Best Blogging Platform to Make Money – A Comprehensive Comparison of Blogging Platforms
If you’re considering starting your own blog for the purpose of making money, you first need to choose which blogging platform is best for you. Choosing which blogging platform to start out on is a critical choice as the costs for each platform can vary significantly as you increase the functionality you need. Starting a new blog on self-hosted WordPress is not without expense, but deciding to start on one of the other platforms on a free plan could cause you much more expense and headache later on. Be sure to also read our guide on How to Choose the Best Free Blogging Platform which looks at the free platforms and its restrictions on migrating to self-hosted WordPress down the road.
Blogging Platforms to Consider
I’ll be looking at the top 6 most popular blogging platforms in use today. This is by no means all available platform options, but hopefully our guide on the best blogging platform to make money will help you make a more comprehensive look at the various pricing plans each platform has to offer.
Here are blogging platforms I’ll consider:
- Self-hosted WordPress (wordpress.org)
Self-hosted WordPress (wordpress.org)
Self-hosted WordPress is one of the top blogging platforms and is the most common CMS platform in use today. It’s also based on a GNU license and free to download and run. This means an abundant of free resources, plugins and themes to choose from. Even though the software itself is free, you do need a server to run your blog on, plus a custom domain name. So really there is no free option when using a self-hosted WordPress setup. An excellent hosting company, like SiteGround, has plans starting as low as $3.95 per month which is more than sufficient for most blogs. Keep in mind, most reputable hosting companies like SiteGround require you to pay for the hosting for a full year. Add to that, a custom domain name usually costs between $12 and $15 per year. With NameCheap for example, you can get a domain name of your choice for just $12.88. Don’t be fooled by cheap hosts offering a free domain plus hosting. Usually the hosting quality is very poor, and the flexibility and freedom you want from your self-hosted WordPress setup will be restricted by the hosting companies antiquated or insecure hardware and technical support team. Make sure to properly compare what you get in terms of the extras, technology and customer service with a company like SiteGround as compared to the other budget hosting companies with “almost free” hosting packages.
Beyond that, there is very little more you will need to spend to get a self-hosted WordPress blog off the ground and running. There are premium plugins and themes you can get, but most bloggers usually don’t need anything premium to run a great looking and great performing blog. A premium, well support theme is highly recommended though. To keep costs to a minimum, give Nobuna a look. They offer premium themes and plugins at reduced costs and its perfectly legal. You can read this post which describes a bit more about Nobuna and how they keep their costs so low.
So, for less than $65 per year, you can get the best blogging platform and premium hosting for a functional blog with the freedom to customize it and monetize it as you wish. That includes ads from any publisher or any affiliate, or adding your own e-commerce store, all for just $65 per year.
Blogger2WP’s Best Blogging Platform to Make Money – Rating: (5 / 5)
WordPress.com essentially uses the same software as self-hosted WordPress, except your site is actually hosted on wordpress.com’s servers. This takes away the hassle of you worrying about setting up hosting and installing WordPress. (It’s actually not that difficult, you can easily do it by following these instructions – Start a blog on WordPress).
The nice thing about WordPress.com is they have a free platform you can start out on before you decide to upgrade to one of their premium plans. There are some restrictions on the free plan of course, but hey, it’s free. (Read this article to see why we recommend WordPress.com as the best free blogging platform).
On the free plan you’ll be stuck with the WordPress branded domain name. For example, blogger2wp.wordpress.com. If you want to have your own domain name like blogger2wp.com, you’ll have to upgrade to their personal plan as a minimum to be able to do this. The personal plan will cost you $4 per month, and just like any good hosting company, you’ll have to pay for this yearly, up-front. So $48 plus any taxes as applicable. Now this plan includes a custom domain name so you don’t have to pay extra for domain registration, and it removes the wordpress.com advertising from your blog. This is probably the most popular plan for bloggers. Keep in mind, if you already have your own custom domain name registered elsewhere, you can map it to your wordpress.com blog, however you still need to pay for at least the personal plan to do this.
If you want to monetize your site with your own ads, you will have to upgrade to the premium plan. At 8$ per month billed yearly ($96 per year) – you can see why a self-hosted WordPress setup is already a better deal, even if you compare the other extra’s in the premium plan.
Blogger2WP’s Best Blogging Platform to Make Money – Rating: (3.5 / 5)
For a simple blog, blogger.com is probably still one of the best and cheapest options around. To setup a blog is free, and to get your blog on a custom domain name will only cost you what ever it takes to register a domain. With NameCheap for example, you’d be looking at around $13 per year, and you don’t need to upgrade to any plans (actually, there are none available) for you to connect your domain. Where blogger.com really lacks is in the customization department. Like wordpress.com, the templates are limited and customizing your page can be a bit of a hassle. Unlike wordpress.com though, you are able to buy and install third party templates to change the look of your site. Beyond blogging however, blogger isn’t much use if you want to monetize your blog. You can include Google’s own Adsense ads (if they approve you), but you need significant traffic to your blog to make anything worth counting. And to generate that much traffic, you need tools that are simply not available from blogger.com. There’s also no chance of adding an e-commerce store to sell your own products.
In summary, blogger.com is the most budget friendly for a new blogger who wants to use their own custom domain name, but that’s about it. You have very little room for growth overall.
Blogger2WP’s Best Blogging Platform to Make Money – Rating: (3 / 5)
Wix.com is generally a more expensive option compared to wordpress.com. The free Wix plans are severely limited in terms of bandwidth, storage and flexibility. The paid plans aren’t much better. In fact, the second tiered Wix paid plan (the Combo plan) has lower storage and bandwidth availability than the wordpress.com free plan.
Having said this, Wix sites are generally much better looking as their site builder functionality is much better than what is available with wordpress.com. However you really need to pay a lot to get the full Wix site builder functions, much much more than say a self-hosted WordPress setup with a premium theme and page builder like Divi from Elegant Themes. Consider also that Wix is not a good option if you want to migrate to self hosted WordPress later on as I write about in this review here.
Let’s look at the Wix premium plans. If you want a custom domain name for your blog, you’ll need to get the “Connect Domain” plan which is $4.50 per month. However, you’ll still need to purchase your domain from somewhere else as this plan only allows you to connect a domain. The 1GB site bandwidth and 500MB storage limitations are pretty low as well. Given these limitations, I think the only thing going for Wix is that you can actually pay monthly, something many new bloggers need as they can’t afford a full year in advance.
If you upgrade to the “Combo” plan, you will get a free domain name and this will also remove the Wix ads from your site. However, at $8.50 per month, this is more than double the price of a comparable wordpress.com plan. Want an online store? You’re looking at a whopping $16.50 per month. Sure it comes with a lot of extra’s, but that’s a ton more than you pay with a self-hosted WordPress setup.
Wix does give you the flexibility you need to monetize your blog, however the cost to get this functionality will keep your money making venture in the red for some time.
Blogger2WP’s Best Blogging Platform to Make Money – Rating: (2.5 / 5)
In terms of costs to get started, Squarespace.com is probably one of the most expensive options available. There is no free option with Squarespace and their personal plan is $12 per month if paid for the year up front. They do have a monthly payment plan but the monthly cost jumps to $16 per month and the domain name is not included, so that will be another extra you’ll have to pay for. Granted, that gives you unlimited pages, bandwidth, and storage – better than most other platforms. Truthfully speaking though, the “unlimited” features is nothing more than marketing. I’ve never had to build a website that required unlimited pages or storage, and neither will you!
The Squaresapce page templates are very easy to use and perform great, very similar to Wix, but it’s not really geared toward bloggers. If you’re looking to add an e-commerce store and sell products online, then Squarespace is a better fit. You can upgrade to the $18 per month ($26 if paid monthly) business plan which will allow you to setup an online store, including payment processing. Though, if an e-commerce store is really what you’re after, you might want to consider Shopify as this really is their strength and the monthly rates are comparable, if not better.
So with Squarespace you’re looking at $144 minimum to start a blog, period. $216 if you want to sell stuff.
Blogger2WP’s Best Blogging Platform to Make Money – Rating: (2 / 5)
Weebly.com is very comparable to Wix.com in terms of pricing and limitations. Like Wix, a free plan is available using a weebly.com subdomain, and includes a 500MB storage limit. For $4 per month (paid yearly) you’ll be able to connect your own domain, just like Wix for a couple bucks less. The advantage Weebly has over Wix is you can get a free domain name under this plan, the same goes for WordPress.com. The next step up is the Weebly starter plan for $8 per month. Under this plan you’ll get a free domain, remove the Weebly ads, get unlimited storage, and you’re able to sell up to 10 products on your site. That’s not a bad deal if you’re a blogger and would like to sell some of your own products you make, for you crafty ones out there. Click here to see the Weebly premium plan pricing.
In summary, not including the free option, you’re looking at $48 to start your own blog or website on Weebly.com, and double that at $96 to drop the Weebly logo and even sell a few items. I think this edges out Wix for slightly better value.
Blogger2WP’s Best Blogging Platform to Make Money – Rating: (3 / 5)
Summary of Best Blogging Platform to Make Money
If you’re looking to start a blog to make money, you actually have a few options if you have a tight budget, as most bloggers do. However, choosing the best blogging platform to make money will depend ultimately on how you want to monetize your blog. For my money, I would always go with the self-hosted WordPress option. Starting a blog on self-hosted WordPress is very easy, and your options for expansion are virtually limitless. You don’t need to pay extra to monetize your site, you don’t need to pay extra to add an online store and sell products, you can add any functionality you want, and you can move your site to any hosting provider you choose.
Being in the business of transferring sites from all platforms over to self-hosting WordPress, I know every serious blogger eventually wants to move to self-hosted WordPress. There’s no point in starting out on a different platform with intentions to grow your site, only to have to transfer it later with the risk of losing your content, PageRank, Domain Authority, and valuable search engine traffic.
Self-hosted WordPress is the only option, in my opinion.
What do you think?