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Micro-blogging is another recently-introduced concept, where a message is relayed in a limited number of characters, such as Twitter. With so many startups cropping up all over the world, many entrepreneurs are interested in having a blog for their company, to help strengthen their online presence and accurately depict their brand personality.
Whether it’s a hobby or for professional purposes, blogging has certainly come a long way; so have most of the platforms that they can be hosted on. There has been an explosion in terms of how much you can customize a blog, especially with the ability to use external plugins and themes to create an aesthetic that truly defines what you represent.
With a combination of free and paid tools and web-hosting services, it is relatively easy to find out which platform would work best for your blog, based on your budget and purpose.
Let us take you through four of the leading blogging platforms currently in the industry, and what they each have to offer.
An open-source platform on which you can make an app, a website or a blog, WordPress.org is a great option if you want to create a self-hosted blog.
Not only do you have countless customizable features, you have support for custom plugins and themes, in addition to storage based on your hosting plan. If you’re a bit of a control freak, and love being able to manage every single detail of your blog, this is probably the right fit for you.
A beginner in the blogging-verse might take some time, effort and practice to get used to the platform; however, it’s an investment of your energy that is very much worth making.
As for the maintenance of the blog, once you’ve created it, you’ll have to make sure you regularly back your blog up after you’ve found a web host for it.
- WordPress.org is one of the most well-reputed and popular names in the industry.
- From free to paid web hosting, this platform can be installed on either of the two and function with equal ease with each.
- There are a range of free and paid options to learn the ropes of WordPress.org so that your blog has a completely unique aesthetic that you want, irrespective of what type of blog it is. This makes your online presence stand out from a business perspective.
- Downloading the WordPress platform is completely free of cost.
- Support from over 50,000 free and paid themes and plugins, so the possibilities of customization of the blog are infinite.
- WordPress.org isn’t too heavy on your system, either; it’s a lightweight platform that aims to load your blog quickly.
- This platform is also rather search-engine friendly, and you can use a number of plugins such as All-in-One SEO, to make sure your posts come out on top in a search for specific keywords.
- With the security option that comes inbuilt with WordPress.org, you can create various designated roles for particular users and ensure that your primary settings have restricted access and are safe.
- The range of features and the extent of the customizability might seem overwhelming for a first-time user.
- WordPress.org can be time-consuming for even advanced users, because of the number of choices, installations of plugins and customizations you have to make.
- You will need to maintain your blog once you have created it, with routine backups of the database.
- The URLs of WordPress.org blogs have to be made SEO-friendly from the Settings option on the dashboard, or they won’t crop up amongst the first few results in a search engine (this, of course, also depends on a whole host of other factors).
You need a hosting space, either free or paid, in order to install WordPress.org. There is an automatic installation of this platform on offer with almost all companies that offer Linux hosting.
In case you’re using Cpanel hosting, WordPress can be installed through the Softaculous Apps Installer. On the page that appears next, all you have to do is click on the WordPress icon, fill up the details and you are good to go.
If you want the non-self-hosted version (hosted on WordPress.com itself), you can just go to WordPress.com and create your account to gain access to a massive range of themes and features to customize your blog. With WordPress.com, your upgrades, security and backups are all taken care of, and you can also have a custom domain, for an annual fee.
Medium is a text-centric platform for long reads, with a simple, minimalistic layout that lets the words do all the speaking. Created by the founders of Twitter, the feed on Medium is populated with think pieces, blogs and reviews in a relatively polished and clean interface.
The focus on writing is pretty evident, but it’s worth noting that there is very little flexibility afforded to the user by way of design. Customization is minimal, and you can’t control much of the layout of your blog.
This is definitely the platform for those who are serious readers and writers and who want their work to be exposed to a large audience.
- When you publish with Medium, you can share your write-ups or articles with a large, built-in audience.
- Free sign-up.
- You can embed videos and content from third-party websites.
- Interactions on Medium are similar to most other blogging platforms, besides the commenting on posts, as a part of which users can highlight and focus on the relevant text before adding comments to the post.
- Medium has a special feature that informs you how long a read is, as opposed to word length, so you can plan when you want to read it.
- No minimum word limit for blog posts.
- This is the perfect fit for bloggers who are just starting out, freelance professionals and start-ups; not only is it easy to use, you don’t need to know how to code. It also lets you easily cross-promote your content to increase traction to your website.
- Customization and control over the look of the blog are minimal, through which a lot can be conveyed visually.
- You’ll need to purchase a custom domain option, if you want one.
Medium is free. All you have to do is go to Medium.com and either sign in using your social media accounts, including Facebook and Twitter, as a part of which the platform automatically imports your existing networks into the network on Medium, or choose to sign up with an email address.
All in all, Medium is a great place for in-depth coverage, long-form think-pieces and blog posts, and can be an effective way to direct traffic from your blog posts to your website.
Tumblr was one of the first platforms to introduce the idea of microblogging in the industry, back in 2006. It treads a mid-ground between Twitter and WordPress, offering users more text to work with, while having a much easier overall process to set up and customize, compared to the latter.
One of the biggest reasons Tumblr has taken off the way it has can be attributed to how mobile-friendly this platform has always been. Users can submit posts from anywhere, as well as follow other Tumblrs and reblog their posts, in addition to being able to “favorite” and add notes to them.
- Signing up is free.
- It is quite a unique micro-blogging platform in the industry and has developed its own following all over the world.
- You can use a custom domain name to make it look more professional.
- Since it’s such a mobile-friendly platform, you can update blog posts straight from your mobile phone.
- Tumblr, like Medium, comes with its own built-in audience, which gives your posts exposure to a wide and varied audience.
- Tumblr is pretty basic, and not the ideal platform for business or professional use.
- Since it lacks a large variety of themes and templates, it isn’t as customizable as other blogging platforms.
- Other platforms such as WordPress and Livejournal offer much more in terms of features and customizability.
You can set up your free account on Tumblr.com and take a look at the interface to figure out how it works. As with Medium, Tumblr is a platform where you can publish content in order to direct more traction to your main website.
This is where the magic began; Blogger used to be one of the first few free blogging platforms back in the early 2000s, with people from across the world sharing everything from recipes, to travel posts and other content to spread awareness.
It is definitely one of the easiest platforms to use, irrespective of how much blogging experience you have, and is considered a stepping stone in the industry. The platform was acquired by Google from Pyra Labs in 2003, and there has been no looking back since.
- It is a free blogging platform, available to all.
- Blogger requires you to have just the basic knowledge of typing and have internet access to be able to create your own blog and start publishing posts.
- Google has reinforced security features with advanced levels since taking over Blogger, so the platform can now retaliate against hackers or any malicious activity that is detected.
- This is a relatively SEO-friendly platform, as it is owned by Google.
- Blogger is a pretty basic platform.
- While its initial days were very exciting, it hasn’t introduced any updates in a really long time, unlike other platforms like WordPress.
- The platform itself offers a limited number of free templates, but there are several other websites offering premium templates free-of-cost, such as SoraTemplates.
- At its own discretion, Google has the authority to suspend your Blogger account. In case your blog is going to be your primary source of income, this is worth taking note of.
- Blogger does not support SEO plugins, which makes it harder to optimize for search engines; one of the biggest complaints against Blogger in the industry.
- Blogger must be hosted on Google’s own server, and cannot be hosted on your own web hosting space. This could be a problem in the future for users, and deserves looking into before taking the leap.
The process is simple: sign up with Blogger using your Gmail or Google account, and begin publishing your blog content. Sign-up is free and available to Google users across the world.
Now that we have taken you through four of the leading blogging platforms available, we hope you have a clearer idea of what sort of purpose each platform is ideal for.
Depending on the purpose, budget and ethos of your blog, you can pick a platform that you feel is the best fit. While a more visual blog would be more suited to platforms such as Blogger or Tumblr, text-heavy monologues or writing would be more at home on Medium.
Bottom line though, all of the six figure bloggers we see making a full-time income online, all use self hosted WordPress. You can read review after review, and see the headache they all go through switching from Blogger to WordPress… when it would have been a lot easier if they had just started with the best blog platform to start with. If you’re interested in self hosted WordPress, we recommend Bluehost or Siteground for all beginners. Cheap, easy, and good support.
The fact of the matter is that you need to have a clear idea of the kind of blog you want to create, and be able to visualize it in your head, and even make rough sketches of it, before turning to the trackpad of your laptop. Once you have gone through some of these blogging platforms and played around with some of the plugins and themes, you’ll have much more clarity on what value they can add to your blog.
The more you customize your blog, the more distinct it becomes. This is, after all, how brands build their image and craft identities; by maintaining a similar “voice” or tone in your blogs as well as your website, and cross-promoting your content, you are likely to get a much wider audience for your blog than you could have hoped for.