I’ve talked quite a lot about different ways to improve your blog—everything from when to post to what to call your posts—but one thing I’ve only very briefly touched on is what blog platform you should use.
Sure, it sounds like a pretty silly thing to even need to talk about… after all, you could walk into any random room nowadays and find at least one person with their own blog—if not many, many more. It is important to realize that you have options with what blog platform you pick, and it’s worth looking at them to determine what best suits your blog’s needs.
Free Blog Platforms
Let’s start off with the big two, because let’s be honest… you’re probably going to go with one of these, at least in the beginning. WordPress and Blogger are the two most popular blogging platforms out there.
- It is very easy to use, with its free templates and a Blogger Product Forum in case you need any help.
- It has the advantage of being connected with Google, meaning plenty of great things for your blog. For one thing, your blog will get indexed faster.
- It is also very hard to hack, so long as the email you used for your account remains secure. There is no need to worry about manual security updates!
- There are very few down times--Blogger tends to run quickly and smoothly, with very few hiccups.
- All of Blogger's templates are fairly similar looking. You can make some modifications, but unless you’re well versed in html, you probably won’t be able to make any serious changes.
- Like Blogger, WordPress is also free, easy to use, and comes with a variety of templates to choose from.
- It is much easier to make changes to the look of your blog.
- WordPress also allows for different types of posts thanks to free plugins and add-ons: text, video, audio… you name it, you can probably post it on WordPress.
- Plugins can also cause some problems if they aren’t updated in time with WordPress’ updates, and you may need to wait for an update or go on the hunt for new plugins instead.
- Security is also more of an issue with WordPress—if you don’t follow security updates regularly, you could put yourself at risk.
- Weebly is very easy to use, with a drag-and-drop design system that allows you to organize your content however you see fit.
- You get a lot more when you pay them. You get access to many more customization tools, higher quality video options, and the ability to create multiple blogs under one account.
Paid Blog Platforms
So what happens when you do have money to spare, and you don’t feel like upgrading that free account with WordPress or Weebly?
- TypePad will cost you a minimm of $8.95 per month.
- Easy to use and easy to customize.
- Excellent customer service. Apparently Typepad even keeps an eye out on social media for people complaining about problems.
- Extremely secure, and unlike with WordPress, you don’t have to worry about constantly updating, as Typepad will automatically do it for you.
- Spam is a bigger issue if you’re using Typepad.
- Your blog URL will still end in “.typepad.com.” This can be a turn off, especially if you’re going for a very professional look.
- Costs a minimum of $8 per month.
- Squarespace is an extremely secure blog platform, and very easy to customize.
- Squarespace is accommodating to all sorts of bloggers: if you want to make tons of intricate design changes, no problem! If you want to keep it very simplistic, that works too!
- Images can be problematic, particularly if you want to tag them for SEO purposes. Unlike with WordPress, you can only add captions to images, with no additional tags or titles.
- There are far less plugins and add-ons to help improve your site, leaving you limited to the customization options Squarespace has provided for you.
Bloggers, what blog platforms do you use, and what are some of the benefits or drawbacks you’ve experienced? Put your recommendations (or warnings!) in the comments!