Blogging is an extremely effective way to keep your audience engaged and demonstrate your expertise within your niche. In fact, blogging is now possibly the biggest part of content marketing for any company.
While large companies have complex websites with internal integrated blogging sections, small businesses rely on online tools and platforms dedicated to bloggers. There are many platforms to choose from as blogging continues to grow in popularity.
Blogging is also a great way to start monetizing your writing. You can write about products or services and get paid for being an affiliate advertiser. Monetizing your blog is too large of a topic to discuss in this article, but we will go over it at a later time.
If you start searching for blogging platforms, you will likely get overwhelmed with the search results. The problem is that you cannot simply pick the first link you see and go with it. Some blogging platforms have a simple, user-friendly interface, while others require some specialized coding skills. You will also find some are free while others charge a fee. We have also noticed some sites are well maintained, are frequently updated and offer customization tools while others are limited and dated.
With that in mind, we wanted to share a list of the most popular blogging platforms for small companies and share some pros and cons so that you can make an informed choice.
The first thing to note is the WordPress.org platform is different than WordPress.com (also included in this article). Basically, WordPress.org offers a free blog building software suite. You download the software, build your blog, choose a theme (free or paid), and buy a domain name and hosting service. When everything is ready, you upload your blog on the hosting server.
Unfortunately, it is a lot of work, especially if you are new to the world of site building and hosting. To balance this disadvantage, there are several advantages to using this platform:
- You can expand your blog as it becomes more popular, by adding new pages and new sections;
- You can customize the main theme to fit your branding image;
- The blog belongs to you 100% and you do not risk losing it if the blogging platform shuts down.
This platform is a simple, DIY blogging option for people without coding skills. It is a hosted platform (you do not have to buy this service), but your domain name will be tied to the .wordpress.com extension. If you want to remove this extension, you have to buy a domain name.
If you only want a basic blog, without special features and lots of customizations, then WordPress.com is the right option. It is also 100% free. It is important to note the platform will place ads on your blog. You can also choose one of the premium plans:
- $4/month fee for the Personal plan
- $8/month for the Premium plan
- $25/month for the Business plan
WordPress.com is currently the most popular blogging platform, and it offers lots of useful add-ons and plugins such as custom social media buttons, SEO plugin, and antivirus protection.
Wix is not a blogging platform per se, but a very popular hosted site builder which does not require coding skills to use. It has a simple, drag and drop interface and you can choose from a large variety of templates. You can also add third-party apps and plugins to enhance your blog.
The downside is that once you have picked a template, you have to keep it (in WordPress.com, for example, you can change your template). If you choose the free account, you will have the Wix brand on your blog. Also, your site will contain ads which you cannot control (the platform owners decide which ads they display). The premium plans vary between $8.50 and $24.50 per month, depending on the storage space and customization tools you need.
Medium is a hosted blogging platform, just as easy to use as Wix. It is an ideal choice if the content is your focus, not graphics. That is because Medium allows no customization – every blog has the same look and menu structure.
You will not be able to build your brand image on this platform. However, it is a great addition as a standalone blog to your company website. In compensation for the standard design, Medium offers a rich and beautiful range of typefaces and fonts to give your blog its own personality. Medium is free to use and has no premium plans.
We left this for last because, although it is a project backed by Google, it is no longer the popular blogging platform it used to be. Blogger is one of the oldest platforms of this type and promised to grow into a great community of users and developers.
It is currently owned by Google, but the internet giant has a reputation for buying and then killing off side projects. Picking Blogger as your platform of choice comes with the risk of losing your blog should Google decide to shut down this property.
There are a lot of choices when starting your first blog. Check out the platforms listed and see if it fits with your needs.