How to Choose a Blog Publishing Platform

The estimated time to read this article is 5 minutes.

The first step you must take before setting up your blog is what publishing software/platform to use. There are many different web publishing platforms available, each with their own host of pros and cons with a different levels of tech/web savvy-ness required to work with them.

We’ll try and list most of them below so you an explore each along with going into some detail for a handful of the most popular platforms.

Popular Web Publishing Platforms

WordPress

Wordpress.com

WordPress is available as either a hosted or a self-hosted version.

WordPress.org is the self hosted version of WordPress. This means that the platform is downloadable and open source which you install on your at your own web hosting and you have full control over customising your website as you see fit.

WordPress.com is the online version of WordPress. You set up your blog on WordPress’s website and by default, choose a sub domain on wordpress.com which is where your blog will be served from (although there is the ability to use your own domain name as well).

As of September 2014, 76.5 million websites were powered by WordPress, that then, was more than 26% of all websites on the web and you can see from the screenshot of their homepage above, that now they power more than 30% of the web. WordPress is by far the most popular and widely used CMS and blogging platform and still continues to grow at a rapid rate.

How much will this cost you?

The WordPress platform is downloadable for free. It is open source and can be modified either for personal use or commercial use as you intend.

More information

Wikipedia

Blogger

Blogger

Blogger is Google’s answer to blog publishing. It is completely web-based and accessible through a Google account so there is nothing to download or host yourself which can prove far better for the more non-technical blogger. The platform comes with its limitations as the only customisation you can apply is through whatever widgets are available and work with the pre-built theme you choose.

How much will this cost you?

Blogger is completely free to use.

More information

Wikipedia

Tumblr

Tumblr

Tumblr is a microblogging platform which provides very simple ways of quickly posting various media and information to form a blog. It allows users to reblog content on their own blogs and like posts, this coupled with various social integration, makes for easily shareable and spreadable content across the platform.

How much will this cost you?

Tumblr is completely free to use.

More information

Wikipedia

Typepad

Typepad

Typepad is another web-based platform that comes with its own set of features you can add to your blog, with a choice of pre-built themes and layouts. It also comes with built-in analytical tracking and social integration.

How much will this cost you?

Typepad have a variety of plans ranging from $8.95 per month to $49.95 per month – all with a 14 day free trial.

Movable Type

Movable Type

Movable Type is a self-hosted platform which is compatible with all the most common server environments. They offer a directory for plugins and themes for you to install for your blog to use.

How much will this cost you?

Movable Type is completely free to use if you use the self-hosted open source version but they do offer paid plans for AWS or with technical support.

More information

Wikipedia

More Web Publishing Platforms

Drupal – Open source self-hosted CMS which is quite unique in how you create your site in it so if you have limited Drupal experience, expect to have to spend quite a bit of time getting acustomed with this.

Joomla – Been around for a long time now (2005) but has never really provided a particular user-friendly or clean interface and out-of-the-box design/theme. That said, it is feature-rich and fully extendable.

Ghost – A relatively new blog publishing platform that focuses on simplicity with a streamlined and efficient blogging provision. It is offered as either an open source downloadable instance or as an online web-based instance on paid plans ranging from $19 per month to $199+ per month depending on views/usage.

Medium – If you don’t want the hassle of worrying about installation, handling media, SEO/promotion and everything else that comes with running a blog, then simply using an existing well known blog to publish your content to is a good choice to consider. It’s completely free to use and boasts an already impressive user-base and following but of course, comes with its obvious limitations.

Making Your Decision

It is important to properly consider your options before launching your blog because migration between platforms later down the line will undoubtedly cause some headaches and there are thousands of abandoned blogs all over the web where the blogger has eventually left the platform to move to a different one.

Ultimately, if you want complete ownership and control over anything and everything relating to your blog, then an open source self-hosted platform which you can download and extend such as WordPress, Movable Type, Joomla or Drupal would serve you better.

WordPress is probably the easiest for non-technical users to get to grips with as many hosting providers offer the ability to install WordPress with one-click. Familiarity of working with hosting set ups, FTP/SFTP/SSH and databases would be required to launch a blog with Movable Type, Joomla or Drupal. And unless you have past experience working in Drupal, we wouldn’t recommend getting started with this platform as it is a steep learning curve in itself.

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Geoff Jackson
Geoff Jackson

Founding director at The Clubnet Group who owns digital agency Clubnet Digital where I am a Director of Search & Operations. Founder of Bloggers Connect Network and currently Managing Director of Operations. Over ten years commercial experience and background in digital / web industries, predominantly marketing (agency-side).

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