Now, the reason I created this blog was because I wanted to share my preferences, hobbies, taste in arts, interests and posts related to all of the above! Blogs are the collective of screams, laughs, stories, fears, contributions and feelings of an entire generation of internauts that flow around the internet for other people to read; we want our “voice to be heard“, and deservedly so! Blogs can be also used to make serious post that serve as a knowledge base for newcomers around the world; some of the blogging platforms are used with a commercial use, which is not bad (I am referring to blogs that monotonously post articles inside a “niche” of topics to earn the monthly AdSense revenues). But no matter the reason you blog or want to blog, I am here to provide a list of functional (for example, Posterous has been discontinued so it won’t be included :O) free and some paid blogging platforms to use this brand new 2014 :-), again, make sure to share stories, make your voice heard and last but not less, have fun.
Quick note here: I was going to include squarespace, people have talked wonders about it, but when I entered, it doesn’t focus specifically on blogging so, took it out this short list.
Click on the thumbnails (or the titles) to visit these sites.
Biased much? Not even close (maybe…?), this is the most-known platform nowadays, for our purposes I’m mentioning the WordPess.com site, which is a free site (the one I’m using to share this post with you people) where you can create an account and immediately start writing, writing, writing and writing! You have to worry about absolutely nothing else outside your content; they are in charge of putting your blog in search engines, hosting your site and more. There are downsides tho, you need to pay (I find it somewhat expensive for my liking) in order to get better features, such as more disk space (3 GB for free is what you start with), domain mapping, custom CSS, premium themes, no Ads (c’mon, we all use AdBlock now so you won’t notice), video uploading (VideoPress) and more, most of them are paid annually.
Whereas WordPress.org is the CMS (Content Management System) which you download and upload to your own server, with your own domain, allowing you to customise your website as much and deep as you want or are willing to. This is the best alternative available if you can afford web hosting (can range from 7 USD to 100 USD per month), a domain (approximately 10 USD a year) and have the basic background knowledge of HTML, CSS and some PHP (to personalise your plugins or the internal code of your theme). There are a lot of considerations to have, but this is the best practise.
Now, why I put this on top of Blogger? Why not? I mean, my intention here is to provide NEW and promising servers with top-notch technology and usability, not saying that Medium does. Well, it kinda does, I’ve been using it for a short period of time but I’m convinced that you can use this if you are a photoblogger, journalist student, love to share personal stories and can write useful posts. It uses twitter to log in and store your posts, I’m not sure if you can insert video (as I said, I’m a noob user and only use it for tutorials and reverse translations) but the interface is just swell, the post design looks amazing and focused. The bad part is, you don’t get many features, and deep down towards the end of your posts you’ll see a random post image as a “thing to read next”, which can make readers think it’s yours.
It’s worth the visit tho, but analyze first if that’s what you need! If not, let’s check the next (and 2nd most famous, at least in my book is 2nd):
A pretty awesome and free service provided by Google, that has more freedom than the one mentioned above. But everything has its perks and disadvantages! Blogger allows you to use your own domain or a myblog.blogspot.com sub-domain in case you don’t have one; unlimited disk-space, the ability to use AdSense and monetise your blog. The interface has improved over the years, I give them that… but the settings panel is still confuse, or hard to use if you are a new user. The theme system is complex and has its own syntax (XML I believe?), you need to download them from special sites/blogs that are dedicated to provide you with proper designs for your site. I don’t like the slug (the way your article web addresses show on the address bar), nor the fact that categories are in the form of tags. But if you are looking for a platform with more freedom, choose this one without hesitation. Both WordPress.com and Blogger offer a safe migration (if you buy hosting + domain, with a good CMS).
You have to pay money for this, you can start a 14 day free trial and the publishing is as easy as it gets, fully customisable design, statistics and guess what, you can sell ads on your site! The help center is a charm and the community is full of great people, but this platform is slowly turning obsolete so hurry up and try it, remember that in spite of the apparent reliability of a site that allows you to blog for free, you NEED and SHOULD always keep backups of your articles in case it closes or something happens.
I’ve been using Tumblr since I first entered to University, it’s mainly used to reblog pictures, post your own, write personal things such as what your feelings are in that moment. Some others use this service as a portfolio with little coding to worry about, Tumblr also allows us to use our own domain. You will encounter people who use this as another twitter service, as Facebook and even as a blog. They’ve recently implemented Markdown, but you can still use the classic HTML editing while you write. The service is free and you can customise or upload an external theme, they have a list with themes for you to choose from, use it. I don’t recommend this to you if you want to write long articles, but if you are a writer, a digital artist or just want a personal blog, Tumblr is definitely for you.
Not new, it has been around for 10 years (opened in 2004) and still can be accessed, I NEVER used this one so don’t blame me for anything, ok? The site gives you a sub-domain, if you buy Premium you can make via ads, it has the normal blogging features so check it out and give me a heads up if you liked it or not.
Sett is mostly about getting an audience before even start building one, and this is based in topic-related post suggestion, you are basically featured in other’s posts that are like yours. You can check the plans chart, they have a free plan which isn’t bad at all. Sett is customisable, has statistics and cloud hosting.
Some blog platforms might have you confused and overwhelmed with options and features. However, Postagon focuses on minimalism and only relies on writing and reading, you get a comment sections and a button to “like” a post, it’s simple and to the point. As many others, you can choose to write using markdown, it will cost you to make your blog public (they let you try it for free), about 4.99 USD per month.
I was looking for something like this when I had a little blog about learning and improving English, Roon allows you to have multiple blogs, and the admin panel is simple (but beautiful), you can choose from Markdown or Rich Text. This looks a bit like Medium’s concept, with a big image header of your choice and mainly focused in text. It’s really simple to use and I don’t see many features, didn’t see any statistics, and never understood how to insert images (it’s not like I care about markdown). But it’s definitely worth it, the comment system is nonexistent, however, you can use twitter like in Medium.
I don’t use it anymore, maybe it’s because I’m a fan of well designed platforms, and this one is aging pretty strangely… it’s famous and it still works, you get a variety of styles to choose from. Don’t miss the opportunity of trying it, didn’t say it was bad, I’m just not a big fan. You will notice that LiveJournal is community-based, all the focus go to the interaction between users.
Question of the year: why if I’m taking preference with modern sites instead of old ones, why did I put Ghost, one of the most promising projects of the blogging world, on the very bottom of the list? Simple, because I wanted to put the more affordable ones first, but trust me when I say, Ghost will be huge in 2014, the design is groundbreaking and very neat. IT HAS A FREE DOWNLOAD OPTION which allows you to self-host it on your own server though. Follows the new web design trends but the prices can be a shocker: a monthly payment 5$ USD for 1 (and only one) blog with a support for 10,000 views per month; what does it mean? You can have a successful blog by just paying 5$ USD each month.The Medium package seems right, if you can afford the Large one, good for you! You will be in good hands, they have an impressive list of top clients such as WooThemes, CodeSchool and Envato Networks. You get a free trial so check out the beautiful themes they are offering, highly customisable and dedicated to writing, as it should be.
Download for free: https://ghost.org/download/
If you are an Evernote user, check this one out! But I haven’t tried this out, wow, why? Because I don’t have an Evernote account, I will never have one because I do not need it. Your posts can be re-formatted, you can post from Evernote to your blog. The themes are good and it’s very simple to use, powerful too, considering the engine. Easy, simple and worth giving a try. Also, I think they won an award with this project :).
Okay, we are done with the list and you might notice I left some of the ol’ favourites out because of obvious reasons, they’re old and we want to start 2014 with new projects! But how can we forget of hard classics such as LiveJournal, Typepad, Blogger and WordPress. If you think you can add more services to it, send me an email or post a comment. Good bye and thank you so much for reading, hope it helped :-).
17 thoughts on “Blogging platforms – Make your voice heard this 2014”
[…] http://creativenauts.me/2014/01/08/free-paid-blog-platforms-blogging-web-cms/ […]
Thanks Luis. What a lot of research went into this post! You made me feel great (and a little lucky) about having chosen WordPress when I started blogging a few months ago. I tried out a number of WP’s hundreds of themes – about half of which are free. And while I did buy a $30 fonts/colors upgrade, I’ve found that’s all I really need to get the look ‘n feel I want. Plus, that upgrade transfers to any of their themes, if I want to bounce around a bit (which I have). Great job on this!
I always appreciate suggestions on blogging! Smiles, Robin
Reblogged this on Marc Bestgen.
Didn’t realize there were so many platforms! Going to share this with my writing group. Thanks.
Well done post! I am biased, as I have used WordPress.com since I started blogging, but it is nice to see explanations of other platforms out there. Thank you for following me at Triggershorse. – Fawn
I love WordPress as a whole, .com has its limitations but it works for the direction I chose with this blog. Nice to follow good blogs, ty for commenting :).
Great information! Who knew there were so many choices?
thank you for this, and for the thought you have put into it. I am guilty of simply ‘hitting the keys’ and planting my unsolicited wisdom without much regard for the stony ground. Lots to think about here!
Who knew there were so many to choose from?? Thanks for the follow – I appreciate it!
Awesome blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers?
I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m a little
lost on everything. Would you suggest starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option?
There are so many choices out there that I’m completely confused ..
Any ideas? Thanks a lot!
I would definitively go with a paid option if I can afford it or if my goal is make a huge impact.
One of the great things about WordPress.com is that anyone can contribute. One of the worst things about WordPress.com is that anyone can contribute.
Right now I’m having lots of problems with WordPress.com, more so than at any time since I started using the platform in January 2012. For example, I cannot LIKE any post of a blog whose URL ends in wordpress.com. That includes yours. I would have left you a bunch of LIKEs today, but alas, all you get is one comment………lol
Well that’s odd, I can leave likes but maybe later I won’t be able to. I feel comments are more personal and a better gift to a blogger than a like, but I only leave comments when I have questions or I really really liked a post.
I leave LIKEs to indicate that I was by and read the post but had nothing significant to contribute or say. I’m not one of those who leaves a comment that says, “Great post!”
This is a topic that’s close to my heart…
Thank you! Where are your contact details though?
On the home page, big ol’ dark gray button, or my blog mail: email@example.com / twitter: @creativenauts