What Blogging Platform is Best for You?
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There are many different blogging platforms available. As a beginner blogger, it’s important to consider your budget and what kind of site you plan to create. In this article, we’ll be comparing Blogger, Weebly, and WordPress.
What are your blogging goals?
- Will your blog be a hobby or something you’ll just share with family and friends?
- Do want to make money by placing ads on your site or writing sponsored posts?
- Do you want to sell digital or physical products?
- Will you use your site for a business or portfolio?
What is your budget?
Here are some of the expenses that you should expect when starting a blog:
- Custom blog theme (optional)
As you’ll see later in the article, both Blogger, Weebly, and WordPress have free options (but with limitations.)
Of the three platforms introduced in this article, Weebly is the easiest to use in our opinion. Weebly has a drag-and-drop feature so you can easily add images and text anywhere in your content area. This feature allows you to make custom layouts for every page without needing to know how to code. However, with some time and following tutorials online, you’ll likely find that WordPress and Blogger are easy to use, too. You can also install page builder plugins on WordPress or purchase themes such as Divi that include a visual page builder.
So, What Blogging Platform Is Best for You?
If you’re brand new to blogging, you can create a free test site on each platform. This will help you decide what you feel most comfortable with prior to purchasing upgrade options and a custom design.
Blogger templates are hosted for free on Google’s Blogger.com. A site hosted on Blogger does not require that you manage resources and security. All Blogger templates come with a limited collection of gadgets that you can place on your site.
All sites hosted on Blogger will have a domain that ends with blogspot.com. If you want a custom domain, you can purchase it separately and connect it to your Blogger site.
There is not a great selection of templates available through Blogger. Albemarle PR offers premade Blogger themes with a variety of styles and colors.
You will need to download backups of your content on a regular basis. If you decide to switch to WordPress from Blogger, you can transfer your content.
Free or Cost of Domain ($10-$15)
Over 40 million people use the Weebly site builder and e-commerce tools. Weebly is a popular choice for users that are looking for a low maintenance and user-friendly option. You can create custom page layouts with the site builder tool that allows you to drag and drop elements. You don’t need to know how to code! Upgraded accounts with Weebly also include e-commerce options.
Unless you pay to upgrade your account, your site will include the weebly.com subdomain.
Please note that our Weebly template demos are shown without Weebly ads because we’ve paid to upgrade our accounts. If you’re using a free account with Weebly, your template will show a Weebly banner ad across the bottom.
Unfortunately, Weebly does not offer an option to make backups of text and images. You will need to keep an extra copy of each blog post and page using a word processor and folder on your computer or online storage site. You must be very careful that you do not delete elements and sections (text boxes, images, etc.) because you will not be able to get them back. Although they can restore an entire page if you delete it, they cannot restore posts from the blog section, contact form entries, or deleted products. This is why we do not recommend Weebly for anyone that plans to write blog posts very often. (Most of our teachers only write weekly or monthly updates in the blog section, so it’s not too time consuming to make manual backups).
Free to $38/month
WordPress.com provides hosting for free and does not require that you setup and maintain WordPress on your own server. You must have a Business account to upload third-party templates and to install plugins.
WordPress.org is a robust content management system that can be used for a simple website, blog, and e-commerce site. Unlike with Weebly and Blogger, you will be responsible for maintaining your site and completing updates to keep your site secure. You will need to become familiar with how to backup your site and how to access your files on your server. We recommend SiteGround for WordPress hosting.
You can choose from hundreds of free templates. However, we highly recommend a WordPress theme built with the Genesis Framework.
Here’s why we love working with the Genesis Framework:
- Secure and search engine optimized (SEO)
- A team of developers ensures that the framework is updated to reflect best practices for coding and is compatible with the latest version of WordPress. When you use a Genesis Child Theme, you can update your site without losing your custom changes.
Where to Purchase Genesis Child Themes
Albemarle PR offers Genesis Child Themes that are colorful and fun. Most of our designs are intended for teachers. Here’s a list of additional purchase options:
- StudioPress (the makers of the Genesis Framework)
- Restored 316 – Great for feminine e-commerce templates
- Dynamik Website Builder – Create your own Genesis Child Theme
- Elegant Themes – We use a customized Divi child theme for this site
Features and Design Options
WordPress gives you the flexibility to add additional features with plugins. There are thousands of free and premium plugins that will help you add additional features and functions. If you’d like to use a visual page builder to make custom post and page layouts, you can use the Beaver Builder plugin. You can also use the Divi theme that we use on our business site.
Varies by hosting company, theme, and cost of premium plugins that you may prefer to purchase. You can get started with a hosting package for $3.95/month. The purchase of a custom domain is required when using WordPress.org.
Earning Money Online
If you plan to earn money online, we recommend a self-hosted WordPress site so you’ll have the most flexibility with ad placements and ad code provided by independent ad networks. Ad networks will prefer that you have a custom domain (myawesomeblog.com instead of myawesomeblog.weebly.com or myawesomeblog.blogspot.com) and you’ll need to be able to provide detailed stats about the number of visitors to your site. Google Analytics can be installed on Weebly, Blogger, and self-hosted WordPress sites. However, on WordPress.com sites, you must have a Business plan.