Long gone are the days when writers had to deal with editors, publishing houses, or newspapers associations. Nowadays, anyone can get started as a writer by self-publishing on the Internet. There are a few platforms out there which allow you to share your writing with the rest of the world. But be careful, not all of those platforms may be suitable for your own needs. Some are free, some can get quite expensive, and all of them attract a different kind of audience. This is why I compiled this list of the best blog sites for writers out there, which should help you choose a platform that really works for you. Read on to find out what the pros and cons of these popular platforms are, and how they can help you launch your new writing website.
What is a blogging platform?
A blogging platform is a service that allows you to publish your content and share it with the rest of the world. These CMS(content management systems) comes in the form of website builders like WordPress, Medium, Tumblr, etc. In this blog post, I’m going to explore and review the best free & paid blogging platforms for new writers.
The Best Blogging Platforms For Writers
I’m going to list the most popular ones in my subjective opinion with pros and cons and conclusion, so it’s easier for you to make your pick.
if you’ve ever looked into starting a blog, chances are you are already familiar with the name ‘WordPress’. This is probably the biggest platform out there, and my pick for the #1 writing platform today. Read on to find out how this incredibly flexible platform can help you get your writing off the ground.
Endless Customization Opportunities
The great thing about WordPress is that you can really use it to create the website that you like. As a new writer, you may want to start with one of WordPress’s many popular free themes(I suggest you start with a paid one since the free ones have a lot of bugs), before moving on to a sleeker premium theme. From then on, you can change colors, fonts, formatting, decide where to place adverts, and edit pretty much anything you can think of. You completely own the platform.
A More Professional Look
Of the blog sites for writers which I have listed on here, WordPress can give you one of the more professional looks. For writers who need to advertise their writing, or who simply want an aesthetically pleasing, professional look, WordPress is one of the greatest platforms. Good writing is not enough. You also need to market your writing with graphic designs, illustrations so it’s more relevant and entertaining to the reader.
The Importance Of Owning Your Content
WordPress gives you every right to your content, as opposed to a couple of other platforms out there. Think carefully when choosing a free platform, they may make you less money in the long run as you lose your right over the writing which you produce.
If you are looking to use your writing to generate a source of income through your blog, WordPress is a great platform. It allows you to create an online store easily, to sell your ebooks, or even to add a paid membership access to your site. When looking to create a blog that makes money through ads, WordPress is also great as it gives bloggers a lot of freedom in choosing where to place them, and even which ad network to collaborate with.
The main cons of using WordPress have to do with the fact that it’s a site that lets you do everything yourself. For example, you’ll have to figure out how to host your website or blog, and how to back it up. There are a few things which you’ll have to pay for when using WordPress, including:
- getting a domain name (usually around $14/year)
- getting a website host (usually around $10/month)
- backing up your website (sometimes included in the hosting price)
As you already know I’m using WordPress.org myself and if you’re interested in how to get started you can read one of my previous blog posts/guides:
WordPress is the best option for most writers. When choosing blog platforms for writers, you have to be careful about your own needs. In terms of design, aesthetics, and monetization, WordPress has you covered to create the website you want. However, this comes at a cost. It is well worth considering whether your writing needs such a platform, or can be accommodated on a free one.
Medium reads more like an online magazine but allows you to post your writing on a site that already has a large built-in audience. Writing on Medium is not for everyone, so read our list of pros and cons.
When posting your writing on audience, it has a much greater chance of being read than if you were to start building an audience from scratch. As a beginner writer, this can be a serious advantage. You can also publish your article on other publication and get tons of readers. In order to do that you’ll have to build relationships with the publication owners.
A Professional Platform
Medium generally has a good reputation and publishes high-quality, well-written articles. Linking potential employers to a Medium post that you wrote looks good for you, especially if the post also reflects your best writing.
Although it is rare, there a few writers out there who generate a good income from writing on Medium. Once you have posted your article on Medium, you will receive a monthly paycheck, depending on how many views it gets. If you are able to create seriously attractive and readable content, this could bring in an additional source of income as well as a portfolio for your writing. Win-win.
Not Your Own Website
When trying to build a reputation as a writer, it is preferable to have your own website, maybe something like NameSurnameWriter.com. Medium is a great content to write for, but it will never be your platform the way that building your blog or website would. Basically, it can be shut down without any previous warnings.
Medium is the perfect platform for writers who don’t wish to create their own website. It is easy to use, professional, and can even bring in some money. If you’re not interested in monetization and lead generation & customization, but just purely on writing – Medium is a great choice.
Blogger is Google’s own blogging platform. Its simplicity of use makes it one of the most popular free platforms for writers out there.
Easy to Use
One of the best things about Blogger is how easy it is to use. The tools provided are simple and intuitive. The blog you will create can even look really good if you are looking for a less-technical, understated look. For anyone who struggles with technology, that makes it a very good option.
You can trust Google’s security to keep your blog safe. Security is a less-often discussed feature of writing platforms, but it is definitely something any writer should keep in mind, as no one is safe from accidents.
The downside of being simple to use is that Blogger is also very basic. Features are very limited, and if you find yourself growing your blog, you may well want to switch it to another platform as many have done in the past. Again, if you are satisfied with the basics and are only looking for a simple and reliable platform, this one is for you.
At Google’s Mercy
This should not be a problem for many of you, but be aware that Google can delete your blog at any time without explanation. In other words, you are very much at the mercy of Google. On the other hand, you may want to consider the fact that any writer who wishes to make a name for themselves on the internet is, in one way or other, also at Google’s mercy. It’s all a question of perspective.
Blogger is one of the best, basic writing platforms out there alongside with WordPress.com. It is simple to use, no-nonsense and very reliable. For your first blog or if you are averse to technology, it may be the obvious choice for you. It’s a good platform for beginner writers/bloggers.
WordPress.com, not to be confused with its bigger brother WordPress.org, is a free platform which lets you create a blog without any fuss or much learning at all. If you’re looking for a free, simple yet effective platform for your writing, this may well be the one for you. Read on to find out exactly how this one differs from its popular sibling.
The great thing about WordPress.com is that it is completely free. The website takes charge of the hosting, meaning you could start your blog today without spending a single cent. If you are low on funds, or just don’t see the benefit of spending each month when your writing speaks for itself, this can make WordPress.com a very good option.
Simple to Use
Getting to learn how to use WordPress.com is nothing like familiarizing yourself with WordPress.org. Phew! In only a few minutes, you’ll get a clear sense for how to create, edit and publish your posts. The whole process should feel intuitive, and save you more time to focus on your actual writing.
Fewer Monetization Opportunities
While WordPress.com will cost you a lot less, it will also certainly bring less in. This is because when using WordPress.com, you do not own your content, meaning that the site can make money from it, but not you.
Every WordPress.com blog looks more or less the same. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but something to keep in mind when thinking about the aesthetics of your blog. WordPress.com affords you few opportunities to customize, and you may well find that you feel limited in your options after a while.
WordPress.com can easily be one of the best writing platforms out there, but it is not for everyone. Consider whether you can be happy with a free, yet very simple blog, or if you need something more. If your only goal is to showcase your writing and you don’t care about your site looking top-notch, WordPress.com is a solid option.
Tumblr is a very large blogging platform with over 23 million users. While it is a popular choice for amateur writers, it may not be the smartest choice for more professional writers. Nevertheless, it remains a good, flexible choice. Read why below.
A Large Audience
Tumblr has a very large audience already. Once you create your blog, it is relatively easy to get people to read it by using popular writing-related or niche-related hashtags.
Simple to Use
Creating and posting a blog post on Tumblr is one of the easiest things to do. The whole website is highly intuitive and takes only a few hours to fully master. No coding here, Tumblr does all the work and gives you a good range of formatting options to really let your writing shine.
Easy to Blow Up
Because of the way that Tumblr is built, your content can easily be shared and reposted on other blogs. This means that a popular blog post of yours could soon get thousands of views, attracting attention to your profile as a writer. This is a definite advantage that more traditional blog platforms for writers do not have.
Little Monetizing Opportunity
Tumblr does not let you run ads on your blog, meaning that monetizing your blog will have to come through other means, like linking to your website or web store. This may not be an issue for everyone, especially if you are simply using blogging as a way to showcase your writing.
Compared to a platform like Medium, it should be noted that Tumblr definitely has a more amateur reputation. In fact, it may not be advisable to link your blog.tumblr.com on a business card or other professional profile. If your writing is more fan-fiction oriented, the platform way works great for you, otherwise, I encourage you to think about it more.
Tumblr is a great platform that really benefits from its large inbuilt audience. To gain an audience quick and really engage with it, there may be a no better option. However, be careful of the platform’s reputation for sub-par, amateur or teenage writing. If you’re fan-fiction artists this could be a gold mine for your content.
If your passion is writing and writing only, then Ghost may be the right choice for you. Ghost is the star of written-word blogging, focusing exclusively on sharing articles, opinion pieces, and literature. It’s a little less known blogging site compared to the others, but let’s give it a shot.
Easy to Use
Ghost is easy to use and lets you post your writing with only a few features which you can adjust. For the less technology-savvy, this can be great news. Writing with a ghost is a bit like using pen and paper. It is easy, relaxing, and satisfying, compared to more feature-heavy platforms like WordPress.
Every blog that is created with Ghost has that signature minimalist aesthetic which can be very appealing to those used to traditional media like books and newspapers. Simply put, Ghost is simple and classy.
Every Blog Looks The Same
There are very few theme options to choose from on Ghost, meaning your blog will most likely end up looking like a hundred others. If you think your writing is good enough to stand out, this may not be a problem. But for the most creative among you, it may soon prove to be rather frustrating.
Get Your Own Hosting
With Ghost, you have two options to start a blog, both of which you must pay for. You’ll either select your own host, which will cost you about $10/month like hosting a WordPress blog or be hosted on Ghost’s platform, for a minimum of $29/month. This is quite steep compared to other platforms out there, especially ones like Blogger or WordPress.com which can be free. Ultimately though, you’ll have to decide whether Ghost’s strong concept is worth the price.
For black and white, pen and paper purists, Ghost is one of the blog platforms for writers that most closely emulates traditional media. I think the price is higher than it should be considering the lack of options which you get. On the other hand, if limited options are what you are after (and indeed, it is a lot more relaxing!), then this platform is a perfect fit for you.
Wix defines themselves as a website rather than a blog platform, but can also be a great option when choosing a platform for your writing. It is easy to use to create a very polished-looking website that makes a great impression.
One of the best features of Wix is that it allows you to create a website that looks stunning. Just have a look at some of the websites that have been created by Wix, and you’ll be convinced of the value of this platform.
No Coding Required
Creating a website on Wix is very easy, as you will only be choosing from a variety of templates, tweaking things here and there. For the quality of website that you get, it is surprisingly easy to use.
Can’t Change Website Down The Line
Using Wix is a little like asking a web designer to make your website for you. If you want to change it down the line, you will have to pay again. Once you’ve chosen which Wix template you want to use, you’ll be stuck with it for a long time. If you’re just beginning posting your writing on the Internet and are uncertain what you want your blog to look like, this may be a risky option.
The Free Version is Limited
Wix has a free version, but it does not allow you to monetize your site. Instead, it publishes ads on your page from which it makes a profit, like WordPress.com. In the long-run, it can be worth investing in a pay-for version which lets you benefit from the great writing which you produce. Wix’s Premium pay-for plans start at $8.50/month.
Wix is a great platform if you know exactly what you want your website to look like, and are happy leaving it as that. If not, then a free platform like WordPress.com may be more appropriate, while a pay-for platform like WordPress.org can let you change up your website and monetize it.
Which blog site to pick?
Finding the platform that works for you as a writer can require a bit of work. However, I recommend you pay serious attention to the pros and cons of each. It can be quite difficult to switch your blog from one platform to another, so it’s a good idea to be very careful about the one which you end up choosing. Don’t worry though, every platform on this list is a good option for the beginner writers.
If you’re a reader of my blog you know I use WordPress.org but I tried to keep this post as objective as possible for new writers. I hope I succeeded and I was able to give out some value to the new bloggers.
Why I chose WordPress.org
I didn’t like the idea that my blog platform is owned by someones else and it can be shut down for no reason whatsoever. I liked that I have the option to edit and customize it the way I feel like it. I can monetize it the way I want and I’m the owner of it. Also, from SEO perspective it’s better that you have your own host.
Now my objective was to start making money from my blog, for you – it’s maybe something else. Maybe you just want to get the word out or show off your mad writing skills, that’s why WordPress.org isn’t for everyone.
If you’re worried that you will need a lot of technical skills – don’t. Every single problem you will have – you can find the solution online.
Let me know which platform works for you in the comments below. Have a good one.