Are you planning to start a blog but not sure which blogging site to use?
You are not alone. In fact, the most common question I get asked is – What is the best blogging platform for beginners?
When I started blogging in 2010, I wondered the same thing.
Disclosure: FirstSiteGuide is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site (i.e. WordPress.com blogging platform), we may earn an affiliate commission and it comes at no extra cost for you. We test and try all the products that we recommend.
Whether you want to build a blog for hobby blogging or you would like to find the best blogging software to make money and grow your blog as a business, finding the right blog site is imperative for your blog’s success.
Several top blogging platforms offer a range of capabilities – and one is bound to suit your needs.
The 10 best blogging sites and platforms
Let’s take a look at some of the best blog sites available on the web today and how they compare against each other.
- WordPress.com Best free blogging platform
- WordPress.org Best platform for serious bloggers
- Wix.com Best blog website builder for beginners
- Medium.com Simple platform for writing
- Blogger.com Publishing platform by Google
- Tumblr.com Best microblogging site
- Ghost.org Best WordPress alternative
- Postach.io Blogging powered by Evernote
- Weebly.com Plain drag and drop builder functions
- Typepad.com Best for businesses and journalists
If you are a beginner, you will want a platform that is easy to set up and easy to use (requires no coding skills). I’ll explain what each blogging platform has to offer, by highlighting their key features and showing their pricing plans.
WordPress.com — Best free blogging platform
WordPress.com is a hosted version of the open-source platform WordPress.org. It is a commercial project that offers a free trial plan with upgrades for a premium plan and custom domain.
According to our survey, it’s one of the most popular hosted blogging platforms out there. If you are an absolute beginner with no technical knowledge, but you want to build your blogging site, WordPress.com is the perfect site for you.
I recommend this software to all new bloggers as a good starting point.
The online publishing software is free to use (but your domain name will be formed as a subdomain and look like this – yourblogname.wordpress.com), and you can test it out after you create an account on the WordPress.com site.
This gives you a unique opportunity to try the best blogging platform and blog for free before you decide to upgrade to a premium plan. With the upgrade, you will be able to set up a domain and use the advanced features.
The WordPress site often rolls out new features and updates to continually enhance the user experience.
Plans and pricing
WordPress.com comes with the following plans – Free, Personal, Premium, Business, and eCommerce:
Visit WordPress.com for additional information
WordPress.org — Best platform for serious bloggers
WordPress.org is free software (blogging platform) that combines simplicity with powerful features.
We used this CMS (content management system) to build our website, FirstSiteGuide.com.
We also recommend it as a preferred platform to create a blog for all serious bloggers in our – How to start a blog guide.
This tool enables you to start a blog website from scratch in a matter of minutes.
Many popular bloggers (Tim Ferriss, John Lee Dumas, Pat Flynn, and more) use this platform to create highly functional and profitable blogs. It is easy to set up – all you need to do is select a reliable WordPress hosting provider, install WordPress software, and explore the wealth of features that come with it. You get to build your blog just the way you want to, by using pre-designed free themes. There are templates that you can pick based on your preferred layout, look and feel, and color scheme.
The WordPress platform also comes with a powerful administration area (Dashboard) for maintenance, easy-to-use content publishing, and an overview of what’s happening on your blog.
WordPress.org has a large community of experts who provide tutorials that help newbies. Here, at FirstSiteGuide, we also cover various WordPress topics. You can check out our Learn WordPress section to level up your skills and understand the best practices.
Plans and pricing
WordPress.org is an open-source (free) tool you can use to create a beautiful website or blog.
Wix.com — Best blog website builder for beginners
Recently, they’ve been tapping into the blogging vertical with a specific blog website builder offer. You don’t need any prior coding experience or web development expertise to build a website or blog with Wix.
It’s simple to control and maintain blog sites with Wix. You can select a pre-made theme from their resources or customize an existing one according to your taste. In addition to stunning templates, here are examples of some great Wix sites. The Wix platform also packs the power of these amazing features
Plans and pricing
Wix blog builder comes with eight different plans – Free, Connect Domain, Combo, Unlimited, VIP, and Business & eCommerce (Basic, Unlimited, and VIP) plans:
Visit Wix.com for additional information
Medium.com — Simple platform for writing
Medium is different from the rest of the free blogging sites. It offers a no-frills approach to content publishing as it allows bloggers to write what they are passionate about without having to worry about coding, design, domain, or other issues.
You can also use it as an additional channel to share your content; for example, you can repurpose content from your existing blog post created on other blogging platforms such as WordPress and post it on Medium. That’s how most professional bloggers use it.
You can post stories for the vast community of readers that visit Medium and get appreciation and feedback from them. It is also possible to connect with avid readers who are willing to pay for quality content through the Medium Partner Program. This way, you can monetize your blog posts while sharing your ideas and opinions with the world.
To start blogging with Medium, sign up, and share your content with the editorial team who analyze them according to their standards. If you create quality content that follows their guidelines you can start earning money by attracting subscribers.
Plans and pricing
Medium started as a free platform for publishers but recently started to offer membership subscriptions.
Visit Medium.com for additional information
Blogger.com — Publishing platform by Google
Blogger is one of the best free blogging platforms that offer a secure and reliable way to create a blog.
This hosted blog platform was launched in 1999 and later acquired by Google. You don’t need a hosting provider to start using it. All you need to do is log in using a Google account – you’ll be asked to follow the simple guidelines provided on the Blogger to make a blog for free. There’s no need for technical knowledge or coding experience as the site is quite intuitive in design and setup. It remains a widely used solution; however, I see more people moving away from it. The good news is that the platform is free, and you can test it without any commitment. Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of this blog site.
Plans and pricing
The good news is that it’s free, and you can test it without any commitment.
Visit Blogger.com for additional information
Tumblr.com — The best microblogging site
Founded in 2007, Tumblr is a microblogging platform and social media website joined together. Tumblr’s main focus is on multimedia and short-form content. If you are a writer and planning to write longer-form content, I wouldn’t recommend starting with Tumblr. It’s often used as a social network site because you can integrate a variety of media files such as photos, videos, and audio files You can also embellish your blog with GIFS, stickers, and some text. Users have the option of designing their Tumblr page with customizable themes, fonts, layouts, and many other design options.
Tumblr is ideal for bloggers who have a heightened focus on visual content. It is a global site that is visited by millions of people every day who repost their favorite blog posts and initiate conversations.
Plans and pricing
Visit Tumblr.com for additional information
Ghost.org — Best WordPress alternative
Ghost is an open-source blogging platform meant for journalists, editors, and writers. The product was launched in 2013 through a successful Kickstarter campaign (and it’s a good alternative to the best blogging platform – WordPress)
You can be in control of the design of your blog and the kind of experience you want to create for your readers. There are absolutely no rules when it comes to this tool – no limits on customizations or social media restrictions. Sign up to get started and publish your content for a vast audience as you target readers through email newsletters and monetize your written pieces through Ghost’s premium plans.
You can benefit from a collection of publishing tools perfect for professionals who want complete control over their site. These tools allow you to code and add functionality to your blog using modern technology.
Also, Ghost is fully managed through state-of-the-art cloud management technology and offers comprehensive developer control. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the platform.
Plans and pricing
You can start using the platform for free and select one of the four paid plans after:
Visit Ghost.org for additional information
Postach.io — Blogging powered by Evernote
Postach.io is a blogging platform powered by Evernote, and it enables you to convert your notes into blogs.
To sign up with Postach.io, you need to register a new account, or use an existing Evernote account. You’ll need to install Evernote and then integrate it with Postach.io to connect your notes. It is a convenient way to enter the blogosphere. Users are able to use the dashboard to personalize their blogging website according to their taste and write blogs on the go with Evernote.
You can set up a free blog with this software, but if you want a custom domain, subscribe to a paid package. Postach.io also offers a collection of free and premium themes to help you create a visually appealing blog.
Plans and pricing
Postach.io is available in four plans:
Visit Postach.io for additional information
Weebly.com — Plain drag and drop builder functions
Weebly is a simple yet powerful website builder with a blog setup option available via an easy drag and drop editor.
In 2018 Weebly was acquired by Square, a mobile payment company. This change is a sign that their focus is mainly around websites, particularly eCommerce and small business sites. However, the platform offers blogging services, and anyone can try it for free.
Weebly gives you complete freedom to build your blog using beautiful themes with builder functionality. There’s also a free built-in hosting provider that ensures fast loading time for your website. All in all, the Weebly platform gives the right tools that work in combination with powerful features to create a blog in minutes.
Plans and pricing
Weebly service is available in the following plans – Free, Connect, Pro, and Business:
Visit Weebly.com for additional information
TypePad.com — Best for businesses and journalists
Note: When I last checked their site (on Jan 5, 2021), I saw a popup message – “Typepad is currently not accepting new signups. New customers are encouraged to check out our partner, Bluehost.”
TypePad is a blogging platform that was launched in 2003. It has a simple and user-friendly interface and offers exceptional customer support.
I don’t know of many successful blogs that are running on this platform. However, one that comes to mind is a blog by Seth Godin. Seth used to run it with the subdomain sethgodin.typepad.com (archive link) but some time ago changed it to the custom domain seths.blog.
TypePad offers various design tools that breathe life into your blogs so that you can captivate your readers visually. It’s your choice to monetize with ads and services or not. Additionally, you don’t need to worry about any technicalities with this software as it is fully hosted.
Plans and pricing
Typepad is currently not accepting new signups. New customers are encouraged to check out their partner, Bluehost.
Visit TypePad.com for additional information
How to choose the best blogging platform
Now that you know about all of the options available to you, it’s time to finalize the perfect blog management tool for your needs.
Assess your options against the following checklist:
- Value for your money – ensure that your chosen service is going to deliver precisely what you need. This means easy-to-use blog software, with all of the bells and whistles you need for success.
- Types of solutions available – explore the different solutions that are designed to support you, the blogger. Use these to build a truly unique blog. Options typically include free blog sites, self-hosted platforms, and premium blog site builders.
- Ease of use – some platforms offer quite the learning curve that can discourage new bloggers. You need a simple building tool that doesn’t require any technical skills, design, or marketing expertise.
- Features – you might not need all of the features at the start, but make sure that the best blog platform of your choice lets you customize or modify your website if needed. If you would like some third-party tools to be integrated, check if they are available.
- Blog management – if needed, you’ll have to access the back-end or admin area to update your blog, make any changes, and fix the layout. It is crucial to make sure that this area is available, manageable, and easy-to-navigate.
- Rules and restrictions – before you pay for software, read through the ‘Terms of Usage’ so that you can be sure that you aren’t breaking any rules with the way that you’ll be using it.
This information should be sufficient for you to research and locate the best blogging site for your needs.
Types of blogging platforms
One of the most widely used best blogging platforms and self-hosted CMS (Content Management System) is WordPress.org. It’s recommended by a majority of blogging experts.
This system has emerged as the clear winner for professionals because:
- It takes care of all tasks related to setting up and sustaining your blog.
- The integrated dashboard can make and finalize updates with a click.
- It offers comprehensive customizations and support for blog design and functionality.
While WordPress.org is our top recommendation, if you are wondering about how to set up your new blog, there are several other options as well.
For example, you can consider the following blog sites:
- Free blogging sites (hosted): If you opt for this option, your blog’s address will look like this: domainname.sitename.com. The most significant advantage is that it’s free, but the shortcoming is that you’ll have to follow their rules. Besides, a name with a subdomain can make you look like an amateur.
- Freemium/premium options: If you become interested in a freemium/premium solution, you can experience it in all its glory during a free trial period. If you like it and choose to continue using it, you’ll have to start paying (up to $30 per month).
- Self-hosted blogs: Select this option if you want to host your blog site on your domain and name it however you want. You’ll have to follow some rules set in place by your domain registrar and hosting company, but other than that, you are your own boss. You’ll be fully responsible for the site and its contents. The Self-Hosted CMS is free as well.
- Website builders: These tools let you create simple blogs thanks to their drag-and-drop interface. Take advantage of the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) facilities when you use a website builder.
How WordPress compares to other websites for blogging
As explained earlier, WordPress is the absolute best in its class. WordPress is actually home to 43% of websites on the internet, proof that its self-hosted version is very popular.
I’ve already written another guide wherein I compare WordPress with other leading CMS’ so we won’t go into those details here. If you’d like to read these in-depth comparisons, here are the links:
- WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com
- WordPress vs. Blogger.com
- WordPress vs. Tumblr
- WordPress vs. Wix
- WordPress vs. SqaureSpace
These other platforms have their own unique audience as well because they are great for beginners who want to make a blog. But if you want a solid foundation for your blog, nothing beats the self-hosted WordPress.
Moving your blog across platforms
If you’ve already started your blog with another platform, but then decided to move to WordPress, it is possible to do without any downtime. The ‘Import Tool’ with WordPress takes care of it for you.
Go to the WordPress Dashboard and head to the Tools section. Here you’ll find these options to help you import from other solutions:
- Blogger – import posts, comments, and users from a Blogger blog. Read our step by step guide on How To Move Your Blog From Blogger To WordPress.
- WordPress.com – import posts, pages, comments, custom fields, categories, and tags from a WordPress export file. Read our step by step guide on How To Move Your Blog From WordPress.com To WordPress.org.
- Tumblr – import posts and media from Tumblr. Read our step by step guide on How To Move Your Blog From Tumblr To WordPress.
- Wix – import posts and media from Wix. Read our step by step guide on How To Move Your Blog From Wix To WordPress.
- Weebly – import posts and media from Weebly. Read our step by step guide on How To Move Your Blog From Weebly To WordPress.
- Squarespace – import posts and media from SquareSpace. Read our step by step guide on How To Move Your Blog From Squarespace To WordPress.
- LiveJournal – import posts from LiveJournal. Read our step by step guide on How To Move Your Blog From LiveJournal To WordPress.
- Movable Type and TypePad – import posts and comments from a Movable Type or TypePad blog. Read our step by step guide on How To Move Your Blog From Movable Type And TypePad To WordPress.
It is important to remember that WordPress plugins offer other import options as well – try searching the official plugins repository for an importer tool that works for you.
The most reliable way to find the best blogging platform for your needs is to understand how free blogging sites and self-hosted WordPress function. Also, your choice will depend on your budget, customization abilities, and ease of use of the software you want to use.
Through this guide, I have informed you of all the features (pros and cons), and the pricing range of the best blog sites. And now you know how to get started with each of them.
So which one will you choose?