Starting your own blog is not a complicated task, whereas choosing the right platform/tool to run it is definitely more complex. This is mainly due to the fact that nowadays the market is full of places and ways to start a blog. Each of them differs from each other sometimes quite significantly, so in this article I will try to facilitate your task by suggesting solutions that are worth using.

Two groups of blogging platforms

The main differences between the best blogging platforms are primarily based on the way such a service is managed. Basically, platforms for bloggers can be divided into two groups:

Services enabling entries to be published - This form of blogging is the easiest method. All you have to do is register on the chosen platform and you can start writing right away. In this case, you do not need server space or even your own domain, because you use subdomains within the main domain of the platform.

CMS systems - are, in turn, tools you need hosting and a domain to run. You install the selected system on your server and have full control over its functionality and direction of development. The possibilities are practically endless. This is a factor which very often determines the choice of this form of running a blog.

Which group to choose?

If you want as much simplicity as possible, platforms that allow you to publish entries will probably be a good solution for you. On the other hand, if you think about your blog in a long-term perspective, you have a more or less precise development plan, perhaps you will want to monetise it freely in the future, then you should pay attention to CMS systems.

Platforms for publishing entries

Blogger (www.blogger.com)

Blogger is Google's platform for publishing articles on the web. You probably have a Google account given that in our market it is practically the monopolist of many web services. You can activate your blog by signing up with your Google account and start using your blog running on the blogspot.com subdomain right away. The blog will be active literally within minutes.

For whom is blogger?
It is designed primarily for beginners who want to start blogging quickly without investing time or money.

The admin dashboard of the blog looks more or less like this:

blogger

Do I have to pay for anything?
No Blogger as a service is completely free.

Can I use my own domain name?
Yes, you can link your blog to your own domain or subdomain.

What can you adapt?
You can upload custom themes and widgets. If you know HTML, CSS and JavaScript, you can even edit your blog's source code.

Can I make money from my blog?
Yes, Google AdSense is built into Blogger and is easy to activate. You can also add third-party advertising services by adding the appropriate JavaScript in the widget or in the blog source code.

Summary
Blogger is one of the best blogging platforms for beginners. It doesn't require a lot of time to learn how to use it and customise it later. This allows you to start with the basic capabilities of the platform to eventually move on to more advanced features.

WordPress.com

This is another very popular blog publishing platform, but in this case based on the WordPress engine.

Who should use WordPress.com?
The commercial version of WordPress is ideal for beginners who are not yet ready to invest in hosting and their own domain. Besides, WordPress.com stands out because the blogs hosted on it are definitely a better looking alternative to Blogger. So if you place more importance on appearance, this option will be better.

wordpress com

What are the prices?

Wordpress.com offers a free plan, which, however, has quite significant limitations. On the other hand, for those expecting more features, WordPress.com offers three paid packages - Personal costs $4 per month, the Premium plan $8 per month and the highest Business package at $25 per month.

The Personal package, which is the cheapest one, allows you to use your own domain, removes native ads from the WordPress.com platform and provides access to support. With the higher plans, you gain access to more storage space with more opportunities to customise your blog to suit your needs.

Can I use my own domain name?
Yes, but you need a paid plan.

What can you adapt?
Firstly, you can choose from a number of free themes / templates - which will help you create a very attractive look for your blog. You can also customize your theme using available widgets or personalizing its layout. The higher the paid plan, the more personalisation options are available.

Can I make money from my blog?
Although WordPress ads are displayed, you can add custom ads using JavaScript in the widgets. However, you will need to upgrade to a paid plan to get more freedom in this area.

Summary
It's a good choice for beginners, especially as here we have the option to migrate blog content to a custom WordPress version which I'll write about in a moment.

Wordpress.org

The self-hosted version of WordPress over time has become the most popular online platform for bloggers, but not only. WordPress was created as a blogging script, however, its capabilities and dynamic development meant that nowadays this tool is used not only for blogging, but also for running websites for various purposes. As a result, WordPress in this version is already used by over 30% of all websites. It has no equals in this field. WordPress is a great solution if you want full control over your blog and to be able to customise every little aspect of it.

On the other hand, deciding on this form of blogging, you have to predict the costs associated with it. The total minimum is the maintenance of the hosting account and domain that is on average about 200 PLN per year, and if the blog will be dynamically developed and gaining significant traffic these costs will surely increase.

Here's what a WordPress dashboard looks like:

wordpress

I invite you to read the article: WordPress review, where I discuss this script in more detail.

What are the prices?
WordPress itself is open source software, which you can download and run locally or on a server without incurring a licence fee for doing so. You also have a huge database of free themes and extensions to choose from, but some of them, especially those that offer really interesting features may be chargeable.

Read my other article to learn more about how to set up a blog or other site using self hosted WordPress: Step-by-step instructions

Can I use my own domain name?
Yes, any server that hosts WordPress can be associated with your own domain.

What can you adapt?
In a word: everything. You can customise the look, layout and content of every element of your site. There are no limits in this field.

Can I make money from my blog?
Since the control of the entire blog lies with you, monetising it does not impose restrictions on you. Just use the appropriate plugin or add custom HTML code to your theme.

You will find some information on this in the text: How to make money from your website.

Summary
WordPress is the undisputed leader of the blogging world. With over 3o% of all the sites running on the web, it's not hard to guess that this choice will make the majority of those deciding on it very happy with their choice. It is certainly one of the best blogging platforms if not the best.

Ghost (ghost.org)

Ghost is a JavaScript-based blogging platform started by a former WordPress developer. The sole purpose of creating Ghost was to focus specifically on blogging. Although Ghost also offers a commercial version, here we will discuss the version you can use on your own server. Similar to WordPress.org

Who should use Ghost?
Ghost is a good option for someone who wants convenience in publishing content and a non-distracting user interface. However, the script requires some technical skills to set up and run correctly.

ghost

What are the prices?
Ghost is open source software and is therefore freely available. In this field, it is no different from WordPress.org. The same applies to themes and plugins. In addition to the free ones, there are also paid versions.

Can I use my own domain name?
Yes, you can link your blog on Ghost to your own domain.

What can you adapt?
You can customise almost every element of the blog, although there's no denying, Ghost's support for themes and plugins is still poor compared to WordPress.

Can I make money from my blog?
Yes, you can add custom code to your site to display ads.

Summary
Although WordPress is a better alternative in terms of support and customisation of your blog, you can also turn your gaze towards the Ghost script, especially if you value the simplicity of the interface and full focus on the content you publish.

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2 Comments

  1. WordPress.com on the free plan is virtually non-functional. The paid plan is 200% more expensive than WordPress on your own server. The great advantage of WordPress.com is that we are somehow connected to the whole WordPress community, i.e. we can add other bloggers to our favourites and see their posts or comments in real time and it works both ways. With our own server and WordPress CMS we are practically alone and for a long time before anyone notices us, and when they do there is a good "chance" that they will forget about us.

  2. Thanks for the valuable text! Once you've set up your blog and gathered your first 500 uniques, you're welcome to Reach a Blogger. More information on our FAQ page https://reachablogger.pl/faq/ You are welcome! 🙂

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