Do you have a brain full of information on a certain topic and a heart full of passion for the same? Why not make money by sharing your knowledge and start a blog? The internet is an ethereal Library of Alexandria, and a singular blog site itself, if well-worked and maintained, can host a wealth of information.
So why not gain wealth from the information you post and earn money? It’s a legitimate way to earn, after all.
But before you start squeezing the know-how out of your head and into the internet, you first have to think about where you’re going to put up your blog posts. This means finding a blogging platform to host your work, and it can mean the difference between your information falling into the laps of your desired audience or whittling away in the wind.
Related: How to Start a Blog and Get Paid
What Is a “Blogging Platform” or Blog Site?
You’ve heard of them: blogging sites like Wix, WordPress .org, and Squarespace. These are likely some website names you have come across, whether you’re a blogger yourself.
But what is a blogging platform? Why do you need it if you want to make money using your blog? In fact, why do you even need to make money with a blog anyway?
In truth, you don’t have to. You are very much welcome to use your blog for personal use or utilizing it to supplement your business or your business itself. Either way, you’re going to need a blogging platform to be the foundation of your content.
This is because websites are all made up of code which to the layman can look complicated to the point of seeming entirely gibberish. Forgoing a blogging platform and building a website from scratch means you’re going to have to write code manually.
So what is a blogging platform? In essence, a blogging platform is simply a software or service that provides bloggers with the bones to build their website, along with a content management system (CMS) they can use to publish and manage their content on the internet. These combined forms into the digestible page are a blog site without ever requiring you to learn to code.
The way it works is that when a blogger makes a post, the blogging platforms allow them to publish with the date displayed for when the post was published and the post’s assigned author assigned to the post. Blogging platforms are web-based services that also let users tag their content with specific categories and keywords, make navigating the blog itself easier, and make it easier to be found on the internet.
The bottom line is a blogging platform is where you as a blogger will build your site and write your posts, and there are many to choose from, like WordPress .org, Squarespace, Wix, and many more.
Why Use a Blogging Platform?
There are various reasons you should seriously consider the service of blogging platforms like WordPress .org or Wix. First and foremost is the given: a blogging platform allows a blogger to create, organize, and publish both written and visual content in their blog.
Free blogging platforms and paid ones alike offer various features. Still, the bigger benefits await those who plan to blog for their business or those who want to make money blogging: deeper customization and the ability to monetize your blog.
To put it simply, blogging platforms are hosting providers that lease spaces that you can rent for your use. And of course, you want to find the best one to suit your needs, especially if you plan to use the space for business, to help pave a smoother way for you to reach your goals.
So how does an aspiring blogger such as yourself choose the best blogging platform for making money online?
Choosing the Best Blogging Platform to Make Money
If you’re looking to choose the best blogging platform, there are a few things to consider before jumping the gun, especially for beginner bloggers. After all, finding the best blogging platform isn’t the only thing on your list.
You also need to think about your domain name, your web hosting plan, and your blog theme, among others. These are some of the things you have to decide even before you get started on your blog, affecting decisions you make in the future. So before you decide on blogging sites, have the end goal in mind, or at least in clearer-then-blurry resolution.
Here are a few points to consider:
What do you need it for?
When looking for the best blogging platform for you, the first thing you need to consider is what aligns best with your goals. Each blogging platform has its own set of pros and cons, and what works will depend on what works for you and your blog.
For example, WordPress .org–not to be confused with WordPress .com (more on that later)–is widely regarded as the best open source content management system (CMS). This means it has an extensive library of options to customize your blog but can be difficult for a beginner blogger unfamiliar with coding. On the other hand, Wix is known for its drag-and-drop customization that is easy to use and learn but lacks the wealth of other blogging platforms’ options.
It also helps to imagine not only what you currently need but also where you’re headed. Some features might not be found in your chosen blogging platform, and migrating to a new one can be troublesome.
What kind of budget do you have?
For new bloggers and those about to get started, it’s important to think about the money you have on hand and the money you imagine you will eventually spend if you go the route of subscribing to a paid platform.
We mentioned that you should keep your end goal in mind when making decisions concerning your blog, and it holds true, especially in this case. Figuring out a set path of your growth is helpful as a guide so you can avoid migrating when you find yourself wanting.
Your budget can determine if you should settle for a free blogging platform or free blog in the meantime. Going for free blogging platforms means that your web hosting plan is also free of charge.
What is blog hosting?
Before ever gracing the internet, every website and every blog must first be hosted by a server. In this case, a server is a space that your website rents to make sure it’s online and accessible, and web hosting companies provide these.
Blogging platforms typically offer a free hosting plan when you choose their platform along with a free domain name, sometimes with affiliate links and third-party hosting providers. Still, most of them also offer paid plans that are also known as self-hosted plans.
Why then should you pay for a blogging platform and a subsequent web hosting plan when free blogging platforms exist and hosting is optional?
Well, free blogging platforms and their free hosting plans usually mean that ads can litter on your website, and this can affect your blog’s reputation.
The best blogging platforms for making money, on the other hand, have many benefits that you won’t find on a free blogging platform, including:
- Owning a custom domain name (a free domain name will have the platform name in its address)
- Making money with ads
- Access to different ways to customize your blog
- Additional storage space
- Plugins that help streamline your management
- Premium themes
- And more
You’ll find features that a free blogging platform doesn’t have, like blog search engine optimization. Most of the best blogging platforms will have fields for you to add metadata with your blog site structure, helping search engines know your website’s contents. Included in this information are your page’s title, a description of your blog post, and relevant keywords.
This helps direct traffic to your website, which is beneficial to money-making blogs. After all, most methods to earn money with blogs rely on the number of visitors on said blog sites, like hosting third-party ads, promoting other people’s products and services, or even your own.
So if you plan to blog for your personal use, free blogging platforms are a right choice, but those who want to make money with their blog have to be sure to use blogging platforms for commercial use.
Free blogging platforms and free blog hosting may be easier on your pockets, but they usually aren’t ideal if you want to monetize your blog. You can expect that the best blogging platforms to make money are leagues ahead of free options.
So if you want to run a blog for a hobby with no desire to earn money from it, a free blogging platform may be better for you.
How much coding knowledge do you have?
Some of the best blogging platforms have website builders with comprehensive features that allow in-depth customization, enabling you to craft any facet of your blogging website to your liking.
However, this might come with the prerequisite of having prior coding knowledge.
So as a beginner, you may want to look for a user-friendly, drag-and-drop website builder, with much of the options pre-built and just a click away. Consider Wix platform for blogs often favored for its easy-to-use, drag-and-drop design tools.
If you do have sufficient coding knowledge, a platform like WordPress .org could be for you. It’s widely regarded as the best open-source CMS, with a wide array of customization on its website builder.
Beyond those, the choice for the best blogging platform is a toss-up. Each blogging site has its own set of pros and cons, and what works for you can depend on your priorities. Wanting to make money blogging can thin out your options, but you still have to look at your goals before starting.
Best Blogging Platforms to Choose From
From WordPress to Wix, it’s time to take a look at the most regarded platforms for blogs, along with the service they provide, their strengths and weaknesses, and how they can make a blogger like you make money with your content.
1. WordPress.org – The Best Open-Source Software CMS
WordPress is widely regarded as one of the best platforms to use for blogging and the platform that finds the most use worldwide.
WordPress can cover many of your needs, and there is no shortage of options that you can make the most of to make your vision of a blog a reality.
WordPress comes with two versions: WordPress .com and WordPress.org. WordPress.com is the free version and finds widespread use as a site for personal blogs. You’ve likely come across at least one or two people who have set up their blogs with “WordPress.com” in their address.
Like any other free blogging platform, WordPress.com has similar disadvantages in that there’s a lack of features for one who wants to make money with blogging. In contrast, WordPress.org comes chock full of tools that give you bang for your buck.
WordPress .org is open-source software, which means you only have to pay for hosting, and you gain access to thousands of customization tools that allow you to completely build your blog from the ground up. These include but aren’t limited to social media tools, adding contact and email list forms, themes, plugins, and so much more.
For as low as $2.75 per month, WordPress .org can provide the most opportunity for personalization and software integration for a low price.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of WordPress .org.
- Comprehensive design tools
- Customization: WordPress has thousands of options to use as you see fit
- Great customer service
- WordPress can be integrated with other software when you upscale
- Plugins to solve any problem you might face
- Optimized for blogging
- Backup storage and security isn’t provided by WordPress
- Clunky interface
- WordPress has a steep learning curve compared to other platforms
2. Wix – The Most User-Friendly CMS
Wix is one of the best-known platforms for its user-friendly, drag-and-drop software called the Wix ADI, which lets you pretty much let an AI create your website to suit your taste. This accessibility gives it prolific use among those who can’t code.
However, the tradeoff for this ease of use is the lack of customization–its free version lacks customization compared to that of WordPress. Going for the free version means you are not only limited; you are also going to have Wix ads to worry about. This means subscribing to their service is a must if you want to make money.
The bottom line is Wix is better for someone who is just starting when compared to a platform like WordPress. Down the line, however, its limitations may hinder your growth.
- Wix ADI
- Easy-to-use software that anyone can pick up
- The learning curve is basically a staircase
- Several free widgets and apps
- Modern & sleek
- Limited choices of themes and plugins
- Lack of hosting options
- Ease of use makes it cost more at $11 per month
- eCommerce integration costs extra
3. Squarespace – Best Visual CMS
Like Wix, Squarespace has easy-to-use software that is great for those who want to set up their site without coding experience quickly. It is also regarded as a platform with great visual options for those who prioritize aesthetics.
- User-friendly interface
- Great visual options, sleek design
- Good for small businesses
- A limited selection of themes and plugins
- Less flexible hosting plans
- Software integration is minimal
- Add-ons cost more money
- More expensive than most platforms
4. Go Daddy
Go Daddy is another easy-to-use website builder like Wix and Squarespace but is an eCommerce integrated one. It’s even more straightforward than Wix and Squarespace, opting to stick to quicker solutions to website building instead of giving you options for more attractive yet complicated designs.
If you want to get a site up fast for a business without the need for design, this might be for you.
- Simple to use and straightforward
- Integrated eCommerce features
- Good built-in SEO
- Allows you to get a website up and running very quick
- Limited design options
- Lacks functional freebies
- Lack of options for adding new tools
Weebly is yet another drag-and-drop website building, although it’s lesser-known than Wix and Squarespace. Here are some of its pros and cons:
- Build your blog the easy way with drag-and-drop software
- Community contribution and brainstorming
- App and add-on integration
- HTML customization is also available
- Meets security standards
- Few software integrations available
- Some customization options are locked
- Limited plans
Unlike the other platforms on this list, Medium is unique because it is an online community of writers and bloggers.
Medium is great for starting a blog, sharing your thoughts, and connecting with people. So it’s a great way to spread your posts to like-minded people, especially for art, but you have no access to tools that can help eCommerce integration.
- Great for personal blogs
- Useful for connecting with other bloggers
- Not ideal for business use
Blogger is Google-owned, which means it’s one of the few free blog sites that can support Google Adsense for earning money from ads, track Google Analytics, and more Google-aligned tools.
However, outside of ad revenue, it’s hard to monetize your site with Blogger, and you’ll find that third-party integration is relatively limited.
- Google Adsense
- Easy to use
- Good for ad revenue
- Predominantly free
- No paid hosting options, meaning no custom domain name and ads can litter on your site
- Limited integration
- Very basic customization
Courtesy of HostGator web hosting, Gator is a blog platform and hosting site that lets you build any website, including blogs, business sites, and even an online store, all with a simple click and drag.
It’s a great all-in-one hosting platform that isn’t WordPress.
- eCommerce store integration is easy
- Build and customizing your website is easy
- Includes a custom and free domain in all plans
- HostGator and Gator go together, so storage, performance, and security are set.
- Limited plugin and app options
- No free options, and the more comprehensive eCommerce tools are locked for cheaper plans.
Much like WordPress, Joomla is a standalone software that needs you to find a hosting service for your blog, but compared to WordPress, Joomla at its base is more optimized for professional use. Both are equally capable of significant customization, with WordPress with a slight edge for its fine-tuning and a more extensive catalog of options.
Joomla is also more secure, oddly enough this is thanks to it being less popular.
- Good built-in SEO tools
- Comprehensive customization options
- Built-in security options
- Has a very steep learning curve
- Needs third-party web hosting
Tumblr is a lot like Medium compared to other platforms on this list as it is a community for bloggers, but it leans more into the realm of social media.
Content is constantly shared in the form of “re-posting”, helping you network and giving you a different way to get visibility for content.
Tumblr, however, has very limited customization options and is difficult to monetize.
- It is a social media platform in itself
- Good for exposure and networking
- Lets you purchase a custom domain name
- Very limited customization
- Difficult to earn money from
- May be perceived as less professional
Ghost is a platform noted for its minimalism and straightforward interface. Unlike most platforms on this list, Ghost is focused entirely on writing blog posts, and that itself can be one of its selling points.
It comes in two versions: a self-hosted version free to use with ads and a hosted version with a custom domain name.
- Focused on blogging and writing
- Crisp and clean user interface
- Fast and responsive
- Hosting does not come free
- Integration is limited
- Minimalism means a lack of customization
- Self-installation can be complicated
There is no shortage of options for bloggers, and each of them has a variety of strengths and weaknesses that can influence your choices.
It’s easy to say that WordPress, as the most popular, customizable platform, is the best choice. However, you should consider your own goals and weigh the pros and cons of each platform to make sure you end up with the perfect fit and not just the most popular choice.
Choose wisely, and get to making that money.
If this article helped you decide which platform you wish to hit the first nail in building your blog, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to get tips on how to grow and monetize it.