The next step is to pick the right blogging platform.
You may also ask like: But what is a blogging platform? And how to select the best blogging platform?
In order to create a blog, you need a blogging platform. With so many options out there, it’s not easy to choose the right blogging platform. This guide will tell you which blogging platform is right for your blog business and why?
TL;DR: If you ask me, my answer will be: Go for the self-hosted WordPress.
Let me explain why?
What is the Best Blogging Platform?
Finding the right blogging platform is crucial, particularly if you are here to make money blogging.
There are plenty of blogging platforms and website builders out there. These include WordPress, Blogger, Wix, Medium, Tumblr, Squarespace etc. Some of these platforms are free, while others are paid. Some offer both, free and paid plans.
Before we dive into details, let’s make it clear – do you want a ‘free blog’ or a self-hosed blog.
If you want a free blog (which I’d not suggest), you can easily start a blog within 5 minutes. Just create an account on their platform, do a few settings, and you are good to go.
Now, some of you might be thinking like, if there are free blogging platforms available, why should I purchase a hosting plan?
I’m glad you asked!
The primary purpose of this blogging guide is to help you select the right platform for your blog.
Free blogging is for amateur bloggers – who don’t see blogging as a profession or a business.
If you want to start a blog just for personal use such as journaling purposes, with no monetizing goals in the future, you can start a blog on any of the free platforms.
But for serious blogging, rather say professional blogging, you’d want to treat your blog as a startup.
With free blog platforms, you don’t have full control over your blog. You are bound by their terms.
Free blog platforms don’t offer creative freedom and flexibility. They have several limitations. Some of these include:
- Limitations on customizations – you cannot change the look and feel beyond a certain level.
- Worst yet, it’s not easy to move your blog to another platform.
- Some free blogging platforms don’t allow your own domain name.
- You can’t use tracking tools such as Google Analytics (unless you upgrade to their paid plans).
- These platforms will display their ads on your content which can be annoying for your readers (unless you upgrade to their paid plans).
- Some free platforms will show their logo on your website (unless you upgrade to their paid plans).
- A lot of restrictions – You cannot monetize your blog in the way you want. You cannot sell your products (i.e. open an e-commerce store) on your website (unless you upgrade to their paid plans).
- Limited storage – it can be an issue if you load a lot of images and videos.
- Free platforms lack advanced features making it hard to grow your blog business.
Moral of the story: Most of the free blog platforms lack features. They are bare bone typing modules (a kind of). They limit your creativity. If you want additional features, you need to upgrade to their paid plans. Ultimately, you’ll end up paying more than the ‘self-hosted blogs’.
In short, with free platforms, you don’t own your blog. You are on rented land. It’s their choice how long they will let you stay. For reasons best known to themselves, they can close your account and kick you out at any time – and, this is a real risk one cannot afford to take.
That’s the reason, nearly every professional blogger prefers a self-hosted blog platform such as WordPress.
There are many CMS (content management system) software available for self-hosted blogging as well.
What is a CMS?
A CMS software is a user-friendly website building platform. CMS allows you to build and manage a website without having to write all the code from scratch using HTML, CSS, PHP, JAVA, SQL, and other coding languages.
With a CMS, you don’t need specialized technical knowledge to create, manage, and modify content on a website. Just install a CMS and start blogging right away.
The most popular include: WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento (for eCommerce stores), PrestaShop (for eCommerce stores) etc.
Among these, WordPress CMS is used by nearly 40% of all websites on the web, and for good reason.
WordPress offers bloggers greater control over their websites. You have more creative control than any other CMS. It’s easy to master.
Numerous guides and resources are freely available online. Encountered a problem, there is a huge community ready to help you.
With tons of themes and plugins available. You can easily create a professional-looking blog. Most of these tools are affordable for beginners.
You can also use other CMS software. But these don’t match WordPress in terms of freedom, efficiency, features, and cost. Besides, most of these have a huge learning curve and a relatively smaller online community to assist.
Therefore, if you are not looking for a specific solution, such as launching a full-fledged e-commerce portal, WordPress is the best bet.
Why to Choose a Self-hosted WordPress Platform?
- Complete control
- It’s an open-source software – free to use
- User-friendly interface – easy to learn
- It’s very flexible to customize
- Thousands of themes and plugins available
- Huge developer community
- Responsive and SEO friendly framework – easy to scale your blog
- Very cost-effective – you just need a domain name and a hosting account (what’s more, you can get a free domain with your hosting account).
- Best part, you actually own your blog
So, if you are planning to start a blog and looking for an affordable, efficient and convenient blogging platform, self-hosted WordPress is the best bet.
After you selected a blogging platform, now it’s time to get your blog online. You will learn about this in the next post: How to Get the Best Web Hosting for Your New Blog?