Trying to decide which blogging platform to build your blog or website on? The big four are:
At first glance the options may seem about as different as four flavors of coffee ice cream, but dig a bit deeper to find out what really suits your needs best. (Before you get too stressed over this decision, though, remember this: you can always start on one platform, and switch to another later on as your needs change.)
Here are eight questions to get you started:
Do you need a blog that’s super, super simple to set up?
The simplest of all is Tumblr. Blogger and WordPress.com are pretty doggone easy, too.
Do you need free hosting?
Blogger, WordPress.com, or Tumblr are all free.
Do you want to make money on your blog with Google AdSense?
1st choice: Blogger (easier). 2nd choice: WordPress.org (more control).
Don’t care about selling ads now, but might want to later?
Start with WordPress.com, switch to WordPress.org when you’re ready.
Do you need wide-open design options?
Then count Blogger out. WordPress.org is the way to go. Tumblr is a very close second as far as themes are concerned, but has no flexibility in page types. WordPress.com has over a hundred themes, each varying in customability and page types.
Do you need multiple authors accessing the same blog?
Only WordPress.org and WordPress.com make this available.
Do you need online web forms?
WordPress.org and WordPress.com make this really easy.
Do you need to post documents such as pdf’s and powerpoints?
WordPress.org and WordPress.com make this just as easy as posting an image.
Have it narrowed down to two? Here are some comparisons.
WordPress.org vs. the world:
Okay, not the world really, but all of the other common blogging platforms. What makes WordPress.org (also known as “self-hosted WordPress”) distinctive from all the others is that with it, you have to purchase hosting, and install WordPress on that host. All the others host your blog/website for free. In addition to those responsibilities, you and your host-of-choice are the ones on whom falls the responsibility for security, back-ups, and upgrades. On the free-hosted platforms (Blogger, Tumblr and WordPress.com), that’s not your headache. The main advantage that WordPress.org has over all the others is limitless design options, as well as numerous plug-ins to extend the look and functionality of your site.
Blogger vs. WordPress.com:
Blogger is a little easier to use, but WordPress offers more design options. Also, Blogger integrates with Google AdSense (so you can sell ads); WordPress does not. For more details, see my Blogger vs. WordPress.com chart.
WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org:
WordPress.com is free hosting; with a .org site, you need to purchase hosting, which will be an ongoing cost. However, you are allowed to sell advertising on a WP.org site, but not on a WP.com one. For more details, see my WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org chart.
Blogger vs. WordPress.org:
You will probably only be considering these two against each other if you must have the ability to sell ads on your site. Blogger has free hosting and is easier to learn and use; WordPress.org has infinitely more design options.
Tumblr vs. WordPress:
I can’t do better than this article. Although, ignore the “Content” paragraph. There are plenty of WordPress templates that are image-driven, and uploading media of any kind is a snap.
What about Tumblr?
The newcomer in the group, Tumblr has the most simple sign-up and posting process of all. It’s also geared more toward those who want to post primarily images and video, but it can also be used for a more traditional text-focused blog. You cannot place ads on a Tumblr site. BrandYourself did a Twitter survey of people’s opinions of Tumblr, and here’s what some of them had to say:
“People actually BLOG on Blogger, whereas Tumblr is more like a collection of random moving images and quotes of people’s emotions.” – @DoralyP
“Tumblr is a fun way to blog. I used WordPress… for more professional blogging.” – @ThomasConnery
“I think Tumblr is very simple to use and straightforward. I also think that its purpose is a little different than Blogger…I consider Tumblr a photo and video based blog more than a written type.” – @gazalle
More info about Tumblr vs. other platforms:
A thorough (though not totally up to date) assessment of Tumlbr vs. WordPress.