What’s the Best Blogging Platform?

blogging platformsIf you’re considering starting a blog or you’ve got a blog you want to take to the next level, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is what blogging service or software to use. Making the right choice can have a huge impact on the success of your blog.

Some people choose free blogging services like Blogger.com or WordPress.com because they’re free and getting started is extremely easy. Some people are choosing mini-blogging services like Tumblr and Posterous which are also free and even easier to set-up. Some people also choose to pay for a blogging service like TypePad. But hands down the best blogging platform is…

Self-hosted WordPress

By “self-hosting” I mean, you install and host the WordPress software yourself in a web hosting account rather than using the WordPress.com service.

Why is self-hosted WordPress the best solution?  Let me give you 10 good reasons…

  1. It’s good. WordPress is by far the most popular blogging software on the planet.
  2. It’s active. Because WordPress is used by so many people, it also has a great development team, which means bugs are fixed quickly and it has a great future.
  3. 5 minute installation. Yes, it’s that easy. And there are step-by-step instructions.
  4. Easy to update. When a new version of WordPress is released, it usually takes one click to update to the new version. So, you don’t have to worry about ending up with an old obsolete blog in a year or two.
  5. Thousands of plugins. Plugins extend the functionality of WordPress. There is a plugin for just about anything you can think of.
  6. Thousands of themes. Thousands of templates or themes have already been developed for WordPress. Many are available for free. Many are available for a small fee. You’re sure to find one with a style and layout you like.
  7. Many theme developers. But if you want a custom theme, there are hundreds of WordPress theme developers who will create a custom theme for you.
  8. Drives search traffic to your own site. A blog is a great way to bring new visitors to your site from search engines. If you use a free blogging service like blogger.com, your blog is bringing search traffic to blogger.com not YourDomain.com.
  9. Brings links to your site. Similarly, when people link to your blog posts you want them linking to posts on YourDomain.com not something.blogger.com.
  10. It’s free. The wordpress software itself is free. You will have to pay $5-$10/mo for web hosting, but if you are going to spend 5, 10 or more hours a month blogging, what is your time worth? Isn’t worth investing an extra 5% to get all of the benefits on this list?

Do you agree the self-hosted wordpress is the best blogging platform? Why or why not?

If you haven’t already done so, please complete the State of the Blogging Universe Survey and check out the other posts in this series.

4) Is Blogging Still Worth It? <– State of the Blogging Universe Series -> 6) How to Choose the Best Blog Hosting for Your Blog

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

16 Responses to “What’s the Best Blogging Platform?”

  1. I know that the argument for the "best platform" is one that will never be one. Each platform has their pros & cons, and an army of ardent followers and proponents. I think as long as it serves the business goals of the church, and has an interface that is easy to use for the team; it's a good one. Although with the plethora of good free platforms out there, it's hard to argue why you would pay for one. Much like Google Analytics, although it may not be the best, it's extremely good for the price!

    FYI, I am a happy self-hosted WordPress user. It's a solid platform with a ton of free (and paid) extras with a thriving community to support it. It's what I use, and what I encourage my clients to use.

    • PaulSteinbrueck Dec 12, 2011 at 10:48 am

      Stephen, I'm sure you're right that there are advocates for every platform, however, I think anyone who uses a free service that drives traffic and links to that service provider's site instead of their own domain is making a big mistake.

      Glad to hear you're using WordPress. :)

  2. Paul, I am using self-hosted WordPress, not because I know much about it, but because I followed advice of people like yourself, who know more than I do.

    Overall, I have been pleased with it. Obviously, there is a learning curve, but overall, it has been relatively painless.

    I do have a question for you about the themes. I have considered experimenting with different WP themes, but have not, out of concern that I might accidentally lose some of the posts and/or functionality I have already developed.

    What has been your experience with trying out different themes? Is that pretty painless, or do I need to pick a time when I can spend a couple of days rebuilding everything?

    Thanks!

    • I find trying new themes to be one of the safest things to experiment with on WordPress. All your posts will stay the same. Functionality is generally only lost if the functionality you were using was tied to your theme. Usually functionality has to do with the plugins you have activated, though, which is separate from themes. And if you don't like a theme that you try, just switch back to the one you re using previously. Piece of cake!

    • You can actually install several themes and switch back and forth between them. Although You may have to reinstall certain widgets.

    • PaulSteinbrueck Dec 13, 2011 at 1:59 pm

      Joe, I agree with Chris. WordPress has done a great job of separating content from design. There's no risk that you'll lose any content when you switch themes.

      Like Chris said, some themes have special functionality built into them. For example the theme we're using here has the "Dynamic Content Gallery" (slides linking to our top blog posts) on the homepage and a place for our latest tweet to be displayed at the top.

      Almost all themes also have at least one sidebar with "widgets" like the most recent posts, a poll, etc. When switching themes you have to set up the widgets you want to use in the sidebar of the new theme as well.

  3. PaulSteinbrueck Dec 13, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Chris and Dewayne thanks for doing a great job of helping Joe with your replies!

  4. For self hosted blogs, WordPress is definitely the best way to go. For those looking to just quickly publish, with a minium of fuss and setup, you should give Pen.io a try.

  5. Since i use wordpress it does not mean i should say that the wordpress is the best CMS platform. Drupal CMS is a very good platform that has more than devlopers site. but still wordpress has got biggest community which makes it really strong.

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