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Hey, soon-to-be-blogger! How’s it going? A little overwhelmed? I know when you’re just starting to think about blogging there’s so much to figure out. You have to decide on your core topic, how you want to be seen as an online businessperson, how you want to interact with your audience, what you want to sell, how you’ll sell it– the conceptual questions are never-ending and can give you reason to hesitate. If you think you have to have all those high-level questions answered before moving forward, it’s possible you’re going to be stuck in idle for a long time.
I want to take your mind off all those big picture decisions right now and help you make one quick and very basic decision today. Let’s talk about what blogging platform you’re going to use.
The first thing you have to figure out once you decide to build your blog is what you want to build it on. Tool #1 in your blogging handbag is your blogging platform.
You’ve probably heard people say that a professional blog has to be on WordPress or it has to be on Squarespace to be taken seriously. I don’t think so.
Bloggers, like anyone else you’ll meet in life, are individuals. There’s no blogger mold we’re cut from. We don’t all operate the same way. We have different levels of experience, creative processes, and goals we’re trying to reach. And because of our unique differences even blogging platforms, the most basic of blogger necessities, will vary between all of us.
Different blogging platforms are designed for specific niches of bloggers. For instance, a beginner blogger would need a different platform than a geeked-out, code nerd who wants customization and complete control of their blog’s format and style. And someone solely working on building their email list wouldn’t need a platform that joins blogging with e-commerce like a maker who blogs to help sell her physical products might.
Figuring out which of the many blogging platforms will work best for you involves some research. You need to think about cost, features, support, ease of use, integrations, design, and more. But to help you make this sometimes frustrating decision, I’ve gone ahead and done all that for you.
Ready to dig into the pros, cons, and blogging features of some of the top platforms? There are absolutely more blogging platforms out there, but these are the ones we get asked about the most at ConvertKit. So take some time and read through the list and find the one that fits you and your blogging needs just right.
Free + hosting and domain name
With 60 million users, WordPress is the largest blogging community on the web. But did you know there are two different versions of WordPress? This first one, WordPress.org, is where you can grab the content management system software for free. With only the software, you have to put in a bit of up front work to find a hosting company and domain name. But once you have those in place, you’ll be set to have complete control over customizing your blog.
With around half of the blogging features as its .org sibling, WordPress.com is a more simple, no-hassle platform. With tools and features that can be used as advanced or as simple as you want them to be, think of WordPress.com as a starting point and maybe move to .org when you’re ready to take on a more customized site.
$12- $18 per month (when you pay annually)
Squarespace is where bloggers go to create simple and elegant websites. Without needing to leave the site, you can create your entire website or blog using their professional templates and style editor. No programming knowledge needed here to build a blog that looks seamless and has all the tools you need to get the most exposure for your work.
Ps- Our Onboarding Specialist Matt Ragland made an amazing tutorial on how to set up a Squarespace website in just two days.
Medium was created as a simplified, alternative blogging platform for anyone wanting to express themselves online. The average post could be anything from a political soapbox diatribe to a personal essay of tragedy or triumph. Basically, it exists because its creators believe you have a voice and have the right to be heard.
However, because of how Medium encourages readers to participate in conversations, companies have begun to use this platform as another extension of their marketing strategies. So while you see posts from your neighbor, you’ll also see posts from companies like Buffer, REI, BMW, and even us now!
Blogger is Google’s free blogging tool that you can use to create up to 100 blogs per account. Because of its simple type-and-publish blogging process, as long as you have a Gmail account, you can create your account for free and have your first blog post up within an hour.
While its simplicity is a bonus for new bloggers, it also means you’ll likely grow out of the platform the longer you keep at it.
Weebly is a DIY website builder with blogging and e-commerce capabilities. Created with the first-time business owner in mind, the true appeal of this platform is how easily you can build a quality site without any previous web experience. Weebly is great as a one-stop shop for business owners who need both a website and a blog.
Wix is a cloud-based website building platform with over 90 million users worldwide. Their user-friendly, drag-and-drop templates are built with specific industries in mind, making it easy for you to know which design will best work for your online business.
Now that you’ve read through the pros and cons and compared features between some of the most popular blogging platforms, are you ready to decide? Making this first big step will hopefully create a snowball of momentum to keep you moving toward your blogging goals.
If this post helped you decide on a platform, let us know! Tell us which blogging platform you will or are currently using in the comments or share this post on social media to help other soon-to-be-bloggers get closer to their goals too.
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