How to Choose the Best Blogging Platform in 2020 (Compared) – A useful WPBeginners Article…
Last updated on January 2nd, 2020 by Editorial Staff
Are you looking to start your own blog, but can’t figure out how to choose the best blogging platform?
It’s a tough choice since there are several different blogging platforms out there.
How do you find out which one is right for you?
In this article, we’ll help you choose the best blogging platform by going over the pros and cons of the most popular blogging sites.
Here are the popular blogging platforms we’ll be comparing in this article. If you’re interested in a particular platform, you can click the link to skip ahead in the article.
Constant Contact Website Builder
Choosing The Best Blogging Platform – What to Look for?
Before diving in the list, it is helpful to know what you’re looking for in a blogging platform.
As a beginner, you’ll want a blogging platform that’s easy to set up, has a low learning curve, and doesn’t require any coding skills.
You’ll also need to think about what kind of blog you want to create, now and in the future.
As your blog grows, you may want to change the look of your site and add more features for your growing audience.
That means it’s important to choose a blogging platform that’s flexible, with room to grow.
Starting off with the wrong platform can make it very difficult to switch later on.
Lastly, even if you don’t have plans to make money blogging right now, it’s smart to make sure you have the option to do so in the future.
With all that in mind, let’s compare the best blogging platforms for beginners.
WordPress.org is the world’s most popular blogging software. Started in 2003, WordPress now powers more than 30% of all websites on the internet.
Note: It’s easy to confuse WordPress.org with WordPress.com, which is a blog hosting service mentioned later in this list. See our guide on the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com.
WordPress.org is an open source free blogging platform that allows you to build your website or blog within minutes.
It is a self-hosted solution which means that you will need to sign up with a WordPress hosting provider. WordPress is a great option if you want to have full control over your blog’s future.
WordPress.org gives you control over every aspect of your website.
You can grow your blog and add extra features like forums, online store, and paid membership. This makes WordPress the best blogging platform to make money.
There are thousands of free themes available for WordPress. This allows you to create a beautiful website that stands apart from the crowd.
You also get access to more than 54,000 free plugins. These plugins are like apps for your WordPress blog that allow you to add features like contact forms, galleries, etc.
WordPress is search engine friendly. You can easily create SEO friendly URLs, categories, and tags for your posts. Plus, there’re a good number of great SEO plugins for additional features.
Managing your own website comes with a bit of a learning curve.
You will have to manage your own backups and security.
WordPress software is free, but you’ll need to have a domain name (about $14.99/year) and hosting (usually starting from $7.99/month).
You need a domain name and web hosting for starting any type of website.
WPBeginner users can get started for only $2.75 per month with Bluehost, an official WordPress recommended hosting provider. They are offering our users 60% off on web hosting and a FREE domain name.
See our guide on how to start a WordPress blog for complete step by step instructions.
2. Constant Contact Website Builder
Constant Contact Website Builder is an intelligent A.I. powered website builder that allows you to create a free blog, business website, and even an online store within minutes.
You can start with their large templates collection and customize your website design using an easy to use drag and drop interface. You also get access to other helpful tools such as a custom logo maker, professional stock photo library of over 550,000 images, and a whole lot more.
Easy-to-use drag and drop website builder with no technical skills required.
Quick and easy setup, since Constant Contact will host your website for you.
Very generous free plan that allows you to try out the service and even build an online store before buying.
Free domain and Free SSL certificate is included with all paid plans.
The developer ecosystem is small, so there aren’t as many third party plugins like WordPress.
Limited integration with third party platforms.
Exporting your site from Constant Contact website builder to another platform is difficult.
Constant Contact website builder offers a very generous free plan that allows you to create a blog, business website, and even an online eCommerce store.
You can upgrade to the Starter plan for $10 per month which gives you access to a free custom domain name, free SSL certificate, and other powerful platform features along with phone based support which is a big plus considering most other website builders don’t offer phone support.
The business plan which costs $20 per month gives you access to advanced eCommerce related features.
If you’re a small business who don’t want to use WordPress, then Constant Contact is the next best choice considering everything you get for the price.
3. Gator by HostGator
Gator is a website builder and blogging platform created by HostGator, the popular web hosting company that we use to host the WPBeginner website. Gator offers a drag & drop tool that you can use to build any type of website including blogs, business sites, and even an online store.
It’s important that you don’t confuse the Gator builder with HostGator website hosting. You can use HostGator hosting service to start a WordPress blog like we have done.
However if you are looking for a non-WordPress all-in-one blog platform and hosting solution, then Gator is the perfect option.
Easy drag and drop builder to customize your blog & website design.
Quick setup – no technical hassle.
Backups, performance, and security is all handled by HostGator (no headaches).
Free Domain and SSL certificate is included in all plans.
Can easily add an online store to your blog with just a few clicks.
There is no free account, but they do have a 45-day money back guarantee.
Ecommerce features are restricted to higher plans only.
Limited number of apps and extensions.
WPBeginner users get 55% off on all Gator builder plans. The Starter plan costs $3.46/month and it comes with all the features you need to start a successful blog including a free domain and SSL certificate.
You just need to make sure to use our Gator Website Builder coupon code: wpbeginner to get 55% off.
WordPress.com is a blog hosting service offered by Automattic, a company created by WordPress.org co-founder Matt Mullenweg.
WordPress.com offers a basic blog hosting service for free. You can purchase additional options like a custom domain name, additional storage, and other premium services.
Started in 2005 with a goal to bring WordPress experience to a larger audience, WordPress.com is a good blogging site for users who don’t want the advanced features of self-hosted WordPress.
No setup required.
Easy to use and manage.
It’s completely free if you are happy with a WordPress.com subdomain. Your free website name looks like this: https://example.wordpress.com.
Limited options to extend your site. You cannot use custom themes and plugins for customizing your blog.
You cannot run advertisements on your blog. Instead, WordPress.com will show their ads on your free website.
You do not own your blog, and WordPress.com can suspend your account if they find you are violating their terms of service.
The basic WordPress.com account is free, but it will have WordPress.com ads and branding.
You can upgrade to their Personal plan for $4/month (billed yearly) to remove WordPress.com logo and advertising from your website. You also get a custom domain (such as www.yoursite.com).
For $8/month (billed yearly) you can get additional design tools and extra storage.
Because of the similarity in names, beginners often start with WordPress.com thinking they are getting the powerful WordPress.org software. After seeing the limitations, users often end up switching from WordPress.com to WordPress.org to have more features and control over their website.
Blogger is a free blogging service by Google. It offers a quick and easy way to create a blog for non-tech-savvy users.
Blogger is one of the earliest blogging platforms in existence. It was first launched in 1999 by Pyra Labs. Later in 2003, Google acquired Blogger and redesigned it as the product we know today.
All you need is a Google account to start a free blog on Blogger.
Blogger is free.
It’s easy to use and manage without any technical skills.
Has the added advantage of Google’s robust secure platform and reliability.
You’re limited to basic blogging tools, and can’t add new features as your blog grows in popularity.
Design options are limited, with fewer templates available. Third party templates for Blogger are often low quality.
Blogger does not receive frequent updates or new features.
Google can suspend your blog at any time, or even cancel the Blogger service altogether. (They have a history of abandoning projects without warning, such as Feedburner.)
For more pros and cons of Blogger, see our comparison of WordPress vs Blogger (Pros and cons).
Some users start out with Blogger because it’s free, but eventually as their blog grows, they end up switching from Blogger to WordPress to get more features and control over their website.
Blogger is free with a Blogger subdomain like https://example.blogspot.com. If you want to use a custom domain, you need to buy from a third-party domain registrar.
Tumblr is a little different than other blogging platforms. It is a microblogging platform with social networking features including following other blogs, reblogging, built-in sharing tools, and more.
Tumblr is free with a Tumblr subdomain like https://example.tumblr.com. You can also connect a premium custom domain name.
It is very easy to set up and use.
It has an integrated social media component.
As a microblogging tool, Tumblr makes it easy to quickly blog videos, GIFs, images, and audio formats.
Tumblr comes with a limited set of features that you cannot extend as your blog grows.
There are many themes available for Tumblr, but they can’t offer additional features.
Backing up your Tumblr blog or importing it to other platforms is difficult (see our guide on how to move from Tumblr to WordPress).
Tumblr is free to use. You can use a custom domain (purchased separately) for your Tumblr blog, and there are also third-party themes and apps available to purchase.
Launched in 2012, Medium has grown into a community of writers, bloggers, journalists, and experts. It is an easy-to-use blogging platform with limited social networking features.
Medium works much like a social networking site where you can create an account and start publishing your articles. After you sign up, you’ll have a profile address like this: https://medium.com/@yourname. But you cannot use your own domain.
Medium is easy to use, with no setup required and no coding skills needed.
It allows you to reach an existing online community of people of similar interests.
You can focus solely on writing, instead of designing a website.
Features are very limited in terms of design or building a brand.
Medium owns your audience, so losing your blog means losing all your followers.
You cannot use your own domain name. You’ll simply get a profile page like in Facebook, e.g. https://medium.com/@yourname.
You cannot run your own ads to make money.
For more detailed comparison, see our guide on WordPress vs Medium – which one is better?.
Medium is free to use.
While the platform looks attractive at first, the lack of monetization and control leads to most people switching from Medium to WordPress.
Squarespace is a website building service that allows you to create beautiful websites using easy drag and drop tools. It focuses on small business owners who are looking for an easy way to create an online presence.
Started in 2003, Squarespace currently powers millions of websites online.
Squarespace is simple and easy to use for beginners who aren’t very tech-savvy.
It has beautiful professionally designed templates.
It separately offers domain name with SSL/HTTPs and eCommerce stores.
Squarespace is limited to the features built into their proprietary platform.
Integrations are limited to a select few services and tools.
See our guide on WordPress vs Squarespace for a more detailed comparison.
Squarespace has different pricing plans for websites and online stores.
Pricing for their Personal website plan starts at $16/month, or $12/month if you pay for the year in advance. For the Business plan, pricing starts at $26/month, or $18/month billed annually.
Whereas pricing for online stores starts from $26/month and up to $40/month.
Often users end up switching from Squarespace to WordPress to minimize their expenses and add more features on their websites.
Wix is a hosted platform to build websites. It offers a solution for small businesses to build a website using drag and drop tools. You can also add a blog to your website by adding the Wix Blog app.
Wix.com was founded in 2006 as a platform where anyone could create their own stunning website with no coding skills required. It has currently over 110 million users across the globe.
You can customize your site using dozens of templates and third party apps.
Build your site with easy drag and drop tools; no coding skills required.
Setup is quick and easy.
The free account is limited and shows Wix branding and ads on your site.
Free third party apps are limited.
Once you choose a template you cannot change it.
Ecommerce features are limited to paid plans, and even those features are limited.
Blog features do not match up to the other platforms in the list.
See our article on Wix vs WordPress for a detailed comparison of the two platforms.
The basic Wix website builder is free. With a free Wix account, you’ll get a Wix subdomain that looks like this: https://username.wixsite.com/example.
However, you can add a custom domain for $4.50/month. Their premium plans start from $8.50/month and go up to $24.50/month.
Ghost is a minimalist blogging platform with features entirely focused on writing blog posts. Started in 2013, Ghost is available as a hosted platform and as a software that you can install / host yourself. We’ll take a look at both options.
Focused on blogging and writing.
Clean, clutter-free, and intuitive user interface.
No setup required for the hosted version.
Not easy to customize with apps.
The simplified user interface means options are very limited.
Not enough themes to change appearance of your site.
Complicated setup if you install it yourself.
Take a look at our comparison of WordPress vs Ghost for more details on the topic.
The self-hosted version needs a custom domain (about $14.99/year) and web hosting (starting from about $7.99/month).
Pricing for the hosted version starts at $29/month for 2 staff users with a 100k page view limit. Unless you buy a custom domain from a third-party domain registrar, your blog will be a Ghost subdomain ending with ghost.io.
Our Pick for the Best Blogging Platform
We believe that WordPress.org outperforms all other blogging sites. It is powerful, easy to use, affordable, and the most flexible of all available blogging platforms. Here are all the reasons why you should use WordPress.
To help you start your own WordPress site, we have created a complete guide on how to start a blog in 7 Easy Steps.
If you need help, then WPBeginner’s team of experts can even help setup your blog for free. Learn more about our free WordPress blog setup service.
If you’re looking for a WordPress alternative, then our second choice for the best blogging platform would be Constant Contact website builder.
Their free A.I powered drag & drop website builder makes it easy to build any type of website from blog to business website to an online store.
We hope this article helped you choose the best blogging platform for your next blog. You may also want to see our guide on 27 proven tips to increase your blog traffic.
If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.
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