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When you think of starting a blog, WordPress is invariably the name you will hear in the market and among blogging circles. It is a well-known, respected and reliable brand. Any blogger will swear by WordPress, provided you need all the things the platform provides. To begin with, there is a difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. If you are looking to build an entire website from scratch, WordPress.org is what you are looking for.
WordPress.org is an open source platform. Which means you can use the backend provided by WordPress on a corresponding web hosting platform. You have all the reins of how your website looks, what goes where, etc. You can build your templates entirely from scratch. Most professional websites use WordPress.org as an interface, which is likely to give your blog great visibility on Google also since it offers great SEO (search engine optimization).
This is especially a good option if you have some technical prowess and want to build a more complex website. Ideally, having some prior software knowledge makes the user experience with WordPress.org far easier. For bloggers who are new to the platform and are novices at building websites, there are more user-friendly options out there.
WordPress.com is the other offering from WordPress which people who are new to website building and do not have enough time to pick up new skills will find a better use for. WordPress.com is extremely easy to use and most new bloggers start their first blog with this platform. With WordPress.com, you can choose from a variety of templates, customize the look of your blog, add your own personal touch (in the ambit of the hundreds of templates the platform offers), all for free.
WordPress.com does not require a web hosting platform. You can use the platform as it is as all the technical building and backend has already been taken care of. There is no coding involved, you can build the website entirely by yourself and do not have to worry about the technical aspects.
Since the platform is completely hosted, there is some control you will need to let go of. For example, if you want more features than what the free platform provides, you will have to upgrade to a paid account. The WordPress logo will also be there at all times and you will need to upgrade to another plan to remove the logo. But other than letting go of some of the control, WordPress.com is extremely easy to use, especially for someone who wants to get the work done but has limited time to offer.
Weebly is another drag-and-drop website, not unlike WordPress.com, except it may perhaps be even easier to use. Weebly is extremely intuitive and most first time bloggers find it very easy to use. You will not need to handle any codes and can simply point and click to get the features you want on your web page.
If you want to get rid of the Weebly ads and banner, you will need to upgrade to a higher plan but even at the free plan, the features you can access are commendable. While the number of features and templates may not be as many as what WordPress.com provides, the user experience is still great and vouched for. You can add features like ‘social bookmarking’ (to help your posts go viral), add a comments section (to keep in touch with the readers) and also access the archives easily.
You can also make use of Weebly analytics to see when your readers are engaging the most. If your post is ready in the afternoon, but according to the data you should publish it later, you can even hold off on your post and schedule it for later. The Weebly server will publish it automatically at the chosen time. For a smooth user experience and several attractive features, Weebly comes highly recommended.
Wix is another popular website building platform that lets you explore several features and templates. The company is based out Israel but has users that vouch for their service across the world. Wix has an attractive collection of templates, perhaps more in number than what Weebly offers. But again, to get the best use out of Wix, it is best to opt for a paid plan where you can get rid of the Wix advertisements, logo and banners. To integrate your own domain name too you will need to use a higher plan, but it is entirely reasonable and not a bad investment to make.
With the new updates on Wix, you can even customize your photo gallery by adding captions to your photographs as well as links. You can also embed videos from YouTube and Vimeo to elevate the entertainment quotient of your blog.
What’s great about using Wix is also the fact that you can access and edit your blog on your mobile with ease. If you need to make changes to a post on the go, it is that simple! You can also get support over the phone and email if you ever get stuck or having trouble with the interface – a privilege not many website builders offer.
Blogger is one of the oldest website building platforms on the block. The fact that it has still managed to stick around and is still relevant speaks volumes of its worth. In 2003, Blogger was taken over by Google, so the blogs are hosted by Google (a great thing for your SEO ranking). You can integrate your blogger account with your Google account, so there is no added stress about remembering the user details for your blog. Simply log into your Gmail and you can access your blog.
Since Blogger is powered by Google, it can be easier to make revenue with your blog. Google AdSense will use its algorithm to put relevant advertisements on your blog. This is a great way to monetize your blog and make revenue.
Having said that, despite the many advantages of using Blogger, it is simply not as advanced as some of the others mentioned on this list. There are several features on Blogger that users of WordPress or Weebly may find outdated. It can be a limiting experience if you are looking for more options for add-ons and features. But if simplicity is what you are looking for, Blogger is a good option.
Squarespace is a great platform to use for artists, photographers, etc to build their portfolio. The interface has a sophisticated, plush feel. The templates are attractive and look extremely professional. It reflects well for an artist to have a good looking blog on Squarespace.
Here’s the thing though – Squarespace does not have a free plan. The starting plan costs $12/month and you still cannot monetize your blog. To be able to make money from your blog, you will need to upgrade to a business plan, which costs $18/month. Whether or not it is a worthy investment is for you to decide. But Squarespace does promise to make your blog look professional like no other platform.
To make up for the money factor, Squarespace offers an incredible aesthetic value. Its street credit is because of how attractive and perfect the templates are. There is very little you may want to change about the templates you can access with Squarespace. The templates can lay your content out in a concise and attractive way that can do wonders for your blog.
However, despite being paid, it is not as user-friendly as some of its competitors. For new bloggers, the learning curve may be steep. You may also find cracking SEO rankings a bit challenging at first.
Voog’s USP is that it offers a multilingual option. This is a huge advantage for bloggers who want to cater to different audiences in different regions. So even if you blog in English, you can still have a realistic expectation of reaching a Spanish-speaking audience, for instance.
The readers only have to press a flag icon on a page to read another version of the page in a language of their choosing. Of course, this does not mean that the platform will automatically translate the text. You will have to build two separate pages in two different languages. But Voog is one of the only platforms that allows you to integrate these two pages and make the website accessible to a larger audience. For example, if your reader base is in Florida, you could benefit from blogging in both English and Spanish. With Voog, you can do both things on the same platform.
Other than its multilingual feature, Voog is also quite simple to use and has several themes you will find attractive. It is, however, not as flexible as some of the other platforms mentioned in the list. For example, there is not much you can do to change the layout of a page. You will need to stick to what the template has to offer, which some bloggers may find limiting. Nevertheless, Voog does have something that no other platform offers and for that it is worth a try.
Strikingly can create incredible single-page websites. Single-page websites are the ones where the website reads like a long scroll. When you hit the navigation button, you can scroll up and down the page. Most other platforms do not support single-page websites. You will be compelled to build multiple-page sites which may be frustrating for a user to navigate.
While single-page websites can also be confusing, Strikingly does its job well. The templates are well-designed and keep your website looking fresh and professional. You can build a sections editor with Strikingly, which allows you to jump between one block to another. This avoids the hassle of scrolling up and down repeatedly in order to find a certain section. You can simply head over to the section editor and click on the section you want to access. If you are looking to build a single-page website, Strikingly is the way to go!
You may, however, feel limited when it comes to customizing the site. Strikingly does not allow you to steer very far from its default templates. But if a single-page website is what you are looking to build, Strikingly is your best bet.
Ucraft allows you to build a website by stacking blocks vertically on top of each other. Each block is made up of unique and individual elements, which you can customize based on the theme of your website. The platform offers pre-set blocks. While there is not much wiggle room in how the blocks look in terms of color palette, you can customize the elements that go into the blocks entirely. You are free to add and remove elements as you see fit.
There is also a Design Mode, which allows you to unlock several customization options. This feature, however, is paid and only accessible if you upgrade to a higher plan. In the category of block-based website builders, Ucraft is the best there is.
Building a website for blogging is equal parts exciting and challenging. There are several hurdles you will encounter along the way but overcoming those challenges offer a different kind of motivation. In today’s time, there are enough and more platforms that can practically handhold you through your blogging experience. It has never been easier to build a professional, successful website. Pick out a platform that suits your interests the best and blog away!