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Thinking of starting a blog for profit? I really want to encourage you because when I started a travel blog years ago, I never thought it would one day earn me a full-time income—but it did!

Trying to figure out the best blogging platform to make money is hard when you’re a beginner. I don’t want you to be overwhelmed with all the choices, so below, I’ve done a comparison of the pros and cons of some popular blogging platforms. I hope this helps!

What Is a Blog?

A blog is a website, but not every website is a blog. Here’s what I mean: A blog is a special kind of website that publishes a series of posts in chronological order. These posts are basically online articles.

Familiarize yourself with the different parts of a blog:

  • Domain – The online address to your website.

    Example: startablogforprofit.com
  • Hosting – The storage space for all your website’s data.

    Example: Bluehost, BigScoots, or SiteGround
  • Content Management System (CMS) – The CMS is the backend of your website and is what allows you to create and publish blog posts without knowing how to code.

    Example: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla. While WordPress is a blogging platform and a CMS, with WordPress.org, you still have to go out to separate places to purchase your domain, hosting, and possibly theme (website design template).
  • Theme or template – This is the frontend or “face” of your blog. It’s basically the website’s design. Examples: Some of my favorite WordPress themes are from Solo Pine

What Is a Blogging Platform?

When people talking about a “blogging platform,” they usually mean one of two things:

  • Content Management System (CMS) – We went over these above. Some popular CMS’s are WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla.
  • All-in-one solution – This is a one-stop-shop for getting a domain, hosting, templates, and a CMS. Examples include Squarespace and Weebly.

Best Blogging Platforms to Make Money: A Comparison

WordPress

Let’s clear up a confusing matter. There are TWO WordPress websites:

  • WordPress.COM – This is the all-in-one solution that lets you create a blog for FREE. But that blog will give you very little control over customization, and it will have a domain that’s something like [NAMEHERE].wordpress.com, instead of [NAMEHERE].com.

    There are also paid plans with WordPress.com, and it will host your site on WordPress—it would not be what we call “self-hosted.”
  • WordPress.ORG – This is the open-source FREE software known as a Content Management System or CMS. That all probably sounds technical, but all you need to know is that a CMS is what allows you to easily create blog posts and publish them without knowing how to code.

    WordPress.ORG is what you want if you want to create a blog that makes money. That’s because your blog will be self-hosted, meaning you will have total ownership and control of your content. You would pay for hosting, and then you would install the FREE WordPress software on your website.

So, in short, if you want to start a blog that makes money, you want to use WordPress.ORG, not WordPress.COM.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about the pros and cons of WordPress as a blogging platform to make money.

Pricing: Again, WordPress software is FREE, but you must pay for your website’s hosting and domain.

Here’s what I use:

  • Google Domains for registering domains – $12/year INCLUDING free Privacy Protection
  • BigScoots for hosting – Starts at $7.95/month or $83.40/year.

Pros

  • WordPress is the MOST popular Content Management System in the world, powering more than 30% of websites.
  • WordPress offers more than 50,000 plugins, which allow you to achieve all sorts of customizations on your website WITHOUT needing to edit code.
  • With most website hosting services, WordPress is straightforward to install, often with a simple click of a button.
  • With self-hosted WordPress, you have total control over your blog. You own it, and you can customize it in many different ways.
  • Great for SEO

Cons

  • Many new bloggers think that the WordPress dashboard isn’t very intuitive and user-friendly. So it’s kind of frustrating having to learn how to use it, but I promise it gets easier!

Squarespace

Pricing: There is no free version of Squarespace. Squarespace plans start at $16/month or $144/year. They offer a free domain with their annual plan, but additional domains are $20 to $70 a year.

Pros

  • All-in-one solution that most new bloggers find VERY easy to use
  • Creates BEAUTIFUL websites
  • You do own all of your content hosted on Squarespace, except for the template. So if you migrated from Squarespace later, you would be able to take all of your content, but you wouldn’t be able to take their template (website design) with you.
  • You can put affiliate links and ads on Squarespace sites. (I’m only emphasizing this because a lot of people mistakenly think that you can’t monetize Squarespace sites.)

Cons

  • Squarespace is not nearly as popular as WordPress, so that can cause some issues later on. For example, many website designers and developers may not know how to work with WordPress.
  • Squarespace does not have plugins, which means it will be more difficult for a beginner to customize certain parts of the website. You might need to hire a Squarespace designer to do it for you.
  • This is a highly debatable topic, but many people say that Squarespace is not as good for SEO as WordPress is. This is all anecdotal, but I know a lot of people in my Facebook groups talked about switching from Squarespace to WordPress and seeing a HUGE jump in search engine traffic! So, that’s something to consider.
  • It seems that a lot of serious bloggers (those making money from their blog) end up switching from Squarespace to WordPress, and it’s a headache. So it might be worth it to deal with the learning curve of WordPress now to avoid the headache of switching from Squarespace to WordPress later.

In one of my Facebook groups, there was a discussion on switching from Squarespace to WordPress. Here’s what some people said:

Medium

Medium is a kind of like an online magazine that anyone can publish to. It is clean and simple to use. You do retain the copyright to everything you publish on Medium.

Pricing: It’s free to blog on Medium.

Pros

  • Very easy to use thanks to its simple interface and limited features
  • Gives you the possibility of reaching a wider audience on their site

Cons

  • While you own the content you publish, you don’t really “own” a Medium website. Again, you’re essentially publishing your content to an online magazine.
  • The one sure-fire way to monetize your Medium posts is to add them to the Medium Partner Program, which means your posts will be behind their metered paywall, and you will be paid based on engagement on your posts. It’s highly unlikely you’ll get rich off of this though.
  • There are a lot of restrictions when it comes to monetizing Medium posts. You cannot, for example, do advertising or sponsorships. You can add affiliate links, but only if you disclose the affiliate relationship (as you should do on all websites, by the way).

All in all, Medium can be a nice supplement to your blog, but I wouldn’t use it as a blogging platform if you want to make money.

Blogger

Blogger is a blogging platform owned by Google.

Pricing: Free

Pros

  • All-in-one solution that’s easy to use for beginners
  • With Blogger, you can add AdSense and other third-party ads to your site.
  • You can add affiliate links.

Cons

  • Not nearly as popular as WordPress, so it might be difficult to find support for it.
  • No plugins (though it does have something called “gadgets” that are similar)

Weebly

Pricing: There is a FREE version, but it is very limited, doesn’t come with a custom domain (instead, it will look like [NAMEHERE].weebly.com), and your site will be branded so people can tell it is a free Weebly site. Paid plans start at $60/year.

Pros

  • Drag-and-drop builder is very easy for beginners to use
  • All-in-one solution (hosting, template, and domain)
  • Can insert ads and affiliate links

Cons

  • Not nearly as popular as WordPress, so it might be difficult to find support for it
  • Doesn’t have plugins like WordPress, but has something similar called apps

Wix

Pricing: Has a FREE option with limitations. Paid plans start at $13/month.

Pros

  • Drag-and-drop builder is very easy for beginners to use
  • All-in-one solution (hosting, template, and domain)
  • Can insert ads and affiliate links
  • Has something called Wix Arena, where you can hire developers and other freelancers familiar with Wix

Cons

  • Doesn’t have plugins like WordPress, but has something similar called apps

Best Free Blogging Platform

If you TRULY can’t afford the approximately $95 it will cost to invest in a self-hosted WordPress blog for one year, then I recommend starting with FREE WordPress (that is, WordPress.com). Again, this is not self-hosted and it will be VERY limited in what you can do in terms of monetization. But you can start with this and build up your traffic, and then when you’re ready to really make money blogging, migrate from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.

THIS Is the Best Blogging Platform to Make Money (in My Opinion)

If you’re serious about monetizing your blog, WordPress is, hands-down, the best blogging platform to make money. If you do enough research, I guarantee you’ll find that most professional bloggers agree with this statement. WordPress is the most popular blogging platform out there, and it is very reliable. Yes, it’s difficult to learn at first, but in the long run, you’ll thank yourself for starting with WordPress.

If you start a blog with an all-in-one solution like Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace, you will probably want to switch to WordPress later if you want to earn a full-time income blogging. That is a huge headache, so I think it’s better to start with WordPress now.

Here’s what I use and recommend:

I also have a guide on how to add a WordPress site on BigScoots.