Are you interested in finding a blogging platform for your small business or next creative venture? If so, you’re in the right place!
Today, I want to share several key factors you should look for when choosing a blogging platform. Before we get into the specifics, let’s define the term and discuss why you might need a content management system (CMS).
Put plainly, a blogging platform is software that allows you to create and manage a blog. It provides you with the tools and resources that make it easy to write and publish your blog posts, as well as to interact with your readers.
When it comes to choosing a platform, there are a ton of options. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses that you’ll need to consider. While I can’t tell you which provider is best for your situation, I can show you a few criteria you need to consider before making your choice.
Let’s start by talking about ease of use and accessibility.
The first thing you need to consider when choosing a blogging platform is your technical skill level. For instance, if you don’t know much about coding, you may want to choose a platform that uses a drag-and-drop builder.
Drag-and-drop builders make it easy for anyone to design their blog, even if they’ve never written a line of code in their lives. I highly suggest looking into this option if you want to create a basic blog.
If you’re only interested in writing, platforms like Medium and Tumblr are great options for quick and easy setup and require very little design since it’s hosted on their site.
Choosing an accessible blogging platform that matches your skill level will help you stay consistent and turn your passion project into something amazing.
Self-Hosting vs. Platform Hosting
When choosing a platform, you must think carefully about how you want your site hosted. Web hosting is how site data, like your blog, is saved and stored.
There are two main types to choose from: self-hosted and platform-hosted. Let’s look at each one and discuss the pros and cons.
Self-hosted blogs are the best choice if you want control and flexibility over your site. However, they also require more technical knowledge and maintenance. If you want to go this route, you’ll need to choose your own domain name and web hosting provider, and you will be responsible for your blog’s software and security.
Platform-hosted blogs, on the other hand, are very easy to set up and maintain. You can also rest easy knowing you don’t have to purchase and set up a domain and hosting provider. The big drawback is that you’ll have far less control and flexibility over how your blog looks and feels.
Much like my previous tips and those to come, the best blogging platform for you will depend on your needs, goals, and experience.
If you want to build a unique brand identity, it’s good to have customization options at your disposal. The right tools and options can help you stand out from your competitors and reach your long-term goals.
Here are a few things you ought to consider when trying to find the best blogging platform:
- Themes and templates: Unless you want to host your content on a different platform, like Medium, themes, and templates are crucial for developing an eye-catching blog. If you have the technical know-how, I suggest choosing a platform with plenty of theme and template options so you can make your site truly one-of-a-kind.
- Custom design: If you want more control over the design of your blog, you’ll want to find a platform that allows you to customize the look and feel of your blog using code. Though it’s worth mentioning that this is not advised if you’re building your very first site.
- Integrations and plugins: Plugins and integrations are vital for adding new features and functionality. There are, quite literally, thousands of plugins available. You can find ones to add social media buttons to your site, help you generate leads, improve security, and much more.
- SEO Options: Search engine optimization (SEO) is important for helping people discover your blog. If you’re self-hosting, I suggest looking for a blogging platform that offers SEO tools to help you optimize your content for search engines.
- Analytics Tools: Analytics tools can help you track virtually everything about your blog, from traffic to audience demographics and performance. Make sure you choose a platform that gives you an analytics dashboard or offers a way to add Google Analytics or other similar tools to your site.
Did you know the average person spends about 3.5 hours a day on their smartphone? Couple this with the fact that there are over 5.48 billion mobile users, and it’s easy to see why mobile responsiveness is something every business owner and blogger needs to consider when choosing a blogging platform.
Mobile-friendly blogs are easy to read and use, regardless of what someone uses to visit your site. On-page text, images, and general layout should automatically adjust to fit the screen size of the device being used, which results in a better user experience.
Platform-hosted blogs are usually designed with mobile in mind, so you won’t need to do anything extra to ensure it’s ready for smartphone users. However, I do suggest visiting your blog from a mobile device so you can see how the text formatting looks on different devices.
Self-hosting people will want to choose a platform that promises responsive designs and has plenty of mobile-friendly plugins and themes. You don’t want to skip this decision because over half of all internet traffic comes from smartphones. If your blog isn’t ready for these visitors, you could miss out on untold traffic and engagement.
A big part of choosing a blogging platform is weighing your budget versus your needs. Brand new bloggers may want to consider choosing a free platform so they don’t have to take a big financial risk if they’re not sure this is right for them.
However, serious bloggers or businesses hoping to generate income should invest in a paid platform with robust features, support options, and storage, with minimum traffic restrictions.
After you’ve considered your needs and budget, start comparing prices and features so you can find the perfect blogging platform. You’ll also want to keep your eye out for discounts. Many hosting companies work with domain providers to give consumers a cheaper experience if they buy everything at once.
Final Thoughts: Your Long-Term Goals
All of the tips outlined today come back to this one idea: will the blogging platform you’re considering help you reach your long-term goals? If not, keep looking. There are plenty of great options out there. So many, in fact, that it’s easy to settle for one that looks like it might work.
I recommend doing your homework, talking to people, watching videos, and researching various blogging platforms. The information is all out there; the only thing left to do is find the platform that meets your needs.