If you are looking for the best blogging platform, your result depends on your need, and how much effort you are prepared to put into your blogging.
In 2021, there are lots of great free places to start a blog, no matter what your goals are. If you want to build your own platform, you can use WordPress. To create your own subscriber community, you might want Substack or Ghost. You can also use Medium to get access to a built-in audience or choose from lots of other options. No matter what your goals are, there is a great free blogging solution for your needs.
In total, we’ll cover 10 Free Blogging Platforms. Let’s get started, beginning with the most popular way to make a blog.
WordPress – self hosted blogging platform
WordPress is one of the most popular self-hosted blogging platforms. Currently, WordPress occupy 34% of website on internet.
WordPress is an open-source platform to build a blog on—and it’s 100% free to use, because the creators of WordPress believe in democratizing publishing and the freedoms that come with open source.
How to Get Started with Self-Hosted WordPress
To get started with a blog using self-hosted WordPress, you will need to:
- Purchase web hosting and a domain name.
- Install the WordPress software.
- Start writing.
Advantages of WordPress.org (Self-Hosted WordPress)
- Self-hosted WordPress gives you the most flexibility of any blogging platform.
- You can easily control how your blog looks using themes and add new features using plugins.
- You have 100% ownership and control over your blog, which isn’t the case with a lot of other free blogging platforms.
- You can choose from a range of different content editors, including the basic default editor or visual, drag-and-drop editors via page builder plugins.
Disadvantages of WordPress.org (Self-Hosted WordPress)
- While the WordPress software is free, serious bloggers will want to invest in paid hosting, which means it’s not necessarily a 100% free solution.
- You need to purchase hosting and install the WordPress software, it’s more complicated than some of the other free blogging platforms where you just need to register for an account and start writing.
Medium is a free blogging site, a mixture of blogging platforms and publishers. it functions slightly more like a community of writers meets social media platform.
The big advantage of Medium is that your articles will be exposed to a wide audience since the platform is visited by 60 million readers (*) per month.
It’s super simple to use – you pretty much just sign up and start writing. But the downside is that all your content is on Medium. That is, you’re not really building your own “space” like you would with WordPress.
How to Get Started with Medium
You need to do is register for a Medium account and begin writing.
Advantages of Medium
- The Medium content editor is a joy to use and makes it really pleasant to create content.
- Medium has a built-in community of readers, which gives you access to an audience if Medium chooses to feature your content.
- You can earn money via the Medium Partner Program. Building your own platform is probably a better option for serious money-making blogs, but Medium can be nice for side hustles or beer-money-type earnings.
- Disadvantages of Medium
- You don’t get full control over your blog’s design, nor can you add your own custom features like you can with WordPress. You’re very locked-in to using the Medium platform “as-is”.
- You need to be a Medium member to use your own custom domain name, which costs $5 per month or $50 per year.
WordPress.com – Free Blogging Platform
WordPress.org gives you full control over designing your website, but you need to find hosting separately. A little confusingly, WordPress.com is a separate service from the same organization that offers you both hosting and a website building tool.
This platform is squarely aimed at beginners, hobbyists, and enthusiasts rather than business people or designers.
How to Get Started with WordPress.com
To create a free blog with WordPress.com, You need to do is register for an account, choose your blog’s theme from a limited selection, and start writing.
Advantages of WordPress.com
- WordPress.com eliminates the need to purchase separate hosting (as you need with self-hosted WordPress), which makes it a lot easier to create a basic blog. All you need to do is register for an account.
- Even on the free plan, WordPress.com still has more features than most other free blogging platforms.
Disadvantages of WordPress.com
- The free version of WordPress.com is a lot more limited than self-hosted WordPress because you can’t install your own WordPress themes and plugins unless you pay for the $300 per year Business plan.
- You can’t use your own custom domain name unless you upgrade to a paid plan.
- The free plan includes WordPress.com ads.
Substack is a new blogging platform that quickly growing in popularity. It calls itself a platform to build an email newsletter, but it’s really just a blogging platform with built-in email functionality. When you publish a piece of content, it appears on your site just like a traditional blog, but it also goes out to all of your email subscribers.
One of the unique things about Substack is its focus on generating paid recurring subscriptions, which it does with built-in features (so you need zero technical knowledge to start accepting payments).
How to Get Started with Substack
To create your own Substack, all you need to do is register for a free account and start writing.
Advantages of Substack
- Substack makes things super simple — all you need to do is write content.
- You get built-in email list features to grow a community of subscribers rather than one-off visitors.
- Substack makes it very easy to charge for content (though remember you’ll need to give Substack its 10% cut).
Disadvantages of Substack
- You can’t add features and you don’t get much control over design — Substack is literally just for publishing content.
- You have to pay a one-time $50 fee to unlock the ability to use your own custom domain name (instead of a Substack subdomain).
Ghost free, open-source software that you can install on your own web hosting to make a blog. However, unlike WordPress, Ghost is 100% focused on blogging/publishing.
Ghost also includes built-in features to help you create a membership community around your blog and even charge for access if you want to monetize your blogging.
How to Get Started with Ghost
To use Ghost for free, you can download the Ghost software and install it on your own web hosting.
Advantages of Ghost
- Ghost is free and open-source.
- It is self-hosted, which gives you more control than many other blogging platforms.
- Ghost includes built-in membership and monetization features.
Disadvantages of Ghost
- Installing Ghost is a little more complicated because you need your own hosting.
- Using Ghost is also just generally a little more complicated because it’s a self-hosted tool.
- While the Ghost software is free like WordPress, most serious bloggers will still want to invest in paid hosting, which means it’s not necessarily a 100% free solution.
If you are a beginner and want to start blogging quickly, Wix is one of the best options. This drag-and-drop website builder offers a variety of free templates for building your site, as well as 500MB storage and 1GB bandwidth with a free Wix account. It’s all very easy to use, even if you have no prior experience of building websites.
How to Get Started with Wix
You need to do is register for an account and choose one of the templates to act as your site’s baseline design.
Advantages of Wix
- Wix lets you design your site/blog using a visual, drag-and-drop editor.
- It includes full website building functionality, which gives you more flexibility than a lot of other blogging platforms.
Disadvantages of Wix
- The free Wix plan displays Wix ads on every page.
- You can’t use your custom domain name unless you pay.
- Wix’s blog editor isn’t quite as nice as the dedicated free blogging platforms.
Weebly is another website builder that you can use not only to blog but also to sell products or showcase your portfolio. It is somewhat similar to Wix to the extent that it provides a WYSIWYG editor with drag-and-drop elements, which enable you to quickly create a website – featuring a Weebly ad. Hosting is included, even in the free plan. You get access to customizable layouts, a bunch of free themes, and the usual sharing features you’d expect, to help spread your blog posts far and wide.
How to Get Started with Weebly
To create a blog with Weebly, all you need to do is register for a free account and choose a template.
Advantages of Weebly
- Weebly lets you design your site/blog using a simple visual editor with drag-and-drop control.
- It includes full website building functionality, so it gives you more flexibility than platforms such as Substack or Medium.
Disadvantages of Weebly
- The free Weebly plan displays Weebly branding on every page.
- You can’t use your custom domain name unless you upgrade to a paid plan.
Jekyll is a blogging platform that’s aimed at developers. It takes your raw text files, which may be written in markdown, if you like, and turns them into a robust static site to host wherever you want.
Jekyll is the engine behind GitHub Pages, which means you can host your blog on there for free. Jekyll gives you a database-free way to turn text/media content into a blog, complete with categories, pages, posts, etc.
How to Get Started with Jekyll
To create a blog with Jekyll, check out the Jekyll quickstart docs.
Advantages of Jekyll
- Jekyll doesn’t require a database, which means your blog is very lightweight and you can easily move it anymore and host it on free solutions, including GitHub Pages, DigitalOcean’s free static site hosting, etc.
- Jekyll has a simple templating system that makes it really easy to create your own custom design. Or, you can use a pre-made Jekyll theme.
Disadvantages of Jekyll
- Jekyll is not a good option for non-technical people because it requires some development knowledge. This one is only for developers or other advanced users who understand at least the technical basics of creating websites.
Tumblr is a free micro-blogging platform, which means it’s great for short-form content and visual media, but not so great if you want to publish lengthy blog posts. Think of Tumblr as somewhere in between a Facebook status update and a full blog post.
How to Get Started with Tumblr
To get started, all you need to do is register for a free Tumblr account and start posting.
Advantages of Tumblr
- Tumblr is very easy to use and completely non-technical.
- There’s a built-in community, which helps you get visibility.
- You can use a custom domain name for free.
Disadvantages of Tumblr
- Tumblr is not a good option for long-form content.
- You don’t get very much control beyond basic style options.
Blogger is a free blogging platform from Google, the makers of a popular search engine you might have heard of.
You can easily create a free blog using the .blogspot.com subdomain (e.g. yourblog.blogspot.com) or you can pay for your own domain name and use it with Blogger for free.
How to Get Started with Blogger
To get started, all you need to do is create a blog — you can use your existing Google account, so you won’t even need to sign up for anything new.
Advantages of Blogger
- Blogger includes all the core features you need in a blogging platform.
- Because it comes from Google, Blogger makes it very easy to monetize your blog with ads from Google AdSense.
- For the same reason, it’s easy to integrate free web analytics using Google Analytics.
Disadvantages of Blogger
- Blogger doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention from Google, so there aren’t many improvements and it feels a bit dated. Basically, what you see is what you get and you probably shouldn’t expect any changes.
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