Updated March 12, 2020.
When starting a blog, there are over 12,000 steps to successful blogging. I am a little over dramatic when I say that. I honestly don’t know how many steps there are, but I can tell you there is a ton. Don’t get discouraged because you don’t have to tackle them all tonight. There are steps, and everything builds upon each other. The first real decision you have to make when starting your blog is which of the best blogging websites do you want to use? Of course, there are hundreds of blogging sites, but I’m only going to go over the main ones I see people using.
WordPress.org is the one I currently use, and I love it! There is so much freedom to do almost anything you want. WordPress templates allow you to customize your blog with little to no technical training. You don’t need to be a developer when starting your blog, but I will say it does help. I’m very familiar with coding, and I still have to google scripts for WordPress.org regularly.
With that said I also customize my blog unnecessarily: there’s a widget for everything I need to do. A widget is a small application that does specific things that you can add to a broader application.
For example, you can add a Grammarly widget to your WordPress.org blog to correct your spelling and grammatical errors. You can add a Yoast search engine optimization widget to assist with your keyword optimization. And as you become more familiar with WordPress.org I’m sure you’ll discover more on your own!
With WordPress.org you download their software, but connect it with your hosting platform (you can think of hosting as a storage unit and the software as movers.) When you choose WordPress.org, they are more like third parties movers that are not associated with your storage facility, giving you the freedom to store items as you see fit.
WordPress.org is entirely free to use, but remember you have to pay for someone to host your website for you. You can also use your domain name for your URL, which is your website name. For example, The Finance Fairy’s domain name is MyFinanceFairy, but the URL is the whole string of characters you’d type into the search bar like so https://myfinancefairy.com/.
WordPress.com is perfect for people who do not want the hassle of owning a server, having to pay someone to handle their site, or having to pay for a company to host their website for them. The site is free to use to a certain extent: If you want to upgrade functionality or add some custom features, you do have to pay to upgrade your account. With WordPress.com you can have a website up in less than ten minutes, and it will be ready to go!
Some of the things that can be a deterrent for people when looking into blogging for bloggers best websites is the fact you aren’t able to customize WordPress.com, they don’t have widgets, and you can’t place a script or customize a particular article.
For example, let’s say you want a pop-up for people to be able to subscribe to your blog. If WordPress.com doesn’t have a template for it, you can’t have it on the site at all. You can only choose themes that the site has available to you, whether paid or not. You can’t buy a theme from third-party software engineer to upload into your blog; It has to be from WordPress.com. (A theme is a way your blog is laid out, functions, or looks.)
There are two final details that I will go over regarding WordPress.com. If you’re thinking of using advertising as your primary source of income (which is probably not a good idea), WordPress.com is not for you. The site does not allow ads whatsoever on their platform, which is usually the reason why bloggers choose the .org over .com when it comes to the best blogging websites. The last thing is that your sub-domain name will end with WordPress.com. For example, that would look like this for my website: https://myfinancefairy.wordpress.com.
Wix.com offers free plans for starting a website, but you also will have a subdomain with wix.com in it. Their free basic plan also includes Wix advertising on your site, which is a downside because that impacts your brand. You don’t want someone else’s branding on your website unless they’re paying for it. But, once you upgrade your account, those issues go away.
Wix.com wins the boxing match when it comes to ease of use and the learning curve. The site is user-friendly and modern. There are over 500 themes to choose from to make sure your blog is designed to represent your blogging niche.
Once you upgrade, you are also able to add more customizations and integrations with other sites. Integrations allow other sites to flow through your site.
For example, you can connect a Google Analytics account to your Wix website to be able to view detailed reports on your users and how they use your website.
Another bonus of Wix.com is the dedicated support you receive. If you have any questions, you can reach out to their customer support and ask away. Customer service is a beautiful thing when you’re designing your first website – Trust me!
Blogger is a free site run by Google for blogs. Your website would be hosted by Google, which as you have now learned, means your ability to do what you wish is very limited. The customizations are minimal and you will probably outgrow this site very quickly.
The plus to starting on Blogger is the ease of building a website within minutes, but you must note transferring Blogger blog stuff to other sites can be very tedious, and you may need help.
Blogger, of course, has templates and themes available to you to express your blogger life and voice, but again they are limited kind of like WordPress.com. The security of Blogger’s website is fantastic: I mean they are run by Google. You will not need to worry about the security of your blog or creating backups, which makes sleeping at night incredibly peaceful.
Backups are copies of your website, so in case you were to accidentally delete a post or, god forbid your whole website, you a have a copy which you can restore the site from. I do have to mention that the support from Blogger is sub-par, so if you do go the Blogger route make sure to keep that in mind.
Summary of The Best Blogging Websites
Now that we have gone over the top four blogging websites you are better equipped to decide where to run your blog. My personal favorite is WordPress.org. I began with WordPress.com and transitioned over to .org once I learned I couldn’t place ads on my site and I don’t have full control of the website. Call me a control freak; it’s okay. It’s true, but in all seriousness, you may not need or want full control of every aspect of your website.
The real decision you have to make is what level of control and customization you want. Once you know that, choosing your platform is pretty simple.
The last take away from this is you can always change what blogging site you’re using, so even if you start with WordPress.com you can still migrate to WordPress.org if you need more customization or are ready for ads!
If you need an overall review of how to create a blog, this article goes over everything from how to find free photos to picking a blogging niche!
The Finance Fairy