It’s a new year full of new possibilities. If you’ve landed on this post, there’s a good chance that your big new project is finally starting that vegan baking blog you’ve always talked about. Or maybe it’s your all bacon blog. Or your origami blog. As you can see, there’s a lot of topics that you can blog about.
Just as there are endless blogging niches, there is also a never-ending supply of platforms to manage your blog with. After buying a domain name for an idea, our customers often ask which service they should use to set up their blog. The answer, much to their dismay, is usually: it depends. What type of blog are you starting? How often will you post? What type of content? Do you plan to have ads on your site? Are analytics important? The list goes on and on.
Rather than giving you one definitive recommendation, in the spirit of 2016 we’ve compiled a shortlist of the 16 you should consider.
You’ll be hard pressed to find a top blogging platforms post that doesn’t recommend WordPress. Powering more than 24% of the internet, WordPress has over the years earned its spot the most widely-used CMS in the world — and with good reason. It’s easy to use, powerful, and has infinite ways to customize your blog with themes and plugins. If you currently or in the future have more advanced needs for your blog (like advertising, SEO optimization and subscription forms) then you really can’t go wrong with WordPress. Check out wordpress.com for their hosted solution or wordpress.org if you’re planning on hosting your site yourself. (Note: you’ll need wordpress.org for plugins.)
Our fellow podcast sponsoring friends at Squarespace are best known as one of the easiest ways to build your own website, but it turns out that they have a really powerful blogging platform as well. You’ll get all of the same great benefits of their traditional site builder like beautiful templates and 24/7 customer service, with added blogging-specific features like team contributors and an iPhone app for capturing your blogging ideas on the go.
Tumblr is perfect for those oddball ideas that come out of nowhere and you want to start running with immediately. It’s incredibly easy to post virtually any type of content, and Tumblr will display all of your posts in its signature fun and inviting style. Tumblr also has a large community that will help give your content a better chance of being discovered and shared.
If you just want to get your ideas out there but don’t want to build an entire website, Medium is a great platform to consider. Its editor is one of the most minimal interfaces that you’ll find, letting you focus on putting your ideas down without getting distracted by anything else. Once posted, your content will be easily discoverable by Medium’s audience of sophisticated readers looking to learn more about any and all big ideas that its contributors want to share.
Svbtle is another minimalist blogging platform that lets you focus on writing your thoughts down without all the distractions that can come with other more complicated interfaces. The editor is quite similar to Medium, only with Svbtle your posts will live on your own website rather than a pre-existing network.
Weebly is another full-featured website builder that makes it easy to create a great-looking site with no coding whatsoever. As with the rest of your Weebly site, you’ll be able to enrich your blog posts by dragging-and-dropping from its selection of multimedia widgets. If your blog is one component of a larger website, you’ll definitely want to keep Weebly in mind.
Ghost is a breath of fresh air for those seeking a simple and clean interface but still require some advanced functionality for their team. Writers can invite collaborators — whether guests bloggers or full-time contributors — to seamlessly write and edit posts in Ghost’s straightforward and easy-to-use interface. You’ll be hard pressed to get lost using Ghost, which very efficiently boils down the blogging experience to its bare essentials.
LinkedIn Pulse is the business social network’s solution for sharing your long-form thoughts with your professional community. If you want to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry — and possibly get discovered by prospective employers in the process — then this is a great platform to get your content in front of the right people.
Kirby describes itself as “flexible as hell” and with good reason. You can use their editor to add posts, but the real magic of Kirby is utilizing its functionality as a file-based CMS. After assigning different folders on your computer as sections of your website, all you’ll have to do to add posts is add a file to a folder. This file, edited using Markdown or its own Kirbytext format, will then be added to your website as a new page/blog post. This is perfect for those wishing to have full control over their CMS by essentially avoiding a CMS altogether.
Similar to Kirby, Jekyll allows you to create blog posts without a CMS by adding HTML or Markdown files to a designated folder. It’s perfect for developers or anyone else who lives inside Terminal, which is where the bulk of your website management will take place. It’s one of the more advanced solutions out there, so if that’s your thing, then you’ll want to give Jekyll a try.
Polarsteps won’t be a good fit for all types of blogs, but if you’re blogging about your travels then it’s a unique option to consider. Designed specifically for travelling, it charts your locations along an interactive map that allows your readers to explore each of the locations you’ve visited. If you’d rather spend more time away from your screen, then not to worry: Polarsteps will use your smartphone to chart your journey, no internet connection or GPS signal required. Whether you want to share your adventures with the entire world or securely with just a handful of people, Polarsteps is a great solution for any travel journal blog.
Wardrobe is a minimal blogging app that can be downloaded for free from GitHub. Using Markdown to edit posts, its lack of distractions allows you to focus purely on your writing. Unlike some other minimal blogging patforms, Wardrobe allows you to customize your blog’s appearance by applying themes, many of which are available from the GitHub community. Also worth mentioning is its post scheduler, giving you the freedom to write whenever inspiration strikes and not worry about coming back to post at a more optimal time.
For those that use Evernote to keep organized, Postach.io is the blogging platform you’ve been waiting for all along. All you’ll need to do is create notes inside your designated blog notebook, which will then automatically get posted as individual blog posts. Even if you’ve never heard of Postach.io, if you use Evernote then you already know how to use it.
Posthaven is another CMS-free CMS for your blog. It relies on the one platform that we all use (email) to add posts to your blog. All you need to do is send an email with your blog entries — complete with photos, music, video and docs — and you’ll get an email back with a link to your new post. This is perfect for busy or on-the-go bloggers who just want to write without the added hassle of logging into and navigating a blogging interface.
Blogsy isn’t technically a blogging platform, since it is an interface to write your posts and then publish to whatever service your blog lives on, but we wanted to include it anyway. Blogsy is the way to blog from your iPad. It has a full-featured composition window for putting your ideas down, but the real magic of Blogsy is being able to drag and drop images and video from your iPad or external services like YouTube or Flickr.