How to Determine the Best Blogging Platform for You

Posted on December 4, 2016 by in Tips & Tricks | 11 comments

How to Determine the Best Blogging Platform for You

Interested in starting your own blog? It’s an exciting concept to be able to share your thoughts with the world. But getting started can be difficult. Which blogging platform should you choose? How can you launch your blog? How can you get readers?

This post is all about helping you with that first question – picking a blogging platform. I’ll take you through some of the questions you should ask yourself when choosing a blogging platform. Then, I’ll go through some of the most popular platforms and tell you why you might want to pick one platform over another.

What to Consider When Choosing a Blogging Platform

Before you read through the comparisons below, you should start mulling over these questions:

  • Are you okay with just a blog or do you want a full website? I know this post is about blogging, but it’s important to consider whether you want to also include some elements of a static website.
  • Do you want a hosted or self-hosted solution? With a hosted solution, you won’t need any technical knowledge. Self-hosted platforms are still fairly simple but will require you to deal with your own website hosting and domain name.
  • How much are you willing to spend? You need to consider how much you’re willing to spend on your blog. All self-hosted solutions require you to pay for, at a minimum, hosting and a domain name. Some hosted solutions also require monthly fees.
  • Do you want to make money from your blog? Some platforms limit how you can monetize your blog. If you’re just blogging for fun, this might not matter. But if you want to make money from your blog, you need to pick a platform without restrictions.

Now, I’ll take you through the various blogging platforms. I’ll answer these questions for each platform and share some of the other features which make the platforms unique.

1. – Self-Hosted Version of WordPress


If you poke around this website, you might think we’re a little biased about using the self-hosted version of WordPress. But we’re not the only ones – self-hosted WordPress powers a whopping 27.1% of all websites on the Internet.

Self-hosted WordPress is popular, in part, because of its versatility. You can use it exclusively as a blog or make your blog just part of a bigger website. It’s also possible to have a full control over your website and can monetize it however you want. You can even use themes and tools called page builders to build beautiful websites without knowing anything about code or design.

The only drawback with self-hosted WordPress is that you will need to pay for your own hosting and domain name. Together, these costs typically start at about $50 per year and go up from there. You’ll also need a bit of technical savvy to get your blog set up. Nothing too difficult, though!

Key Features:

  • Versatile – can create a standalone blog or full website
  • Control – can monetize and customize your blog however you’d like to
  • Huge support system – easy to find answers to any potential problems
  • Huge database of themes and plugins – easy to customize

Price: WordPress platform is free, but you need to pay for hosting/domain | More Information

2. – Hosted Version of WordPress is the same basic WordPress software I just discussed, but with some serious tradeoffs. But first, the positives: is 100% free and easier for a beginner to get started with. No need to figure out hosting and your own domain name – you just sign up with a username and instantly start blogging.

But that convenience comes at a cost. You lose a ton of flexibility. You’re limited in how you can change your site and you’re also restricted when it comes to monetization. If you’re planning to blog as a business, is not a viable option.

If you just want to blog for fun, then you should consider it for its convenience.

Key Features:

  • Convenience – can start blogging in minutes with no technical knowledge
  • 100% free if you use a domain
  • Same basic WordPress software as the self-hosted version
  • Limited in terms of customization and monetization

Price: Free | More Information

3. Medium


Medium is a significantly different platform than WordPress. It’s all about blogging – so if you’re looking to have some regular website elements, you’ll need to go elsewhere.

It’s also 100% free and hosted at Of course, this means you don’t really “own” your blog at Medium, nor can you monetize or customize it. But, here’s one cool thing about Medium:

It has a built-in audience. Other Medium readers can find your posts and your posts might even go viral if they become “Editor’s Picks.”

Medium is great if you’re just looking for a platform to share your thoughts with the world. But if you want to monetize or customize your blog, you’re much better off with something like WordPress.

Key Features:

  • 100% free
  • Hosted at
  • Built-in audience to read your posts
  • Focused entirely on blogging

Price: Free | More Information

4. Ghost


Released in 2013, Ghost is the blogging newcomer on this list. Think of it like a lightweight version of WordPress that’s focused 100% on blogging. Ghost can be downloaded for free if you’re hosting it yourself. Or, you can pay for the hosted version starting at $19 per month.

If you want a simple, lightweight blogging platform that you have full control over, you should consider Ghost. Just remember that you won’t have as much flexibility or support as you would with something like WordPress.

Key Features:

  • Stylish, minimalist design
  • Comes in hosted and self-hosted versions
  • 100% focused on blogging

Price: Free w/ own hosting/domain or $19/month for hosted version | More Information

5. Tumblr


Tumblr is another free hosted blogging platform. But whereas the other blogging platforms on this list are mostly focused on text, Tumblr fits better with image blogs. Not that you can’t use Tumblr for text, but the content that does the best on Tumblr is mostly images.

Like Medium, Tumblr has a built-in audience of people to see your posts. And also like Medium, the same caveat of most hosted solutions applies – you will sacrifice flexibility and monetization if you use Tumblr.

Key Features:

  • 100% free
  • More image than text focused
  • Built-in audience

Price: Free | More Information

6. Blogger


If I were writing this post ten years ago, Blogger would be at the top of this list with WordPress. But in the intervening years, Blogger has definitely fallen off as a popular blogging platform.

Still, it remains a viable platform for anyone looking for a free, hosted blogging platform. Like most hosted versions, you will be sacrificing flexibility in exchange for convenience.

One advantage of Blogger over other platforms is that it integrates easily with Google services like AdSense. This makes it easy to add some basic monetization to your blog.

Key Features:

  • 100% free
  • Focused on blogging
  • Easy integration with other Google services

Price: Free | More Information

7. Squarespace


Though Squarespace is probably known more for creating regular websites, Squarespace also makes it easy to create a blog. This versatility is definitely nice if you want the best of both worlds.

Squarespace is also hosted, so you won’t need to fiddle with installing your own software. But, you will pay for this privilege.

If you want to turn your blog into a business, Squarespace is a solid option. But if you’re just blogging for fun, you don’t need to pay the premium for Squarespace’s business-centric functionality.

Key Features:

  • Can create regular websites AND blogs
  • Hosted and user friendly
  • Business-focused functionality

Price: Starts at $12 per month | More Information

Which Blogging Platform Should You Pick?

Call me biased, but my overall recommendation is the self-hosted version of WordPress. There’s just no other option which offers the same levels of flexibility, affordability, and support.

With that being said, if you have a specific need, you might want to go with another platform. For instance, if you’re just looking to share your thoughts with the world in the simplest and quickest method, you should consider Medium or Tumblr.

If you want a bit of a beefier blog setup but don’t want to pay money or deal with hosting, you should consider or Blogger.

Now it’s your turn – do any of you use a non-WordPress blogging platform? Which is your favorite?

Article thumbnail image by Legend_art / 


  1. If you want to use the most beautiful theme called Divi, the only option you have is to go with self-hosted version of WordPress. 🙂

    • divi vs Extra whichone would you chose?

      • Both are nice. It depends on the project. Extra might be better for a blog / magazine / news website, while Divi is better for more static websites.

  2. Jimdo also exists, but I do not recommend it, I recommend WordPress, greetings

  3. Likewise, have been running self-hosted wordpress blog for 7 years now and I have absolutely no regret! Started off with Wix but migrated shortly after.

  4. Should people have their wordpress blog post auto share to medium, tumblr, etc Thoughts?

  5. Greetings ET Community,
    Due to time constraints, I usually read these posts, but I rarely comment.

    However, this post definitely needs to be commented on.

    I’ve tried various platforms, but I know that without a doubt, Divi is the “ONLY” tool anyone needs, whether it’s a Blog or a Website, and we all know that there is no other option but, that will allow Divi to be used.

    As a web designer, haven’t seen anything better than Divi, not even before Divi 3.0 was released!

    With all the plugins ( Free/Paid), that can be used with Divi 3.0, and the fact that the ET Team are always at the drawing board to come up with ideas on advancing the Divi Arsenal of tools, I’m still asking myself one question: “Why haven’t you upgraded to the lifetime subscription?????????????

  6. I would add another category to the questions: what is your time worth? Using a hosted solution like SquareSpace, Medium, or Tumblr frees you of having to do updates yourself.

    WP self-hosted is the most time-consuming option and if all you want to do is blog, a full WP install is overkill, not to mention handling all the track back spam, etc. Medium is not just a platform but a pretty active community of readers. If you want to get your writing in front of a lot of people, it’s a pretty good choice. is similar.

    If you want to do more than blog, SquareSpace or self-hosted WordPress.

  7. A few days back, I tried the Ghost blogging platform on DigitalOcean. It’s was pretty impressive and fast. I started researching about it.

    It has a great potential as it’s based on NodeJS. But I personally think it has a hard time to beat WordPress, regarding community. Moreover, it’s just a blogging platform not a complete CMS like that of WordPress.

    WordPress is certainly the way I look forward.

    Anything other than self-hosted I hate them.

  8. For me its wordpress followed by joomla. WordPress has grown from a baby to a professional now. It certainly has the biggest plugin market and is most customizable and easy to develop. By the way thank you for this wonderful article.

  9. Hello. I’m definitely a novice. I would,like,to know what you charge to set up a blog. Honestly I want every thing done for me. If this is a possibility, please let me know. I have signed up with WordPress.

500,591 Customers Are Already Building Amazing Websites With Divi. Join The Most Empowered WordPress Community On The Web

We offer a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee, so joining is Risk-Free!

Sign Up Today

Pin It on Pinterest