Best Blogging Platforms in 2015: Options and Opportunities

As the great Professor Farnsworth would say – good news, everyone! Blogging is now as strong and as easy for anyone with no advanced technical knowledge as it’s ever been. From a teen girl keeping an online diary, to a presidential candidate trying to garner votes, everyone seems to be blogging. Great content has become like a rare earth mineral. People are looking for it, willing to pay to get it and able to put it to a variety of uses once they have it. The blogosphere is like a humongous mine. Armed with the right tools and knowledge, you can dig out some really high-octane stuff OR actually cook something up yourself, using advanced online alchemy. Without further ado, I introduce to you the best blogging platforms in 2015.

You’ll find tons of answers circulating online, regarding the question of what is the best blogging platform? I have to say none of them are good… or bad, actually! Their validity depends on what are you trying to achieve by starting a weblog.

Are you an opinionated individual, who wants to spill his guts by publishing longreads on a variety of topics without much regard to how his website looks? Or maybe you have rather long-term goals and wish to start off as a blogger, but plan to develop your site into something more by adding extra functionalities in the future?

In any case, launching a blog is an excellent way to venture into the online realm, especially if you see yourself working in the broadly understood Internet industry. You’ll see that there’s a lot to be learned in terms of both, technical and soft skills, all of which come in handy in a variety of fields. Now, bare with me to get to know the best blogging platforms in 2015.

Basic blogging – get up off the ground with ease

The sheer number of available platforms shows that blogging is far from done. It still constitutes the backbone of online commentary on a huge array of topics. Whether you’re a well-established journalist trying to expand his readership, or an anonymous individual looking for ways to vent, launching a blog may be the solution for you.

If you happen to feel a burning desire to write and feel confident enough about your pen (well, keystrokes, I guess), the best blogging platforms for you may include social media like Facebook Notes or Twitter. Remember, that this will work only if you have a strong social network, which in practice means having 200+ friends/followers who will be willing to engage in a discussion after you publish a post/tweet.

True story, a friend of mine uses Facebook Notes and it works for him. He definitely has an interesting personality and has been a bit of a celebrity in certain circles for reasons I’m not at liberty to discuss here. None of his post are without likes or comments, and most of them have a considerable amount of both.

As you can see, basic doesn’t mean bad. Platforms like Facebook Notes, or the microblogging juggernaut Twitter are, however, as simple as it gets. Now let’s take a look at some of the best blogging platforms that will let you spread your wings just a little bit more without having to invest a lot.

Throwww 

Essential features:

  • sign in using Twitter
  • write and share – that’s pretty much all you need to know
  • you have to register to post comments

Postagon 

Essential features:

  • clean and minimalistic design
  • use your own domain name
  • Google Analytics
  • social sharing
  • smart commenting system
  • ad-free
  • free trial / membership starts from $4.99

Svbtle 

Essential features:

  • clean, minimalistic black and white layout
  • dashboard keeps track of your history and allows you to save drafts
  • use your own domain name
  • allows for a minimum author info/links
  • free trial / membership is $6
  • no comments section

Roon 

Essential features:

  • free to use
  • no ads
  • powerful editor
  • purchase your own domain
  • Google Analytics
  • no comments section

Verdict:

All of these services enable users to easily publish content online without the requirement of advanced technical knowledge. My favorite seems to be Svbtle. It provides you with your own clean website that’s easy to edit and read. I’d recommend it to bloggers who wish to develop their writing portfolio that looks professional and lacks all the unnecessary distractions.

Best blogging platforms for advanced users

Alright, let’s now move on to what I consider to be the best blogging platforms, period. It’s safe to say that the services found in the previous group could be considered more like content publishing platforms that legit blogs. And why is it that I say so?

Well, from their early phase, blogs have been putting emphasis on building communities and interaction. Whether it’s music, fashion, sports or any other topic, people visit your site to get familiar with your point of view and either express support or disagreement.

The reader engagement aspect is crucial. You need to be able to spark a discussion and provide means for it to thrive. Comments section is one of the ways you can do it. However, since the web resembles the real world ever more, it lacks the option of communicating in real-time.

A simple and affordable solution to that problem is installing live social chat, which will help you build relations with your readers, other bloggers and allow your website guests to interact in real-time. Communities that arise around blogs are the factor that differentiates them from static websites.

WordPress 

Essential features:

  • free to use
  • using a nice template and adding some widgets, you can set up a very basic website
  • use your own domain name
  • most customizable of all the platforms – edit the theme, code, add tons of plugins and widgets – this is not possible in the WordPress-hosted freemium version though
  • can be used as a CMS
  • the best blogging platform if you’re planning to develop your website
  • may seem rather complicated for an unexperienced user
  • “powers 23% of the Internet
  • option to install live chat by copy-pasting a line of code

Blogger 

Essential features:

  • free to use
  • belongs to Google now, requires you to have Google account
  • Google AdSense-ready
  • using a nice template and adding some widgets, you can set up a very basic website
  • customizable (theme and code)
  • option to install live chat by copy-pasting a line of code

Squarespace 

Essential features:

  • gorgeous design
  • business-oriented
  • can be used to create a website, including a simple logo
  • annual plan comes with a free domain name and a suite of options such as analytics
  • free trial / membership starts from $8
  • might not be the best choice for individual users who simply plan to publish content

Ghost 

Essential features:

  • fresh design
  • option to assign roles for collaboration
  • email-style content browser
  • completely customizable
  • open source
  • pre-built blogs start from $10/month

Verdict:

Squarespace and Ghost are both unique and offer an array of options. However, my vote goes to WordPress for its not too shabby at all freemium and the dazzling possibilities it offers in the paid model, with all the customization and the option to use it as a CMS for a legit website. Oh, and did I mention the no-hassle live chat installation to provide your readers with an enhanced blogging experience?

Unique blogging platforms – make yourself stand out

While I was doing the research for this article I decided to create a third group of blogging platforms which are interesting in their own right. They aren’t all that different from the services discussed earlier, it’s just that they don’t exactly fit either of the two previous categories and allow you to do some things differently or offer something extra.

Postach.io

Essential features:

  • allows users of the note-taking app Evernote to share content written in a dedicated notebook
  • supports Google Analytics
  • use custom domain name
  • social sharing
  • limited customization

Sett 

Essential features:

  • community-focused
  • provides the promise of engagement
  • the design isn’t very appealing
  • might not always be easy to keep the promise of interaction

Tumblr 

Essential features:

  • combines features of blogging and social media
  • has a strong community of users thanks to the ease of sharing content of other users to your page
  • more about curating than producing content
  • supports custom domain names
  • extremely easy to use on mobile devices, including uploading photos
  • more of a social network that a proper blog
  • option to install live chat by copy-pasting a line of code

Posthaven 

Essential features:

  • arouse from the shutdown of Posterous
  • offers light blogging experience
  • interesting sales promise – its owners say its never going offline
  • membership costs $5/month but you might want to be a part of something that has a mission and help develop it

Verdict:

No clear favorite here, to be honest. If I had to choose one, I’d probably go with Tumblr because it offers quite an original experience and is keen on creating community which, as I said earlier, is highly important to blogging.

Final word

It seems like starting a blog has never been easier than in 2015. The real challenge is to come up with interesting ideas for posts or a captivating leitmotif and build an audience around them. First, you need to decide what is it that you’re trying to achieve by publishing content online and then choose the platform that best suits your goal.

Once you have made up your mind in terms of the subject matter of your weblog, and mind you, there’s a rule circulating, stating that you should have a plan for at least six months of content for your project to be successful, it’s time to start building your audience.

Some of the best blogging platforms will allow you to install live chat software to facilitate interaction with and between your readers. If you haven’t done that yet, you can try Chatwee for free, no strings attached, with WordPress, Blogger, TypePad, Tumblr or Weebly, among others, and see how it works for you. Head here to see what other platforms it supports and get clear installation instructions.