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, but 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 picks.
WordPress (Self Hosted)
Most bloggers do so from a WordPress-powered website.. There’s a good reason for that.
WordPress is quick to set up (especially when using GoDaddy), 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.
Does this mean it's the best blogging platform? Not at all. Some blogs end up overloaded with plugins, bloat and unnecessary addons that are unnecessary and one thing WordPress has started doing is trying too hard to be a full scale CMS. As such, it's virtually impossible to use it without any plugins (none of which are vetted by WordPress themselves) therefore, for those wanting a simple blogging platform that works well and doesn't require tons of plugins to get things done, it's not the best choice. (learn more about these issues here)
Launched in in late 2013, Ghost is designed with one purpose in mind; to be the best blogging platform out there and it does this well. So well in fact, that I've switch this very website over to it entirely this year so now CMS Critic is entirely powered by Ghost.
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. 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.
Medium is a very interesting and unique alternative. What's nice about it is that it is designed to help you find an audience and to help you write better content. With a very simple and easy to use interface, Medium is a pleasure to use and gets rid of distractions such as sidebars, widgets and plugins while focusing on allowing you to share your stories and quips with the world.
Rather than overwhelm you with formatting, Medium offers you just enough to do what you need to do and nothing more. This makes the writing process painless and so distraction free that you'll likely want to write more just so you can use the editor. It truly is a beautiful setup. Furthermore, you don't need to worry about whether your website on Medium is responsive. Everything scales to all devices so you will never need to worry about how it's going to look on your phone or tablet again.
It's also a collaborative tool that lets you share your drafts with others and collaborate with them to produce better content. You can even thank those who helped you proof read or add ideas to your content.
For those looking for a simple and easy way to launch a blog quickly, Weebly is a great choice given how easy it is to choose a theme and get something up with little to no technical knowledge.
Weebly offers the ability to expand your blog in the future and incorporates a lot of necessary elements such as analytics, stock photography and a whole lot more. If you need a quick website, Weebly is definitely something to consider.
Known is a relative newcomer to the blogging sphere. It allows any number of users to post to a shared site with blog posts, status updates, photographs, and more.
Its robust open source framework can be used to build fully-fledged community sites, or a blog for a single user. It's up to you. It's fully responsive and works on any device with ease and is generally quite nice to work with. If you haven't given it a shot, you should (at least to try it out).
Write.as is an interesting beast. The intent here is not to help you build some elaborate blog but rather to give you a way to quickly get your thoughts down and share them with the world. It offers a very minimalistic writing interface thats sole purpose is to get your content online fast and easily.
Your writing automatically saves as you type. It'll always be waiting, even if you don't “save” before leaving. You can choose to write without a blog or put all of your thoughts together in one place. It's rather cool and worth a look.
Postach.io lets you store your content in either Dropbox or Evernote or both. This lets you choose whichever interface suits you the most (Dropbox files obviously needing to be edited in a text editor and uploaded whereas Evernote has a built in text editor) and work on your content within.
Publishing a post with Evernote is as simple as connecting your account to Postach.io, telling it which notebook in Evernote will contain your posts and then simply writing in that notebook and using the tag “published” when you are done. This tells Postach.io to put the post up on your blog and that's all there is to it. To add images, simply attach them to the note and it will be inserted in your blog post instantly.
The nice part to using the Evernote connection for Postach.io is you can take advantage of the many awesome Evernote apps for mobile devices and tablets that already exist which makes blogging with it a true pleasure.
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
“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.