Don’t you just hate it when you look for the answer to one question and all the articles that you find try to get you to sign up to something or sell you something under the premise that the best option is presented? This is exactly what happens when you look for “best way to start a blog” in Google.
Most of the articles you will find will talk about what is considered to be the very best option for most people. There is this general consensus that the best way to start a blog is to use the WordPress platform with hosting and a domain name. It is quite hard to argue with this but the truth is:
The best way to start a blog varies from one individual to the next.
Eventually, you are going to most likely move up to using WordPress but when you first start, something else might be better for you. This is what people do not tell you because their goal is to make money.
The Best Options When You Want To Start A Blog
I do not want to bore you with too many details. Saving time is important so you want to focus on the best option for you. With this in mind, currently the best options when you want to start a blog are considered to be the following:
- Using WordPress.org
WordPress is by far the most popular blogging software out there. It is open source so the possibility to get exactly what you want is huge. In order to use this you will need the platform, a domain name and hosting. Most hosting companies these days allow you to quickly install WordPress in just minutes so you can start blogging as fast as possible.
- You get complete control of everything.
- Growth is easy.
- Thousands of themes are available with endless customization options.
- Completely search engine friendly.
- Learning curve is higher. If you do not know anything about HTML, PHP and the platform itself, you will need to start learning.
- You have to manage security and backups.
- You need to pay for hosting and a domain name as a minimum. Themes and plugins can cost extra if you cannot use free ones.
The actual software is free but you have to spend money on the domain name and hosting.
- Using Wix
Wix is often recommended as the best option to start a blog for those that do not want to worry with learning too much. It is actually a hosted platform designed to help people build sites. Most of the design is done with the use of drag and drop. Adding the blog is done through an app.
- The site can easily be customized with the use of numerous third-party applications and templates.
- Setup is really easy and fast.
- The site is built with drag and drop and no coding skills are needed.
- With the free account you have limited actions and Wix branding is visible on the website.
- Template cannot be changed after chosen.
- There is a limited number of available third-party apps.
- You can only use ecommerce features with paid plans (they are bad anyway so if you think about anything ecommerce, avoid Wix – WordPress vs Wix is an old debate).
Wix’s website builder is practically free. Custom domain can be added for around $4.5 per month. Premium plans are paid per month.
- Using WordPress.com
While you will never see actually see this recommendation made in most sites teaching you how to start a blog because of the limitations it has, you might want to consider it in some specific situations. Practically, the service is a basic free blog hosting service. Extra optional paid options include additional storage, custom domain name and more.
- There is no setup needed.
- Really easy to use and to manage.
- No need to have PHP or HTML knowledge.
- When you want to extend a site, limitations appear.
- Advertising is not possible on the blog, unless upgrading to a paid service.
- You are not the owner of the blog. The account can be suspended when violating TOS.
A WordPress.com account is completely free. However, it has added branding and ads. An upgrade to a personal plan is available so you can remove all advertising and logo, while also offering a custom domain name when paid yearly. If you opt for an extra measurements, one that is larger, extra storage and design tools become available.
- Using Blogger
Blogger is a very popular free blog hosting option that is under Google ownership from 2003. It gives you access to an easy and fast way to build a blog if you are not tech-savvy. I even use it whenever I want to try something new, like a brand new niche, so I see how it goes. As the site grows I still manage to make some money since ads can be added to Blogger. Google AdSense integration, for instance, is really simple.
- Blogger is completely free.
- Google has high reliability and a secure platform available.
- Really easy to use without technical skills (but not as easy as with WordPress.com)
- Only limited blogging tools are available.
- Limited design options since fewer templates can be used.
- Infrequent addition of new features and updates.
- The blog can be suspended whenever Google sees fit and the Blogger service might be removed completely without much of a prior announcement.
Blogger will help you to get the blog running and you get to writing really fast but eventually, you might end up investing in WordPress.
- Using Tumblr
People rarely mention Tumblr as the best way to start a blog. This is because the platform is different. It is meant for microblogging and has a focus put on social networking. You can easily reblog, follow other blogs, can use sharing tools and a whole lot more.
- Completely free and very easy to utilize.
- The social media component is integrated.
- It is really easy to blog images, audio formats, GIFs, videos and texts.
- Limited features that cannot be extended as blogs grow.
- Numerous themes are available but extra features are not.
- It is difficult to move to another platform if you decide to as importing content is not easy.
While Tumblr is free and you can add a domain name that you purchase separately, this is a platform that is mainly used for those that often share images and videos, not necessarily for bloggers that write a lot of text.
- Using Medium
Medium is quickly growing in popularity right now, although it was launched in 2012. Nowadays, this is a community of experts, journalists, bloggers and writers. If your goal is to write as much as you can and you are not interested in much else, Medium is one of the best options available for you.
- Medium is incredibly easy to use. There is no setup that is needed and coding skills are not needed.
- The focus can be put solely on your writing as opposed to website design.
- You can easily reach an online community of people that have similar interests.
- Highly limited features in terms of brand building or design.
- Ads cannot be added.
- Your audience is owned by Medium.
You might want to use Medium in many cases. However, if you are interested in building a brand and a following, Medium is not the best options.
People will tell you that the best way to start a blog is to use WordPress. I do believe this is correct.
However, there are cases in which you do not want to choose WordPress. The truth is that if you are only interested in sharing images, Tumblr might be better. If you just want to write and do not care about following or making money, Medium is a really good option. If you want to run a personal blog and you do not want to put money into it, WordPress.org and Blogger might be better for you.
It is important that you think about all the options that are available if you want to make a good final choice. If you do want to make it a business though, the full WordPress installation, together with hosting and a domain name is the way to go!