Updated: September 16, 2016
You’ve decided that you want to get a blog up and running because you know the huge potential a blog has in being able to create the lifestyle that you want. You know you need some type of blog software.
You are a wise person.
Unfortunately, when you go looking at the different blogging applications, it is easy to feel a bit overwhelmed with all of the options available.
In this guide, you will gain a better understanding of the different blogging software/applications and how each one can benefit your needs.
Let’s start with the big dog here. WordPress powers over 25% of the sites on the Internet.
Think about that.
Millions and millions of people have put their complete faith in WordPress to host their ideas, dreams, ambitions, and cat pictures. That must mean they are doing something right.
WordPress is the platform I always recommend to anyone due to the size of its ecosystem.
When you have millions of people using your platform that also means you have a huge ecosystem. There is no shortage of themes and plugins that you can use for your WordPress site. If there is something you need for your WordPress site, then odds are it has already been created.
Having a problem with your WordPress installation? Odds are someone has had that problem before so you can just search for the answer.
One of the great things about WordPress is that you can be as hands off or on as you want. If you don’t want to dive into the technical details of things then you can just get a site up and running without looking at any code.
However, if you want some crazy customization then WordPress allows you to do that as well.
Obstacle.co runs a number of customizations on its theme.
One of the confusing things about WordPress is the two different domains you see above. The .com is the commercial side of WordPress. This is how they make money with their free software. You can run your site on WordPress.com and they will do all of the web hosting for you.
This is a huge stress relief for people because it means you don’t have to worry about hosting at all.
However, you are limited in what you can customize and install.
WordPress.org is the self-hosted version of WordPress. What this means is that you have to find a hosting provider to host your WordPress site for you. Don’t worry because there are hundreds of hosting providers out there and almost all of them make hosting a WordPress site virtually painless.
If you want my recommendation I suggest you go with a self-hosted version of WordPress. That means you have total control of your site and you can do whatever you want with it. No restrictions.
If you want to start a blog that will turn into your business then WordPress is the only thing that I recommend. This doesn’t mean it is the only option, but when it comes to blogging platforms, it is the kitchen sink.
While the other platforms discussed below are great in their own right, WordPress offers you the most flexibility and options.
Here are some awesome blogs that run on WordPress:
Squarespace is a hosted website platform. It allows you to setup almost any type of website you want. It’s not blogging-specific software but it does give you the capability to host a blog.
If you don’t plan on starting a blog and just want to get a basic website up then I can highly recommend Squarespace. It has a wonderful community and great design.
However, if you know your site is mainly going to be a blog then I would suggest running with WordPress. There are a ton of great blogs that run on Squarespace because Squarespace makes designing your site a lot easier with its drag and drop interface and numerous plugins so if that is your thing, run with it.
Squarespace also requires that you pay a monthly fee. This is no different than what you have to do with WordPress and a hosting account, but if you are just getting started you can find very cheap web hosting until you build things up. Squarespace starts at $12 a month and goes up from there.
When you really don’t want to touch any of the tech stuff then Squarespace is an excellent choice.
Just because Squarespace doesn’t have as many options as WordPress, that doesn’t mean you can’t do wonderful things with it. Here are some awesome blogs that run on Squarespace:
Odds are you have come across Medium before. A lot of great content gets posted on Medium so it makes for an ideal location to blog. I have no problem with people writing great content on Medium, but I would always suggest you have a site of your own and use Medium to supplement it.
Using Medium as your sole source of blogging will lead you to trouble down the road. Why? Because you are building on land you don’t own and history has proven time and time again this never works out.
One of the pros of writing on Medium is that they have a built-in audience. If you are able to get a post featured on the homepage of Medium then you can expect a lot of traffic to your post. Unfortunately, most of the traffic is traffic that you can’t capture.
You can’t setup email signup forms on Medium or other calls to action. You can only hope that people click a link in your post that will send them to your own site and the chances of that happening are slim.
If you just want to blog and aren’t concerned about building a business from it then Medium is a viable option since it is free. However, you don’t want to start on Medium and then have to move to WordPress later on down the road.
Tumblr is probably the easiest blogging platform around. It is fun to use, but shouldn’t be something you consider putting your serious site on. If you want to post a ton of cat pics and animated gifs then Tumblr is definitely a great choice, but for people serious about their blogging efforts you will want ot look elsewhere.
Admittedly I don’t have any experience with Ghost. It is similar to WordPress in that you can have a self-hosted version or you can pay them to host it for you. The Ghost community is pretty decent, but you definitely won’t find the vast amount of themes or plugins that you do in the WordPress ecosystem.
Obstacle.co Blog Software Recommendation: WordPress
It has its flaws and it can get pretty difficult if you install a ton of plugins, but overall it has the best ecosystem, can be installed on almost any web host, and offers you the most flexibility.
I’ve never heard anyone with a blog say that they wish they didn’t go with WordPress. On the other hand, I can’t count the people that have set themselves back by starting a blog on Blogger or another platform and then having to move over to WordPress.
I consider it the best option to run with in almost any situation when starting a blog. However, Squarespace isn’t that far behind if you aren’t looking for a ton of customization and don’t mind the lack of plugins.
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