Best Blog Sites: Top 9 Blogging Platforms to Start a Blog

In this post, you are going to learn about Best blog sites: top 9 blogging platforms to start a blog.

best blog sites

in the end, you should have an in-depth knowledge of the best blog sites for beginners, the best blog sites for business and the best blog sites to make money.

The beginning of every new project has a great role to play in determining the ending, the first few steps you take in blogging help decide

if you are going to succeed or just going to be part of the 6 out of 10 blogs that close up before 3-months of creation.

When I started blogging, deciding the best blog sites was a problem for me,

Why? Every blogging platform has its own advantage.

Some are free while others are premium but then that wasn’t the problem, rather my problem was knowing what will be best for me and my dream blog.

My first blogging platform was Blogspot, I started a completely free blog, with free hosting and free domain name (.blogspot.com). For the first 3 years of my career as a blogger, I made use of blogspot.

But a few months ago I moved from blogger to WordPress because of certain reasons which I will try to explain as we talk further.

What is a blog?

A blog is a space on the web where a person or group of people can publish articles for others to read. Many persons use a blog as an income source, others see it as a hobby etc.

The core functionality of a blog is owning a space on the web. In other to make this possible you need a blogging platform also referred to a blog site.

In other words, without a platform, you can’t own a blog. That leads us to the concept of platforms.

What is a Blogging Platform?

A blogging platform is the foundation of a blog. It serves as the core framework of a blog. A platform goes a long way in deciding the functionality, limitation, coding language and usability of a blog.

Blogging Platforms can be free or paid. It is good to consider the platform you use for creating your blog as this will go a long way to deciding how big your blog can become.

Features of a platform (blog site)

There are various features of a blog site. Different platforms have their own features but here I will just list out the basic and common features possessed by all best blog sites.

  1. A space on the web: A blog site should have the ability to create a space for its hosted blogs on the web.
  2. Backend Dashboard: A backend dashboard is necessary because this is the section blog owners will have access to publish posts, optimize their blog, change theme etc.
  3. A programming language: Without a web language, users won’t be able to access the functionality of their platform. The major languages are CS, HTML, JavaScript, PHP etc.
  4. Theme Customization: Websites are beautified by themes. These themes help improve the look and feel of your blog. A platform features a section where you can edit your theme, add widgets etc.
  5. Publishing Tools: These tools are needed if blog owners are going to be able to write and public articles on their blog.
  6. Media Management: It one point or the other, a blog owner is going to need to upload images, audio, PDF, video etc. A media management system owned by a blogging platform help in storing and processing these files.

Why do I need a platform?

If you want to start a blog, it is compulsory to go to a platform.

Top 9 Best Blog Sites (Blogging Platforms) 2018

1. WordPress.org (Self Hosted)

WordPress logo
Credit: WordPress.org

Self-hosted WordPress is the most popular blog site for starting a blog. It currently holds a percentage share of ” ” and apart from that It attracts a lot of comments from its users and reviewers.

One good thing about WordPress is it’s CMS (Content Management System) being completely free open-source built on PHP and MySQL. But then you would need to host the WordPress CMS on a web server.

Users of self-hosted WordPress have access to unlimited possibilities, from running E-commerce to selling online courses, managing affiliate programs, hosting a forum, building a social media channel, and even creating a question and ask community.

The functionality of WordPress can easily be extended with self-created plugins and free or premium plugins download from the WordPress directory.

The functionality of self-hosted WordPress

  1. Start a blog: With self-hosted WordPress, you can easily start a blog in just a few minutes and start publishing.
  2. Publishing Tools: Self-hosted WordPress has an inbuilt publishing tool for writing and publishing article. Its publishing tool has features similar to that of Microsoft Word.
  3. Media Management: With self-hosted WordPress, images, audio files, video files etc can easily be uploaded and processed. These same media files are saved and can be displayed whenever the need may be.
  4. Multilingual: WordPress is served in more than 70 languages. With WordPress, you can blog in your use language.
  5. Extendable with Plugins: Plugins are add-ons created to help improve the functionality of WordPress. With plugins, you can turn your WordPress blog into a social media channel like facebook, or an e-commerce site like Amazon etc.
  6. Search Engine Optimized: Self-Hosted WordPress is a leading blogging platform in terms of SEO. setting up optimizations is really simple with the help of extended plugins.
  7. Importing & Exporting: If you are already using one of the alternatives of Self-hosted WordPress, you can easily import your existing blog into WordPress and also if you wish to move from WordPress to its alternatives, you can use export tools to transfer your blog.
  8. User Management: WordPress provides a table for managing your users. Visitors can create accounts, login to accounts etc. WordPress keeps it all clean for you, you can also delete users, give them specific abilities etc

Who is self-hosted WordPress for?

Self-hosted WordPress is extremely powerful and easy to use. If you have no idea of coding, plugins and themes will get all the job done for you and if you do have an understanding of the core basis,

you can add more functionality to your blog or even sell them for money. So who is WordPress for?

WordPress.org is for professionals bloggers, small businesses, schools, agencies, companies, law firms, etc. Generally, any website that needs a professional touch should definitely go for WordPress.

Pros of Using Self-Hosted WordPress

WordPress.org has a lot of advantages over the other best blog sites. Which I am going to list out briefly.

  1. Complete owner – if you are going to spend a few bucks on a website, then it should be completely yours without some landlord having the right to kick you off intentionally or mistakenly.
  2. Reach for the skies with functionality – One of the platforms where nearly everything is possible. All manner of functionalities can be achieved in self-hosted WordPress.
  3. Easy to use dashboard – In a few days, you will definitely get used to the platform as if it was your own bedroom. Using WordPress is super for both moms and grandfathers.
  4. Better chances of making the front page – Though they say, platform doesn’t decide where you post is placed on Google, but the functionality of your platform does. Using Yoast or All in one SEO you can immediately make your blog fully SEO compliant.
  5. Makes the whole job easy – Using WordPress.org makes the whole work easier including social media optimization, stats monitoring, post sharing, etc – with plugins all these things are taken care of.

Cons of Using Self-Hosted WordPress.

Nothing is perfect! if self-hosted WordPress was 100% then other platforms would have long close up

  1. Expensive to start – It’s not free. To own a WordPress.org blog, you first need to purchase hosting which should cost a minimum of $9.88/year (get the offer now), a domain name etc
  2. Expensive to Manage – Have been talking about themes and plugins, they help improve your functionality but then most of them are premium.

Procedures for starting a WordPress.org blog

  1. Purchase a hosting plan
  2. Buy a domain name
  3. Install WordPress app on your database using free installers provided by hosts or do it manually through FTP.
  4. Choose a theme.
  5. Start blogging.

2. Blogger Blogging Platform

blogger logo
Credit: RTF website

Blogger (BlogSpot) is a product of Google and managed by Google. Its name is one of the widely spread names “blogger” everyone who is a blogger has heard of blogger.

It is one of the best platforms to start a blog and the good news is Blogger is completely FREE – free hosting, free domain name, free SSL. You can start a blog on blogger for FREE with zero capital.

It has been owned by Google should give it a step ahead of others right? – NO, google can’t do that.

Blogger actually started as a hobby site where persons go create a free blog and start posting stuff on vacation, etc just like a lifestyle journal.

But over the years, It users turned it into an income source.

Majority of top bloggers including ShoutMeloud, Labnol, Linda Ikeji, OgbongeBlog all started in blogspot and earned their first bucks on the blogger platform.

And guess what?, They did not pay not a penny for using the platform.

Functionality of BlogSpot

  1. Start a free blog in minutes – With blogspot in just you can start a free blog right this minute without having to look for capital for hosting or domain.
  2. Publishing Tools – the blogger dashboard features a very clean and simple publishing dashboard where you can publish posts and pages. It’s just similar to the Microsoft word interface.
  3. Media Management – Blogger is linked to another free product by Google called Picasa. It handles all your images and media files. Once you upload your images, they get stored on Picasa for free and can be accessed on your blog and phone anytime.
  4. Search Engine Optimized – The blogspot platform, definitely have a pass mark on basic SEO settings. It comes in with meta description, keywords, post redirection, robot settings etc.
  5. Importing & Exporting: You can easily transfer from another platform to blogger using the import tool but the posts must be in XML format and so also can you transfer your blogger content to another platform using the export tool.
  6. User Management: BlogSpot lets you add users to your blog by inviting them through email. These users can either be assigned a role of an author or an admin. But then it does lag a bit behind platforms like WordPress with large user role setup.
  7. Multilingual: Non-English speaking persons can also use Blogger because it supports various languages both on the dashboard and on the main blog front.
  8. Inbuilt Monetization: BlogSpot comes with an inbuilt AdSense can automatically qualify for approval after first 6 months of using the platform. If you know how to blog, it is easy to gain approval from Adsense through the blogspot dashboard.
  9. Free HTTPS Certificate: With it’s the latest release of HTTPS for custom domains, blogger has completely enabled free SSL certificate for all blogs running on its platform.

Who is Blogger BlogSpot for?

BlogSpot is powerful, simple to use and totally free. On it, you can achieve a lot of blogging marks many bloggers have done that already.

But then who is it for? – BlogSpot is for beginners, low-income small businesses, and hobby bloggers.

The functionality of blogger is generally limited to beginners and hobby bloggers which therefore doesn’t fit for a large business, professionals, agencies etc

Pros of using BlogSpot

  1. Free to start – Blogger is completely free to start. All you need is a Gmail address which is also provided free by Google, and you are free to start your own blog.
  2. Free to Manage – The only things you are ever going to pay for on the platform is external themes or a domain name when you decide to move from the subdomain. Other things are free and don’t require any form of renewal.
  3. Very simple dashboard – In a few days, a blogger should get used to its dashboard. Everything is well simplified and listed in plain English.

Cons of using Blogspot

  1. Half ownership – Your blog belongs to two persons, yourself and google and unfortunately, Google has more power than you. They have a system that checks for spam if your blog gets mistakenly listed, then it’s going to be deleted without notice.
  2. Limited Functionality – Blogger has the basic functionality of a blog which it was initially built for but then it is a bit limited. You can’t turn the site into a shop, neither can you turn it into a forum. It’s purely publishing.
  3. Not professional – Blogspot platform provides a free subdomain name which is lengthy and scary (.blogspot.com) which is not professional. But then you can change this by purchasing a domain name at a minimum price of 0.88 cents.

Procedures for starting a blogger blog

  1. Create a free Gmail account
  2. start a blog
  3. Choose a theme
  4. Purchase domain name (optionally)
  5. Start publishing.

3. Medium Blogging Platform

medium logo
Credit: Medium

Medium is the third blogging platform on my list, Though it was launched in 2012,

it has grown to be one of the best places to publish your content or start your blog.

Medium comes in 2 forms, Free and Premium.

In the free version of Medium, you don’t actually get a blog.

It is more of a social network with a profile of published posts etc.

While, in the premium plan, you own a blog and can even get your own domain name instead of the .medium extension.

One major advantage of Medium is it being more of a publication system.

Meaning, you can actually gain traffic to your blog without targeting search engines.

Medium has buttons which users can use to favorite posts!

If your post earns a high number of likes, then your post gets to the front page which means more traffic.

Earning with medium

Unlike other platforms which give you options to run ads such as Adsense,

Medium doesn’t do that, Instead, it gives you an inbuilt earning system.

Yea!

Medium has an inbuilt earning system that lets you earn money based on the number of views your posts earn.

Making it a good place for writers.

Who is Medium for?

Medium as a publishing platform is not for everyone.

Its platform portraits an authority that works more for writers who just want to reach out with their articles

without necessarily owning a blog.

In that way a technology blogger, who intends to run a full-fledged site

such as Mashable can not work on medium!

Instead, he can only have a subsite on medium while running the main site in another CMS platform.

Advantages of Medium

  1. Easy to use
  2. Free to use
  3. Inbuilt earning system
  4. Easy to reach to a large audience.

Disadvantages of Medium

  1. Limited functionality
  2. Not a real blogging platform (ideal for pure content writers)
  3. Not good for main blogs.
  4. You are not the complete owner.

There are definitely other cool things you will love about Medium

such as the ability to follow others, comment, share, favorite etc.

4. Wix

wix-logo
Credit: CMS Critic

Wix is a simple drag and drop blog site with customization well considered.

Users of Wix, always kind of love the UI and how it easy it is to get started for free. Using its drag and drop builder, you can quickly create a stunning theme for your site

or choose of the pre-built themes available for free.

Who is Wix for?

Wix is fun to use and favorite to lifestyle, gallery, travel and fashion bloggers who love a great design.

Wix can also be a very good portfolio website to display your work, literally, wix is for anyone with no knowledge of coding.

So instead of learning to code, you can simply use its live editor with inbuilt drag and drop feature to create a cool site in just minutes.

Pros of Using Wix

  1. Easy to get started
  2. Free themes available and easy to build more
  3. It has a free plan just to get started.
  4. Amazing UI for beginners
  5. Automatic site backup
  6. You can connect your own domain name

Cons of Using Wix

  1. Wix pricing is very expensive
  2. There is no theme flexibility i.e once you pick a theme you have to stick to it.

Wix is an amazing blogging site and if you own a small business or a photographer, restaurant owner, you will love all the features of wix.

Though the pricing is on the high side.

5. WordPress.com Blogging Site

wordpress.com logo
Credit: Naked Security – Sophos

WordPress.com is the free version of wordpress.org. Both platforms are owned by the same company (Automatic) but both offer different features.

WordPress.com is 100% free and comes with a subdomain (blogname.wordpress.com) just like blogspot blogging site.

It has cool features which makes it one of the best blogging sites in 2018, these features will be listed below

Pros of WordPress.com

  1. 100% free to use
  2. Built-in plugins and themes to enhance performance
  3. Easy to get started and maintain.
  4. Provide useful analytics and ads integration

Cons Of WordPress.com

  1. Limited to only built-in plugins
  2. Lack a lot of functionality such as running QA sites
  3. Platforms display an ad box in your blog.

Should you use WordPress.com? If you manage a small business with no income yet, then a free platform will be ideal

and WordPress.com is one of the best free blogging sites to choose from, so yes, I recommend it.

6. Tumblr Blogging Site

tumblr logo
Credit: The Logo Smith

Tumblr is a media-rich blogging platform owned by Yahoo (acquired in 2003), it is great and is used by some popular persons including Taylor Swift.

it acts like a micro-niche, where you can share media files such as images, gifs etc but lacks in the expectation of writing.

No that great for writers.

Tumblr is a platform makes sense for celebrities, photographers etc and not for content writers.

Pros of Tumblr

  1. Tumblr is free
  2. It is easy to get started.
  3. Easy for tumblers to discover your blog

Cons of Tumblr

  1. Limited functionality in content writing
  2. It’s more a social media profile.
  3. You are not fully incharge

An overview of the entire platform portrays Tumblr is a good platform for beginners who just want to share their thoughts via media files

But if you are going to start a blog to make money, Tumblr is not an ideal blogging site to choose.

7. Ghost

ghost.org logo
Credit: Colorlib

Ghost.org is another cool blogging site with 3 major options

  1. 100% free (open source) but requires a server
  2. Managed Services Pro Standard- cost $79/month (250k views/month)
  3. Managed services Pro Business – costs $239/month (1m views/month)

Though Ghost seems to be on the high side, it stands out be functional and a lot of persons (businesses) use it.

Its free open-source version acts just like WordPress.org when you have to host your blog on your own server and manage it your own way.

Pros of Ghost

  1. Has a free Open source version
  2. Has a marketplace for themes and plugins

Cons Of Ghost

  1. Too expensive
  2. Fewer resources

Ghost is good but has a very high pricing which discourages a lot of persons from using it.

The platform is secured and flexible and can be used by anyone.

8. Weebly

weebly logo
Credit: Logojoy

Weebly is a powerful Online store or Website platform, allowing you to get started easily.

Creating a blog on Weebly is really simple… It’s welcome page ask what you want to create, then you get to select a theme, edit it, select a domain and make payment.

And that’s all, you online blog is reading.

Pros of Weebly Blog Site

  1. Blog creation is fast and easy
  2. Allow you to make use of a custom domain
  3. Beautiful themes to select from.
  4. Its free plan lets you start something.

Cons of Using Weebly Blog Site

  1. Weebly’s features are limited, and you can’t add custom plugins.
  2. Limited integration with third-party platforms.
  3. Exporting your site from Weebly to another platform is difficult.

One feature I find cool in Weebly is its simple and straightforward sign up the process and blog creation.

In just a few minutes your first blog will be up and running but Weebly tends to have a few fallbacks as listed in the cons.

9. Squarespace

squarespace logo
Credit: Squarespace

Squarespace is a website building platform, built on simplicity and functionality.

It is good for beginners and startups with no knowledge of coding since it provides an easy to drag & drop theme builder.

Pros of Squarespace

  1. Its drag and drop features make theme creation fun
  2. Comes with pre-built templates

Cons of Squarespace

  1. It has limited functionality
  2. Lack of third-party integration

Squarespace is a beautiful platform and beginners with no coding knowledge will love it.

Here are some frequently asked questions

1. WordPress and Blogger, Which is better?

It depends on personal preference, if you can afford a premium blogging site then WordPress is ideal but all you want is a simple Blogging platform, Blogger (blogspot) is recommended.

2. Which Blogging Platform is more SEO optimized?

In terms of SEO, it totally depends on the platform and the user. But in overall, WordPress.org seem to have better SEO tools and plugins.

This is due to it being an open source platform and also the most used blogging site.

3. Can I make money with all these platforms?

Yes, you can. There are various ways of making money from blogging. Though some of the sites may not support Adsense, they all support affiliate marketing etc.

4. Free or Paid Platform?

Deciding between free and pain platform can be decided based on what you want to establish. If you just want a platform to publish your articles then a free platform is better.

But if you wish to create a professional or business blog, then a premium platform is recommended.

Conclusion

This is the end of my review of free and paid blogging platforms and I hope you have found the best blog sites to start your blog in 2018.

I would love to know the platform you use and why you do so!!. – Leave comments below.

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