If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably decided that WordPress isn’t for you. If it’s because you tried WordPress and didn’t like the overall structure and design of the platform, then that’s fine. Totally valid.
But if it’s because you couldn’t get WordPress set up properly, or if it was too much work to maintain and administrate, we recommend reconsidering.
If you still want to use something other than WordPress and Blogger, then here are some of the best alternative blogging platforms for your content. In this day and age, we’re all spoiled for choice.
Blogging Platforms: Making an Informed Decision
When mulling over your options, it’s a good idea to consider which features and components of a blog hosting site you’ll need:
- What kind of design tools do they offer? Some platforms have hundreds of free templates, others require significant coding experience. Be sure to pick a platform that is at the right level of complexity (and quality) for your needs.
- What hosting options are available? Some platforms offer free web hosting as part of their package. While this is convenient and cheap, it also means that they retain some rights to your content and, technically, have the option of deleting it at any time. In addition, there may be significant limits on your site’s bandwidth and performance.
- How much does it cost? If you’re writing a hobby blog, chances are your budget won’t stretch very far. On the other hand, for blogs that are part of a larger business strategy, or blogs that are businesses themselves, it may be worth spending money on a premium blogging platform.
- Who can you reach? Blog posts published on some platforms remain largely within that user base, whereas others are more likely to reach the internet at large. Depending on the purpose of your blog, you may prefer one or the other.
Medium is a platform dedicated to the essence of blogging: the craft of writing. Bloggers can post text-heavy posts with a few videos or images on their Medium account (accessible through a unique username-based URL). You can create posts using the web tool or through Medium’s dedicated mobile apps (iOS, Android).
Design Tools: The uniform appearance of all Medium posts puts all the emphasis on your writing. You can accompany posts with audio, video, or images, but all posts will look the same and you cannot customize your profile page.
Hosting Options: All profiles are hosted on Medium.
Cost: Completely free.
Reach: Medium has a strong community of writers sharing information on numerous topics. Through hashtags, highlights, and responses you can communicate with other authors and reach new audiences.
Ideal Choice For: If you’re just looking to get your words out on paper, and you don’t care about how they look or about building an independent site, Medium may be the best choice for you. You can join a strong, existing community for free, and will spend virtually no time working on anything other than writing. Those looking for customization, a stand-alone URL, or a multi-purpose blog should look elsewhere.
Tumblr, done right, is an effective microblogging platform. You can post videos, images, audio clips, text, GIFs, and links to your blog, which can be accessed by other Tumblr users and the Internet at large. You can share unique content or re-blog other users’ content using either the web platform or the Tumblr mobile apps (iOS, Android).
Design Tools: You can create custom themes for your Tumblr blog using basic HTML, or choose from a wide selection of free and paid existing blog templates. It’s important to note that while these themes will allow you to customize your blog’s homepage, it will not affect how your posts are seen on other users’ Tumblr feeds.
Hosting Options: Blogs are automatically hosted on Tumblr, but you can choose to use an external URL for your blog from a different host.
Cost: Tumblr’s basic functions are free, but external hosting or upgraded themes cost extra.
Reach: If you get in with the right community, Tumblr can have incredible reach. On the other hand, it’s also easy for your blog to fade into obscurity if your blog’s content doesn’t mesh well with Tumblr’s culture. Hashtags and cross-promotion on other forms of social media are key for attracting followers. Unfortunately, Tumblr’s default analytics are significantly lacking compared to other platforms—you may need to add Google Analytics to your blog’s theme using some HTML.
Ideal Choice For: Casual bloggers who are willing to spend a small amount of time making minor changes to a pre-existing theme and who regularly use mobile devices for posting. As well, bloggers interested in niche topics with an active Tumblr community are likely to find success. Those looking for a platform with significant customizability and analytics should likely choose a different platform.
Okay, so you don’t want to join a new social media platform—you want a stand-alone and customizable blog that’s easy to create (and maybe with some e-commerce compatibility). In this case, Wix may be the perfect fit for you.
Design Tools: Wix prides itself on being a visually appealing platform. You’ll find a fantastic drag-and-drop design process with some limited HTML customization. To remove Wix branding from your site, you need to purchase a premium plan.
Hosting Options: By default, sites are hosted on Wix. But, custom domains are available with a premium plan.
Cost: Free to create. Premium plans begin at $18/mo.
Reach: Wix doesn’t have a built-in community, but does have the benefit of being a stand-alone site with good opportunities for content promotion and SEO.
Ideal Choice For: Beginner bloggers who want to focus more on their writing than blog design, but who want some room to grow in the future. More advanced bloggers looking for significant customizability, security, and numerous plug-ins may prefer other options.
Learn more about creating a website with Wix.
Joomla is a powerful open-source, multi-purpose blogging platform. However, with great power comes great responsibility: if you don’t know what you’re doing, you may find yourself out of your depth!
Design Tools: Armed with HTML, your design options for a Joomla site are basically endless. Or you can choose to use one of the 100+ templates available.
Hosting Options: You must find an external host for websites using the Joomla platform.
Cost: While creating your site with Joomla is free for 90 days, the price will go up (sometimes significantly) after this based on your blog’s performance. You also need to pay for the external hosting fees.
Reach: While some Joomla themes are mobile-friendly, this is not true for all of them. The platform has e-commerce support, built-in analytics, and SEO plug-ins.
Ideal Choice For: If your blog is part of a larger website or business, upgrading to a full content management system like Joomla may make sense. The platform is secure, with significant customer support and room to grow your blog in any direction. However, the cost and learning curve may make it less than ideal for beginner bloggers.
Note: This is specifically about Launch Joomla, which is a hosted version of Joomla. As with WordPress, you can always download Joomla for free and host it on your own web server.
Ghost is an open-source platform focused on providing blogging functionality with a simple and intuitive interface. It’s ideal for those who value beautiful content but who aren’t quite ready for the intensity of a full-blown content management system.
Design Tools: Ghost features a live preview tool, which allows you to immediately notice any spelling or coding errors. Ghost users have access to over 100 design templates and HTML customization.
Hosting Options: Custom domains are available with a premium plan, otherwise Ghost hosts your blog for free.
Cost: Free to create. Premium plans start at $19/mo.
Reach: Ghost has SEO optimization tools, as well as built-in analytics and ad integration tools.
Ideal Choice For: Bloggers with some experience who want more design freedom than a free platform, but who also value ease-of-use. Ghost is not ideal for individuals who require e-commerce functionality or who rely heavily on plug-ins.
Which Blogging Platform Is Right for You?
If you want to move away from WordPress and Blogger, then one of these alternative blogging platforms may be exactly what you’re looking for. Don’t like them? There are plenty more sites out there, including Weebly, TypePad, and Squarespace. (The differences between Squarespace and WordPress!)
Having tried all of these alternatives, if you decide that WordPress is the right blogging platform for you after all, consider using a managed WordPress host like WP Engine. We use it to run our sister sites and we couldn’t be happier.
Image Credit: Julia Tim/Shutterstock