If blogging is your profession, you need to build yourself a personal blog. A blog which you update on topics which are important to you, or perhaps on topics which you wish to write about for clients.
However, not only does your blog need to look good, it also needs to work well for you when you’re typing up content, and it needs to work well for your visitors when they eventually read through it.
This then begs the following question, “Which content management system (CMS) is best for blogging?”
Here are my top five picks.
1. WordPress (Self Hosted)
I personally blog from a WordPress-powered website, and so do many other bloggers. There’s a good reason for that.
WordPress is quick to set up (especially when using BlueHost), allows you to manage content and digital assets easily, and has a pretty simple admin panel to boot. The learning curve is there, but it’s relatively minimal.
However, the main benefits of WordPress lie in its flexibility. Because it is the most popular CMS in the world, you will find thousands upon thousands of templates and plugins to make your blog look and feel unique. Many WordPress plugins can also be used to extend WordPress' functionality, allowing you to create online stores, communities, and so forth. There's almost nothing it can't do.
In short, WordPress is a powerhouse as well as a bullet-proof blogging tool.
Launched in in late 2013, Ghost is still the new kid on the block. But it’s growing up fast.
Dedicated to being a platform for bloggers specifically, Ghost has been built around the needs of a wordsmith. The admin panel is nothing less than beautiful. It boasts neat dashboard widgets that showcase website stats elegantly, and yet Ghost maintains a deep focus on content creation above anything else. It really is built for blogging.
There are already a fair number of sleek (and free) Ghost templates on offer, and new platform features are released regularly. With time, I can see Ghost becoming a serious player in the blogging world – if it isn't so already.
You can opt to either self host Ghost, or make use of their cloud-hosted solution, Ghost Pro.
Although founded in 2001, two years before WordPress, I like to think of MoveableType as WordPress’ little cousin. Of course, I mean that in the nicest way possible.
MoveableType's interface reminds me of WordPress, and in many ways, it works and feels similar to the big daddy of blogging. It has its own merits too though, including a wide range of plugins and templates.
It also has multi-site publishing capability across multiple domains or subdomains, all manageable within its user friendly interface. This makes it a powerful and scalable tool for those looking to create large blogs and magazine websites.
With the likes of HuffingtonPost and Gothamist within its user base, it's easy to recommend MovableType to those looking for a platform to house a large blogging project.
If you’re looking for a platform that takes out the guesswork, Squarespace is for you.
Squarespace is a cloud-hosted website builder with stunning templates which are great for building sleek, professional websites – including blogs. In fact, a Squarespace blog can easily be created in just a few minutes.
There’s no need to research plugins or look elsewhere for good templates, as Squarespace supplies it all for you. Plus, it has an awesome visual editor which lets you edit your website simply by clicking on different page areas.
The downside is that Squarespace isn’t ideal if you’re looking to publish hundreds of blog posts, as blog and media management isn’t very robust.
Like MoveableType, Typepad has been around for a while, and it's a reliable option more than anything else. It's known to be a very secure platform, one that hackers tend to avoid.
It is a hosted solution, comes with integrated analytics, easy design customization features and a relatively small but highly dedicated community. Joining Typepad kind of feels like you joined a writers club, especially since all Typepad blogs have the chance to be featured on the Typepad website. It feels very inclusive and homely.
The downside here is that for its limited functionality, it comes with some fairly heaving pricing. TypePad isn't exactly much of a looker compared to other platforms either.
Honourable mentions, in no particular order, go out to; ExpressionEngine, Dropplets,Silvrback, LightCMS, Weebly and Wix.
“But What About MY Favourite CMS?”
Many of you will now be wondering why I didn’t include the likes of Blogger, Tumblr, Joomla and Drupal somewhere on this list. I can already hear the screeches of, “How are they not even honourably mentioned?!”.
The fact is, Blogger and Tumblr aren’t considered robust enough to be worthy of competing with WordPress, Ghost and the rest on a professional scale. If you want to blog about how much you love your kittens, they may be viable options. But I’d never recommend them to serious bloggers.
As for Joomla and Drupal, The former is clunky and not exactly optimized for blogging, whilst the latter is far better suited to large-scale websites. Neither belong on this list, despite having their own uses and strengths.
So, with that being said, I’d recommend sticking to the names listed above. Each one is respected, easy to use, feature rich and optimized for being your blogging playground.