Just a few years ago, lots of people were getting ready to write blogging off, claiming it would be killed off by the increasing use of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. And yet, that never has happened and truth be told, blogging, especially for businesses has never been more popular (or, in some lucky cases, more profitable.)
Whether you are a hobbyist looking for a creative outlet to share your personal knowledge, a businessperson looking to expand your marketing reach or an entrepreneur hoping to make a few bucks off blogging alone, the first thing you have to decide when starting a blog is just what platform you are going to blog from. And as blogging has become more and more popular, your options have increased as well. Let’s have a look at some of the best choices out there:
WordPress is the granddaddy of all blogging platforms, having celebrated its 10th birthday in July 2013. In fact, it’s so popular that 19% of the sites on the Internet – the whole of the Internet- are now powered by it.
For those unfamiliar with WP, it comes in two forms; the freemium hosted variety over at wordpress.com or the free to use, self-hosted version at wordpress.org. Self-hosting is by far the better option for a truly flexible site but if you only want to dabble a little, the .com version is fine, and you can also switch over to .org later.
Pros: Free to use, 1000’s of themes and plugins, great community support, very flexible.
Cons: The learning curve can be a bit steep once you get into more advanced functions.
Blogger is Google’s WordPress competitor. It is free to use – all you need is a Google account – rather easy to use and is hardwired into the Google AdSense program, which means if you are looking to make a few bucks simply off blog content alone, it’s a great way to start.
Pros: Free, easy to monetize, comes with all of that Google support.
Cons: Very limited in terms of themes and plug-ins when compared to WP, has been threatened with extinction in the past by Google themselves and its future is still uncertain. Probably not the best choice for a business blog especially as there is no way to add a non-Google branded URL.
Tumblr is the cool kid on the blogging block; part blog, part social network and ridiculously trendy right now, especially with the 13-30 set. It’s an excellent choice for those who would rather curate content more than they would actually like to create too much of it themselves, the biggest reason why it is so popular with teens. It’s a freemium set up akin to wordpress.com and now that the API is available to developers, the number of bells and whistles you can add to a Tumblr blog is increasing.
Pros: Easy to use, owned by Yahoo!, great for hobby bloggers and businesses with a lot of visuals to share (mainly retailers)
Cons: Cannot be monetized at this time, owned by Yahoo! whose track record with products has been spotty over the last several years.
Typepad has been around almost as long as WordPress but it has kind of fallen out of fashion these days and most people have forgotten that it even exists. It still has its users – including Seth Godin – but it is very inflexible compared to the other options we have talked about.
Pros: It’s reliable.
Cons: Not free, not very flexible.