In 2011, Nielsen estimated the number of blogs in the world to be around 181 million. Blogspot, the Google-owned blogging platform, is the thirteenth most visited domain in the world. Its competitors, WordPress.com and Tumblr.com, rank no. 26 and 29 respectively on this list. AOL paid a whopping $315 million for the massively popular Huffington Post blog in 2011. Two years later, Yahoo acquired the blogging platform Tumblr for $1.1 Billion.
Blogging, as you would expect, is a big deal.
So now that you’ve finally decided to start your own blog (if you’re still not convinced, this tutorial will tell you why you need a blog), you will need a competent blogging platform. Below, we take a look at some of the most popular blogging platforms around, and why you should (and shouldn’t) choose them:
One in every six websites runs on WordPress, the most popular blogging platform in the world. WordPress is both a free publishing tool (via WordPress.com), and a content management system for self-hosted blogs (via WordPress.org). With a huge library of plugins and themes, WordPress provides a full spectrum of blogging solutions for casual bloggers as well as full-fledged businesses.
- A WordPress blog is extremely flexible and can be made to run everything from an eCommerce store to a video-focused tumblog.
- Free. The only expenses associated with running a WordPress blog are server and domain costs.
- WordPress is more than a decade old and has gone through countless updates.
- WordPress has hundreds of thousands of plugins, courtesy of its vibrant open-source developer community.
- A huge theme library means you can customize your blog’s appearance to your heart’s content.
- With great power, comes great complexity. WordPress, for all its power and speed, can be difficult to use for the average Joes, although excellent tutorials such as this WordPress course do help mitigate this flaw.
- To take full advantage of WordPress features, you need to host it on your server, which can add significant overhead in terms of hosting, domain and CDN costs.
- Customization often requires tinkering with code.
- Professional bloggers.
- Media companies and businesses that require a stable, professional blogging solution.
Also called BlogSpot, Blogger is a Google owned blogging platform. Blogger was one of the earliest blogging services and was instrumental in bringing blogging to the mainstream. An oft-ignored property in Google’s cache of services, it nevertheless, continues to remain popular among casual bloggers.
- Blogger has been around longer than the dinosaurs, so all stability issues have pretty much been ironed out.
- Monetization is easy thanks to built-in Google AdSense modules.
- So easy to get started, even a caveman could do it.
- If you’re the curious type, you won’t be able to harm the site by fiddling with the backend code.
- If you’re the curious type, you won’t be able to customize the site by fiddling with the backend code.
- Difficult to set up on your own domain name.
- Limited themes and design styles.
- Little community support in the form of plugins.
- Casual bloggers
- Businesses that want a simple bogging solution mainly for internal audiences.
Fresh off its $1.1B acquisition by Yahoo, Tumblr is one of the hottest web properties at the moment. Tumblr pioneered the tumblog or microblogging phenomenon. Instead of writing complete posts, users are encouraged to share individual pictures, infographics, comics, videos and links.
- Publishing on Tumblr is as easy as choosing the post-type (image, video, text, or link) and hitting publish.
- Tumblr’s Control Panel makes it extremely easy to manage multiple blogs.
- Large variety of stunning themes.
- Mobile friendly interface; dedicated mobile apps.
- Ability to publish posts on the fly through SMS, email or audio message.
- Highly visual design does not encourage text-heavy blogging.
- Lack of comprehensive CDN, caching, or anti-virus plugins.
- Emphasis on sharing devalues original content, particular textual content.
- Casual bloggers who want something between Twitter and WordPress.
- Businesses trying to expand their brand through visual content.
Type: Paid, starting at $8/month
SquareSpace is a premium blogging platform for professional bloggers, businesses and media outlets. SquareSpace’s biggest feature is its proprietary LayoutEngine technology that allows instant customization through a simple drag-and-drop interface. This platform is usually preferred by small, creative businesses/individuals like Darren Booth and Van Brunt Stillhouse who also want an built-in e-commerce solution.
- LayoutEngine allows you to customize the site layout to suit your requirements.
- Extensive range of visually striking themes.
- Dedicated mobile apps for publishing and editing on the go.
- Blogs created on other platforms – WordPress, Blogger, etc. – can be imported into SquareSpace with a single click.
- Less susceptible to viruses and hacking.
- Expensive, especially for businesses that want an e-Commerce solution (starts at $24/month).
- Limited flexibility, owing to lack of a developer community. Unlike WordPress, you depend on SquareSpace for all new features and themes.
- Cannot modify the backend code.
- Creative professionals and businesses that want a cloud-based, no-nonsense blogging solution with extensive customization options.
Type: Paid, starting at $8.95 per month.
Typepad is one of the oldest premium blogging platforms in existence. Before Blogger, WordPress and Tumblr ate its market share, Typepad was among the most popular domains in the world, housing the blogs of Paris Hilton and Seth Godin.
- Typepad’s primary advantage is its stability. Since the code is closed-source, it is more difficult to hack than WordPress.
- Users can publish via desktop, mobile or tablets via dedicated apps.
- Comprehensive built-in analytics tools.
- Typepad promotes blogs on its own network, which can lead to additional readers.
- Users can customize and build their own themes.
- Expensive, especially when powerful free alternatives exist.
- Lacks the features and flexibility of WordPress.
- Existing themes look a little dated.
- Casual bloggers who want something easier and more robust than Blogger, Tumblr or WordPress.
The blogging platform you choose will depend on your needs, budget and technical skills. WordPress is the most powerful of the five listed above, but also demands the most in terms of skill and effort. Blogger and Tumblr are easy to use, but do not offer the features and customization options of WordPress. SquareSpace and Typepad are robust, but are a hard sell when alternatives like Tumblr and WordPress exist.