Select Right Blogging Platform for Your Business
Blogging is one of the best forms of content marketing a business can use to build brand awareness, brand loyalty, brand advocacy, and sales, but your success will be tied in part to the blogging platform you use. There are many free and affordable blogging platforms, but for a business blog, you need to consider your goals for the long-term before you dive in and start your blog. A big part of the early decision-making process is which blogging platform is the right one to ensure you can meet those objectives.
With that in mind, the most popular blogging platforms for business blogs are reviewed below. Here you’ll find the basic features of each platform as well as the pros and cons of using each for business blogging. Educate yourself and make the right decision, because while you can switch from one blogging platform to another in the future, the process isn’t as seamless as you would hope.
Blogging Platform: WordPress
The first thing you need to understand about WordPress is that there are two “versions” of WordPress to choose from. Both offer the same WordPress blogging application but with two key differences: hosting and features.
WordPress will host your site for free when you use WordPress.com. That means they’ll store your content for you and “serve” it to web visitors. You don’t have to do anything except create your free blog, add some pages to turn it into a website, and start blogging! However, the features of WordPress.com are limited, and it is not recommended for a business blog where you need complete control and flexibility.
Just enter your blog address and choose the free or upgraded plan to start blogging with WordPress.com.
Blogging Platform WordPress.com Pros:
- It’s easy to use.
- WordPress handles hosting, so you don’t incur hosting costs or have to fix any hosting problems.
- You can create a blog and website quickly and easily.
- WordPress Enterprise and WordPress VIP solutions are available for businesses that need a scalable blogging platform with additional help and features. These programs are offered for as little as $500 per month for Enterprise and $3,750 per month for VIP.
- WordPress.com Cons:
- Functionality is limited unless you pay for upgrades, including fees for using your own domain name, custom themes, plugins, and more.
- Your site might display ads from WordPress which could negatively affect consumers’ perceptions of your site, brand, and business.
WordPress.org (Self-Hosted via a Third-Party Host)
You can download the WordPress application and upload it to your own web hosting account if you use WordPress.org. Many web hosts offer one-click installation of WordPress, making it even easier to start your business blog. With WordPress.org, you’ll get complete control over your website, the ability to use your own domain name, and more. You can add some of these robust features using WordPress.com for a fee, but why pay when you can get complete flexibility using WordPress.org? The WordPress application is always free. You just have to pay for your hosting account. Fortunately, hosting is not expensive. There is simply no comparison between the functionality of WordPress.com versus WordPress.org for business blogs.
Extend your blog’s functionality with over 26,000 plugins in the official WordPress Plugin Directory.
Blogging Platform WordPress.org Pros:
- You have complete control of your business blog and website.
- Customization options are practically limitless.
- Plugins and tools make it easy to add ecommerce functionality for online stores, membership options for premium content, landing pages, email opt-in forms, and more.
- A global community of developers creates free themes and plugins that you can use to extend the design and functionality of your site.
- A huge online community of experts can help you and answer your questions at anytime.
Blogging Platform WordPress.org Cons:
- Using a third-party web host to store and serve your blog to visitors requires a bit of technical knowledge. However, it’s not as intimidating as you might think. Most hosts offer detailed support documentation, tutorials, and help desks.
- Because WordPress is so popular, it is vulnerable to security threats. Securing and backing up your site should be done on a daily basis.
WordPress.org is the best blogging application for businesses and is highly recommended. WordPress.com is not recommended for businesses. However, large organizations might be interested in the Enterprise and VIP WordPress.com solutions.
Blogging Platform: Blogger
Blogger is owned by Google, so as you can imagine, it integrates seamlessly with a long list of Google products such as AdSense, Analytics, Google+, and more. Blogger is easy to use and completely free. There are some customization options; however, it’s not as flexible as WordPress.org.
The Blogger post editor is streamlined and easy to use.
Blogging Platform Blogger Pros:
- Blogger is easy to use.
- It’s free.
Blogging Platform Blogger Cons:
- There is no categorization feature for posts.
- You cannot self-host your blog or website, so the accessibility and functionality of your blog is at the mercy of Blogger’s current offerings. That might not be something you want for a business marketing investment like your blog.
- The support documentation is not as robust as what you can find for WordPress.
Blogger is not recommended for a business blog and website, but if you have no budget and you’re terrified of learning how to host your own blog, then Blogger might Right Blogging Platform for Your Business for you. Otherwise, save it for your personal blog or hobby blog.
Blogging Platform: Tumblr
Tumblr is in a class of its own because it’s not a traditional blogging platform. Tumblr is intended for short posts of quotes, videos, and images, which other Tumblr users can “reblog” with the click of a mouse. Think of it as a blogging platform with a dash of Twitter and a pinch of Facebook added into the mix.
Just click the icon for the type of content you want to publish to create a new post on Tumblr.
Blogging Platform Tumblr Pros:
- It’s free.
- It’s extremely easy to use.
- The Tumblr community is large and active, so building your audience and encouraging them to reblog your content can be very effective in building brand awareness.
Blogging Platform Tumblr Cons:
- Customization is extremely limited.
- Yahoo! purchased Tumblr, and its future isn’t clear. It seems unavoidable that ads will make it to Tumblr soon, which could detract from consumers’ perceptions of your blog, brand, and business.
Tumblr is not recommended as your business’ sole blog destination, however, it’s an excellent supplement to your content marketing and social media marketing portfolio. Therefore, Tumblr should be used in addition to a tool like WordPress.org, not in place of a feature-rich blogging platform.
Blogging Platform: Typepad
Typepad is a great blogging application if you don’t mind paying a monthly fee to use it. There is no way around that fee, which starts at $8.95 per month, but many people still choose to use Typepad for their business blogs. All Typepad blogs are hosted by Typepad, so you don’t have to worry about hosting. Enterprise businesses with more complex publishing needs can use the more expensive Typepad for Business solution.
Typepad offers a 14-day free trial so you can give it a test drive before you commit to paying the monthly fee.
Blogging Platform Typepad Pros:
- Typepad offers unlimited storage.
- Typepad hosts your business blog for you.
- Typepad is easy to use.
Blogging Platform Typepad Cons:
- Typepad customization options are very limited.
- You have to pay a monthly fee to use Typepad.
Why pay for something when you can get something better for free? As long as you’re willing to spend a couple of hours learning how to set up your own web hosting account so you can use WordPress.org, there is no reason to pay for Typepad.
Blogging Platform: Movable Type
There was a time when Movable Type was the blogging platform of choice for the enterprise and for large blog networks. It’s still an excellent choice, but it comes with a price tag. When WordPress integrated its Multi-user (MU) offering with its core blogging application for self-hosted WordPress.org blogs, many Movable Type users migrated to WordPress. However, there are still many large companies and media organizations using Movable Type, and the platform has grown into a great choice for content management across multiple blogs.
Movable Type licenses are available at different price points depending on your needs.
Blogging Platform Movable Type Pros:
- Movable Type offers excellent customization options.
- There is an active developer community whose members create a wide variety of plugins, and extensions to give Movable Type even more functionality.
- Once it’s installed and configured, the blogging tool is easy to use.
Blogging Platform Movable Type Cons:
- Movable Type comes with a hefty price tag. A five user license is $595. For unlimited users, you’ll need to be prepared to pay $1,195 for your license. Enterprise customers will need to pay even more.
- Setting up and customizing Movable Type is not as easy as other blogging platforms.
- You need to pay for and manage hosting through a third-party host.
Movable Type is preferred by large organizations for a reason—it’s tailored to large-scale implementation, and that is where it shines. If you can afford the price tag, and you plan to manage multiple blogs with numerous users, Movable Type could be a good option. However, WordPress offers many of the same features without the steep price tag. Make sure you truly need what Movable Type offers before you invest, because everything you actually need, might be available through WordPress for free or at a fraction of the cost.
Blogging Platform: Drupal
Drupal is a content management system (CMS) that includes a blogging component. It is extremely powerful and can give you all of the features and customizations you can imagine. However, it’s not as easy to use as the standard blogging platforms like WordPress and Blogger. Drupal is known as a developer’s tool because it requires some expertise to use it well.
Since Drupal is a CMS, it offers a long list of features that other blogging applications don’t provide out-of-the-box, and all features work seamlessly. For example, you can add discussion boards, an online store, social groups, as many user roles as you can think of, and infinite layouts and content types.
Download Drupal, themes, and over 20,000 modules to create, customize, and extend your blog.
Blogging Platform Drupal Pros:
- Drupal is free.
- There is a large developer community that offers Drupal help and extensions.
- Drupal gives you complete control and customization of your website, including your blog.
Blogging Platform Drupal Cons:
- Drupal is not as easy to use as other blogging applications.
- If you’re not technically proficient, you’ll need to hire someone to help you create your business blog and maintain it.
Drupal is perfect for highly complex websites. If you’re goal is to develop a complex site that includes a blog, Drupal is a great choice. However, you’ll need to have a budget to pay someone to help you along the way if you don’t already have a Drupal expert on your payroll.
Blogging Platform: Joomla
Joomla is another content management system that includes a blogging component. It’s known as being easier to use than Drupal, but more challenging than WordPress. That’s because Joomla offers more complex content management options than WordPress, but those options aren’t as good as what Drupal offers. It comes with social networking and e-commerce features out-of-the-box, and it’s fairly easy to set up.
Sign up for a 30-day Joomla site demo or webinars to see it in action before you commit to using it.
Blogging Platform Joomla Pros:
- Joomla enables you to create a complex website with a blog.
- Joomla is easier to use than Drupal.
- Joomla is free.
Blogging Platform Joomla Cons:
- Joomla is more challenging to use than WordPress.
- Joomla doesn’t offer as many features as Drupal.
- If you’re not technically proficient, you may need to hire someone to help you create and maintain your website and blog with Joomla.
If you need a more complex site than WordPress can handle but aren’t ready to commit to using Drupal, Joomla is a great alternative.
Blogging Platform: ExpressionEngine
ExpressionEngine is a website builder with a blog component. It comes with a price tag, but what you get is the ability to create a complete website. Many components come with additional price tags, such as the addition of forums or multiple sites, but developers and designers who like ExpressionEngine are very loyal to it. Since ExpressionEngine isn’t as popular as other blogging applications and content management systems, there aren’t as many plugins and extensions that a business blog might need. You can pay for a monthly support contract, which can give you peace-of-mind that you’ll get help when you need it.
The ExpressionEngine application is priced separately from forums, multiple site management, and support.
Blogging Platform ExpressionEngine Pros:
- ExpressionEngine enables you to create a multi-faceted website that can include a blog.
- ExpressionEngine offers excellent customization.
Blogging Platform ExpressionEngine Cons:
- ExpressionEngine is not free. The application with no extras starts at $299.
- ExpressionEngine is more difficult to use than standard blogging platforms like WordPress.
- If you’re not technically proficient, you’ll need to hire someone to help you create and maintain your website and blog.
- Since ExpressionEngine isn’t as popular as other solutions, the community of users is smaller. That means there are fewer extensions and fewer people to answer questions and provide help. You might not have a choice when it comes to purchasing a support contract.
If you’re prepared to pay for ExpressionEngine and to learn how to use it like a pro or hire someone to manage your site for you, then you’ll be happy with it. However, if you need to hire someone to help you develop a complex site, Drupal is a better option. If you don’t need the complexity that ExpressionEngine offers, WordPress.org is a better choice.
Blogging Platform: B2evolution
B2evolution is a free blogging application that is marketed as a CCMS (content and community management system). Once you set up your blog with B2evolution, it’s easy to maintain, but the set up process is more complex than other blogging platforms like WordPress. A variety of skins and plugins are offered to extend the features of your blog, but there are far fewer than you’ll find with WordPress.
B2evolution offers a fully-functional demo site that you can test at anytime for free.
- Once your blog is configured, it’s fairly easy to maintain.
- It’s free.
- B2evolution isn’t as popular as other blogging platforms, so the user community isn’t as big. That means it can be harder to get answers to questions and help when you need it.
- B2evolution is harder to set up initially than other blogging platforms.
- B2evolution doesn’t offer the same level of customization that other blogging platforms provide.
B2evolution is a great choice if you don’t want to follow the crowd. In other words, if you don’t want to use WordPress, B2evolution might be Right Blogging Platform for Your Business for you.
Blogging Platform: Squarespace
Squarespace is a website builder with a blogging component. It’s very easy to use with a handy drag-and-drop layout tool, but it’s not free. You’ll need to pay a monthly fee starting at $8 to use Squarespace. Your blog will be hosted in the cloud by Squarespace, and you automatically get a free domain name if you have an annual account.
Start your blog with Squarespace in three steps.
- Squarespace is easy to use.
- The Squarespace team provides 24/7 support, so you should be able to get help when you need it.
- All Squarespace templates are mobile-friendly, so your blog will work well on both desktops and mobile devices without any additional design or development work on your part.
- Squarespace is not free. If you need more than 20 pages on your blog and website, you’ll have to upgrade to an account starting at $16 per month. To add ecommerce features, you’ll need to pay at least $24 per month.
- There is no option to host your site in any way other than in the cloud through Squarespace.
If you want an easy-to-use, everything-included (for a price) solution, Squarespace is worth testing using the 14-day free trial. However, if you want complete control, flexibility, and customization of your business blog, Squarespace isn’t the best option. WordPress.org or Drupal would be better suited to your needs.
Blogging Platform: Weebly
Weebly is a website builder with a blogging application. It’s free, but if you want to add custom branding for your business (you should do this), you’ll need to pay $4 to $8 per month. Weebly hosts your site for you and offers many themes to choose from which you can set up using a drag-and-drop tool. However, customization options are limited.
Build your blog layout in minutes with the Weebly drag-and-drop site creator tool.
- It’s very easy to set up a simple website with a blog.
- Weebly customization options are limited.
- Weebly hosts your site so you give up some control.
- There is a monthly fee if you want to remove all Weebly branding.
If you need a very basic website and don’t mind paying $4 per month for it, Weebly could work for you. However, WordPress.org is a better choice for business blogs that need complete flexibility and control.
Ultimately, you should choose a blogging application that won’t require you to hire a web developer to design and maintain your blog over the long-term. However, you also need to choose a tool that gives you the features, control, and customization that you need to appropriately reflect your brand and business to consumers around the world.
Top picks to choose from depending on your business blogging goals.
WordPress.org is the best choice for small and mid-size businesses while Drupal is the best choice for large organizations with complex sites. However, for businesses with no technical resources, no budget to hire someone to help, and no desire to learn how to use blogging and hosting tools beyond the basics, a paid tool like Squarespace, which provides 24/7 support, might provide the right balance of ease-of-use, functionality, and peace-of-mind.