The Best Blogging Platforms (In-Depth Review)

The Best Blogging Platforms (In-Depth Review)

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Do you want to skip the read and get right to my top pick? The best blogging platform for most people is Wix.

Whether you want to become a blogger for a big-time news publication, share your independent thoughts online, make millions as a blogger, or something in between, it all starts with a blogging platform.

And choosing the right one sets precedence for everything else you do.

But with so many options to choose from, picking the best blogging platform can feel overwhelming.

So to help you out, I created a list of considerations to think about as you go through the process and reviewed the top five blogging platforms on the market today.

By the end of this article, you’ll be well on your way to starting your own blog.

The top 6 options for blogging platforms:

  1. Wix – Best drag-and-drop blogging platform
  2. WordPress.org – Best open-source blogging platform
  3. Squarespace – Best for visual-based businesses
  4. Medium – Best traditional blogging platform
  5. Blogger – Best for personal blogs

How to choose the best blogging platform for you 

Choosing a blogging platform is an important decision. And the one you choose depends on what you hope to do with your new blog and how much control you want to have.

So, let’s walk through what to consider as you make your final decision.

Do you want to make money?

This is probably the most crucial question to ask yourself.

If you want to start a personal blog to share your thoughts and experiences, you’re completely fine going with a free blogging platform, like Medium or Blogger.

However, if you want to make money blogging, you have to be careful. Most free platforms don’t let you monetize your blog.

So, you need to choose a premium blogging platform that gives you more control, like Wix, WordPress.org, or Squarespace.

Do you already have a website?

If you want to add a blog to a website you already have, I highly recommend looking into your website platform’s blogging capabilities.

This is the easiest way to add a blog to a website that already exists.

Alternatively, you can look into migrating your website to Wix, WordPress.org, or Squarespace. However, I recommend staying with the platform you’re already using if you can.

Customization capabilities

Paid blogging platforms give you more control and design flexibility, allowing you to build a complete website and brand around your blog.

You can customize the look and feel of nearly every aspect of your website instead of having to color inside the lines someone else drew.

If you’re serious about blogging as a business, you a deeper level of control.

For complete flexibility and customization options, go with WordPress.org. And if you want something easier than WordPress, yet still flexible, Wix and Squarespace are great drag-and-drop options.

Free blogging platforms don’t give you the ability to customize to that extent. You may be able to change the colors and pick between a few different layouts.

But, you can’t do much aside from that.

That said, if you’re interested in personal or hobby blogging, you don’t need anything fancy. Free blogging platforms offer everything you need to quickly write content and share it online in just a few clicks.

The different types of blogging platforms

There are several different types of blogging platforms.

And the right one for you depends on what you want to do with your blog.

So, before we dive into my top recommendations, let’s walk through the different types and what they’re used for.

Free blogging platforms

Free blogging platforms are perfect for anyone interested in personal or hobby blogging. It’s by far the easiest way to write and publish content online quickly.

However, free blogging platforms usually don’t let you make money with your content. You can’t make money with ads, use affiliate marketing, or sell your own products.

Furthermore, they’re very limited in design flexibility and customization capabilities.

You may even be stuck with random ads placed on your blog. And migrating your content from a free platform to another isn’t an easy process.

In the end, they’re not suitable for business bloggers or anyone interested in making money blogging at any point in the future.

Website builders

Website builders are all-inclusive, drag-and-drop design tools that let you quickly build an entire website without touching any code. They’re easy to set up, simple to use, and include a full suite of blogging tools.

However, they’re not free. Web hosting is included with your subscription, which is nice, and some even offer a free custom domain name for the first year.

You also get a significant level of flexibility and customization compared to free blogging platforms. That said, some areas may be limited depending on the which option you select.

This is a great place to start if you want to make money, but you’ve never built a website before. Just keep in mind that you sacrifice some flexibility in exchange for ease of use.

Open-source blogging platforms

Open-source blogging platforms are free to download and install. They’re completely customizable from the inside out, making them perfect for serious bloggers and business owners interested in building a full-fledged custom website.

However, there’s a steeper learning curve.

But once you get the hang of it, you’ll realize how flexible and customizable this type of blogging platform really is. You can create ecommerce stores, business websites, portfolios, service-based websites, interactive blogs, and more.

With that said, you have to buy web hosting before you can install an open-source software.

The good news is that most web hosts make this type of software easy to install with one-click installation.

#1 – Wix Review — The best drag-and-drop blogging platform

If you’re looking for the easiest premium blogging platform, you should go with Wix.

It’s an all-in-one website builder with more than 100 million users worldwide, making it one of the most popular options on the market.

Wix is excellent for beginners interested in creating a full-fledged website with a blog included. And the intuitive drag-and-drop builder makes creating engaging blog content a breeze.

Plus, it includes everything you need to make money with your new blog.

With Wix, you get premium blogging features, including:

  • 500 professional design templates
  • Industry-leading SEO tools
  • Rich-text editor
  • Embed HTML codes
  • Categories and hashtags
  • Advanced search capabilities
  • Writer and editor user roles
  • Easy image editing
  • Social media tools
  • Visitor analytics

Wix is arguably the easiest and fastest way to get your professional website and blog running.

You can also take advantage of their ADI (advanced design intelligence) tool, which creates everything you need to get started in a matter of minutes.

Simply answer a few questions, customize the design, add your website copy, update your images, and you’re ready to start blogging.

Wix offers a free plan, which is excellent for building your site and getting everything ready to go. However, I highly recommend upgrading to a paid plan so you can remove Wix ads and connect a custom domain name.

Paid plans start at $13/mo and increase depending on the features you need. Start for free.

#2 – WordPress.org Review — The best open-source blogging platform

WordPress.org is an open-source blogging platform with complete design flexibility.

It also powers 38% of the entire internet, including the blog you’re reading right now, making it the most popular blogging platform on the market.

And the best part? It’s free to download and install.

However, you do need web hosting to be able to use it. This usually costs around $3 – $10 per month, so it’s the most affordable option on this list.

With that said, it’s not as easy as Wix. There are a few more steps to get started, but the extra work is well worth it if you’re looking for complete design control and flexibility.

With WordPress.org, you also get:

  • 55,000+ plugins to extend the functionality of your site
  • Thousands of free and premium themes
  • The Gutenburg block editor
  • Advanced user roles and permissions
  • Powerful media management
  • A massive community of experts
  • Infinite design control

The best part is that you have 100% control over your website and blog. Plus, you aren’t tied down by rules and regulations. You can decide what to display, what you don’t reveal, and how you make money.

There are countless ways to get started with WordPress.org. But I highly recommend starting with Bluehost.

It’s the easiest way to get everything you need.

They also include a free domain name for the first year. So, all you have to do is pick a hosting plan, snag your free domain, and use their one-click WordPress installation feature.

#3 – Squarespace Review — The best blogging platform for visual-based businesses

Squarespace is an all-in-one website builder, like Wix. However, it’s famous for aesthetically pleasing templates, making it perfect for visual-based businesses like photographers, designers, and artists.

For as great as the your published work looks on Squarespace, it’s a relatively effortless platform to use. Plus, it includes web hosting services and a free domain for the first year (if you choose an annual premium plan).

It’s perfect for bloggers who want an easy, aesthetic way to share images, videos, and portfolio pieces, along with long-form and short-form blog posts.

And with Squarespace, you create blog posts the same way you create pages.

Once you learn how the drag-and-drop editor works, you know how to use the entire platform. You also get access to powerful blogging features, including:

  • Free blogging templates to help you get started
  • Five unique post layouts for your home and archive pages
  • Categories, tags, and featured posts
  • Built-in post scheduler
  • Contributor permissions
  • In-depth analytics
  • SEO and social media tools
  • Email marketing (additional fees)
  • Expert customer service
  • Mobile app

Squarespace isn’t as customizable as Wix or WordPress.org, but it’s perfect for creative bloggers and businesses who need to create captivating content quickly.

Paid plans start at $12 per month and increase depending on the features you need.  Try Squarespace for free.

#4 – Medium Review — The best traditional blogging platform

Medium is a platform that helps readers and writers find new ideas, knowledge, and perspectives. It’s unique because there are no ads present on the platform.

To date, they have over 120 million readers, making Medium an excellent way to get your content in front of more people. It’s great for sharing personal stories, perspectives, and getting your ideas out into the world.

However, it’s not a great platform for making money as a blogger.

Medium does have a partner program that rewards writers for the amount of time paying members spend reading their content. Making a decent amount of money this way is going to be tricky.

Another thing: you can’t include your own call-to-actions in partner posts. So, you have to choose between making money and growing your email list.

It’s still a great product, just not for revenue. I highly recommend treating Medium as an extension of your Wix, Squarespace, or WordPress.org blog.

To get started, you can create a profile or a publication. Publications look more aesthetically pleasing, and you get more organization and display features. With publications, you can also send newsletters to your followers.

Note: if you use Medium as an extension of your blog, make sure you use their import feature to add existing blog posts. This way, you can add content from your blog to Medium without creating duplicate content for SEO purposes.

#5 – Blogger Review – The best for personal blogs

Blogger is one of the original blogging platforms. It’s been around since 1999.

It’s completely free to use with no paid plans, upsells, or anything like that. And it’s incredibly easy to use. This makes it perfect for personal or hobby bloggers looking to share their thoughts and ideas with the world.

They have several free templates to choose from that govern how your blog looks. However, they’re not very customizable.

You can change the colors and the layout of a few things, but that’s about it.

The platform focuses solely on blogging, so that’s where the majority of their features lie. With Blogger, you get free access to essential features, including:

  • A free SSL certificate and free domain mapping
  • Google integrations
  • Image storage with Google Photos
  • Integrated ad campaigns
  • Simple text editor

And while those features are great, the platform is seriously lacking in other departments, including customization, custom post types, and overall design.

Essentially, it’s an old-school blogging platform. It works well for simple blogging, but you can’t create a full-fledged website, so I don’t recommend it if you want to build a brand and make money blogging.

However, since Google’s acquisition in 2003, you can display Google Ads on your blog to make a little extra money on the side.

But, it’s not a sustainable or long-term way to make a full-time income with your blog.

Summary

The best blogging platform for you depends on where you want to take your blog. For personal and hobby bloggers, a free platform like Blogger or Medium is the perfect place to start.

They’re easy to set up, incredibly simple, and the fastest way to start publishing online. Plus, you don’t have to pay anything to share your thoughts and ideas.

However, if you want to make money and turn your blog into a business, free platforms won’t cut it. The easiest premium blogging platforms are Wix and Squarespace, making them perfect for beginners.

However, if you want the ultimate level of control, go with WordPress.org hosted by Bluehost.

10+ Best Affiliate Networks & Marketing Platforms of 2020 [Mega List]

10+ Best Affiliate Networks & Marketing Platforms of 2020 [Mega List]

10+ Best Affiliate Networks & Marketing Platforms of 2020 [Mega List]

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we recommended.

Best Affiliate Networks

Are you looking to promote the best affiliate programs that offer high commission and also pay in time?

Today, you will be learning about the affiliate marketplaces which top affiliates use to earn millions of dollars a month. I have shared some of the popular WordPress affiliate programs and also a post on the recurring affiliate programs that you can join.

I am sharing an exclusive list of top affiliate marketplaces which you can join immediately and once you are part of it, you can browse through countless affiliate programs and pick the one that suits your requirements.

Note: I will be using the term Direct affiliate program and in-house affiliate program. Both the terms mean the same thing.

Many of you might know about the benefits of affiliate networks and also refer to it as an affiliate marketplace. Those who don’t, I’m highlighting the benefit of joining an affiliate marketplace.

  • Affiliate program for all: One of the major problems we face as an affiliate is to find the affiliate program that aligns with our niche. In any affiliate network, you can find the affiliate program in various categories and pick the ones that suit your requirements.
  • Easy to reach minimum payout: When you sign up for an affiliate program directly (in-house affiliate program), the challenge is to reach the minimum payout. In an Affiliate marketplace, your minimum payout is the sum of all the affiliate programs that you promote. For a beginner, it’s easier to reach the minimum payout.
  • Fewer chances of affiliate sale frauds: When I joined the Hostgator affiliate program with their in-house affiliate software, it was a complete disaster. I have written about it here and have also made a video on the same. Hostgator people might not have liked me for it but eventually, they understood the problem and moved their program to ImpactRadius which offers better tracking.

There are times when the direct affiliate program can’t track the sales due to improper configuration of an affiliate software or a new affiliate manager but then there are times when some of them simply don’t want to pay you.

With an Affiliate marketplace (Network) you don’t have to worry about this problem. Their tracking mechanism is par excellence and you will be paid for your hard, as well as the not-so-hard work you put in.

I believe now you have understood the benefits of joining an affiliate marketplace. Let’s look at the best affiliate networks that you can join and start making money.

In the next section, you can read a brief about all the best affiliate network marketplaces. However, if you don’t intend to read and just sign up for the affiliate marketplaces, here you go:

  1. ShareASale
  2. Commission Junction
  3. Clickbank
  4. ImpactRadius
  5. Partnerstack
  6. Refersion marketplace
  7. Awin 
  8. Avangate
  9. Rakuten
  10. Amazon Affiliate Program

Top Affiliate networks to help you make money from Affiliate marketing

These networks are in order of my personal preference and the ones that are working out for me.

Some of them have limited affiliate programs to promote but don’t discard any based on that. That is because you just need one great product to promote and earn thousands of dollars, if not millions.

1. ShareASale

ShareASale

If you have attended an Affiliate Summit or watched affiliate summit videos, you might already know about them.

ShareASale was founded in 2000. Ever since it has paid millions of dollars to their affiliates. They have a great list of affiliate programs for the various niche. Even though their interface is not as modern as we would like it to be, you will have no problem understanding it.

ShareASale makes it easier for you to get started with affiliate marketing. If you wish to know how a company offers an affiliate program on ShareASale, you should read this guide. This will give you a backstage view of the other side.

You can join ShareASale program now. It usually takes 2-3 working days to get approval for the network. You can then follow my instructions in the video above and find the top 100 affiliate products on the  ShareASale network.

2. Commission Junction

Commission Junction

Commission Junction is one of the most reputed and popular affiliate marketplaces for bloggers and affiliate marketers. They have been in business since 1998 and this is a place where you will find a ton of affiliate programs.

They are one of the first few that you should join. Like other affiliate networks, Commission Junction connects marketers with brands.

Do fill up your profile details before you join an affiliate program under the Commission Junction network.

I have had a great experience with Commission Junction over the past 8 years and no issues with getting paid. This is a must join the affiliate marketplace for any blogger.

3. Impact

Impact is another fast-growing affiliate marketplace where you can find many fashion, web app, hosting, and antiviruses related affiliate programs. Lately, I have noticed a lot of brands moving their affiliate programs to Impact.

They are one of the first to take advantage of the fingerprint technique to count the sales, which is a big advantage for marketers and also for the brands.

4. PartnerStack

Growsumo

Many of you might not have heard of PartnerStack, given it’s a relatively new affiliate marketplace. I have been using it since 2016 and found many great affiliate programs here.

On PartnerStack, you can find products related to entrepreneurs, small businesses, hosting, and a few others.

What I really enjoy about PartnerStack is the simplicity to join the program. The interface offered by PartnerStack is one of the best and also very easy to use.

They currently support only PayPal as the payment method. The minimum payout is $50 only.

5. Refersion marketplace

Refersion is a popular affiliate marketplace with a good number of brands. Here, you can find an affiliate program in various categories. Once you are signed up, you can search affiliate programs based on various filters.

Search-Affiliate-Program

Do remember, every affiliate program is managed by the brand itself, so you will be paid for the individual programs. They also have their own rules.

Affiliate-Program-details

You can see important details about like “Tracking Compatability”, Marketing Materials Provided and Payout method.

You can also configure options to receive email notifications for the new affiliate program in any particular category.

Get-email-notification-for-new-affiliate-programs

Don’t mistake this marketplace for ShareASale or CJ. Here, you will find the details of all affiliate programs that use Refersion software to manage their affiliate programs. 

The marketplace looks like it is work in progress, given a lot can be done to improve the user experience. For example, the search button is missing. However, it’s good to have another resource that lets us find and discover new affiliate programs.

6. Amazon Affiliate Program

Amazon Affiliate Program

A list of top Affiliate networks will always be incomplete without listing the Amazon Associate Program.

This is a program that works in every niche and you have a huge opportunity to make money from it.

Here at ShoutMeLoud, we have covered about Amazon Affiliate Program a lot of time and something you should definitely read.

Here are a few hand-picked guides to help you get started:

Once you have gone through it, the next step is to sign up and start utilizing one of the biggest catalogs of products in the world to make money for you.

7. Clickbank

Clickbank is a popular place for marketers to discover new affiliate programs. If you don’t have a Clickbank account, I suggest you create one right away.

It is free to join.

In the future, if you discover a good affiliate product to promote that is managed using Clickbank, you can join it instantly.

I love this marketplace. In the last 6 years of using Clickbank, I have never faced any issues with the payment. The only challenge for a new user will be the UX which is quite outdated.

Here is what the dashboard looks like:

Clickbank-dashboard

You can do a lot of things with Clickbank.

I suggest being patient when you are learning everything about using Clickbank initially. Use the image below as a reference for finding affiliate programs.

search-products-on-Clickbank

For those monetizing their web property using affiliate marketing, this is a place you must join.

Over to you: Share your best affiliate network

These are the top Affiliate networks that any blogger, marketer, or influencer should join in to start making money from Affiliate marketing.

As the affiliate industry is growing, we can expect more cutting edge affiliate network to surface. However, you should always consider working with reputed companies as they are more customer-centricc and you will get paid.

I will keep updating the list as I discover new affiliate networks worth adding to the list.

You could also help me by recommending a network that I should add here. I will look forward to your suggestions in the comment section below.

 

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