*Check out our updated top blogging platforms for 2016 list here!
There are constantly new methods of communication popping up online; however, much like email, blogging seems to be one of those platforms that isn’t going anywhere. In fact, a blog remains one of the best ways to share your thoughts online. It’s how your company provides updates to your customers. It’s how you share the awesome vegetarian lasagna recipe you just came up with. It’s where you share your top 10 GIFs of cats who can’t even. You know, important Internet stuff.
Though blogging’s status as a popular online activity hasn’t changed, the ways in which we blog have. There are now more services than ever that will help you write and manage your blog, and choosing the one that’s best for you can be a tad bit daunting. That’s why we’ve gone ahead and narrowed down the scope a bit to the top 15 blogging platforms of 2015 (get it? 15? 2015?).
And with that, let’s take a look at (in no particular order) the 15 content management systems (CMS) that made the cut.
WordPress is hands-down the most popular blogging platform around. In fact, sites built with WordPress power 23% of the Internet! The platform makes it really easy to write, post and mange your content. It also lets you customize your blog with editable themes, as well as thousands of plugins that can let you do pretty much anything. There are two versions of WordPress to choose from: wordpress.org, which is free and allows you to use your own web hosting, or wordpress.com, which will take care of the hosting for a premium (free with ads, $99/year or $299/year). But let’s be real here, you’ve probably already heard of WordPress.
Ghost is a minimalist’s dream, providing an uncluttered interface for you to jump into and just write (on whatever device you happen to be using). However, that definitely doesn’t mean it isn’t powerful. It also has team collaboration tools and a marketplace with great (and responsive) themes for your blog. My personal favourite feature is the split-screen Markdown syntax/live preview mode, so you don’t have to keep jumping back-and-forth like many other platforms. There’s a free option if you’re hosting your blog on your own servers. If not, plans start at $10/month and go all the way up to $250/month based on how many page views you’d like to allow for.
If you’re a fan of Evernote then Postach.io is a no-brainer. The platform is designed to work seamlessly with your Evernote workflow, and it does an exceptional job. Blog posts are created just like any other note in Evernote, and all you have to do is tag a post as “published” after which it’ll go live on your blog. It’s also got a handful of themes to choose from, all of which are editable within a GitHub account. Best of all, you can do this for free, or pay $5/month (or $50/year) to have multiple blogs, password protect your sites or have multiple authors.
If you use your blog to quickly share random thoughts, links, pictures or videos, then Tumblr is a great platform to consider. Its social networking components will also help you connect with Tumblr users and get your content discovered. It’s not the greatest option for integrating into your existing personal or business site, but if all you need is a great standalone blog then you should definitely give it a shot. It’s free (with premium templates to choose from), so you’ve got nothing to lose.
Svbtle is another minimalist blogging platform that’s perhaps the most ‘minimally’ of the bunch. The management section is built similarly to how bloggers work: on the left is a place for you to add a list of your random ideas and gradually work on them, and on the right are all of your published posts. When it comes time to actually write, the interface becomes entirely blank so you can just focus on writing – but don’t worry, formatting is taken care of via Markdown. The end result is a no frills page consisting of a bare-bones blog post, with no variety of themes to choose from like other platforms on this list. It’s not for everyone, but if you want a simple way to organize, create & share your thoughts, then Svbtle is well worth the $6/month investment.
Silvrback does a great job of unifying the front-end and back-end experiences of a blog. When you select one of its 2 UI themes, it applies the theme not just to what readers will see but what you see as well when you’re writing. It’s a simple change, but it makes it really feel like you’re writing for your blog and not just in some boring word processor. Silvrback also has some often overlooked features like a customizable author bio page and an email subscription that automatically sends out your latest posts. Best of all, it’s a pretty affordable option at just $29.99/year.
Scriptogr.am is a relatively new platform that lets you post to your blog without needing to disrupt your workflow. Posting is done by writing up a post in Markdown and adding it to a specified Dropbox folder. Once added, the file is then converted into a blog post and added to your blog. There are several themes available that can be customized using CSS and HTML, so you can get your blog looking just the way you like it. One potential downfall is that images must already be online and added to your post using its URL in Markdown, which might be inconvenient for image-heavy posts; however, this won’t be an issue if images aren’t really your thing. If you’re ready to give it a try, Scriptogr.am is currently listed as in Beta and available for free.
Posthaven is a simple blogging platform with big ambitions. Its owners claim that it will be around forever, with no plans for getting acquired or any other exit strategies in mind. In addition to features like private sites with passwords, autoposting to Facebook/Twitter, commenting, email subscriptions and multiple authors, its biggest feature is the ability to post by email – complete with photos, music, video and documents. Other big features that it promises are coming soon are a bookmarklet, HTML/CSS customization, and autoposting to App.net and other services. Posthaven is available for $5/month, and its owners promise to always be fair with their pricing. You can read their pledge here.
Dropplets is another Markdown-based blogging platform. What makes it unique is how much control it gives you over your blogging. Dropplets is free to download and requires you to host it on your own servers. While some may find this to be an extra step they don’t want to take, others will rejoice at not needing to rely on another service for their blogging. You can also get a very sleek-looking blog via one of their many premium templates, which you can also customize with your own code.
It might be better known as an all-in-one website builder, but Squarespace’s blogging capabilities rival many of the other dedicated blogging platforms on this list. It’s got beautiful themes to choose from, a great team collaboration system, hosting and even analytics. Plus, because it’s Squarespace, you also get their great 24/7 customer service that they’re always bragging about. Plans start at $8/month.
Hexo is one of the more advanced blogging platforms out there, ideal for anyone who’s ready to roll up their sleeves and start coding. Instead of a highly visual editor with a drag-and-drop interface, bloggers do most of their work with Markdown. Hexo has a strong community component, with users sharing their themes and plugins on GitHub. If this sounds like your thing, then go ahead and give it a try – it’s free!
Bolt is a free and open source content management system that’s perfect for bloggers who like to tinker around with the backend of their site while at the same time having a great interface to blog with. After downloading the code and uploading it to your servers, you can then play around with pretty much anything or download others’ work from GitHub. When it comes time to start writing, the software is fully responsive – something that even some of the biggest names in blogging platforms don’t offer.
Anchor is a straightforward blogging platform that’s perhaps the fastest of anything on this list. You’ll need to download Anchor and install it on your servers, but don’t worry – the whole program takes up less space than a standard JPEG file. It’s ideal for slightly more advanced bloggers, using Markdown and HTML as its primary methods of blogging; however, there is some drag-and-drop functionality, mainly for adding pictures. Anchor has a great community that shares its work on GitHub and is open source, meaning you can use it for free or donate $5 if you feel like sharing the love.
Typepad’s been around for over a decade now, and it’s great for those who want to get a great looking blog up and running without having to worry about hosting, installing, coding or any of that other mumbo jumbo – though you can always play around with the CSS if you’re so inclined. Posts can be conveniently written on desktop, mobile or via email. Unlike most of the other platforms here, you can also monetize your blog by running ads or joining their affiliate program. To top it all off, they have a great support team if you need any help along the way. Plans start at $8.95/month.
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