Choosing the Best Blogging Platform
Choosing the best blogging platform may sound like a daunting task if you’re just starting out, but here’s some tips on the advantages of some of the most famous blogging platforms. So what’s a blogging platform? It’s basically the infrastructure you will use to write in your blog. You can still do it the old-fashioned way and code every page manually yourself, one of the options we will discuss (although most likely not the best in this day and age), or you can use a platform such as WordPress which makes it much easier to manage your niche blog and write posts. That way you can focus on the writing, and let your platform do the hard work for you.
Is There Even Such a Thing as a Best Blogging Platform?
As with most other things, the “best” is very relative. What’s best for one site is not necessarily what’s best for another site. So choosing the best blogging platform is about finding the one which is best for the particular blog you will be writing. A great blogging platform can save you a lot of time, and a lot of headaches. On the other hand, a platform which isn’t the best fit for you might make the whole blogging experience much less enjoyable than it could be. So without further ado, lets examine some of the most popular blogging platforms.
Coding the Website Manually
If we were still in the 1990s or early 2000s, I would hands down recommend this method. The reason is simple: there were not any worthy alternatives yet, and with most Internet viewers using a 56K MODEM or slower, you had to be very efficient in terms of how small each page would be, and optimize every byte. If you didn’t, you could quickly end up with a page with a loading time of many minutes. Thankfully, for the most part, those days are long gone, and we can focus more on the user experience and having a website which looks great. Not to say that loading times still aren’t important, but it’s more a factor of the quality of the server you use than of your programming.
Manually coded websites are probably best if your website is very static. If it doesn’t change too often, and if you don’t plan on adding more content more than once or twice a year, it could be worth looking into, especially if it’s a single-page site or something else equally simple. On the other hand, ultra complex sites could also be worth manually coding to give you the most flexibility.
Advantages of a Manual Website
- Ultimate control on the design, functionality, and features of the site.
Disadvantages of a Manual Website
- Requires a lot of time and knowledge.
- A lot more work to do Search Engine Optimization.
- Every addition to the website takes a lot of time.
- You are responsible for being up-to-date on website security to prevent hacking.
Free Blog Hosting Services
Free blog hosting services are on the other extreme. They manage the servers and the software for you. All you need to do is to create a blog and start writing. Some offer some customizations for free, but most are very limited in which themes you can install and which plugins you can add. A few will let you make revenue from your blog, by putting advertisements with Google AdSense, for example, while others will put their own advertisements. Some will offer customizations at a charge.
Advantages of Free Blog Hosting Services
- It’s free! While some charge extra fees for services such as removing adds, or having your own domain, the basic service is free, which means your only investment will be your time. Depending how much time you have available, this could be a great place to start.
- You don’t need to be an expert programmer, most of the hard work is done by the hosting company.
Disadvantages of Free Blog Hosting Services
- Some of the better, more useful plugins are not available.
- Not as many customization options as hosting your own blog.
- While the content is theoretically yours, you’re always at the mercy of the Free Blogging Host and their policy changes.
Hosting Your Own Blog on a Web Host – RECOMMENDED
The option I usually recommend for most users is to use a web host to host your own blog. Personally, all my current blogs are run using WordPress hosted at Inmotion Hosting. Using a web host to host my own WordPress means I can customize the site and the WordPress installation as much as I want to. It gives me access to a panoply of plugins and themes, and if my host doesn’t already have them, I can add them myself. The web host takes care of keeping the server running, so I don’t have to worry about operating system updates, security patches, etc. But at the same time they offer very similar flexibility to running your own server yourself.
Advantages of Hosting Your Own Blog on a Web Host
- Best of both worlds: let your web host manage your server, while retaining creative control on your server.
- New platforms such as WordPress are quick and easy to install, are easy to learn, yet offer plenty of options for an expert to mold it the way they want.
- WordPress is designed to make Search Engine Optimization easy.
- Access to all themes and plugins, most available for free.
- Ownership of your content.
- Some starter packages can be very affordable, in the 5-10$ per month range.
Disadvantages of Hosting Your Own Blog on a Web Host
- Although many web hosts will provide you tutorials, you will need to learn some technical knowledge to register your domain, get WordPress installed, and customize your website.
- The support communities for hosting your web hosts are not as abundant as for free hosting sites.
- Unless you’re technically-minded, you may need to hire an expert to get things started or if something breaks down.