Browse at WordPress.org
Setup nowadays so easy Snoop Dogg can do it with the elegance of NYTimes, Sony PlayStation, Wall Street Journal, Paris Hilton and more. WordPress requires no coding knowledge and is free software – it’s the domain name and hosting you pay about-as-much-as-a-cup-of-coffee-per-month for. It gives you a website like the world’s best and teaches you all about websites, too. For countless bloggers who do this for a living, WordPress.org is the best place to blog, and it continues to be the largest blogging community on the web.
- Recommended for: Blogging and websites
- Founded: May 27th, 2003
- Founder: Matt Mullenweg of Automattic
- Total users: 60 million, 19% of the internet and 1 in 5 websites as of December 2013
- Total employees: 151
- Pros: Elegance and ease
- Cons: You need to get a domain name and web hosting first
- Costs: Your domain name and hosting can be bought together for about $3-6 per month. I recommend HostGator for this, but other places are more than willing to charge you more ?
- My verdict: The best place to blog if you’re serious about it. Good for all types of review websites, fashion blogs, single page websites, business websites, mommy blogs, company sites, eCommerce sites and more.
Please Note: There is a material connection between this blog and HostGator. I receive compensation in the form of an affiliate commission for referring customers who need web-hosting to HostGator. This is by no means an easy process as quality reviews and guides take months to make, however I do receive compensation for such efforts. There are plenty of good web hosts out there besides HostGator so let me know if you have any questions! Please assume all links to HostGator are affiliate links for which I stand to earn compensation. These commissions are how I keep the blog online and free for everyone, so thanks. I only recommend the few products I use and depend on to succeed in blogging.
Browse at WordPress.com
WordPress.com is a free blog-hosting site with roughly half the features of .org. The general idea here is less maintenance for you, but less control of the blog. Get a .wordpress domain name like “dearblogger.wordpress.com” or pay to use your own domain name. Need a niche? WordPress.com sees 100,000 posts published each day so you’ll surely find like-minded thinkers. Not a full company website but a loyal companion for one. Write posts, try a free theme, set up social media buttons and learn blogging at WordPress.com.
DISCOVER: Why Blogs Fail to Get Traffic
- Recommended for: Mass community blogging
- Released: November 21, 2005
- Founder: Matt Mullenweg of Automattic
- Total users: 56 million blogs
- Pros: Ease to use with little you can mess up.
- Cons: Less customization and a bit fussy with adding certain features.
- Costs: Free, you can pay WordPress.com to get a domain name without the “.wordpress” addition.
- My verdict: A lovely intro to blogging that about 1 year in takes us all to a crossroads: stay put, or transfer to WordPress.org
Browse at Blogger.com
Blogger is Google’s free blog-hosting site. More popular at the turn of the millenium, Blogger still offers a great service but the designs are a bit elementary. Login and publish your first post for free with only a Gmail account. Try Adsense “monetization”, design a new layout and even edit your first piece of code.
SEE ALSO: 10 Things to Do After You Launch a Blog
- Recommended for: Blogging
- Founded: August 2013, 1999
- Notable events: Bought by Google in February, 2003
- Founder: Evan Williams of Pyra Labs
- Total users:
- Pros: Publish anywhere, huge community, images, video, edit HTML/CSS, template designer, track traffic stats in Blogger, Adsense at no charge
- Cons: While Blogger is where many writers (including Dear Blogger) started publishing, it’s designs appear a bit childish today. Google owns your blog – they axed Reader – so acknowledge a bit less control upfront.
- Costs: Pay $10/year for a domain name without the “.blogspot” extension – otherwise totally free.
- Future predictions: May merge with Google+.
- My verdict: Everything blogging should be and more – Blogger was the sandbox for names now headlining in tech. The only real negative comes from outgrowing Blogger, at which point many (like myself) transfer to WordPress. Less popular today – even Google’s PR Mogul Matt Cutts runs a WordPress site.
Browse at Tumblr.com
Introduction to Tumblr:
At a time when WordPress and Blogger were neck-and-neck for new users, Tumblr showed up as the 3rd guy to the party. They received lots of sign-ups from users wanting a totally refreshing take on blogging, and have grown ever since. Tumblr was recently bought by Yahoo, who has interesting plans for the whole blog advertising thing.
- Founded: February 2007
- Founder: David Karp
- Total users: 152 million
- Pros: Ease of use and ability to share your friends’ work through re-blogging.
- Cons: Less customization, just a shade less professional and not ideal for conducting business.
- Costs: Free, pay Tumblr to get your own domain name without the “.tumblr” addition
- My verdict: Great for photography and other forms of art. Super-simplistic designs and a whimsical vibe make Tubmlr a great choice for any new blogger.
Browse at SquareSpace.com
All over television with beautiful and encouraging ads, SquareSpace offers a nice solution for the business owner in need of a web presence. Get online quickly with a free trial, setup a cool design and start attracting clients – that’s the motto. If a more complex blogging platform were snowboarding, SquareSpace would be skiing, in the pie wedge stance ?
- Recommended for: Individual and business blogs and websites
- Founded: January 2004
- Founder: Anthony Casalena
- Total users: ?
- Pros: Elegant designs setup with a couple of clicks.
- Cons: Less customization – you’ll pay for things that may come free at a place like WordPress, cannot count blog posts, not a good software for accessing and managing blog posts.
- Costs: 14-day free trial with plans from $8 and up afterwards
- My verdict: Less hands-on than WordPress but arguably better advertising and accessibility – Squarespace gets your business site up quickly. A good quick solution.
Browse at Wix.com
Wix is a cloub-based web development platform whose brand name stresses originality, simplicity and above all, free. For this reason the platform is popular among musicians, photographers, entrepreneurs and other small business owners who want a quick-fix website on a very low budget. The catch with Wix is the premium features, which of course cost money, which you’ll almost definitely need as you expand your website. The main difference here between a Wix and a WordPress is with Wix you enter for free and pay more as you go, and with WordPress you enter for a cost (domain name and hosting) and afterwards all resources are free.
- Recommended for: Quick fix small-business budget websites
- Released: 2006
- Founder: Avishai Abrahami
- Total users: 57 million
- Pros: Drag and drop website builder which uses HTML5, little to no coding knowledge necessary, free to get a basic website online, text editor and free fonts, free templates, mobile friendly, login through Facebook or Google + accounts, and more.
- Cons: Charges for many features one would expect to be free. Difficult to transfer away from.
- Costs: Premium version of the software and additions, domain names, hosting capability. Unclear exactly how much you might spend but it has been reported to often cost several hundred dollars per year.
- My verdict: Obviously a very successful company with a wide marketing budget and clean look. But I’d never recommend Wix. There is just no situation I can bring to mind in which I would recommend Wix because of their pricing structure and decreasing market share among respected online brands.
Browse at Joomla.com
Joomla is an advanced CMS used by developers to publish some of the websites we visits each day. Written in PHP, it uses many of the same structures as a WordPress site does. For whatever reason, developers have flocked elsewhere, but Joomla remains one of the web’s oldest and savviest places to run a blog or website.
- Recommended for: Content Management, Web Content
- Released: August 17th, 2005
- Founders: The Joomla Project
- Total users: 35 million downloads
- Pros: over 6000 free extensions, estimated as the second most used content management system (CMS) after WordPress
- Cons: Smaller community, help out articles you find may be out of date.
- Costs: ?
- My verdict: Only really for a Joomla developer or website manager. Not an easy access point for a beginner.