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After deciding you want to start a blog, you need to decide the best blogging platform to use.
There are many blogging platforms out there. The most popular blogging platforms include: WordPress.org, WordPress.com (yes, there’s a difference between the two WordPress platforms!), Wix, and Blogger.
With so many options to choose from, many starting bloggers often wonder which is the best blogging platform for their future blogging goals.
I tested free blogging platforms such as Wix.com and WordPress.com for about three years before I finally took the plunge and went for WordPress.org. Therefore, I have enough personal experience from 3 out of the 4 aforementioned platforms to provide insightful reports of each. That’s more platform experience than many bloggers probably have.
So there are four main blogging platforms that I’ve listed. But which one should you choose? Let me break it down for you.
What is Each Blogging Platform?
Blogger – Provides a Way to Make Money While Paying Nothing
This is a blogging platform hosted by Google. And I’ve heard that you can even make money through ads using blogger. This is something that is not possible with Wix.com and WordPress.com! You can typically only place ads on your blog if it’s through self-hosted platforms such as WordPress.org.
Pros of Blogger: Simple to start, easy to use, and you can monetize to make money.
Cons of Blogger: Social sharing is through Google rather than all other social media platforms. Google can suspend your blog or even get rid of the Blogger platform altogether causing your blog to be lost. It’s free which means there are limitations to your design (among other limitations).
Wix.com – Provides Freedom of Blog Design
Like I said, I started blogging on free platforms years ago. I was willing to do anything that didn’t require paying for my own blog. I was strict with money and was scared to invest in something that may not ever profit.
Because I wanted to keep it free, I chose Wix.com. I chose Wix because it was super simple (compared to WordPress.com which I found confusing). It allowed me to have lots of freedom over the look of my site. I was able to create it from scratch and without any coding experience or knowledge.
However, after a little over a year, I realized that Wix wasn’t going to cut it. A year of blogging there and I couldn’t scrape together significant page views and had barely any subscribers (I had less than fifty). Why was that?
For starters, Wix didn’t have the same sharing capabilities as other blogging platforms did. And with Wix, visitors had to sign up purely through their email. There wasn’t a simple follow button as provided by WordPress.com. There weren’t even simple widgets to add to my blog’s sidebar that would easily connect readers to my social medias or a BlogLovin’ account!
Pros of Wix: There is a lot fo design freedom when making your website, even with it being free.
Cons of Wix: While a great place for a hobby blog (for only yourself and a select few), this is NOT the place for your blog if you want it to grow! It’s exceptionally hard for people to find your blog through social outlets if you use Wix.com.
WordPress.com – Provides a Way to Grow Your Readership Easy
With that realization, I moved over to WordPress.com.
Instead of moving all my data over (I was not aware of if/how to do that at the time), I started a new blog from scratch. Within a couple of weeks, I had already gained subscribers. I knew instantly that WordPress.com was better than Wix (and it was still free!).
However, it still wasn’t cutting it for me. Sure, I was gaining subscribers, but I still couldn’t make my blog look the way I wanted it to look. Because of my lack of interest in the appearance of my blog, I was losing my desire to post on it…
Pros of WordPress.com: Simple to start, easy to use, and more social sharing options than Blogger (meaning you can share to multiple different social medias). Subscribers are easier to come by.
Cons of WordPress.com: You do not own your blog. Your blog belongs to WordPress.com so they can suspend your account and blog if you’re violating their Terms of Service. Therefore, you do not own your blog content either.
WordPress.org – Anything You Can Think Of, You’ve Got It
Because I wanted to experiment with the look of my blog and to design every aspect of it in my own way, I made the switch over to WordPress.org.
It was a big decision and I did months of heavy research before finally deciding to research, but I was hooked on the idea of also having my own domain name and the possibility of monetizing my site.
I started with free blogging platforms because I was too afraid to put in the money for something more. But now that I have, I’m so happy that I did.
Why WordPress.Org Should Be Your Blogging Platform
If you want to just test out what blogging is like for a couple months, really don’t have the money to spare, or just want to use it for your own personal reference, then feel free to use WordPress.com, Wix, or Blogger. Just keep in mind that you don’t own your blog or your work and it can get deleted or revoked whenever the company decides to do so.
However, if you want to blog for longer than a couple months, for more than just yourself, and with a little money to spare, I encourage you to invest in self-hosted WordPress.org.
In fact, in my experience with multiple blogging platforms, I think all bloggers should just dive straight in to self-hosted WordPress.org without starting on any other free blogging platforms.
WordPress.org is a self-hosted platform which means you have to buy hosting through another service.
For this, I personally recommend SiteGround, which is what I use for my own web hosting service.
If you want to research more about web hosting before buying with SiteGround, then please free free to start with my post “Choosing a Web Host for Your Blog: Why SiteGround is the Best.” The post compares the most popular hosts (SiteGround, BlueHost, and HostGator), and shows facts, research, and personal experiences from a multitude of bloggers in order to give you an accurate understanding of each host.
SiteGround’s StartUp plan is only $3.95/month! However, I started with, and still use, SiteGround’s Grow Big Plan for $5.95/month because it included extra features that I didn’t need right away, but definitely were worth just 2 extra dollars!
If you really want to blog, then starting with WordPress.org is a great investment. I do truly believe it is the best blogging platform out there.
And note that this is coming from someone who went through years of failed attempts at free blogging platforms to avoid spending money on a blog. All money you use to pay for WordPress.Org and SiteGround (as well as a theme, though there are many free ones that come with WordPress.org) can be made back through site monetization and dedicated work!
To start a self-hosted blog/site through WordPress.org, you just have to get hosting. SiteGround automatically installs WordPress.org for you too!
In the case that you decided to go with WordPress.org and were intrigued by SiteGround, please do check out my Step-By-Step Guide to Setting Up Web Hosting with SiteGround. If you start a blog on any of the four platforms mentioned in this post, I look forward to seeing them, and contact me in the comments section to let me know about it!
Do you have any doubts or questions about the platforms I listed in this post? If so, please feel free to ask. What scares you most about choosing self-hosted WordPress.org? Let me know, and maybe I can ease some of your fears by sharing some of my own experiences. And as always, if you have any input or questions, don’t be afraid to comment below! I’d love to chat with you.