Go from Beginner to Blogger with Creator Pass

Launch your creative business and make your first dollar online

How to Know What Blogging Platform Works for You

Build Your Audience

When you’re just getting started blogging there’s SO much to figure out. And I’m not talking about your core topics or how you want to be seen as writer/business person or how you want you to interact with your audience. I’m talking to the basics here. The first thing you’ve got to figure out once you’re ready to build your blog is what you want to build it on.

You read all kinds of reviews to find out what the pros are using hoping to find a definitive list so you can play copycat and get your own blog rolling. The problem with that is, you’re not going to find that magical, definitive list.

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 have different levels of experience, creative processes, and goals we’re trying to reach.

Because of our unique differences even the most basic of blogger necessities varies between all of us. I’m talking about the blog platform – Tool #1 in our blogger handbag.

You’ve probably heard people say that a professional blog has to be on WordPress.org or it has to be on Squarespace to be taken seriously. I don’t think so.

Each platform was 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 style. And someone solely working on their building their email list wouldn’t need a platform that joins blogging with e-commerce like a maker-blogger might.

Thankfully there’s a vast sea of platforms with specific functions and capabilities to choose from for your individual needs. This list could go on and on, but here are some platforms we get asked about at ConvertKit to help you find that one that fits just right for you.

WordPress.org

pros and cons of wordpress.org

Price:

Free + hosting and domain name

In a nutshell:

With 60 million uses, WordPress is the largest blogging community on the web. But did you know there are two different WordPresses? This first one, WordPress.org is where you can grab the content managment system software for free. With only the software, you have to put in a lot of up front work to find a hosting company and your domain name. But once you’ve got that, you’ll be set to have complete customization control of your blog.

Pros:

  • Can self-host
  • Gives power, customization, and usability
  • Allows custom plugins and themes
  • Many host sites offer a free single-click install
  • Great support

Cons:

  • Need to have domain name and webhosting first
  • Have to perform routine backups
  • Have to maintain the blog on your own
  • May not be easy for beginner bloggers

WordPress.org works best for:

  • For serious bloggers of all genres.
  • Bloggers who want complete control over their customization.
  • New and experienced bloggers looking to maximize and capitalize on their site traffic.

WordPress.com

pros and cons of wordpress.com

Price:

Free – $24 a month

In a nutshell:

With around half of the features as it’s .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.

Their site also claims to support 26% of the Internet, so…that’s cool.

Pros:

  • Offers hosting
  • Custom domains
  • Multiple plans to fit your budget
  • Plugins for social media, polls, etc.
  • Hundreds of themes
  • Mobile friendly
  • Paid upgrades available
  • Simple blog creation
  • Great support

Cons:

  • No custom themes, plugins or HTML editing
  • Have to pay for extras – custom domain name, third-party embeds
  • No affiliate links
  • Domain includes .wordpress.com
  • Ads are placed on free sites

WordPress.com works for:

  • Bloggers who want to create a simple portfolio site to accompany their work.
  • Personal bloggers not looking to build a business site.
  • Bloggers who want a basic introduction to blogging and will eventually move to something with more control once they feel comfortable.

Squarespace

pros and cons of squarespace

Price:

Personal- $12 per month

Business- $18 per month

In a nutshell:

Squarespace is where bloggers go to create simple and elegant spaces. Without needing to leave the site, you can create your whole 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.

Pros:

  • Doesn’t require code knowledge to customize for basic setup
  • Easy-to-navigate interface
  • Customize everything easily
  • E-commerce
  • Allows third-party embedding for content
  • Designed for teams- can add contributors
  • Mobile friendly

Cons:

  • E-commerce addition has a fee
  • Theme and plugin support is not great- will need to know code if this is necessary
  • Less customization
  • Not good for accessing and managing blog posts
  • No free plan
  • Only available as a hosted offering
  • No Paypal integration- only Stripe is used

Good for:

  • Bloggers who put high emphasis on image-based content.
  • Business owners looking to quickly create a website with blog and e-commerce capabilities.
  • Beginner bloggers or bloggers who do not want to tinker with code to create customizations.

MEDIUM

pros and cons of medium

Price:

Free

In a nutshell:

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, and BMW.

Pros:

  • Built in audience and sharing with Medium readers
  • Allows third-party embeddings for video and other content
  • Publish on a custom domain or sub domain
  • Ranks and promotes content based on quality metrics
  • Can tag up to 3 categories per post

Cons:

  • Required to use the hosted Medium site
  • Standardized template
  • Not easy to grow a following
  • No control over branding
  • Can’t add opt-in forms, etc

Medium works for:

  • Beginner bloggers who don’t want to deal with creating an actual blog.
  • Bloggers who don’t care about building an audience and just want to get their thoughts and opinions out in the world.
  • Marketers looking for new avenues to create content.

BLOGGER

pros and cons of medium

Price:

Free- Just need a Gmail account

In a nutshell:

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, Blogger is by far the best introductory platform. 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.

Pros:

  • Because it’s owned by Google it integrates well with other Google products- AdSense, Analytics, Google+, etc,
  • SImple type-and-publish process
  • Can edit HTML and add widgets
  • Easy drag and drop options

Cons:

  • Have to pay $10 for a domain without a .blogspot
  • Google owns Bloggers meaning they own your blog meaning your blog can be pulled and you have no say over it
  • Can’t categorize posts
  • Can’t self-host
  • Limited designs
  • Can’t structure links they way you want
  • Not much support

Blogger works for:

  • Beginner bloggers who have no web experience and are happy to not be bothered by options.

WEEBLY

pros and cons of weekly

Price:

Free

Starter- $8/month

Pro- $12/month

Business- $25/month

In a nutshell:

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 blog.

Pros:

  • Quick to create and updated without a lot of hassle
  • Wide range of easy-to-use features like drag and drop options
  • Free templates
  • Free hosting
  • Third-party integrations

Cons:

  • Doesn’t allow for coding- no customization
  • They host so you give up some control
  • Does not offer a free domain

Weebly works for:

  • Beginner bloggers who needs e-commerce and a website.
  • New business owners who needs a blog and website but don’t have the technical skills to go all out.

What works for you?

Did you see a platform that would work for you and your blog? Again, there are still so many other platforms out there (Wix, ghost, TypePad, tumblr, etc. ), but these are the ones we hear about often around here. So while you’re in the planning stages here’s a couple things to think about.

Think about your resources

  • Can you hire someone to build the site for you?
  • Do you know how to manipulate code?
  • What does your budget look like?
  • How fast does this blog need to go?

Think about your needs

  • Is a visually stimulating blog important?
  • How important is customization?
  • Do you need to capture email address from your readers?
  • Is this just a blog or is it an e-commerce site as well?

Think about your audience

  • Are they already on a certain platform?
  • Which platform allows for the interaction you’re looking for?

Are you thinking of any other platforms or still can’t decide what would be best for your blog? Let’s chat in the comments about it.

Happy blog building!

Dani Stewart

As a daughter of an entrepreneur, the wife of an entrepreneur, and an entrepreneur herself, Dani has lived and learned all sides of creating and growing businesses. She is excited to bring all that life experience as well as a decade of crafting content to the ConvertKit community. She is a part-time baker, dinner-party planner, and lover of good bourbon living the simple life in Nashville with her husband, Sean.

  • jokawasai

    Dani–Thanks for this overview. I use Weebly and Mailchimp, and would like to switch to ConvertKit. But because CK is WordPress centric, I’m wondering if I’ll have integration problems with subscriber forms and linking to a Landing Page etc. I’d appreciate hearing what you might have come across.

  • Domnic

    Such an interesting blog! Thanks for sharing, I just want to share something too, ActiveTrail have taught me that I can make a better blog platform by using it, you know it has a lot of features that could help us a lot. I hope to read ActiveTrail as one of your subjects soon! So keep it up!

Make ConvertKit your next move.

Grow your business by investing in your email marketing today.

Join ConvertKit