Choosing a platform is much like choosing a pair of shoes, we all have different tastes and shape of feet. That is, choosing the right blogging platform is personal and will depend on a number of factors.
Once you have an idea what your blog’s core purpose and objectives are you will want to decide what the key functions you need from a blogging platform. This could include design, ability to display photos in a slide, integration of sidebar widgets, ease of use, cost, etc.
To help you decide I’m going to share some of the top blogging platforms along with their key features.
First of all, note that there are two WordPress platforms to choose from (WordPress.com is the free version). WordPress.org is a platform that you need to pay for hosting (we recommend Krystal Hosting) and a domain name (we use 123-reg). Most hosting services offer easy 1-click install of WordPress.
It is, however, a powerful platform with a huge range of potential functionality. I use WordPress for all of my websites and love how adaptable it is. There are a loads of different themes to choose from and the vast array of plugins means you can add all kinds of extra features to your blog.
I started off on a free Blogger account in 2010 and within a year I migrated over to WordPress.org.
A fully hosted option so you don’t have to faff about with finding your own host, there are a range of price points available. Typepad is customisable, easy to use and offers full support if anything goes wrong. Priced around £5-10 a month for bloggers.
A relatively new kid on the platform block, Squarespace has some of the most stunning themes on the internet. You can have a beautiful blog live in a matter of hours, it’s customisable, you can use a custom domain and it has a rather nifty drag and drop editor. You pay a monthly subscription of around £5-10.
One for the photographers, Exposure is a beautiful image-led site for sharing photo blog posts, or stories. Again, it’s a subscription services priced £3 – 5 a month.
Different to the self-hosted .org option. This is a good start to try out the WordPress interface but it is limited in functionality and you cannot monetise it. However, migrating to the paid option should be easier than from another platform.
Blogger (or Blogspot)
Probably one of the most platforms to get started on. It’s Google-owned so subject to their own changes, but Blogger is very easy to get grips with, you can customise easily and use themes if you like. You can monetise on this platform and use a custom url but you don’t host the content, therefore Google potentially has control of your site.
A free, word-centred platform. You don’t own a ‘blog’ per se. Rather you share the space with other bloggers from all over the world. It’s a great way to share your ideas and blog posts and possibly gain a new audience. But you won’t be creating your own space.
There are several more alternative blogging platforms to look at but the above are the most commonly used options.