Choosing a Blogging Platform
Choosing a blogging platform for yourself is much like choosing a new car. There are many from which to choose, most with similar features and options, and virtually all will take you from point A to B.
So, on the one hand, it seems that nearly any blog platform decision would not be a BAD decision. That does not make it a good one, however, for you.
Let’s focus on three things here.
1) Why are you writing a blog?
This has to be one of the most important questions to be answered. Being able to answer this will go a long way in helping you sort through the many options on the market.
Business or Pleasure. Well, it’s a bit more complicated than this, but it is a central question. Is this a personal blog built around a certain theme or set of topics which you wish to share? Or, is the blog a means to another end, such as a business or ecommerce website?
There are quite a few miles between these two goals, with many options in between, but fundamentally, what is the purpose for the blog?
For some it is a way of creating a record of a journey, whether an actual trip across Asia, for example, or a battle with cancer.
For others, it is more of a professional endeavor, where the content is designed to establish and further a product or person’s reputation and brand. Sometimes authors develop, test, and revise content over time to later publish as a book.
It is not a question you must answer at the outset, but if you can, it will help you sort out which platform will best serve your purposes. If you cannot today, it may well become clearer tomorrow.
The bottom line is that a blogger is someone who has something they want to say and they need more than 140 characters to say it.
2) How much control over the blog do you insist on having?
If you require control over every aspect as to how the blog looks, image editing and selection, positioning, sizing, theme options to select from, a wide array of font size and style options, access to numerous plug-ins, that is, you require high levels of customization, then this will quickly narrow the field. And, this will come at a price, of course. More complexity.
If you prefer a simple, straight-forward writing experience, then there are good options out there for that as well.
The more you can work with less customization, the more platform options you have and the opportunity to enjoy the benefits that come with fewer options. Simplicity. You can focus on your writing.
At the end of the day, there probably is no perfect platform. Sort out what you’re trying to accomplish. If it is about the writing, and that is about all the complexity you can handle on any given day, or want to handle, then less choice is a good thing.
3) How much are you willing to invest in your blog?
I suspect most folks search for a blog platform that is free. Makes sense. There are a number of platforms with a free option available.
There is usually a trade-off for this, however. Limited options for customization or ads placed on your blog being just some of them. Others might be more serious, such as the loss of some control over the content you create.
Blog platforms pay for their choices somehow. As is to be expected, there is a relationship between what one gives for what one gets. It’s only a question of whether the arrangement is acceptable to you.
But investment is a bigger concept that simply money. Some options allow for setting up your blog in a matter of minutes. Others require a fairly heavy investment of time and effort in get up to speed how to set it up – call it the learning curve.
There must be no less than two to three dozen blogging platforms out there. Evaluating the options is not an easy one. Some of the information is not easily available and it is unlikely that you will want to test each one.
There are numerous reviews made each year in which the “Top 5” or “Ten Best” blogging platforms are reviewed. Most are done for the purpose of driving traffic to a site in order to offer other services. Some are quite good, some, uh, less so. It seems that most begin to sound a lot alike in the process, reviewing the same “usual suspects” and moving on. But many offer perspectives worth reading.
So, which one should you choose?
Let me suggest a way forward. If you are relatively new to blogging, or are unclear as to your ultimate goals at the outset, I suggest you go with platforms that are less complex and easier to navigate. As the usual motivation for blogging in the first place is to communicate what is on your mind, these platforms invite you to focus on just that.
As you grow, or just simply learn whether you want to do this for the long term, you can usually add the complexity that comes with greater control over more features.
In the end, the most important issue is to get writing.