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Should I Use WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger or Squarespace for My Blog?

A question that plagues online marketers is, should I use WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, or Squarespace for my blog? A tough choice indeed considering all four are excellent platforms that can help build awesome blogs for your target audience.

However, since you can only use one platform at a time, you have to take a pick. It’s therefore important to select a platform that provides exactly what you’re looking for.

You need to compare the features of the four platforms. Weigh their strengths and weaknesses keeping your blogging needs in mind, and make an informed decision.

In this article, we are going to help you pick the best blogging platform by looking at their strengths and weaknesses.

But before we even get there, it is prudent to ask yourself the following questions;


What’s your budget?

Let’s not kid ourselves, to blog profitably, you’ll need to spend money on blogging resources. Even those platforms that have FREE versions aren’t completely free.

On WordPress, for example, you may find adverts saying that you can start blogging for free.

Is that true? It depends on how you look at it.

It’s only true if you care less about issues such as web security and platform updates. But if you want to securely protect your blog from cyber attacks and malware, you will need to either pay for premium platforms or be ready to buy a host of plug-ins.

We’ll find out how much you can expect to pay for premium versions of the four blogging platforms.

While budgeting, you also need to think about domain registration. Again, you can escape this cost by choosing free domains. But the consequences are dire. That free domain could cost you big in terms of attacks and malware infestation.

A simple domain name costs around $1 and has to be renewed annually. If you don’t renew your domain name, it will be taken away and can be sold to someone else.

Harder-to-find domain names cost between $5 and $15. If you want domain privacy where your personal information is protected from hackers and online thieves, be prepared with an additional $8 per year.

Finally, consider whether you want the custom design or if you’ll opt for a free template. Free templates are great for the fact that they are free. But they limit you in many ways. Squarespace has thousands of them.

But on some, even navigation becomes a problem. To have a custom design, however, you need to fork out hundreds or thousands of dollars. Are you prepared for that?


What type of blogs will you be posting?

content types

Different blogging platforms are suited for different types of content.

Blogger, for example, wasn’t created for the image-rich industries. So, choosing Blogger for your photography blog is a no-no.

Therefore, before you choose a blogging platform, think about;

  • The type of content you intend to post.
  • Nature of the blog. Will it be a review blog where you post thousands of reviews and allow readers to comment and reply to posts?
  • Images. Will the blogs carry images? If so, what sizes?
  • The text to image ratio?
  • Videos. Are you going to post videos and resources such as webinars and podcasts?
  • Micro-blogging activities. Today, blogs are defined by how interactive they are.

Give serious thoughts to the above elements from the beginning to make sure you choose a blogging platform that’s flexible, with room for growth.


What kind of growth do you expect?

It’s a good idea to start small, but don’t stay there.

Not planning for growth is a rookie mistake that will be costly down the line. As a professional blogger, you need resources such as storage space, server availability, processing power and so forth.

When getting started, you may not need a lot of storage space. But depending on your growth rate, it’s too easy to run low.

Assuming you started off with a blogging platform that does not provide extra storage space, you may be forced to switch platforms. But switching platforms isn’t as easy as it sounds.

If you don’t switch platforms, then you may be forced to upgrade or purchase multiple add-ons.

Again, you need to be prepared both financially and strategically. You want a platform that allows you to scale up in line with your growth and within your budget.

With all that in mind, here is what you need to know about WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, and Squarespace.


WordPress

wordpress

First and foremost, there are two versions of WordPress.

  1. WordPress.com which is a WordPress-hosted option meaning that you don’t need to find a new host for your blog. WordPress provides the hosting services. This is also the more popular versions of WordPress among beginner bloggers and the version most similar to other blogging platforms such as Tumblr and Blogger.
  2. WordPress.org is a self-hosted option. “Self-hosted” simply means that after getting your WordPress blog, you’re free to find your own host. WordPress.org is mostly used as a content management platform.

In general, here are the pros and cons of blogging with WordPress, whether on the .com or .org version.


Pros

  • Popularity

One in sixty websites run on WordPress with a majority of those sites running on WordPress.org. It comes as no surprise that WordPress is the most popular blogging platform in the world.

Some of the biggest blogging sites residing on the platform include TechCrunch, the Wall Street Journal Blog, and People Magazine.

For this reason, alone, WordPress remains an appealing platform for most bloggers.

  • Cost effective (or FREE)

You can actually choose to run a WordPress website completely free of charge, though you’d have to pay for server and domain costs.

Put together, these two could cost you less than $10 a year which still makes WordPress one of the most cost-effective blogging platforms out there.

  • It is open source

The open source nature of WordPress brings many advantages to bloggers. For instance, you’ll never run short of plug-ins and themes. If something isn’t working, there will be thousands of designers just waiting to design a plug-in to fix the problem.

The same applies to themes. At the moment, the platform has hundreds of thousands of themes to choose from.

  • WordPress is now 10+ years old

Started in 2005, WordPress is now 12 years old. It has gone through the rough patches and weathered all kinds of storms. So, you’re assured that the platform is stable and robust.

  • It is extremely flexible
online store

With WordPress, there is no limit to what you can achieve with your blogging. While some platforms struggle to support e-commerce features, WordPress integrates with almost all of them seamlessly.


Cons

  • With great power comes great complexity

For all its power, WordPress is also one of the most complex blogging platforms, making it difficult to use for the average Joe.

Before you can set up and successfully run a WordPress blog, you’ll need to first read lots of tutorials and even speak to those who already use the platform.

  • To maximize the potential of WordPress, you need to self-host

While the WordPress hosted version of the platform is okay, the self-hosted version allows for greater customization and you can take full advantage of most features.

Self-hosting, however, comes with challenges including additional overhead in terms of hosting, CDN, and domain costs.

  • Customization requires tinkering with code

This means you need to be a professional coder or find one to fully customize your blog.

Both options are expensive in their own ways. Learning how to code can take quite a lot of time while hiring professional WordPress coders costs money.


Who should use WordPress?

Considering its strengths and weaknesses, WordPress best suits professional bloggers, media companies and businesses that require a stable, professional blogging platform.


Tumblr

thumbler

Founded in 2007, Tumblr is a microblogging platform and social community owned by Yahoo.

It allows users to post multimedia and other content in short-form blogs. In other words, You can’t share those 2,000-word blog posts on Tumblr.

Instead, users share one line quotes, photos, extremely short videos, and links. Once shared, other users are free to view and even re-share.

You might be surprised to hear that Tumblr is currently in the Top 10 most visited social sites in the world. In the US where the company is headquartered, the blogging site is in the top ten most popular sites and receives over 20 billion page-views every month.

Some studies even show that Tumblr is now liked by young people more than Facebook.

People see Facebook as too open.

On Facebook, it only takes a few minutes to dig through and find out what your kids are sharing and with whom.

Tumblr on the other hand still provides some privacy, allowing bloggers to share content with a closed group of friends. It’s the main reason the blogging platform has become so popular.


Pros

  • Posting is easy

On Tumblr, all you have to do is select the type of content you want to share, whether it’s a photo, a video, or a link, upload the content, then hit publish. This makes it the easiest to use among the four platforms.

  • The control panel makes blog management a breeze

The microblogging platform has a detailed yet simple control panel that you can use to set up your blog to your discretion.

Whether you want to change privacy settings so that only a select group of friends can see a certain post or want to change themes, you only need to look as far as the control panel. Here is a snapshot of the control panel showing the different functions.

tumblr
  • The platform is extremely mobile friendly and even has mobile apps

This is another reason that has made the platform so popular. The website displays excellently on mobile.

There are even themes designed specifically for mobile Tumblr. If you don’t wish to use the web, you can also download the Tumblr app for your smartphone and continue using the platform without any problems.

  • Post content on the fly

Unlike other blogging platforms that require you to be there and manually submit your posts. Tumblr is different in that you can submit posts on the fly. For instance, you can submit posts by SMS, email, or even audio recordings.


Cons

  • The highly visual design doesn’t encourage text heavy blogging

If your blogs are going to be heavy in text, Tumblr might not be the right blogging platform for you.

Posting several paragraphs of text on Tumblr won’t cut it unless you can bring a strong following from your connections. Tumblr is all about micro-moments.

  • Lack of dedicated anti-virus plug-ins

If you’ve been on WordPress for a long time and are already used to getting plug-ins to fix just about any issue, you may also not like Tumblr because of the limited choices in plug-ins. The lack of a comprehensive anti-virus plug-in, in particular, is worrying, to say the least.

  • The emphasis on sharing devalues original content

As we’ve mentioned, tumbler focuses mostly on sharing posts.

That’s why it’s sometimes considered a social media platform. This aggressive sharing, while beneficial in many ways, hurts originality. It has made Tumblr not so great for posting original content.


Who should use Tumblr?

Looking at the strengths and weaknesses of the platform, you can see that Tumblr is best suited to casual bloggers who are particularly concerned with sharing.

If you want a platform that falls somewhere in between WordPress and Twitter, Tumblr is the real deal. The platform is also ideal for businesses trying to expand their brand through visual content.


Blogger

blogger

Also known as blogspot.com, Blogger is one of if not the oldest blogging platforms. Developed in the early 2000s by Pyra Lab which was bought by Google in 2003, the blogging platform allows for publishing of multi-user blogs with time-stamped entries.

It has a lot more features than Tumblr which is appealing to anyone who loves to get their hands dirty. It also allows for good blogger-to-blogger interaction though not as strong as what you’d get with Tumblr.

For conventional bloggers who love to post text-heavy blogs, Blogger is an excellent choice since its support for text content is unrivaled. But not just that, the platform also supports images and videos.

You should also expect a lot of customization options, especially with text and colors, not to mention the ready-made templates which allow you to design your site easily.


Pros

  • Blogger is the oldest of the blogging platforms

The reason you should consider older platforms is because newer ones are known to have stability issues.

For a blogging site to be stable, it takes multiple tests and improvements. These tests can have the negative impact on individual blogs. Blogger which has been around for close to 15 years now has no such issues.

  • Monetization is easier thanks to AdSense features

Blogger, being a Google-owned company supports all other Google features including AdSense.

It means you can make money with Blogger more easily than with other blogging platforms. On the other platforms, if you wish to earn money through AdSense, you have to set it up. But on Blogger, AdSense is already there.

  • It’s super easy to get started on blogger

Of all the four platforms discussed here, Blogger is the easiest to set up and use. In fact, if you’re completely new to blogging and all you want to do is share text posts for your content marketing, then Blogger would be your best choice.

blogger
  • You can’t mess with the backend code

One problem with open source platforms such as WordPress is that it’s very easy to tamper with backend code. And when that happens, you could be in deep trouble.

A compromised back-end could provide a loophole for hackers and all kinds of malware. With blogger, whatever you do, you cannot mess with the backend code.


Cons

  • Limited customisation

The fact that you can’t mess with the backend, while useful, also means your ability to customize your blog is limited. For the curious type who loves to fiddle with everything, this can be a disappointment.

  • Difficult to set up on your own domain name

Again, most professional bloggers want to be able to use their domain names, but Blogger makes this really difficult. On Blogger, you’ll be using something like example.blogspot.com as your domain name. You get a subdomain, but not a fully customized domain name.

  • Limited themes and design styles

Unlike WordPress, Squarespace, and the rest, Blogger doesn’t have many themes and templates to choose from. Part of the reason is the small developer community on Blogger. Even its plugins aren’t as extensive as on WordPress and the rest.


Who should use Blogger?

Blogger is best suited for beginner bloggers looking for a place to take off. Small businesses looking for a simple blogging solution will also find the platform quite attractive.


Squarespace

squarespace

Squarespace is a premium blogging platform for professional bloggers, businesses and media outlets.

So, the very first thing you need to know about the platform is that it’s not free. Even the most basic Squarespace account will cost you money.

The platform’s biggest feature is its proprietary Layout Engine that allows instant customization through a simple drag and drop technology. You simply pick a feature and drop it where you’d want it to be situated within your blog.

For instance, you can pick your brand logo from your image file on your desktop and drop it at the top of the blog. Squarespace will take care of the rest.

The platform is mostly preferred by small, creative businesses and individuals that want to showcase their projects as well as sell products and services.


Pros

  • Excellent layout

Ask any web designer and they’ll tell you that layout is one of the most challenging parts of the design. Placing elements exactly where you want them to appear without compromising overall aesthetics is very difficult.

Yet, Squarespace takes care of this by allowing you to drag and drop features! It’s just awesome.

  • Extensive range of visually striking themes

Squarespace has nearly as many themes as WordPress, but cooler. If you’ve fallen in love with WordPress themes, you’ll adore the themes this platform has to offer. Whether you’re building an e-commerce blog or a personal blog, the options are unlimited.

  • Dedicated mobile app for publishing and editing on the go

This is like the Tumblr feature. You can go to the Google app store or Apple iStore and download a Squarespace app for your smartphone. Then, use the app to publish all kinds of content from wherever.

  • Import your blogs in a click

When migrating to a different blogging platform, for whatever reasons, moving your content can be a huge challenge. Moving your text, images, video, and everything else can take ages, and that’s if you manage to move them at all.

But when you’re moving to Squarespace, you can move everything at the click of a button. It’s that easy.


Cons

  • High Prices
squarespace

This is perhaps the biggest issues with Squarespace. There are no free packages on the platform. Even if you’re a beginner, you need to part with a lot of money annually to keep your blog on Squarespace. Worse still, those prices have been going up lately as shown in the graph above.

  • Customisation is limited to what Squarespace has provided

First off, you can’t edit the backend code. So, you have to live with what the platform has made available. Secondly, there is no developer community so all those new plug-ins you see on WordPress remain a dream on Squarespace.

Until the platform’s developers provide a solution, you will have to live with what’s available. That said, however, Squarespace is one of the safest and most secure blogging platforms.


Who should use Squarespace?

Squarespace is ideal for professionals and businesses that want a cloud-based, no-nonsense blogging solution.


Choose Your Blogging Platform Wisely

So, as you can see, each of the four blogging platforms is different in a variety of ways. Hopefully, the pros and cons we’ve highlighted here will help you make the best choice based on your needs.

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Cameron Francis

Cameron Francis is the CoFounder & Managing Director of ETRAFFIC, Melbourne's #1 Creative & Digital Marketing Agency. For over a decade Cameron has been providing growth marketing and digital strategies for over 2,000 small businesses, start-ups & entrepreneurs around the country. Follow him on Twitter.

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