To be a writer, you need a pen and paper, a dose of courage and a flair for words. But if you want to be a writer online, you can add a great blogging platform to the list.
Stacks of blogging tools exist to help you write online and attract an audience. Whether you want to share your passion for fashion, serve up homemade food recipes or set up a corporate blog for your business.
The challenge is to sift through the trash to find a tool that can cater to your blogging needs.
That’s why in this guide we’re focusing on the nine best blogging platforms. Our list is based on extensive user testing and personal experience using blogging tools. You can try any of them by clicking the name in the list below.
So now you know the nine best blogging platforms, why would you read the rest of the guide?
Because we’ll help you find out which blogging tool is right for you.
In our research we not only tested the platforms ourselves and analyzed their features, prices, and more – we got other, everyday people to test them out too. By listening to their feedback, we’re able to give you an insider view of each blogging platform.
When it comes to finding the right blogging platform, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Some people have experience coding. Others want to make money from their blog.
Whatever your blogging dreams, we’ll point your pen in the right direction. We run through each of the best blogging platforms’ pros and cons, how much they cost and how they help you find readers.
The nine best blogging platforms on the market are:
- WordPress.org – great for flexible, custom blogs and tech-savvy bloggers
- Weebly – number one for building a blog quickly and easily
- Wix – perfect for combining a blog with a website
- WordPress.com – powerful built-in blogging tools
- Squarespace – stunning blog designs and images
- Blogger – good choice for a very basic blog
- Tumblr – ideal for sharing short-form, clickable content
- Strikingly – best for simple, stylish, one-page blogs
- SITE123 – great if you need a helping hand building a blog
So what can these blogging platforms actually do? It’s pretty simple really – they let you create your very own blog, publish posts, and share your content on social media. You can use images or videos in your posts, and integrate social feeds directly onto your site.
Platforms such as these allow you to track progress using analytics tools and increase your blog’s following using marketing tools such as newsletters and email campaigns. Some of them even let you do all this for free!
So how do you choose a blogging platform? Think about what sort of content you want to publish and what you want your blog to look like.. Do you have lots of high quality images to share? How tech-savvy are you? Do you want full control over the design of your blog, or would you rather just customize a premade template?
These are the things to keep in mind as we take a more detailed look at each platform. By the end of this article you’ll know which of these top nine blogging platforms is the perfect match for you!
Great for tech-savvy bloggers who want complete creative freedom
WordPress.org Pros and Cons
|WordPress.org Pros||WordPress.org Cons|
WordPress.org is a free and open source software that has helped millions of people launch blogs online.
In fact, WordPress.org is so popular that it powers 24% of all websites. That’s one heck of a social recommendation!
WordPress.org blogs perform well for search engine optimization (SEO for short). SEO is the practice of making your blog rank high in search engines like Google. The higher you rank, the more readers you get.
Open source means you can play around with the code. The upshot of this is you get complete control over the look and feel of your blog. It would be like being in charge of the font, color and image on your physical book cover. The caveat is that you’ll need some technical skill (or money to hire a developer) to take full advantage of this flexibility.
This flexibility lets you add features to your blog like:
- Online store
It’s why WordPress.org is one of the top blogging platforms on the market. WordPress.org is a particularly good option for more technical bloggers looking to develop a more complex blog long-term.
One downside to WordPress’s power is that less technical users will find the learning curve steeper than launching a blog on a drag-and-drop website builder, like Wix or Squarespace.
Plus, while the platform is free to use, costs like hosting and securing your domain name can add up.
Because it’s open source, you will also have to sort out hosting and security. Hosting means giving your blog somewhere to live online. This can be a headache for bloggers who aren’t as computer-savvy.
The good news is hosting solution Bluehost provides one-click integration with WordPress.org. If you want to start your blog on WordPress.org, hit the button below to get started.
Our verdict: WordPress.org is a powerful tool that is suitable for fledgling writers right up to accomplished bloggers. The more technically skilled you are, the more you will get out of the platform. For complete novice bloggers, or those who want a less hands-on, time-intensive experience, there are better options. We’ll introduce you to one next.
Number one for building a blog quickly and easily
Weebly Pros and Cons
|Weebly Pros||Weebly Cons|
Unlike WordPress.org, Weebly is a drag-and-drop website builder. It’s one of the best blog website builders because of how simple it is to use. To add a blog to your website and populate it with great content, all you do is point and click.
Creating a blog is possible on any of Weebly’s pricing plans, which start at the Free plan and go up to the $38/month Performance plan for online stores. To get rid of Weebly ads, and make your blog look professional, you’ll need to be on at least Weebly’s $8/month Starter plan.
You can build a website and add a blog page without touching any code. Weebly will take care of all the technical heavy lifting in the background. It will make sure your blog loads quickly and is accessible to readers.
Free Weebly themes are available and, while it’s not as powerful as WordPress.org, and there’s less customization potential, Weebly does allow you to add an impressive number of features to your blog. This is a big reason it scored so highly in our testing.
These features include:
- Detailed analytics on your blog’s performance
- An easy-access archive
- Comments section
- Social bookmarking to help your blog go viral
Scheduled publishing is super easy in Weebly. You can set your blog to go live at a certain time. So if you write your blog during the day, but Weebly analytics tells you your readers engage in the evening, you can delay publication.
When it comes to SEO, Weebly isn’t spectacular but it takes care of the basics. You create custom URLs, title tags and meta descriptions.
Our verdict: Weebly is one of the top-rated blog website builders. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to get a website and blog online. But if you hope to grow a more long-term, full-featured blog, Weebly may feel limiting. Although, upgrading to an advanced plan unlocks more functionality.
Perfect for combining your blog with a website
Wix Pros and Cons
|Wix Pros||Wix Cons|
Like Weebly, Wix is an intuitive site builder that lets you integrate a blog at the click of a button.
Put simply, Wix is one of the top-rated blog website builders around. It’s not hard to see why the Israel-based company boasts over 100 million users.
You can launch a blog with your Wix site on any plan, from the Free plan upwards. However, to connect your domain name you’ll need to sign up to the $11/month Combo plan. This will also enable you to get rid of Wix ads. As with Weebly, we’d recommend upgrading to a paid Wix plan. It’s a small price to pay to make your blog look professional.
The more professional your blog, the more readers will trust you. Think about it. When you go into a book shop, would you pick up a book that had adverts stuck all over the front cover and different authors’ names on it?
When it comes to templates, Wix has the edge over Weebly. There is a great selection of stunning and up-to-date templates for you to choose from.
Wix has recently upgraded its content editor. Along with all the existing features, you can now:
- Personalize image galleries
- Add captions and links to images
- Insert videos from YouTube or Vimeo
The rich editor in Wix makes you feel like you’re crafting your blog with the finest materials. Powerful customization is made simple.
Wix is also strong on mobile. Updating your blog on mobile is a painless experience. Think about this if you’re someone who travels a lot and plans to blog on the move.
You will also get access to premium support over the phone and email – a luxury you don’t get with WordPress.org, for example. This is a big reason less experienced bloggers should go with Wix over WordPress.org.
Wix ranks behind Weebly in our list of the best blogging platforms because our research shows it lacks a few key features. Unlike Weebly, you can’t create an archive in Wix’s blogging tool. And you can’t add an RSS feed, making it more difficult to update content.
Our verdict: Like Weebly, Wix is a super option for bloggers who want to get online seamlessly. It lacks some of Weebly’s basic features, but Wix’s infrastructure and thirst for development makes it one of the best blogging platforms if you want to get online, but carry on growing.
Powerful built-in blogging tools
WordPress.com Pros and Cons
|WordPress.com Pros||WordPress.com Cons|
WordPress.com is a blog hosting service from the same company, Automattic, that’s behind WordPress.org.
It’s free to launch your blog on WordPress.com, but you have to pay for extra features like storage and your own domain name. Like Wix and Weebly, to remove the WordPress.com logo you need to upgrade to a paid plan, which start from $4 a month. WordPress.com works in the same way as drag-and-drop builders. You construct your blog by selecting and moving elements around on your screen
SEO is one of WordPress.com’s big strengths, with sites loading quickly and backed up by powerful infrastructure.
Set up is fast and the platform is straightforward to get to grips with. On the downside, customization opportunities are limited – especially when compared to WordPress.org. You can’t edit the code and you don’t have complete control over your blog.
Here’s a snapshot of the key WordPress.com features that make it one of the best blogging platforms:
- Mobile-optimized themes make your blog look great on all devices.
- Technical upkeep managed, including software updates, hosting and domain registration.
- Modern site design.
- Advanced analytics to help you find out what your readers like.
Don’t be confused by the similarity of the name with WordPress.org, they are different platforms.
OK, so what’s the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?
In a nutshell, WordPress.com is the fully-hosted version that takes care of the technical side of your blog. The way it works is more similar to Wix or Weebly than WordPress.org. With WordPress.org, you sacrifice ease of use to gain access to the code and get greater customization options. For more on the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com, visit our WordPress Review.
WordPress.com is one of the best blogging platforms around. It’s bursting with the features you need to create a powerful blog. But Wix or Weebly remain better choices for first-time bloggers because of how intuitive they are to use. Plus, you get access to support teams over the phone.
There is, however, more scope for extensive customization of your blog with WordPress.com. This is because Premium blogs include custom CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). At the time of writing, this is not possible in Wix. CSS is a coding language and having the freedom to alter it means you can make really comprehensive changes to your blog. Bear this in mind if you have long-term ambitions for your blog.
Our verdict: No list of the top blogging platforms would be complete with WordPress.com. Great customization potential, plus hosting and technical upkeep, make WordPress.com a great middle ground between WordPress.org and drag-and-drop website builders. It’s perfect for you if you don’t want to get your hands dirty with the mechanical side of running a blog, but are worried a builder like Wix may feel limiting in the long run.
Stunning blog designs and images
Squarespace Pros and Cons
|Squarespace Pros||Squarespace Cons|
Squarespace is one of the best blogging platforms for artists and designers because of its swish templates and polished feel.
There’s no free Squarespace plan; to create a blog you need to be on at least the $12/month Personal plan. To monetize your blog, you’ll need to upgrade to the $18/month Business plan.
Save 10% on any Squarespace plan with a Squarespace Offer Code exclusively for our readers
That sounds expensive, so is it worth it? Squarespace has improved its blog offering considerably in recent years. It used to be that on the Personal plan you were limited to just 20 pages. Now that cap has been lifted entirely.
But the real value for money lies in the aesthetics. The New York-based company is well known for the visual quality of its templates. They’re what makes Squarespace one of the best blog platforms on the market.
You can browse free and paid templates by industry and select one that suits your blog’s needs. Squarespace has taken great care with how your content is laid out on its templates. The designs are top-of-the-range and features like grid layout and 3D scrolling can give your blog a unique look and feel.
At times it feels like blog-building from the future!
In our user testing Squarespace scored strongly for features. You can:
- Display blogging categories
- Allow comments
- Add an RSS Feed (unlike Wix)
Customization, though, is more fiddly than on Weebly or Wix. The learning curve is steeper on Squarespace than on other website builders. Plus, to open up more editing possibilities, you will need to upgrade to a pricier Squarespace plan.
When it comes to SEO, Squarespace is not as beginner-friendly as some of the other blogging platforms. For example, some templates show SEO information on the site. This is an odd quirk that might alarm less experienced bloggers. If you’ve got a bit of SEO-know-how, you’ll be able to pick it up easy enough though.
Our verdict: Squarespace is very design-orientated. It’s perfect for designers, artists or photographers. It may not be as simple to use as Wix or Weebly, but if your blog focuses heavily on the visual, Squarespace is for you.
Good choice for very basic blogs
Blogger Pros and Cons
|Blogger Pros||Blogger Cons|
Dating way, way back to 1999, Blogger is a platform that does what it says on the tin.
This old-timer of blogging is free, easy to use and, because it was bought by Google in 2003, very reliable. Like some other blog platforms, Blogger takes care of any speed and hosting demands. You even get an SSL security certificate (usually upwards of $70) thrown in for free.
Blogs are hosted by Google (a bit like having the world’s most powerful landlord), unless you pay for a custom domain. Your Blogger account is bundled in with your Google account – great for simplicity because all you need to do is log in with your Google details.
Working with Google does bring perks. Monetizing your Blogger page can be done through Google AdSense, which will add relevant ads to your blog. This is a more straightforward route to revenue than with a website builder.
Unfortunately, using Blogger limits you to basic tools. This is bare-bones blogging stripped back to the essentials. You can’t add new features and design options are restricted to a handful of templates. Its simplicity may make it one of the best blogging platforms, but it’s also the reason it’s not the very best.
It can feel like blogging in analogue, when other platforms are digital. For example, you need clumsy redirects to have a Blogger homepage.
Also, your character count and number of blogs are capped. It’s not a coincidence that the founder of Blogger went on to launch the ultimate digestible-content platform – Twitter. If you get stuck on Blogger, there’s little or no support available aside from a forum and a help center.
Blogger is not updated regularly and you are, of course, vulnerable to Google mothballing the platform. It’s got a track record of killing off products. Remember Google Reader?
Our verdict: Blogger is a Spartan tool that is a good option for non-technical users or those with limited time on their hands. You can share your content with the world very quickly. It’s a very short route from writing your content to publication. Still, it’s hard to look beyond the constraints and you will be better off with Blogger’s direct competition: easy-to-use website builders that can grow with you.
Ideal for sharing short-form, clickable content
Tumblr Pros and Cons
|Tumblr Pros||Tumblr Cons|
Tumblr is a pure-play blogging tool that’s USP is clickable, shareable and short-form content.
The New York-based micro-blogging site was founded in 2007 and hosts over 400 million blogs.
Uploading content, from images to concise articles, is very quick and easy…not to mention free! Although there are a range of paid templates available.
Like Blogger, though, the growth opportunities are limited. There’s not the same infrastructure available to use social media marketing, play around with layouts or build an advanced blog page. Backing up your Tumblr blog is also tricky.
The focus on short-form content can also have implications for SEO. Making your blog SEO-friendly is far less easy or doable in Tumblr than in a drag-and-drop builder, or through a platform like WordPress.org.
And, while the scattergun approach of Tumblr might be attractive, if you’ve got a focused blog idea (such as fashion, for example), the platform may feel too random and ‘here today, gone tomorrow’.
Our verdict: Tumblr is worth looking at if your blog focuses on clickable, shareable content rather than text. GIFs, images, memes, polls and quizzes are Tumblr’s bread and butter. Consider Tumblr if they’re also the type of content you plan to put on your site. But if you want to design a stylish and intricate blog, pick a different option from our list of the best blogging platforms.
Best for simple, stylish, single page blogging sites
Strikingly Pros and Cons
|Strikingly Pros||Strikingly Cons|
Strikingly is a free and very easy to use website builder, which combines simplicity with a great range of blogging tools.
If you want a stylish, simple blog without worrying about any tech, then Strikingly is an excellent choice. Its goal is to make the internet a place for everyone to share their ideas, no matter how tech savvy (or not) you might be!
Strikingly is extremely easy to use, and is best for creating one page websites. When you add the Simple Blog feature to your site, you also unlock a great range of blogging tools, including:
- RSS feed
- Social bookmarking
- Comments section
- Search function
Although you can only create one-page sites on the free plan, you don’t need to worry about your blog posts bogging down your site. Your blog post headings appear on your site, and when the reader clicks on the one they want to read, the post opens in its own page. This keeps your homepage uncluttered and easy to navigate.
On Strikingly’s free plan you also get 5GB monthly bandwidth, 24/7 support, the option to sell one product per site, and unlimited free sites to build. Your domain name will have strikingly.com built-in, so if you want to connect your own domain you’ll need to upgrade to one of Strikingly’s three paid plans.
It’s easy to integrate your social media with your website, and you can track your site’s success with built-in analytics tools. Customization is easy, but fairly basic.
Strikingly isn’t pretending to compete with blogging legends like WordPress.org, but it is offering a smaller, simpler alternative for those wanting to start out or keep things manageable.
There can be beauty in simplicity, and that’s something Strikingly showcases extremely well!
Our verdict: Strikingly is an ideal blogging platform for beginners because it’s so easy to use. There’s no denying it’s not as powerful or advanced as WordPress.org, and can’t support really complex sites. It’s not a very scalable option, but if you’re after a simple and stylish blog, Strikingly is a solid choice.
Great if you need a helping hand building a blog
SITE123 Pros and Cons
|SITE123 Pros||SITE123 Cons|
If you want excellent help and support while you set up your blog, then SITE123 is a great choice.
It’s a very basic builder, so not ideal for serious or complex blogging sites, but it is intuitive and easy to get the hang of while you get started. You get a brilliant live chat feature, making it perfect for beginners who are a bit nervous or need that extra level of support.
SITE123 is only suitable for small, personal blogs. You get tons of features included, but it leans towards quantity over quality. That said, here’s a few features you can expect from SITE123:
- Blog specific templates
- Comments system
- Blog post scheduling
- Comment reply tool
- Comment auto-confirmation
- Social media integration
SITE123’s blogging templates are optimized to look great on both mobile and desktop, and are fully responsive. They won’t blow your socks off, like Squarespace’s themes, or give you tons of creative control, like WordPress.org, but they’re simple and clean designs.
The main thing to know with SITE123’s templates is you can’t switch your design once you’ve published your blog.
Apart from the built-in blogging tools, you also get access to the SITE123 App Market. This gives you tons of extras to boost your blog, from Google Analytics to live chat apps. There’s a mix of free and premium apps to choose from. Like everything with SITE123, the App Market is easy to use and designed to help you out!
You can build your blog for free with SITE123’s free plan, which gives you 500MB storage and 1GB bandwidth. Or, you can upgrade to the $10.80 per month Premium plan for more advanced features, including a free domain, 10GB storage, and ecommerce functionality.
Although not a blogging tool, it’s worth highlighting SITE123’s excellent 24/7 live chat support. This makes it easy to ask questions, and save time if you hit a bump when you’re building your site.
Our verdict: SITE123 is the perfect choice if you need a helping hand while you blog or build your site. Its 24/7 live chat support is excellent, and it’s an easy to use platform which lets you build for free. However, it’s only suitable for very basic blogs, and will quickly become limiting as your site grows more advanced.
We’ve given you the nine best blogging platform on the market – perhaps one jumped straight out at you, but what if you’re still scratching your head? How are you meant to pick just one to build your blog?
Here are some questions to ask, which will help you find the best blogging platform for you.
Do You Want to Monetize Your Blog?
If your plan is to make money from your passion, then you need a platform which will support you and fuel growth. WordPress.org is a top choice for monetizing your blog, with Blogger and Weebly coming in close behind. If you’re just blogging for the love of it, then you’ll be more focused on other features offered by your platform.
How Technically Confident Are You?
Do you want your site up quickly, easily, and with minimal fuss? Do you want to learn how to code, or take your time perfecting your pages? This will massively affect which platform you choose!
Out of our top three blogging platforms, WordPress.org is powerful, but will take some time to get used to. Wix and Weebly are super easy to use, and quick to set up, but a bit less advanced in their blogging tools.
How Will People Find You?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is essential for ranking on Google and getting found in search results. Don’t choose a platform with shoddy SEO tools, or you’ll be left in the shadows of the ninth results page.
Also take a look at social media integration and email marketing, so you know your platform can support your growth and help you spread the word!
What’s the Focus of Your Blog?
If you’re a photographer, featuring lots of imagery, or doubling your blog as a portfolio, you’ll need a platform to show off your talent! Choosing a platform like Squarespace will give your work the space and aesthetics it needs to really shine.
Who’s Your Target Audience?
If your blog is very niche – part of a fan-base, for example – then using a platform like Tumblr is a great way of reaching the people who share the same interests. You can build up a following, then move onto a more advanced platform as your blog grows!
Here’s a reminder of our top nine blogging platforms and who they’re best for:
- WordPress.org – for those who are tech-savvy and want to grow a stylish blog
- Weebly – for those who want a quick and easy way to launch a blog
- Wix – for those who want to integrate their blog with a website (without any technical know-how)
- WordPress.com – for those who want more technical and powerful blogging tools than Wix or Weebly
- Squarespace – for those who want access to professionally designed templates and high quality images
- Blogger – for those who want a very basic blog
- Tumblr – for those whose blog features short-form, clickable content
- Strikingly – for those who want a simple, stylish, one-page blog
- SITE123 – for those who need a a helping hand building a blog
If you want to go for our top-rated overall blog platform, WordPress.org, make sure you are up for the challenge. It’s not the easiest to use, but we’ve rated it number one because it’s fully customizable and powers so many blogs.
If you do decide to start your blog with WordPress.org, our advice is to host it with Bluehost. WordPress.org themselves recommend them, so it’s a no-brainer.
What’s the best blogging platform to use for a portfolio or photography blog?
Squarespace has the best quality template designs out of all the blog website builders on the market. If you have high quality images, Squarespace will really show them off! It also has great in-built features, such as allowing multiple contributors and syncing with social media – so your blog won’t just look good, it’ll support long-term growth too.
Which blog platform should I use instead of WordPress.org?
WordPress.org is the major blogging platform, but it’s not for everyone. If you have some tech skills then we recommend WordPress.com, as it’s the easier platform to use while still keeping the powerful blogging tools WordPress.org is known for. If you don’t want to code at all, try Weebly. It has great blogging features, attractive designs, and good SEO. It’s very beginner friendly and is scalable too.
Check out our guide on the Best WordPress Alternatives for a list of the top website builders you could use instead of WordPress.
Which blogging platform is best for making money?
WordPress.org is the most popular platform for monetizing blogs – it offers a lot of powerful tools, customization, and room for growth. If you don’t want to use WordPress, the good news is Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace are all great options too!
Looking to make money online? Check out our guide on How to Make Money on Instagram to find out more!