I know, this post is not about the future? In fact there’s plenty of talk about how insert topic here will be in the future and not much about how, for example, blogging is currently in the present time. Wanted to look into the current atmosphere in which many are using various platforms to publish their blogs and how we currently try in working with these platforms.
The one major player that many bloggers use is Wordpress. This is generally a great platform that when you search the internet for a blogging platform, Wordpress is generally the first or part of the first results. The Wordpress platform is great in that it powers a very large majority of websites on either the self hosted version or via the Wordpress hosted plans. There’s plenty of plugins and themes you can use, of which there are both free and paid versions for them. Some few issues you might run into are the freemium model that a lot if not all plugins and theme developers have implemented. This is not a piece proclaiming that everything must be free but, on the issues you as a blogger have to contend with using the Wordpress system. You have plugins that’ll share your content out to various social networks but you will only have so many charges or uses to do so before you would have to upgrade to the next tier in order to have more options available. The same issue arises with themes as there are features built in that showcase certain sections in a way that is more user friendly but, here again you will need to upgrade to get use of said features. Wordpress can be found pretty much everywhere within low cost hosting providers or you can install it yourself. You also have the option to have Wordpress host your site but you’ll have to give up some control but all of the maintenance of your server is taken care of by Wordpress.
Ghost is another system that is more streamlined to cater to a blogging and newsletter site. Just as with the case with Wordpress, you can self host Ghost or you can have Ghost host your site on their infrastructure. The benefits with Ghost is that it’s not a Jack of all trades, master of none, it’s more focused on providing the items you would need for creating your blog or newsletter. There’s integrations with 3rd parties that offer you further improvements upon your site, if you need them. Themes are available as well and there are free and paid items you can look over. The great thing (if you feel that way) is there isn’t a freemium model to get in the way. Paid themes have widgets to help showcase your posts in different ways. Looking into anything else that could be of interest to you are that memberships and managing the payments of them are built into the system. This is an optional integration and is off by default but the nice thing is that it is built into Ghost itself. The options are completely up to the admin, just as it is in Wordpress. The difference with Ghost is that there is a bit more work that you have to do in order to self host. Of course the process is streamlined but you do have to understand some command line prompts, which could deter many. For those that don’t want to deal with having to maintain their own servers and the time cost as well, Ghost offers plans for them to take care of the hosting for you.
Substack and Medium
Decided to combine these two systems into one section as they deal with providing you a home for your blog online. Both also provide you systems to create your postings in a way that is very easy to manage and showcase to your audience. The difference between Substack and Medium compared to the previous is that there isn’t a self hosting option available. Your content lives on the respective sites servers, of course many bloggers are fine with this and perhaps this is perfectly fine for someone that’s just starting out. You have integrations to outside 3rd parties to help get your content out to the rest of the world. The disadvantage is that your memberships are only within the respective site. You also don’t have the control of different themes, you can only change some options but your overall site will have the Substack or Medium aesthetic. You are unable to use a custom domain and are locked into having their branding as part of yours in regards to the domain name.
I could go on with each and every other blogging system but that could be better done in separate postings. My main conclusion with this is that if you were interested in starting up your own blog. You have many choices to choose from, my focus was to offer you the selections of the larger, well known places. Each has their own pros and cons and ultimately you have to make the choice that is in your own best interest. But to offer you the choices and hopefully a little more understanding of what might be in store.