How to Choose the Right Blogging Platform

Blogging PlatformAlthough social platforms have changed how people communicate online, blogging still remains an important part of the Internet, and with such a wide array of blogging platforms out there it’s difficult to navigate.

As a matter of fact, there has never been a better time to start a blog. Social media assists in delivering content to readers and building audiences. Websites and blogs that are more established frequently aggregate or link to smaller sites. This sends groups of viewers to read lots of articles.

Whether a person is a blogger looking for a new home, returning from a break or writing for the first time online, the following are some of the best blogging platforms out there.

Ghost

With its sights focused on the future domination of blogs, Ghost is already turning heads with its great forward-thinking ideas that will make blogging more seamless and modern than ever before. However, a lot of those novel concepts are not due to go on show just yet. Version 0.4.2 scratches barely the surface of what Ghost intends to achieve. Because of this, writers who do not have time to wait might need to look for other alternatives while the platform’s features continue to grow.

Despite its infancy, it is already one of the strongest blogging platforms out there. It assists in keeping annoyances to a minimum and fuels the platform with remarkable themes that can make each blog stand out.

Pros

  • Amazing long-term roadmap
  • Easy to use
  • Outstanding theme support
  • Very modern blogging platform
  • Multiple authors
  • Custom domains
  • Easy tagging

Cons

  • Game-changing features are not yet available
  • Does not have true pagination

WordPress.com

Blog hosting and blog platforms abound on the Internet. If a person is looking to start a basic blog with minimal features, they have their pick of several services. However, if they want to take blogging seriously, they will often end up importing their blog to WordPress.com in the long run.

WordPress.com is a blog hosting site that has every feature that WordPress has to offer. It is designed to be simple enough for newcomers. It allows people to customize their templates as well. In addition, it has a posting box that is easy to operate and can be utilized in either HTML or text code.

The standard text box operates like a word processor with similar controls. Aside from that, it has a preview and spell check. People can also easily add images, videos and links to each post.

A feature that a lot of people love about WordPress.com is the ability to moderate comments. They can choose to turn comments on and off.

After they have posted an image or video to their blog, the media library will host the file forever. This will assist a user if they are planning to reuse certain pictures or need to search for things. WordPress.com sends users’ blog information to different search engines and allows readers to subscribe to Atom and RSS feeds.

Pros

  • Design tools are top of the line
  • Excellent dashboard
  • Lots of customization options
  • User friendly

Cons

  • Costs increase for more features e.g. domain name
  • Unable to break free of constraints and build custom functionality
  • Add their own affiliate links into articles

WordPress.org

WordPress platformUnlike WordPress.com, WordPress.org is a free blogging platform that allows people to host WordPress on their own servers with much more control. At the same time, it gives them the capability to edit themes to their hearts content, hack code and add an unlimited number of WordPress plugins.

There are numerous built-in applications such as a search engine, user contributions, content syndication and link management. It also has a user interface that is easy to navigate and allows for fast management of the site and content creation.

Because of the many designing elements and layouts available, people can create a website to fill a wide range of needs. This system is open source, and there is a community of people who are quite interested in making quality applications for it.

Pros

  • Lots of multisite features
  • Great community support
  • Great customization options with themes and plugins

Cons

  • Insecure if not maintained
  • Some learning curve

Tumblr

Considered the cool kid of the blogging world, Tumblr was arguably the first mainstream service to combine social media and blogging. It has a strong community of users similar to Facebook and Twitter.

This is due to the ease that other users’ content can be reblogged by any person who has a Tumblr account. This makes it a different type of platform than the likes of WordPress, and users tend to turn to a Tumblr blog when they like to see things that others have shared.

Tumblr also supports custom domain names. It is easy to use from mobile devices, and people can do things like upload photos from their phone or tablet. As of May 2014, it also supports blog theme customization through mobile apps.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Great visual appeal
  • Good tagging system

Cons

  • Limited control over formatting
  • Can be a time drain if users do not have goals or objectives in mind

SquareSpace.com

SquareSpace is a blogging platform that is popular with many business users. Hosting and developing blogs is just one part of SquareSpace. It can be utilized to manage and create a range of websites such as e-commerce sites. Unlike other blogging websites, there is no free option except for a 14-day trial with sites priced upwards of $8 per month with an annual plan.

That plan contains all elements of a website or a blog including cloud-based maintenance and hosting. SquareSpace also has a website management option that gives users the capability to access all levels of site management. The dashboard has a 30-day period visitor tracker in addition to a traffic summary report.

It also allows people to track the most recent comments along with top referring websites and the most common keywords used. Unlike other platforms out there, it includes hosting as part of its service offering.

Pros

• Easy to use
• Great user support
• Good built-in features

Cons

• Limited number of add-on features
• Poor security against hacking and other online threats
• Poor customization management

Wix

Wix platformWix is easy to use in addition to being fun to operate. This content management service helps in making a website more enjoyable. It offers a wide variety of tools and an exceptional support system. Even if people have no background in website design, they will catch on quickly when using Wix.

It has a variety of eye-pleasing templates that people can choose, or users can create their own. They are also given the capability to upload files to their site in a group or one at a time. These files are stored in a cloud-based library that people can access at any time to add content to their site.

Wix also completely understands the importance of SEO. They have an entire support page that is focused on search engine optimization. It has tips on how to improve a site and goals that the user should try to attain. It also warns users about bad SEO techniques that could be harmful to their site, however the platform itself is not ideal for SEO?

Pros

• Offers more than 280 beautiful templates
• Diverse app market with free and premium add-ons
• Platform that walks users through the entire design process

Cons

• Bad for SEO
• No custom email
• Unprofessional domain name
• Weak eCommerce capabilities

Weebly

Weebly is a very user friendly, reliable and robust website builder. If a person is looking to create a personal or a business website, Weebly can help them accomplish this with very little effort with a drop and drag website builder.

People literally drag website building blocks such as a paragraph or a picture onto their screen when they are creating a website. It also has a new mobile editor that allows people to modify and preview the mobile version of their site.

Additionally, it has a built-in site planner that takes users through a step-by-step guide to their powerful new administration panel, learning new skills, setting goals and understanding the basic fundamentals of website success and growth. Weebly also allows users to dive right into the customization process by offering an unpopulated homepage for them to experiment with. It also allows people to add as many different pages as they want in an easy and quick process.

Pros

• Looks professional
• Lots of themes
• No ads

Cons

• Only has basic blog functions
• Bad for SEO
• Users do not have full control of their site

Drupal

Drupal platformDrupal is one of the most flexible, powerful and popular CMS platforms available. It contains a basic interface and framework that users quickly become comfortable and familiar with. Its features allowed people to create a bare-bones website with user-groups, content and much more.

It also gives users a series of reports that inform them about the overall status of their site so that they can be aware of any issues with coding or overall operations. Aside from that, people can look at reports that log recent changes to the site and even assess new system updates.

Drupal also offers users unique CMS software. From the ease of a single menu at the top of their browser, the interface allows people to manage the themes, content, modules and users on their site.

Instead of keeping the front and back separate, people can view how the changes that they make impact the appearance of each page. This effectively eliminates the frequent need to have multiple tabs open in their browser to view both the front and back end of their site.

Pros

• Creating a custom module is easy
• Easy to deploy on nearly any host or service
• Has good community support

Cons

• Steep learning curve
• Can consume a lot of resources if not tweaked properly
• Major updates are quite an effort

Joomla

Similar to Drupal, Joomla is a content management system that is aimed at corporate websites rather than the average blogger. It offers an unparalleled level of user management, customization and configuration.

Because of the high level of customization that this application offers, people can create a wide range of websites. Before posting any content with Joomla, people need to create article categories for content filtering and navigation.

Extensions and add-ons are where Joomla really shines. Free and commercial extensions are available in abundance. This enables people to reach a higher level of customization in order to meet their company or personal needs.

Because it is an open source CMS, everyone can contribute extensions to improve the feel and look of their websites. Many management tools are available for use such as the content manager and the media manager.

Pros

• Users have unlimited control of their sites
• Extension variability
• Easy installation

Cons

• Media management is very poor
• Lack SEO capabilities
• Limited ACL support

TypePad

TypePad allows people to promote their blog. It is great for bloggers who are looking for exposure. Aside from that, it provides them with great features that will get their blog noticed.

TypePad will also submit their site to Bing, Yahoo! and Google unless they set their blog to private. Posting on a TypePad blog is straightforward and easy. It provides an enhanced HTML and text editor as well.

It also offers great statistics tracking. This includes the total page views, bounce rate and average views per day. TypePad also tracks referrers through photo album and post traffic stats.

TypePad also does not lack when it comes to support and help. An FAQ section helps people deal with troubleshooting issues. They can also submit a help ticket using an email form if they cannot find the solution through the Typepad advice blog.

Pros

• Gives users the ability to add scripts
• A wide selection of themes
• Allows Adsense and other scripted ads

Cons

• Has very few integrated widgets
• Costs money
• Limited number of blogs in one account

Blogger

Blogger platformGoogle’s answer to blogging is Blogger, a free and easy-to-use platform that requires only a Google or Gmail account to get started. Blogs made with Blogger can be customized with new backgrounds and layouts easily. It also allows users to import blog templates, access open-source blogs or simply utilize a standard template.

Unlike the majority of free blog services, it lets users change the HTML code in their templates to customize their blog. Its automatic alignment with other products from Google makes it a great deal.

Users have the opportunity to automatically share every blog post as soon as it is published. Aside from that, they can add multiple authors and specify their roles. They can also set their blog to private or public viewing. If a user has problems, Blogger offers help through tutorials, FAQs, a searchable knowledgebase and user forums.

Pros

• Rich text editor
• Fully customizable
• People may use a custom domain

Cons

• No option for IP or word banning
• Users cannot import posts from another blogging platform
• Cannot be hosted on a private web server

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