It can’t have escaped your attention that more and more companies are capitalizing on the ever-growing popularity of blogging, each attempting to attract new creators with claims that theirs is the absolute best blogging platform to use in 2022.
But which ones are actually telling the truth?
Which blogging platforms are actually worth your time if you want to create a professional blog that helps you to achieve whatever goal you set out in your blog content strategy? If those are questions you’ve been asking as of late, this guide has the answers you’re looking for.
Over the course of building my multi-million dollar content website portfolio, I’ve tried just about every decent blogging platform there is in the search to find the one solution that’s going to help me deliver the best user experience and monetize my work in the easiest way possible.
Top 5 Best Blogging Platforms in 2022
The five platforms I’m about to share with you below are the ones I consider to be the very best of the best. Each one offers something unique: so no matter what your skill level, your blogging needs, or your long-term goals maybe, you’re bound to find the right platform to help you get started.
1. WordPress (Self-Hosted)
As if I could ever start this guide with anything other than the self-hosted version of WordPress.
By far and away, the most popular blogging platform and website builder out there, WordPress currently powers more than a third (43%) of all websites currently on the Internet.
Given that there are an estimated 1.7 billion websites currently live online, that means that millions upon millions of website owners are turning to WordPress to build their sites and blogs.
So what makes it so popular?
First of all, there’s a practically limitless number of options to customize your blog in terms of both design and functionality.
Design-wise, there’s an impressive total of around 31,000+ customizable themes available across the WordPress themes directory and widely-used third-party theme vendors like ThemeForest, meaning you have more options for the way your site looks than you’ll get with any other platform.
The best part is that each of these themes can be highly customized so that even if you do happen to pick a popular theme that another blogger is using, you can tweak it to create a look and feel that’s uniquely your own.
In terms of functionality, there are over 50,000 plugins available that allow you to do everything from basic tasks like backing up your site and optimizing your WordPress security to monetizing your blog through memberships, making use of email marketing to grow your site and so much more.
Beyond that, WordPress’ biggest strength is its relative simplicity.
Some may tell you that self-hosted WordPress has a bit of a steep learning curve, and while that may have been the case years ago, the platform has been vastly improved to make it much more newcomer-friendly.
Tools like Elementor make it a breeze to design professional-quality websites simply by dragging and dropping elements into place, while WordPress’ own in-built Gutenberg editor takes all the hard work out of creating dynamic, media-rich blog posts.
What’s more, due to WordPress’ status as the number one blogging tool, there’s a sheer wealth of information, tutorials, tips, and tricks out there to help you really make the most of your site.
One final point to make is that while WordPress isn’t the cheapest platform to use when you take into account factors like hosting and domain names, it is the best option for making money from blogging as you have the freedom to take advantage of any number of monetization methods including display ads, affiliate links, paywalls and more.
- Create unlimited blog posts and pages
- Gutenberg editor for smooth, easy post creation
- 50,000+ plugins for added functionality
- 31,000+ free and premium theme choices
- Post scheduling
- Arrange posts by categories and tags
- Add multiple users with different roles (author, contributor, editor, manager)
- Site import/export options.
An open-source solution, the core WordPress platform is 100% free to use, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t costs involved.
In order to get your blog up and to run, you’ll need to buy a web hosting plan so that you’ll have somewhere to install the platform.
Typical costs for this average are between $6 – $25 per month, depending on the kind of plan you choose.
You’ll also need to register your blog’s web address with a top domain registrar, which could cost you an average of $10 – $20 per year, depending on the type of domain and how long you register it for.
Then, you also have to consider that while there are a number of great free WordPress themes and plugins, some of the better tools do come at a cost, so you might find yourself paying anywhere from $20 to $200+ for some of the better premium plugins.
As I said earlier, this is far from the cheapest blogging platform out there, but it’s certainly worth every penny.
Pros and Cons of WordPress
- The best blogging platform for monetizing your site
- Unlimited customization options
- Easy to use.
- WordPress’ popularity makes it a regular target for cybercriminals which means you need to take a proactive approach to your WordPress security.
- Hosting and domain costs combined with the prices for premium themes and plugins can make it an expensive option compared to other blogging platforms.
How to Get Started With WordPress?
1. Buy a web hosting account and domain name
If you haven’t already completed this step, see my guide to the best WordPress web hosting companies for my top choices.
If you don’t have time for that right now, here are a few quick recommendations:
If you decide to choose another company, be sure to check that they offer a one-click WordPress installation, as that will make the rest of this walk-through easier to follow.
2. Start One-Click Installation
Another thing I love about this platform is that it’s very easy to learn how to install WordPress thanks to something called “one-click installation,” which essentially launches an easy-to-follow wizard that handles the whole installation process for you.
The “one-click” feature may be located in a different place on each web hosting company’s dashboard, but as a general rule, look for features called things like “Websites and Applications” or “Create a Website.”
If you’re not sure to find it, your hosts’ help and support documentation should help steer you in the right direction.
Once you’ve found it; select install to get started.
3. Give your blog a name
Once the wizard starts, your first task is to give your name to a blog. If you haven’t come up with one yet, here’s my guide to choosing the best name for your blog.
4. Create an Administrator Login
This is the username and password you’ll use to access and edit your blog.
5. Choose a Domain
Next, select which domain name you want people to use to access your website. If you’ve registered your hosting and domain with the same company, you should be able to find that domain in the dropdown menu.
If not, you may have to take a few extra steps to connect an external domain to your hosting account, something which your hosting company will be able to help with.
With all that done, the WordPress wizard will get to work installing your blogging platform on your web hosting server.
6. Log in to WordPress
When it’s ready, you can log in to your new WordPress installation by typing your domain name followed by /wp-admin.
Here, you’ll want to enter the username and password you created a few moments ago.
7. Install a Theme
Once you’re logged in, you’ll find yourself on your main WordPress dashboard.
From here, look down the menu on the left-hand side until you see the Appearance tab. Click that, then click themes.
On the next page that appears, click Add New.
Here, you can choose one of the countless free themes available via the WordPress theme directory or upload a free or premium theme you got from a third party via the upload button.
For the purposes of this tutorial, I’m going to pick the popular Astra theme.
Once you’ve selected your theme, click ‘Install.’
Followed by ‘Activate.’
8. Add Essential Plugins
Finally, you’ll want to install some of the most important must-have WordPress plugins to help you build, manage, and grow your site more effectively.
Once you’ve installed your plugins, you can work on customizing your blog, uploading great content, and getting that content out into the world.
If all that talk of plugins and themes and installations left you with a headache, you might prefer a blogging platform that handles all the set-up, design, and functionality for you, leaving you free to do what you do best:
Create great content.
If that sounds like you, you might find that Medium is the best blogging platform to use.
Compared to WordPress and some of the other blogging platforms I’ll share with you today, Medium may seem fairly limited.
You can’t do much to edit the design of your blog, and there isn’t much -if anything- that you can add in terms of extra functionality.
Yet it’s precisely this back-to-basics, streamlined approach to blogging that makes the platform so popular.
Rather than spending hours tweaking a design or configuring plugins, you can sign-up in moments and immediately get to work on publishing your content thanks to a very intuitive post editor that allows you to post text, images, videos, and other rich media.
Still, Medium’s real strength is in its community, and this is the main reason why I love Medium.
The platform is unique in that it has a built-in audience of readers and fellow bloggers. Although you’ll certainly still have to do the work to promote your blog, the platform’s existing community, combined with the ability to add categories to your work (with a helpful feature that tells you roughly how popular each category is), makes it easier to quickly build an audience for your work.
Medium is also limited in terms of monetization options. You can’t include display ads, affiliate links are frowned upon, and many other monetization options simply aren’t achievable.
What you can do, however, is join the free Medium Partner Program, which pays you based on how much time people spend reading your work.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to monetize your writing with no investment, this may be a great choice, though keep in mind that you’ll need to be posting top-quality content on a regular basis in order to generate substantial income.
- Intuitive post editor
- Embed rich media
- In-built email newsletter
- Create publications to build a brand
- Connect a domain name to your blog
- Follower counts
- Responses (comments)
- Statistics reports on each post
- Monetization through Medium Partner Program.
Medium is 100% free to use, meaning you can start a new blog with no initial investment.
If you want to create publications, you can get a Medium.com membership for $5 per month or $50 per year.
Pros and Cons of Medium
- Medium’s in-built community can be used to help you build an audience
- Incredibly easy to sign-up and start blogging in less than a few minutes
- Features an in-built email newsletter feature to send your new articles directly to readers’ inboxes.
- No options to customize the design of your blog
- Monetization methods are limited to the Medium Partner Program.
How to Get Started on Medium
- Head to Medium.com and click ‘Get Started’
- Sign up with either your Google account, Facebook account, or an email and password
- Click ‘Edit Profile’ to add a bio, photo, and about page.
- Click the pencil icon to start writing and publishing posts
- Build at least 100 followers to be eligible for the Medium Partner Program.
A popular alternative to WordPress, Wix may be an ideal option if you want much of the freedom, functionality, and customization options offered by self-hosted WordPress without the costs and complications of managing all the backend aspects by yourself.
What I really like about this platform is that it takes no time at all to get your blog set up and look just the way you want it with zero technical know-how required.
After signing up, you’ll select one of the platform’s numerous attractive blog templates. Though each one is uniquely different (with pre-made themes for different types of blog niches like fashion, food, travel, etc.), all of them are beautifully designed to give your blog a professional look it really needs.
Editing the look and feel of your chosen template is as straightforward as clicking on various elements to edit them or dragging and dropping new ones into place. It’s a process that’s so simple even an absolute beginner could do it with no trouble.
Monetization options are plentiful here too. The platform has tools for creating membership sites and even courses, while Google Adsense can also be added for display ads, albeit with nowhere near the level of customization you get with WordPress.
Finally, I should also note that while Wix has been criticized in the past for its poor Search Engine Optimization (SEO) performance, the platform actually features a number of tools to help you optimize your blog, all without the need to install additional plugins or add-ons.
- Pre-made blogging templates
- Drag-and-drop customizer
- Intuitive post editor
- Add social media sharing options
- Subscriber forms
- Add images and videos.
Wix does have a free plan, but, to be honest, it’s not recommended for anything other than giving the platform a test run.
This plan comes with limitations on the amount of bandwidth and storage space you have, as well as tarnishing your design with Wix-branded ads.
Beyond that, you’ve got four payment plans to choose from:
Connect Domain – $3.50 p/m
Allows you to connect an external domain to your blog and offers:
- 1GB bandwidth
- 500 MB storage space
- Free SSL certificate.
Your site will still have Wix ads with this plan.
Combo – $6.50 p/m
- Free 1-year domain
- No Wix ads
- 2GB of bandwidth
- 3 GB of storage
- Add 30 minutes of video to your site.
Includes everything in the Combo plan plus the following:
- Unlimited bandwidth
- 10GB of storage
- 1 hour of video
- Visitor analytics app
- Site booster app.
VIP – $19.50 p/m
Includes everything in the Unlimited plan plus:
- 35GB of storage space
- 5 hours of video
- Professional logo design
- Social media logo files
- Priority support.
Pros and Cons of Wix
- Huge library of beautifully-designed templates
- Wix app market allows for additional functionality
- Can prove more cost-effective than paying for web hosting and a domain name.
- Storage and bandwidth limitations can be restrictive
- Design templates are not interchangeable – once you’ve picked a template, you can’t change it without causing major problems for your website.
How to Get Started on Wix
- Head to Wix.com and click ‘Get Started’
- Create an account by entering an email and password. Alternatively, signup with Google or Facebook.
- Once logged in, click the ‘Get Started’ button again
- Select ‘blog’ from the menu of website types
- Chose what type of blog you’re making from the huge dropdown menu
- Enter your website name
- Set your goals for your blog (sell products, display creative work, etc.)
- Choose any Wix Marketplace Apps you want to use
- Tell Wix your level of web building experience so the platform can be tailored to your skill level.
- Choose a template
- Edit the template to your liking and start posting your blog.
No, you’re not seeing double. WordPress.com is the hosted alternative to self-hosted WordPress, meaning you get most of the same features, functionality, and fantastic designs with none of the hassles of managing your own hosting and domain name.
Though the free plan doesn’t offer any monetization options, premium WordPress.com users can offer paid content, paid newsletters, and display ads through WordPress’ own WordAds program.
While this might be a bit of a pain if you wanted to use Google Adsense, it does mean that you’ve still got plenty of options for making money from your blog.
Elsewhere, you can access attractive, mobile-responsive themes from the WordPress theme directory (but sadly not from third-party developers) before taking advantage of the sleek, intuitive post-editor, which saves your work every few seconds so that you never have to worry about losing your posts.
While WordPress.com doesn’t offer the limitless flexibility that you get with the self-hosted version, it is much easier to use and maintain, and this will no doubt appeal to those who like the idea of WordPress but find it a little overwhelming.
- Add custom domains
- Intuitive post editor
- Embed dynamic media
- Create photo galleries
- SEO tools
- Social sharing
- Visitor statistics
- WordPress themes and plugins.
There is a free version of WordPress.com, but, like Wix, it comes with branded ads and limited features.
To really make the most of this platform, you’d be wise to upgrade to one of the four premium plans:
Personal – $3 p/m
- 1-year free domain name
- No WordPress.com ads
- Collect payments via PayPal
- Unlimited email support.
Premium – $7 p/m
Includes everything in the personal plan plus:
- Earn ad revenue via WordAds
- Access to premium themes
- Upload videos
- Google Analytics integration
- Live chat support.
Business – $20 p/m
Includes everything in Premium plus:
- Extended functionality via plugins
- Advanced SEO tools
- Automatic backups and one-click restore.
eCommerce – $36 p/m
Includes everything in business plus:
- International payments
- Integrations with leading shipping carriers
- Access to premium online store templates.
Pros and Cons of WordPress.com
- Updates to core files and themes are handled on your behalf
- Simple set-up
- Excellent visitor statistics dashboards.
- No option for Google Ads. Display ad monetization is limited to the platform’s own WordAds.
- No option to upload custom themes.
How to Get Started on WordPress.com
- Head to WordPress.com and select ‘start your website.’
- Create an account by entering an email, username, and password. Alternatively, signup with your Google or Apple accounts.
- Enter your blog name to choose either a free domain (yoursite.wordPress.com or your site. blog) or a premium domain (.com, .org, etc.)
- Choose either a free or premium plan
- Choose and edit your WordPress theme
- Start posting your blog content.
Last but not least, we come to the original blogging platform, Blogger.
Around long before WordPress hit the scene, Blogger was a simple tool owned by WordPress through which you could create posts, embed dynamic media, and even connect a third-party domain name free of charge (something other platforms often charge for).
What I like best about Blogger is that because it’s a Google product, it syncs very well with other Google services like Analytics and, of course, Google Adsense.
You can also use blogger for affiliate marketing, though unfortunately other income-generating features like memberships and paid content just aren’t doable.
Design-wise, Blogger doesn’t offer the extensive theme libraries that you get with WordPress and Wix, but the basic templates are ideal for personal blogs while a number of third-party templates can be installed for a more professional touch.
That said, the lack of bells-and-whistles is precisely what makes Blogger such a good option for anyone who wants all of the simplicity of a platform like Medium with the added benefit of being able to monetize through Google ads.
- Customizable templates with flexible layouts
- Simple post editor
- Connect with Google Analytics
- Connect with Google Adsense
- In-built analytics tools
- Unlimited storage for posts and media.
Blogger is 100% free to use all of its features with no upgrades or upsells involved. For a professional approach, you will need to buy a third-party domain name, though Blogger won’t charge you to connect that domain to your blog.
Pros and Cons of Blogger
- 100% free to use
- Seamless integration with other Google services like Adsense
- In-built backup and restore option.
- Limited functionality
- Design templates are fairly basic.
How to Get Started on Blogger?
- Head to Blogger.com and click ‘Get Started’
- Sign in with your Google account
- Click ‘Create Blog’
- Enter a name for your blog
- Go to Theme and select a design for your bog
- Head to posts and start writing.
How to Choose the Best Blogging Platform?
As I mentioned in the introduction, each of the five blogging platforms I’ve looked at today offers something unique. This means that no matter what your level of experience and no matter what your goals, there’s a platform out there that’s right for you.
To help you decide exactly which one to use, it’s important to take the following factors into consideration.
Hosted vs. Self-Hosted
Hosted means that all of the core files, posts, themes, and other features are hosted on the platform’s own servers. The platform also takes care of security, updates, and maintenance on your behalf, leaving you free to concentrate on creating content and growing your blog.
All of the options above are examples of hosted blogs, with the exception of self-hosted WordPress, which requires you to take care of buying web hosting and a domain name, installing the platform, and managing everything yourself.
Although this is more work, it does have the advantage that self-hosted options offer much more in the way of flexibility and customization.
Though the content may be king, the design of your blog is the kingdom that hosts all that great content, and it needs to look the part if you’re going to create the right impression on your visitors.
With that in mind, there are two things to consider when it comes to the design of your blog.
- The quality of the themes or templates you use to create your blog’s overall appearance
- How easy it is to customize those themes/templates to create something unique.
Before you sign up for any platform then, take a look at their theme library and explore the kind of templates on offer before considering what tools are available to modify those templates.
If you’re only starting a blog to share your passion with the world and harbor no ambitions of making money from blogging, then this isn’t going to matter to you.
If, on the other hand, your main motivation is monetization, then you’ll need to look carefully at what options are available to you.
With self-hosted WordPress, for example, your options are practically limitless. You can use display ads from platforms like Google Adsense and MediaVine, affiliate links, paywalls, and memberships, or just about anything else you can think of.
That’s not to say that one is necessarily better or worse than the other, just that you’ll need to consider what you can and can’t do and how that aligns with your monetization strategy.
Ease of Use
Launching and maintaining a successful blog can be hard work, but your chosen platform doesn’t have to be any harder than it already is.
That’s why my top five picks include helpful features like an intuitive, user-friendly post-editor for creating content and drag-and-drop designers for building the look and feel of your site.
After all, the easier it is to set up your blog and publish posts, the more time and energy you have to focus on growing your site.
Frequently Asked Questions About Blogging Platforms
What’s the difference between self-hosted WordPress and WordPress.com?
Self-hosted WordPress requires you to buy your own hosting and domain name but does offer limitless design choices and extended functionality via plugins, whereas WordPress.com means you don’t have to buy hosting, but you are limited in features and functionality.
What’s the best free blogging platform?
Depending on how you want to monetize your blog, either Medium or hosted WordPress will be the best free blogging platform for you.
Is Wix good for blogging?
Yes. Wix is much better for blogging than people give it credit for, as it combines beautiful designs with ease of use, powerful SEO tools, and more.
What is the Best Blogging Platform of 2022? My Final Recommendations
With so much variation in functionality, design, and monetization methods, how do you know which one of the top five best blogging platforms above is right for you?
Ultimately, it all depends on what’s most important to you.
If you’re looking to start a blog on a shoestring budget, you’ll find that either Medium or hosted WordPress.com are the best free blogging platforms out there, though your monetization options will be limited.
If design and style are what matter most to you, the array of beautiful, fully customizable blogging templates offered by Wix may make it your favorite.
However, if you want the best of all worlds, including limitless functionality, thousands of design choices, and effortless ease of use, look no further than self-hosted WordPress, which remains the undisputed king of blogging platforms.