which allows you to customize everything on your blog, from colors to fonts, to images, and line spacing with no coding knowledge required. Squarespace is the most flexible in terms of customizing the appearance without needing knowledge of coding. Squarespace is an excellent option for a local business looking to have a digital presence but is not necessarily the best blogging platform to make money. Squarespace also offers a drag and drop feature for easy layout and section placement. For those who want to control every visual detail of their blog, have something very visually appealing and easy to use, and do not know how to code, Squarespace is an excellent option. As with HubSpot and Weebly, Squarespace is a closed-source platform. Any troubleshooting can be submitted to their support team and will be handled by professionals. Squarespace’s support team also monitors that all their tools and capabilities are functioning correctly around the clock.
Squarespace is currently best suited to support smaller-scale blogs. Websites built on Squarespace currently limit the number of pages allowed per account.
Though Wix doesn’t quite match Squarespace is terms of the amount of visually inviting templates they offer, they do have over 500 templates that are ready to use out of the box. Wix is considered an industry leader when it comes to keeping up with (and even creating) new trends. Their templates often come filled with placeholder content that the user can simply replace with their own text, images, and content. Wix builds helpful support into their templates, so as you create content to your blog, you will come across “Help” buttons throughout in case you get stuck on any given section. The help buttons open easy to read and relevant articles that help users navigate and customize their sites.
Related: How to Optimize a Blog Post for SEO
With a wide array of options in terms of which platform to use for your blog, it is important to consider what you want out of it and what your long-term vision is. If you are looking to position yourself as a thought leader in the industry, you may want to consider something that has scalability in case your blog start gaining traction and needs more pages, like WordPress. Squarespace might be the site to use if creating something very visually appealing is the goal, and scalability is not a factor, even in the long term. All the options above make it relatively easy to construct a beautiful and inviting blog that readers will love and want to come back to.