If you’ve been following our posts, you know that at SEM Nexus we believe in the strength of implementing an SEO blog to help your company thrive. But it can be hard to know where to begin when it comes to creating a business blog. There are platforms with all the integrations you can imagine if you want users to be able to seamlessly move back and forth between your blog and eCommerce site. There are also platforms that are standalone and require little time or expertise in order to set up, allowing you to focus on the writing. In order to help you sort through the options, we’ve created a list of our favorite blogging platforms for users of all levels of site-building expertise and creative streaks.
WordPress – the Business Blog without Limits
WordPress.com is undoubtedly one of the most popular blogging platforms available right now. In fact, it’s reported that more than 43% of the web is built on WordPress. It’s also its own hosted domain, meaning you don’t need to worry about finding a place for your blog to live. You can just start building in one place.
- Multiple WordPress themes to choose from
- Responsive site capabilities
- Built-in social sharing
- WordPress Stats page for analytics
Starting a blog with WordPress is quite simple as you don’t need to create a separate domain or web host. All you need to do is sign up and choose your blog’s name to begin writing with the Free plan. A number of Plugins are integrations, meaning that you can connect your blog to your company website or eCommerce site and even give people a direct way to sign up for your email list.
If you’re looking to up the ante on your blogging, WordPress also has a variety of paid plans: Personal, Premium, Business, and eCommerce. All paid plans include a free custom domain for one year, removal of WordPress.com Ads, the ability to collect payments, and unlimited email support. As you move up, you unlock features such as Google Analytics integration, premium themes, the ability to install Plugins, and more.
Note: If you’re interested in installing Plugins but don’t want or need the Business plan, check out WordPress.org. This half of WordPress requires a bit more web design know-how, but gives you more creative control over your blog site for free.
Squarespace – the Aesthetically Pleasing Business Blog
Squarespace is another popular blogging platform you can use to set up a business blog. Like WordPress, it is self-hosting within a Squarespace website. It also has a drag-and-drop interface, making it easy to visualize changes as they’re made.
Squarespace features include:
- Visually stunning templates
- Flexible layouts
- Stock photos through Unsplash
- Dashboard – manage your publishing cadence and categories, customize contributor settings, and track analytics
- Built-in SEO
- Squarespace email campaigns
- Social media integration
- Ability to enable comments
While Squarespace doesn’t have a free option, it does have a variety of reasonably priced paid plans:
Personal – for $14/month you can enjoy a free custom domain, SEO capabilities, basic website metrics, Squarespace extensions, and more.
Business – for $23/month you can enjoy all features of Personal in addition to premium integration and blocks, advanced analytics, promotional pop-ups and banners, fully integrated eCommerce, and more.
Basic Commerce – for $27/month you can enjoy all the features of Personal and Business in addition to POS and secure checkout capabilities on your domain, advanced eCommerce analytics, and more
Advanced Commerce – for $49/month you can enjoy all the features of Personal, Business, and Basic Commerce in addition to the ability to sell subscriptions, advanced shipping and discount capabilities, Commerce APIs, and more
Weebly – Build a Business Blog in Minutes
Weebly is another drag and drop site that really focuses on how simple it is to put your blog together on the platform. They offer a variety of templates that can be used on a standalone blog site or as part of a large website or online store. There is also a built in SEO feature that allows bloggers to “create custom URLs, title tags and meta descriptions to help [their] blog posts perform better in search results and bring more traffic to [their] pages”. Additional Weebly features include:
- Advanced blog management and customization
- Media and third party integrations
- Advanced sharing and scheduling features
Weebly is used by over 30,000,000 people worldwide and its eCommerce is powered by Square, making it a great option if your blog is linked to an eCommerce business.
The Free plan gives access to basic blogging capabilities and even eCommerce abilities. But bloggers can also upgrade to a Personal, Professional, or Business account for a nominal fee billed monthly or annually. These upgrades unlock access to features such as ad removal, SSL security, a custom domain name, and more. Weebly may not be as customizable as some other sites, but if you’re looking to get off the ground quickly then it’s a great option for you to have a blog up and running in just a day.
Wix – Get Creative with It
Wix is a great option for people who enjoy having creative reign but don’t want to deal with the backend of having to code a customized website. While it is a drag and drop site, it has plenty of customizable templates or even provides the alternative of starting from scratch with a blank canvas. Wix features include:
- Site security
- Web hosting on a worldwide CDN
- A full suite of advanced SEO tools
- Email, newsletter, and social media integrations
- Automatic translations in order to reach a larger audience
All of these features are included just for creating a blow with Wix, but there are paid plans that offer additional features such as a custom domain name and the removal of ads. Wix pricing is reasonable, with plans beginning at just $14/month.
Medium – a Business Blog without Fuss
What if you’re not interested at all in having to do the work to put together a site or deal with creating another domain? Then Medium is the site for you. Medium is an open platform that allows you to share your writing with a network of other readers and writers. Creating a profile gives you access to your own homepage that you can personalize and brand as the home for your blogs. Features include:
- Ability to connect with readers through newsletters and subscriptions
- Ability to publish under a brand name
- Writer stats for analyzation
- Monetization through their partner program
- Customized profile name to help readers find your work
You can opt for a membership for $50/a year which will allow you to host unlimited content. If your backlinking strategy and skill with CTAs is stronger than your website-building expertise, Medium could be a strong platform to help you drive traffic to your business.
Blogger – a Google Hosted Platform
If you’re a fan of all things Google, Blogger is the way to go. Signing up allows you to begin designing a blog with a Google hosted domain for free. There are many template options, and you can upload different templates from the Internet as well. Blogger features include:
- Custom domain name (paid feature)
- Built-in analytics
- Monetization through Google AdSense
- Free storage through Google
Blogger is a great site for total beginners as it is simple to customize and use even with its many template options. If your business is a freelance one, you might enjoy the ability to keep things painless on the website to leave you with the bandwidth to focus on promoting your services and thought leadership. The catch with this platform is that Google owns it, meaning that even if you purchase your domain name, your site still does not belong to you. For this reason, you will want to keep all of your information stored in a space such as Drive or Dropbox folder in case you decide to change platforms or something happens to your site.
So Which Blogging Platform Is Best?
The answer to this is up to you and your needs. All of the blogs we’ve mentioned offer different benefits and depending upon your budget and goals, you will decide which features are and aren’t worth springing for on a monthly or yearly basis. At the end of the day, you are creating a business blog, so it’s important to stay focused on what will help you drive business rather than getting distracted by shiny features or cool aesthetics. Do this, and you will be well on your way to success regardless of the platform that you choose.