Starting a blog from scratch can seem like a daunting task, but you have some help in your corner. The best blogging platforms on the market today make it extremely easy to start a blog - even if you're a beginner.
In this article I'm going to go over the best blogging platforms to make money for someone with little-to-no experience with starting a website.
Let's do this.
What is a blog?
A blog is just a website that has content that updates on a regular basis. These types of websites have always existed, they weren't called blogs in the beginning.
When people say they want to "make money blogging", they don't necessarily mean that blogging itself will pay them. Nobody will pay you to write articles on your own website.
The way you make money is by using the content on your website (the blog posts) to lure visitors to your website. At that point, the next goal would be to find a way to monetize this traffic.
I have a more thorough explanation of how blogs make money here.
What is a blog platform?
Back in the old days, websites were coded by hand with HTML. Updating a website was such a hassle, which involved editing HTML files and uploading them to the server.
Thankfully those days are behind us.
We now have content management systems (CMS) that allow us "webmasters" to update our websites with ease.
A blog platform is software that allows you to update a website - without the need to see even one line of code.
Think of a blog platform as the structure of your website. So, you can see why it's important to choose the right blog platform from the start.
Do I need paid hosting for my blog?
Not unless you want to make money blogging. If the aim is just to have a home on the web, there are plenty of blogging platforms to start a blog. I'll be going over a few of them here.
But if you do want to make money with your blog, you will need a paid host.
A paid blog host gives you the freedom to monetize your blog without restrictions, while a free blog host will have strict rules on your ability to monetize your site.
My preferred blog host for beginners is Bluehost because of their low-cost and newbie-friendliness (if that's a word). With Bluehost you get a free domain name and a guided set-up of your blog.
Which blog platform should you host your blog on? Let's dive in and find out the best blogging platforms to start a blog.
There are two versions of WordPress. One is wordpress.com (free blog hosting) and the other is wordpress.org (requires a domain and web hosting).
While it is (almost) always better to go with a self-hosted blog, there are some perks to using the free wordpress.com blog platform.
Since WordPress.com is free, it's ideal for newbies who aren't sure they want to commit long-term to blogging.
This is the free version of WordPress. Since there is a learning curve to using WP, you can start with account here if you want to test out the software.
If you want to make money with your blog, you need to start a "self-hosted blog" where you have complete control of your website.
To use this version of WordPress you don't need to pay them a dime. WordPress is free to install and most web hosts offer free one-click installations.
If you think WordPress is just for beginners, think again. WordPress is a powerful content management system that powers a shocking 35% of the entire internet.
And because of its popularity, if you have a question about anything WordPress related, odds are it has already been asked and answered.
This makes WordPress the easy choice for best blog platform.
You can start by choosing your free domain name below.
If you need help picking a name for your blog, I wrote a helpful guide on choosing a domain name here.
This is the best blogging platform by far. While there is a learning curve at first, it is worth it to learn how to use it.
Weebly is a great website builder for a small business / ecommerce site. They have a drop and drop editor which makes it easy to build and move things around exactly what you want them.
With Weebly you can build everything from a blog to an online store - or both. This makes them a good choice for startups and small online stores.
This website builder lets you build a great looking website without having to write a single line of code with their drag and drop editing tool.
Created in 2012 by one of Twitter’s founding fathers, Medium has seen tremendous growth over the last few years. More than just a blogging platform, Medium is a community for bloggers and writers.
The minimalist design that Medium is based around makes it super easy to get started. You don’t even have to create a new account with them, you can just log in using one of your social media accounts.
Your blog posts will have a ‘clap’ button so that somebody can give you an applause if you write something good. Get enough people "clapping" for you and you could be featured on Medium’s daily email or the top stories section of their app or homepage.
The Medium blogging platform also gives you a chance to be seen by 120 Million monthly readers. Because Medium acts as a community, the posts are syndicated throughout the network.
With so many monthly viewers it’s entirely possible to start something from nothing.
Medium is a place to get your voice heard and build your name in the online space, not necessarily a place to make money directly from your content.
With over 100 million users across 190 countries, Wix is quickly emerging as a major player in the world of the best blogging platforms.
Why is Wix so popular? The answer is simple: It is their unique designs and their ease of use.
When you’re creating your Wix setup, you can opt to use the Wix Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) system. Wix asks you for some basic information and, based on the answers you provide, will automatically generate a design unique to you and your specifications.
Wix also has their own drag-and-drop editor. This means it’s great for those who want a more hands-on approach while still retaining the ease of use provided by the ADI system.
Wix is easy to use and ideal for someone who wants to create an online presence quickly, since they have hundreds of pre-made site designs to choose from.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, there’s no way you haven’t heard of the Squarespace blogging platform by now. Their advertising campaigns so far in 2020 have been pretty aggressive and they’ve even secured the internet’s favorite actor as their spokesperson: Keanu Reeves.
Beginners will love the Squarespace blogging platform. Similar to Wix, the drag-and-drop interface makes their blogging platform super simple to use.
Yes, I mean that LinkedIn. If you’re a professional looking to connect with other professionals, then you should consider using LinkedIn as your blogging platform.
Despite being created as a professional networking platform, LinkedIn has a section that allows its users to write and publish articles or blog posts.
When you write an article, your connections receive a notification. If your content is good, then your connections will take notice and hopefully share your content with their connections.
This is an especially great platform for entrepreneurs and those whose primary income comes from business-to-business (b2b) sales.
If you are trying to network with and reach other professionals, while not directly monetizing your content with advertisements, then LinkedIn is going to be a good blogging platform for you.
Known as one of the first blogging platforms in existence, Blogger was founded in 1999 and was later purchased by Google in 2003. Google revamped the Blogger blogging platform and it has remained the same for nearly two decades now.
If you’re looking for just a personal blogging platform, then Blogger is the way to go. It’s super easy to get started, all you need is a Google account. There are a limited number of pre-made designs to choose from, but that shouldn’t matter for just a personal blog.
Your free Blogger account includes it’s own subdomain (yourname.blogspot.com or yourname.blogger.com). You can also use your own domain name and just redirect it to your blogger blog too.
Even though Blogger has been around since 1999 (and is now owned by Google), it hasn't seen too many feature updates - so this blogging platform may not be around forever.
Choose the blog platform that's right for you
There isn’t always a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to blogging platforms. Different services offer different features that appeal to different types of people. It’s that simple.
But finding the best blogging platform is not that hard once you’ve properly done your research to find out what fits best with your specific needs.
Since I believe that WordPress is the best blog platform, it is what I recommend to get started.
If you are interested in starting a free blog (personal blog, no monetization), I think wordpress.com and Medium are your best bets.
Hopefully this guide is able to get you pointed in the right direction for which blogging platform will work best with your project. With the guesswork removed from the equation, you should be ready to hit the ground running with your new blog!