So you think you want to start a blog, but you have no idea what to do first. Believe me, I’ve been there. I jumped in head first and made a million and one moves since.
My goal with this post is to educate you first, so you can choose the best blogging platform for your blog now. Ready?
Ask yourself 3 important questions:
- Why do you want to blog?
- How much do you want to spend?
- What features do you want or need?
1. Why do you want to blog?
My guess is that if you are reading this post, you already know why you want to build a blog. That’s great because it’s easier to pick the right blogging platform if you know what your goal is.
Here are some common reasons for blogging:
- To build an online business/earn extra income.
- To build an online presence for a business.
- To build an audience as an author, speaker, or coach.
- To express yourself through writing, video, or photography.
- To connect with others who share a common interest.
- To learn something new.
- Because it looks like fun!
If you are looking for something fun to do, or not interested in making money, a free blogging platform is great to start with. It has limitations – yes, but you will learn the art of blog writing and connecting online. Plus, you can determine if blogging is your thing before investing money into it!
And remember, you can always move to a self-hosted platform in the future if you decide to get serious about blogging.
If your blogging goals are business/professional – build a self-hosted WordPress blog now. You’ll be glad that you did. Actually, if there is ANY chance that you may want to earn money from your blog – build a self-hosted WordPress blog now.
I started out on a free blogging platform. Honestly, I had no clue what I was doing and I didn’t want to spend money right away.
Then I started reading hundreds of blogs on blogging (don’t do this!) and I came to the conclusion that I needed to be on a self-hosted WordPress blog because I wanted to learn EVERYTHING about blogging and not be limited.
So, I made the move after 6 months of procrastinating and I am so glad that I did. Because even though I still have a lot to learn about blog strategy and writing, I’m a rock star at the back-end stuff.
I would have never discovered my skills on that free blogging platform.
2. How much do you want to spend on a blogging platform?
You already know that you can totally build a blog for free…
And you can also spend hundreds (or thousands) of dollars too. So, you need to know how much you want to spend on your blog before you build it.
And for all of you hobby bloggers out there, You have permission to spend money on your blog if you want to. You spend money on your other hobbies, right?!
Don’t feel like you can’t spend any money, but also don’t feel like you must spend money. I’m super frugal and I have learned a lot of free and inexpensive ways to blog. Stick with me and I will hook you up 😉
So let’s take a look at the costs of the more popular blogging platforms…
WordPress.com (hosted by WordPress) starts at $0 per year. If you want to add a custom domain, it is $18 through WordPress or $13 if you want to register it elsewhere +/- $12 for the domain. Cost range: $0 – $25 per year.
They do have premium plans starting at $99, but I suggest you consider a self-hosted option before paying that price.
Blogger.com (hosted by Blogger) starts at $0 per year. You can add a custom domain for the cost of the domain (+/- $12). Cost range: $0 – $12 per year.
Squarespace (hosted by Squarespace) starts at $96 per year (includes custom domain 1st year). The domain is +/- $12 per year after. Cost range: $96 – $108 per year.
Self-hosted WordPress blog – pricing varies. You can start a blog with Siteground right now for $48 per year, +/- $12 for the cost of domain privacy. Cost range: $48 – $108 per year, varies by host and domain choice.
So you are looking at spending anywhere from $0 – $108 to start a new blog.
Now that you have an idea of how much this blogging thing can cost, let’s move on to features. Because, you shouldn’t make a choice on cost alone…
3. What features do you want or need in a blogging platform?
If you are looking for specific features in a blogging platform, then take some time to see which one is right for you.
Check out the links below to see the features that each blogging platform has to offer.
I suggest you also reach out to other bloggers and ask them what features they love (or hate!) about the platforms they use. You can connect with them through their blogs, social media, or by joining groups for bloggers.
Which blogging platform will you choose?
If you are ready to start with a self-hosted WordPress blog, I suggest hosting with Siteground.
If you decided not to self-host, here are some helpful articles on getting started with the other platforms.
Are you setting up a new blog? Get all of the steps in the Complete Blog Set-Up Checklist
Which Blogging Platform Are You Considering For Your New Blog?