Best Blog Platform Comparison Study 2015

Updated: February, 2015.

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Blog Platform Comparison

Above is a comparison chart of 7 most popular blogging/website creation platforms. To be honest, I’m a real WordPress “junkie”, but that doesn’t mean the comparison chart is biased. I’ve received a lot of questions about blogging platforms from different visitors, so I took some time and experimented with the most common ones.

So you’ve decided to start a blog. You open your web browser, type in a few search terms to learn exactly how to get started, and are instantly greeted with a wealth of information. Among all the things you’re struggling to learn at this point, you have to compare blogging platforms and decide which one is best for you.

The good news? I’ve made this task simple by breaking down what the seven most popular blogging platforms offer. Take a look at the chart to get started, and then dive into the breakdown below. First, we’ll look at each category, and then we’ll dig into each individual platform.

Here are the categories that I’ve covered:

Cost

How much does it cost to use the platform? While most of these platforms come with a free option, some do offer upgrades for more bandwidth, hosting, custom plugins and themes, and other add-ons that will cost you money. Others don’t offer a free option at all.

Just a note: Most free platforms limit monetization, bandwidth, customization, and more, and that’s why they’re free.

Availability for own domain

Do you have the option to set up your own domain name? Most free platforms like Blogger will give you a free subdomain (which means that you’ll have their branding somewhere in your domain name). However, others allow you to set up and work off of your own web address, although some require more technical knowledge to make this possible.

Level of CSS & HTML knowledge required

Do you need a working knowledge of computer skills? Most platforms make it easy for non-technical users to set up and manage their website. For some customization options, however, you may need knowledge in CSS & HTML coding.

While all platforms are customizable to an extent, beginners may need to read up on coding basics to understand their site’s components. If you’re interested in a custom design or theme, consider hiring a web developer to help you out. It will cost you money, but it can be well worth it.

Custom plugins

Are plugins allowed on the platform, and if so, how many are available? Plugins are pieces of software that you can install into your site to expand its functions. Creating a newsletter, using custom social sharing buttons, monetizing with AdSense, or adding a forum section to your website are all examples of things that can be done by installing various plugins.

WordPress (self-hosted) is the best platform for both free and paid plugins while Tumblr and Wix are the weakest options.

Storage room

How much storage space does the provider offer per account? Self-hosting your website will give you enough storage space for your content, theme, pictures, and other files. However, hosting on a free platform usually means that your storage space is limited.

You’ll want to consider your storage space based on how you want your blog to grow. Oftentimes free bandwidth is more than most beginner bloggers need, but if you’re expecting to save a lot of files over time as well as attract a huge amount of traffic, you’ll want an unlimited option.

Themes / Outlook

How many design template options are available to you? A unique blog design can help brand your blog and set it apart from others. In this section, we look at how many options you have to make your site unique.

WordPress has the most themes to choose from and even comes with options to upload custom themes if you self-host your blog. Themes on platforms like Blogger and Tumblr are very limited and have few customization options.

Hosting provided

Will you have to pay for your own hosting, or is hosting provided by the service? With many free platforms like Blogger, your files are hosted on the company’s servers. With options like WordPress.org, you can purchase the hosting through the company or pay for a hosting package through a third-party host. With platforms like Wix, you can buy the full hosting service provided by them.

Quick tip: Instead of paying for full services, I would go with a self-hosted blog on my own domain. That way you have more control over your own blog.

User-friendliness

On a scale of 1 to 10, how easy is it to set up and maintain your blog? Most of these platforms make this super easy, but some are easier to set up. With WordPress, for instance, you can have a blog up and going in 5 minutes where it will take more time and knowledge to set up a blog with Typepad.

Before you sign up for an account with a blog provider, be sure you know what you’re getting into. If you choose a platform that requires more technical knowledge, you’re likely to abandon it quickly if you don’t have a lot of computer background.

Updates

Does the platform offer automatic or manual update options? This isn’t something you have to worry about too much since even manual updates are pretty easy to do. However, it’s less to think about if you choose a platform that automatically updates.

Scheduled posting

Are you allowed to write a post and schedule its publication for a later date? Many bloggers love this function since it allows them to write a post beforehand or while traveling without disrupting their editorial calendar. However, not all platforms feature this option.

P.S. Tumblr has now added a post scheduling function.

Post categories

Are you able to organize your posts into categories? This makes it easier for visitors to navigate and browse your site, so it’s worth choosing a platform with this option if you’d like the categorization function.

Overall rating

Based on my own observations, web reviews, and more, I’ve given each platform an overall rating considering its pros and cons.

 

Here’s a breakdown of the most popular blogging platforms:

Blogger

Blogger is a great place to start for beginners. It’s a free platform that allows you to monetize your blog. Unfortunately, customization options are limited, and assigning your own domain name can be tough (but not impossible).

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is often compared to Blogger as a great place to start. It’s free with a few pre-installed plugins and plenty of design themes. However, it does lack some of the freedom and customization options you’ll find with a self-hosted WordPress blog.

WordPress.org

WordPress.org’s software is free, although you will have to pay for a hosting package. With over 20,000 free plugins and more being added every day, the customization and functionality options are practically endless. Plus, with a large community of WordPress users, getting help quickly on any design or function issue is simple.

Typepad

Typepad will run you $8.95 per month or more, but you will get unlimited storage with a generous number of themes to choose from. For a few more dollars per month, you can create an unlimited amount of blogs.

Movable Type

Movable Type is available for self-hosting, which comes with its advantages. With numerous theme options and the ability to use your own domain, it is a good option for businesses, although the licensing can be a hefty up-front cost if you want to upgrade your features.

Wix

Wix has the benefit of starting free (although premium options are available), and it requires no coding knowledge. Storage space can be quite limited unless you upgrade your plan, though.

Tumblr

There’s a large following behind Tumblr, and it’s a good choice for people who want a free option with unlimited storage. As an added bonus, it has lots of themes to choose from. The platform is ideal for personal use whereas a self-hosted WordPress blog is better for business use.

SBI Website

An SBI website can be powerful but costly. It’s not the most user-friendly version out there, but it can be a good choice for ebusinesses.

And the winner is…

A self-hosted WordPress blog offers the best combination of control over your blog and your budget. While a third-party hosting package will cost you a monthly fee, there are tons of hosting companies and packages to choose from to meet your needs. Besides hosting, the software itself is completely free and comes with an incredible amount of customizable features through thousands of plugins, custom theme options, and access to your site’s code.

I’m not the only one who will tell you that WordPress is the way to go, either. With such a huge community of WordPress users, turning your website into something spectacular is easy with the amount of support the WordPress platform has.

Are you ready to start building your blog on WordPress? Learn how to start a blog on my home page.

Comments

  1. Very useful information, Mike. I think I will use the code to embed this on my site. Good work! This will help a lot of people.

    Blessings, Amy

    • Hi Amy,

      Thanks for the kind words and sharing the chart. We’re working hard every day to bring value to the bloggers community.

  2. A very useful chart, thanks for sharing.

    I’m curious though: why the 3GB storage limit listed for WordPress.org? Shouldn’t it be “Unlimited”?

    • Hey Jay,

      There was a typo which I’m going to change soon. What I meant is that WordPress.com has 3GB storage (when you let WP.com host your blog for free). Thanks for feedback, I really appreciate it!

  3. Hi Mike, Thanks for the comparison chart – very interesting and informative.

    I was wondering about the WordPress.org information – it says 3gb of storage, but I thought since wordpress.org is for self-hosted sites (as opposed to wordpress.com), the storage would depend on the hosting company. Is this correct, or is there some limitation within the platform itself? Perhaps I’m reading the chart incorrectly.

    • Thanks for letting me know. I don’t know how did I make that mistake, my bad. I’ll change it to unlimited.

  4. Nice chart!

    WordPress.com has paid upgrades. Own domain for WordPress.com is a paid upgrade. There are no plugins on WordPress.com, but most of the extra functionality is built right in (like contact forms, video support and slideshows). Storage is 3GB for free, but you can add with upgrades. Updates are automatic and transparent to the user. Updates on self-hosted WordPress can also be automatic with a plugin. The hosted solution is also called WordPress.com, not WordPress. WordPress refers to the open source software available from WordPress.org. I know it’s confusing…

    Cheers!

    • Hey Konstantin,
      Thanks for making it more clear, with providing additional details.
      Cheers!

      P.S: Love your minimalistic theme : )

  5. As I know Tumblr has scheduled post option. I used it quite a while ago. Otherwise great comparison.

  6. Great post, useful for clients and general bloggers!

  7. Thanks for publishing another great article for us. This is best for any technology related blog.

  8. Very nice comparison. One correction to suggestion: Tumblr does offer scheduled posts.

  9. This is really cool chart. I had idea majorly on blogger and WP, get to know more technical stuff on others… simply superb.. Thanks for sharing

  10. I Never would have known about Movable Type and SBI Website. Nice chart. Thnx for sharing.

  11. This is a nice and helpful comparison. The one thing that I don’t quite like, though, is the line “Level of CSS & HTML required”. For me, “required” means that you can’t use the platform without it. WordPress is the only one listed I’m really familiar with, so when you say “CSS for advanced editing”, then that’s inaccurate—CSS is NOT required at all to use WordPress. WordPress gives the option to edit CSS, but most certainly doesn’t require it.

    So, I suggest that you completely rethink that line. I assume that none of these platforms actually requires HTML or CSS—I assume that they all permit WYSIWYG. If so, the line is rather redundant. What could be interesting is a line about “Customizable HTML/CSS”. Then, WordPress.com would rate as “HTML: yes; CSS: paid” and WordPress.org would rate as “Full customizability”. I don’t know about any of the others.

  12. As I said, this is a really helpful comparison. Could you compile something like this to compare WordPress with CMSs (e.g. Joomla, Drupal, etc.)? Of course, I don’t know if you have much experience with other CMSs beyond blogging platforms.

    • Thanks for suggestions!

      Yep, I’m planning to create a new comparison chart in the near future that compares Joomla & Drupal as well. You were right, I haven’t had any possibilities to use them so I have to ask some help from someone who knows them more than me.

      Have you managed to use Drupal or Joomla?

  13. Nicole Wong says:

    I actually find WP harder than Tumblr to use but I’m actually more concerned about a lack of comment function on Tumblr. I’m quite surprised it wasn’t mentioned.

    • Tumblr is actually not meant for blogs. Most people use tumblr to share photos etc… If you are serious about blogging then WordPress is a way to go. Alternatively you can use Blogger as well.

      WordPress is VERY easy. However, I might be a little biased since I have used WordPress over 3 years. Nicole, do you already have a blog?

  14. Since wordpress.org is for self-hosted blog, the storage would depend on the hosting company. Right?

  15. Tumblr does, in fact, allow scheduled posting.

    https://www.tumblr.com/docs/en/advanced_post_options

    • Thanks for letting me know. This is something that wasn’t available few years ago. I must update my post.

      Mike

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