A blogging site is a content management system (CMS) designed to store digital content. Bloggers create content on a CMS and share it on their blogs. The most critical features of blogging sites include the ability to monetize content and own the content they create. Blogging sites’ pricing ranges from free to $45 per month.
Top 6 Blogging Sites 2019
(Best overall) Professional bloggers who want to make a living blogging
Small businesses who want an easy-to-use blogging site
Writers who want to showcase their best material like a portfolio
Business professionals desiring to boost credibility
Micro or niche bloggers wanting social media-like aspects
Bloggers who want a free option for blogging as a hobby
How We Evaluated the Top Blogging Sites
When evaluating the best blogging sites, they should be cost-effective, easy to use, have support, and allow the blogger to have ownership. The ability to monetize the blog is important so that bloggers have an option to make money blogging. Being able to customize your blog is important to give it its own brand and appeal. This customization can be through paid and unpaid themes and templates.
We considered all of these features to find the best blogging sites that are low cost, easy to use, provide ownership of content, allow monetization, and allow customization.
We evaluated the top six best blogging sites based on:
- Cost: We considered both upfront and ongoing costs where applicable; some have monthly fees and costs for add-on features
- Ease of use: Navigation needs to be intuitive and easy-to-use, so we test drove each of the platforms to determine how easy it is to navigate and use
- Ownership of content: Content that bloggers create should be owned by the blogger rather than the blogging site, so we examined terms of service to determine content ownership
- Ability to monetize: Monetization is important so that operations can be scaled; we considered the various ways each platform allows you to make money
- Customization: Themes (templates) and plugins allow for customization, so we looked for blogging sites that offer a variety of options for bloggers; some plugins and themes are free while others can be more than $200
WordPress.org is our pick for the best blogging platform for professional bloggers. WordPress.org is one of the most popular blogging sites, and for a good reason—it’s low cost, easy to use, you own the content, can easily monetize and customize it. With WordPress.org, you’ll need a reliable website host. DreamHost is our pick for just $31.08 per year. They offer a free domain name, preinstallation of WordPress, and a free secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate. Get started with DreamHost today.
WordPress.org: Best Overall for Professional Bloggers
WordPress.org is a free, downloadable blogging site allowing bloggers to monetize and own their content. It does cost money to self-host the platform and have a domain name. You can do this for as low as $2.59 per month with DreamHost. There may also be costs associated with themes and plugins.
WordPress.org is a free, downloadable program. Your only required cost is to find a host like DreamHost, where you can start your blog for $31.08 per year. Optional costs allow for even further customization, like plugins and templates. There are many free templates to use, otherwise premium templates purchased on marketplaces like Etsy start at 50 cents and go up to $3,000 for full professional design and customization.
WordPress.org is the best blogging site because of its endless opportunities for customization and ability to monetize. Additionally, any content you create on this CMS is yours and not owned by the site.
One of the biggest perks about WordPress.org is the endless ability to customize your blog. This can be done using cascading style sheets (CSS) and HTML. The color, format, and features can all change based on what you want. Some bloggers choose to learn how to customize their blog using the provided tutorials, others hire out to experts, and many do a combination of both.
For example, if your blog gets a big enough following, you may want to sell merchandise, create a custom look for your blog, or upload weekly webisodes. Plus, if you don’t have the skills to do this, you can find coders with WordPress expertise to help you out easily.
Themes on WordPress.org
A theme is like a template allowing a blogger to change the appearance and display of their WordPress.org website. There are many free themes available as well as thousands of premium themes. These premium themes range in cost from free to more than $300 and may be purchased from marketplaces like Etsy or Theme Forest. Custom themes purchased from a web developer can cost thousands of dollars, depending on complexity and features a blogger desires.
WordPress.org Ease of Use
WordPress.org has easy-to-follow tutorials and walkthroughs showing you how to do things like how to install your WordPress theme, how to troubleshoot any issues, and where to manage comments on your blog posts. There is also a community forum where users can crowdsource support on any issues they come across.
WordPress.org Ownership of Content
Because you’re hosting your content with a third party host like DreamHost, the content you create is yours. This differs from some other blogging sites that own the content and can decide to pull content if it doesn’t meet their standards. Another reason you want to own your content is that there have been instances where a platform dissolves and, along with it, so does the blogger’s content. Finally, owning your content also means you can monetize it.
WordPress.org Ability to Monetize
Owning your content has a huge benefit: you can monetize it without restriction. The options to monetize your blog are vast. If you want to run ads on your blog, you can. You can also create sponsored blog posts, sell your e-book, and even make courses about the content you create. It’s better to use WordPress.org with a host like DreamHost to monetize your content because other platforms don’t allow monetization at all, or they only let you use their limited proprietary ad network.
What WordPress.org Is Missing
WordPress.org is getting better at allowing drag-and-drop customization options, but it isn’t as functional as Squarespace. Currently, the drag-and-drop features on WordPress.org are available when creating a blog post and when using widgets. These widgets are small blocks that can be dragged and dropped throughout your blog to perform a specific function, such as insert custom HTML or social media sharing icons. Widgets are WordPress.org’s way of allowing customization, but they can still be clunky unless using CSS or HTML.
What Users Think About WordPress.org
We looked at WordPress.org user reviews and found that new bloggers say they sometimes feel intimidated when first getting started with WordPress.org because there are so many options for customization. Some bloggers complain that if you aren’t constantly updating your website’s plugins, your blog is vulnerable to hackers. These updates help keep the site secure, and it’s important to note that you can set up automatic updates.
Where to Sign Up for WordPress.org
Signing up for WordPress.org is free. You’ll download the software and then sign up for a host like DreamHost, or host it on your own server. After that, you’ll pick your theme and create your first blog post. Sign up for WordPress.org today.
Weebly: Best Easy-to-Use Blogging Site
Website builders are out-of-the-box solutions with web hosting, domain name, and website all included. Weebly is an excellent choice for building a small business website, but it can also be used for blogging. It’s easy to use, affordable, and with the high-tier plans, you can include a shopping cart for ecommerce.
Weebly Pricing & Features
There are several Weebly plans available, ranging in price from free to $25 per month when paid annually. Features vary from unlimited storage to custom domains and ecommerce features like inventory management and coupon codes. All plans provide an SSL certificate. This is the little padlock at the top of most websites telling you that the site is secure from the webserver to your browser.
Weebly Pricing & Features Chart
Free SSL Security
Domain with Weebly branding
Accepts Payments Through Square
Accepts Payments Through Third-party Providers
Automatic Tax Calculator
Square Gift Cards
Integrated Shipping Labels
Good Shipping Discounts
*When paid annually
Weebly is easy-to-use with drag-and-drop features. You can also have an ecommerce store on your blog and monetize your blog through ads and sponsored posts. Weebly allows for easy use of videos, which makes this ideal for a business owner to showcase how to use a feature of their product or service.
Weebly Free Plan
The Free Weebly plan allows bloggers to create content on their own site. However, there is a Weebly footer at the bottom that says, “Create a free website with Weebly.” The URL also contains Weebly branding. There are several free templates to choose from, and each free site gets an SSL certificate and 500MB of storage.
Weebly Connect Plan
Connect Weebly plan gives bloggers a platform for their content as well as a free domain name, 500MB of storage, and an SSL certificate. This plan is $5 per site per month when paid annually.
Weebly Pro Plan
The Weebly Pro plan enables bloggers to share their content without Weebly ads. Users get a free custom domain name, unlimited storage, an SSL certificate, and a search bar for visitors to search by keyword. This plan also integrates ecommerce features like a shopping cart and accepting payments from Square and other third-party providers. This plan is $12 per site, per month, when paid annually.
Weebly Business Plan
With the Weebly Business plan, bloggers get to share their content without Weebly ads and have their own custom domain name. They also get a free SSL certificate and unlimited storage. Ecommerce features include a shopping cart, product options, coupon codes, and integrated shipping labels. This plan is $25 per site, per month, when paid annually.
Weebly Ease of Use
With drag and drop features, Weebly’s website builder is super intuitive. Drag what you want to add to your website—like text box, image, and contact us form—from the right side of the dashboard and drop it where you want it on your site. You don’t need to know any HTML or coding to customize your blog. While they do have a help center, Weebly is so intuitive you probably won’t need to use it.
Weebly Ownership of Content
With Weebly being a website builder, they technically own the rights to your content. This should not be an issue if you’re operating within their guidelines, which include not using your site for illegal or adult activity. Should Weebly cease business operations, there’s a high possibility that your content will be gone too.
Weebly Ability to Monetize
As a website builder, Weebly allows for easy integration of an ecommerce store. Additionally, you can create sponsored blog posts, run ads, and sell your own products and services within the platform. It integrates with email marketing software and credit card processors easily.
With Weebly, you are limited to the amount of HTML coding you can use on the site. This won’t be a problem if you are not interested in touching code. The drag-and-drop features make customization easy within its limits. However, it might not be the right choice for someone who wants to create custom CSS and HTML features on their blog.
What Weebly Is Missing
Weebly is not built for blogging, so it isn’t as blogger-friendly as WordPress.org. It is first a website, with the option to add a blog on it. While Weebly does manage all of the technical issues as a closed-source platform, this also means that some integrations may not work with them as they might with WordPress.org.
What Users Think About Weebly
Weebly user reviews show that most people enjoy the ability to move features around on their blog easily without needing to know HTML or any coding. They do complain about the limited functionality of the blogging platform since it is closed-source technology.
Where to Sign Up for Weebly
Signing up for Weebly is quick and affordable for most plans. You’ll complete a standard form with your name, email address, and password to get started. Get started with Weebly for free.
Medium: Best Blogging Site for Writers
Medium is a place for storytellers and thought leaders to share long-form content. With its social platform and long content, this is the best blogging site for writers. It’s also ideal for those writers who don’t necessarily want to deal with the expense and time of maintaining their own blog.
It doesn’t cost anything to get started with Medium. You also don’t have any ongoing costs whatsoever. It is important to note that there is a Medium Membership for readers that costs $5 per month, but writers don’t pay anything to contribute to the site.
Medium is incredibly easy to use and focuses heavily on the written word. Bloggers also can monetize their writing by the number of “claps” one gets on an article. These claps are like “up votes” given by readers. Each blogger can insert pictures and videos. They also can use bold, italics, and links in their posts.
Medium Ease of Use
Easily one of the most intuitive blogging sites to use, Medium makes it easy to draft your first blog post. While most blog posts on the website have supplemental images, you can use as many as you need to tell your story. You can also import stories you’ve written from other sites by inputting the URL.
Medium Ownership of Content
With Medium, you own the rights to your content. By posting on their platform, you do give Medium the right to use your content as it relates to publishing. This means they could use it on their front page, which provides more traffic to your post. They can also reformat and distribute it nonexclusively.
Medium Ability to Monetize
When a pro member engages with your content by “clapping” your post, you earn money as part of the Medium Partner Program. You aren’t able to write sponsored blog posts or run ads within your blog posts. However, you can link to your sales page for anything you discuss but know that in any of those blog posts you can’t enable the Medium Partner Program feature.
What Medium Is Missing
The algorithm for the Medium Partner Program can be a little complicated. Pro members pay $5 per month, and when they clap a post, a portion of that $5 is paid to the author of the post. The $5 membership fee is the cap for their claps. This means that if a Pro member claps five posts that month, each author gets $1. If the pro member claps 40 posts that month, each author gets $.12.
It’s also important to note that this is a free platform for contributors. As a result, Medium could choose to do away with its contributor platform, much like HuffPost did.
What Users Think About Medium
Users enjoy the ability to interact with other users’ blog posts within the platform and getting to see how many claps their articles have received. For bloggers with a smaller number of fans that read their work regularly, getting claps may mean they earn just pennies each month.
Where to Sign Up for Medium
To join Medium, you sign up with either Google or Facebook. After that, you can create your first story in a matter of seconds. Get started with Medium today.
LinkedIn: Best Blogging Site for Business Professionals
LinkedIn is more of a social media platform for professionals, but it has a feature where any user can publish content like a blog. Publishing on LinkedIn is easy to do and can help you show expertise in your field. It’s a good choice if you are posting on behalf of your company, or if you’re a consultant who wants to demonstrate your ability to help others in your field.
LinkedIn is an incredibly easy-to-use platform very similar to Medium. Using LinkedIn for your articles opens up your content to not only readers that follow you but also anyone in their network if they interact with your post. Depending on your privacy settings, your article may also be searchable through search engines. These articles become part of your professional profile and allow for even greater exposure to a network beyond your own.
LinkedIn Ease of Use
LinkedIn is intuitive and easy-to-use. Your articles are hosted right within the LinkedIn platform, so there’s no HTML, coding, or ongoing maintenance to do. This is an attractive feature for busy professionals who have a message to share, but not the desire to deal with anything technical.
LinkedIn Ownership of Content
When publishing content on LinkedIn, you own any original content. You can also delete any of that content if you decide you don’t want it displayed anymore. If you post content that infringes on anyone else’s copyright claim, your account can be suspended.
What LinkedIn Is Missing
When publishing your articles on LinkedIn surrounded by your competition, you will need to make sure it’s some of your best content. It can be one of the best articles ever written, but LinkedIn determines who it puts that content in front of thanks to their algorithm. These social media algorithms are never shared with the public but often are influenced by previous post engagement and the size of your own network.
What Users Think About LinkedIn
LinkedIn users report that while the platform is straightforward to use, its scope is quite limited. They say there aren’t any ways to add HTML or CSS, and you’re limited to what the platform offers—bold, italics, bulleted lists, images, videos, and links. With a professional social network, users mention that LinkedIn articles aren’t the place to pitch your product or service.
Where to Sign Up for LinkedIn
Getting started with LinkedIn is quick. You can input your email address and password to join. Otherwise, you can use Facebook as a single-sign-on (SSO). From there, posting your first article is simple right from the home screen. Get started with LinkedIn today.
Tumblr: Best Blogging Site for Micro Bloggers
Tumblr is a social media network and microblogging site that allows users to post images and short-form content. When content is shared on Tumblr, it can be “reblogged” and shared on another Tumblr blog. Content is often witty and thought-provoking, making this an ideal blogging site for a microblogger. It’s also free.
Tumblr is a popular choice for teenagers and millennials partly because it’s free to use. There are premium themes you can purchase that are $19 or $49 from the Tumblr platform. However, there are free themes as well. Themes are user-created and submitted to the Tumblr platform, and these are available for free or for purchase.
Tumblr is easy to use and allows you to use affiliate links and ads to monetize your blog. With its free and paid themes, customizing your blog’s color and branding is simple to do. Tumblr is also a social network, which means that with the touch of a button, your post can be shared with another user’s network. It’s important to note that while you own your content on Tumblr, anything prohibited can be removed at any time.
With all of its theme options, Tumblr is easy to customize. If you know HTML, you can use it to customize your blog. Customization includes things like font, color, layout, and features. It’s not necessary to know HTML to post anything though.
Tumblr Ease of Use
It’s easy to share a post on Tumblr using a simple form at the top of the page. You don’t need to code any HTML or CSS, and a post can go live in the matter of time it takes you to write it. You can also include gifs, images, and links within your posts. To change the layout, you can either fill in the prompts within your theme or change things using HTML.
Tumblr Ability to Monetize
Tumblr allows you to use Google Ads, affiliate links, and create sponsored blog posts. You can also link to your outside ecommerce shop or sales pages for your products and services.
What Tumblr Is Missing
Tumblr makes it easy to share microblog posts, but the social nature of the platform makes it easy for anything lengthy to get lost among short posts. You can customize Tumblr using themes and HTML, but it doesn’t quite measure up to some of the other more robust customization options offered by other platforms. While able to link to outside ecommerce stores, you’re not able to host a store within Tumblr itself. This may hinder bloggers who decide to sell their own merchandise.
What Users Think About Tumblr
In November 2018, Tumblr started censoring nudity and upset bloggers who felt this was a safe space for them to share this material. Some users found this to be a victory whereas many others felt it was a loss of community. Users report that sharing microblog posts quickly and with the ability to be anonymous as a significant benefit.
Where to Sign Up for Tumblr
To get started with Tumblr, you’ll enter your email, password, and a username, which will become part of your Tumblr URL. Get started with Tumblr today.
WordPress.com: Best Blogging Site for Hobby Bloggers
Blogging on WordPress.com is free, easy, and secure. With WordPress.com, the blogging platform itself hosts your blog. For this reason, you’re unable to monetize your blog. If you’re looking to just play around with blogging, WordPress.com offers a great way to do that without any costs.
WordPress.com does not cost anything to get started. It also does not have any ongoing fees because it’s not an open-source platform. However, other plans range from $5 per month billed annually to $45 per month billed annually. These plans include features like free domain names, premium themes, and ecommerce marketing tools.
WordPress.com is easy-to-use, requires no HTML or coding, and offers a hassle-free way to get started blogging. Bloggers often start with WordPress.com and later switch to WordPress.org once they’ve decided blogging is something that they want to do long-term.
The reason why a blogger might switch to WordPress.org is that, with a free blog, there will be a WordPress.com label on it unless you upgrade to have it taken off. By switching to WordPress.org and a hosting site, you can make it more personal and can monetize it.
There are a couple of different ways to monetize your WordPress.com blog. The first way is available if you have a custom domain, and that’s WordAds. This is a WordPress.com specific ad network where you earn money every time someone clicks on a WordAds link.
Another way to monetize the blog is through an ecommerce store, which is available with the more advanced plans. Through these stores, you can sell physical and digital products and services.
WordPress.com Ease of Use
With limited options, WordPress.com is straightforward and easy to navigate. WordPress.com is based on the software used with WordPress.org except that it’s all hosted within WordPress.com. You don’t need to download anything whatsoever. You also don’t need to worry about finding a blog host. While there aren’t any drag-and-drop features, when you sign up for an account, WordPress.com walks you through each step to get started. You don’t need to worry about coding, maintaining, or updating your blog.
WordPress.com Ownership of Content
When using WordPress.com, you don’t technically own the content. Should you post anything against their terms of service, such as pornography or illegal activity, your content will be removed.
What WordPress.com Is Missing
With WordPress.com, you have limited control over your blog, and you can’t upload themes or plugins. You also can’t monetize your blog through sponsored posts, ads, or product reviews, although with advanced plans you can have an ecommerce site.
What Users Think About WordPress.com
WordPress.com reviews show that users enjoy the ability to get started right away with blogging when using WordPress.com since there are no themes or plugins to deal with. They also like that it doesn’t cost anything to use. On that same note, users complain that they’re unable to monetize their WordPress.com blog.
Where to Sign Up for WordPress.com
Creating an account with WordPress.com is fast. You’ll input your email address, password, and username to get started. Join WordPress.com today.
When choosing the best blogging platform, you’ll have to take into consideration not only what you want to do with your blog now, but also what your blog could turn into in the future. WordPress.org is the best blogging site because of its unlimited customization options, ability to monetize, and open-source software.
If you think there’s a possibility that you’ll want to monetize your blog or custom brand it, then save yourself the time and effort later, and learn how to get started with WordPress.org today. When using WordPress.org, you’ll need a reliable blog host. DreamHost is our pick for just $31.08 per year.