We love to consume content.
We want to stay updated, know all the latest happenings around the world. Content gives us a leeway to strike a conversation with others as well as get sharing information.
In the 21st Century, with so many things interconnected, a lot of stories are generated every other minute. While early on, it would’ve been impossible to keep track of all the happenings, with the Internet you get a safe harbor to access them. Probably not all at once, but you can access them in the future.
Blogging has been instrumental in the Internet’s development and its hold over content creation and consumption. People have different experiences and stories to tell, and blogging gives you a platform for your stories.
The development of the internet, from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0, shifted its focus from sharing content to focus more on user-generated content.
Blogging usually involves sharing your personal opinions and experiences. You can blog for a non-profit reason, keeping a journal of sorts, sharing it with your friends and acquaintances. Or, you can make for-profit blogs sharing your expertise on a certain subject.
You might want to jump on the bandwagon of blogging. After all, everyone has a story to tell.
In that case, we bring you a list of 21 Best Free Blogging Platforms to Start your Blog in 2021.
It is noteworthy to mention the fact that WordPress powers about 30% of the internet. They must be doing something to have such a share of the pie. And that is thanks to two reasons:
- Easy-to-use and build interface.
- Lots of customizability options to choose form.
WordPress is offered in two variants: one is WordPress.com, and another is WordPress.org. The difference being the latter is used for the self-hosted blog for which you have to buy your hosting service and domain name. Both of these involve shelling some bucks out.
This hosting problem is not the case with WordPress.com.
They have designed the interface as such that you can easily set up your blog within minutes. The basic blog is stocked with all the basic features to create your first post.
Although the drawback of the platform is that you won’t be able to use a wide range of plugins and themes that are available on the marketplace; plus you don’t have the full claim of your blog, your blog must abide by the rules of WordPress.
And in any case, if you violate their ToC, they can straightaway suspend your website. The reasons are often ambiguous, and one is in constant fear of getting all the hard work flushed down the drain.
First developed by Pyra Labs in ‘99 and then sold to Google in ‘03, Blogger has seen its share of development over the years. Having the Google stamp over the product means that you get a quality assurance on par with Google’s other products like Google Drive.
With the help of Google account, you can easily sign and start creating your first blog post. It is easy to use and self-explanatory in design. You don’t need to know the code aspect to redesign, although Google provides you with the HTML codes to tweak around.
Being backed by Google brings another benefit. It has a very good up-time, and your blog would rarely go down. Plus with the help of Google’s cloud services, you can easily save thousands of images and video data relating to the website.
However, there are two major drawbacks:
- It doesn’t offer you many options to customize. Layouts restrict you.
- Google is known to discard their products in a flash (Orkut, Google Plus). Although there are very fewer chances of Blogger going offline soon, there is still a possibility.
Chances that a Wix ad has greeted you by now are quite high.
Wix is a recently launched service. However, they are targeting first-time users who want to start their content-based blogs and websites. And as such, they have created tools and mechanisms that are user-friendly and can get you started ASAP.
It uses a drag-and-drop mechanism to customize your website, and also provides you with the HTML code just in case you want to develop it at a more atomic scale.
Unlike Blogger, it offers you about 500 designs to choose from. Although once selected, you can’t change the theme again. It also doesn’t allow you to install new features.
With a free account, you get 500 MB each of the bandwidth and storage capacity. Enough if you are not running a media-intensive website.
Also, with the free version, you will have a Wix marking on your website. And a Wix subdomain and not a top-level-domain like .com.
Tumblr was made for the entire process of writing and expressing ideas easier. You don’t have to worry about hosting and all; you should focus on content that you want to share among the Tumblr community.
Insanely popular amongst the teens, especially people belonging to a certain trope or fandom, you can easily connect with new people on the platform. The entire purpose of the platform is to create content and re-blog/share content made by other users/bloggers.
It is more of a microblogging website centered around sharing, and not exclusive to written content. You can share almost anything, ranging from GIFs to images, without the need to write content.
This option might repel some bloggers looking forward to writing content, but it promises you a good audience to pitch your content.
Major drawbacks include: harder to take backup and import, and not many customizability options available.
If you are a blogger looking to work your way around with words and seeking people who are interested in the same, Medium is the platform for you. Like-minded essayists, columnists, and bloggers usually visit the platform.
Started in 2012 by one of the Twitter founders, it gives you a WYSIWYG editor through which you can easily put your content out.
It follows a system synonymous with Facebook, where instead of a like button, they provide you with a clap button to rate the articles. It also follows a tag system that splits the story into different categories so that users can choose which category they want to read first specifically.
It also comes with a total time read widget, which helps users to know how much time they will require to go through it.
You can see how they designed features to attract readers.
The benefits are:
- You don’t have to code.
- You can easily get an audience that wants to read the content.
- You don’t have to waste time designing a website.
But the negatives are:
- Medium essentially provides you with an account. So if they disband your account, you lose all your content as well as your users.
- You also can’t monetize your audience through ads, although affiliate marketing can be used effectively.
Quora can be said to be a glorified Yahoo Answers.
While Yahoo Answers was not able to control spam questions and answers, which led to a drop in credibility, Quora has managed to control this issue. It is by far the #1 Q&A website.
Unlike Yahoo Answers, you can follow others on Quora and create your following. You can get your question answered by popular people and get posed by questions from others.
They are trying to expand their business by providing users with the ability to create their blog. Once you build a good following by answering the questions, you can have readers for your blog, and start writing for them. You can even become an authoritative person in a sub-niche such as blogging.
Quora doesn’t provide you with options of customizability; you have to stick to their default template. You are provided with an editor to write your content. If you want to focus on writing content and not about anything else, this can serve you perfectly.
Coming on the lines of Wix, Weebly is a web-hosting service that lets you create blogs on the go. With the help of a drag-and-drop builder, you can easily customize the major elements of the website.
They have designed their service so that you don’t have to break a sweat while designing the website. It gives you different customizable layouts and free themes to choose from.
Even if you don’t want to buy the premium version, you still have the option to give their service a run.
There are several cons, though:
- Integration with 3rd party apps is hard.
- Ads are present in the free version.
- exporting the website is difficult.
Yola is a simple and straightforward service. You don’t get many pages to create and edit: you get about two websites and three pages to do your job. But on the positive end, you get about 1GB of capacity and bandwidth. So if you are making use of product landing pages, this might work fine in your favor.
Configuring and designing pages is easy and straightforward. Adding to the mix are drag-and-drop-widgets and customizable layouts, and visually, you can create your blog appealing. Plus, you also get the option to edit the CSS if you want to get your hands dirty in coding and tweaking.
Drupal is one of the most well-known website builders in the industry. Dries Buytaert developed it in May of 2000 as an open-source content-management framework that can hold your content in streamlined order. It gives you better reliability and performance, along with security.
Drupal is not as popular as WordPress or Blogger, but it has its active community, which develops modules for it. Thanks to this community, there are a lot of themes to dabble with, plus you also have modules to enhance the functionality of the blog.
On the downside, you need to know the technical aspects of Drupal quite well to start working with it. If you are a newbie foraying into blogging, learning technical stuff to start blogging is something you might not like. It also works slower compared to other customized platforms like Blogger.
Squarespace has sponsored a good number of videos on YouTube. But while they promote their service like crazy, they also offer you a service at the same standards.
It is easy to use and offers you a lot of options. Seriously, a lot. From building personal blogs to create a web store, you can get it done easily and quickly with SquareSpace.
The best part is that it comes with different themes to choose from. You need to tweak a little bit here and there, and you are ready to go live with your blog. So if you are a newbie blogger who wants to create a good looking blog without the hassle of getting into technicalities, you should give SquareSpace a look.
You don’t have to worry about the host, as SquareSpace does the hosting part by itself.
It comes with a 14-day trial period, after which plans start from $24-$48 per month.
One of the industry veterans: Joomla is an open-source content management service almost on par with WordPress. Like WordPress, users can log on to the backend of the website from where they can customize the content as they want.
You have a healthy number of themes and add-ons to choose from to further enhance your blog, although the community is not that diverse as that of WordPress.
It is a capable service with more options to customize your website compared to WordPress. Point to note here is that it is a self-hosted service, and you will require a hosting service and domain name to go along. So, although Joomla is free to use, you will need to spend bucks on hosting it.
#12. Google Sites
This service from Google is intended to target business users. It promotes data sharing and real-time collaboration among different users. That is, users can edit the same set of content and see which user has edited what content.
It gives you a structured wiki-type website. If you have a Google account, you can easily sign-in and create your own blog/website. It follows a drag and drop mechanism, so you don’t have to dip yourself in coding.
Plus, two of its best features are:
- It is responsive, looks great across different devices.
- It can be easily incorporated with other Google applications like Google Calendar and Google Docs.
Although two major drawbacks are:
- The inability to add AdSense ads on your website.
- Few customizable options.
Founded by three ex-Microsoft employees, HubPages is a user-generated content aggregator website.
Users are known as hubbers who provide content in the form of an article (known as hubs) to the website. The best part about this platform is that if your article generates enough traffic, you also get paid.
To earn an income, you need to have a valid AdSense account. If you don’t have an AdSense account, you can apply for one after submitting 10-15 hubs. You get paid by the number of clicks you get on the ad. Once the earnings reach $50, you are paid.
HubPages had acquired Squidoo, one of its major competitors, and now remains the top in its sub-domain, although they have shifted their approach from a single-site to multi-site.
You don’t get to customize much, as all the posts follow a standard styling.
As the name suggests, it is a no-nonsense website builder. It compromises some of its customizability options for easy to set up features. While you are setting up, you have been provided with the option to create for personal uses or business uses to set up your blog effectively.
It offers you a simple theme and not a lot of options to customize. It is a great service for first-time bloggers.
It is also mobile-friendly so that you don’t lose the audience from a different platform. If you are planning to scale your website in terms of an increase in the audience this won’t be able to give you many options on that front either. It offers you a very limited set of features.
Also, the support is quite a lackey, although you would rarely require one.
TypePad is one of the industry veterans. Started in 2003, it still enjoys niche popularity among a selected few. It is simple in design and easy to manipulate, one of the reasons why major companies like MSNBC, ABC, BBC, Sky News use the service for their weblogs.
The product was made for non-technical users with essential features like the ability to add photo albums, mobile blogging support, and multiple author support.
Other essential features include amazing customer support, easy tools to design, several design templates to choose from, easy to upload photos and manipulate sidebar with widgets.
You can’t upload your website’s banner or change the colors of the blog unless you have a plus account. For further customization, you are given access to the CSS code, but for that, you will require a pro account.
Jimdo’s website building service is targeted toward personal use and small business owners. These types of people aren’t interested in getting into the complexities of running a website from the ground up.
As such, Jimdo has tried to make its website building service as smooth as it can. You can either make it through the Jimdo Creator, which is an interface based on drag-and-drop format. You can click on sections, and replace the content with your content.
It also offers you another option: Jimdo Dolphin. It is an artificial design intelligence solution. You need to answer some questions, and the AI will build a website for you.
Best features include the ability to tweak your website’s overall SEO, one of the simplest website builders, ability to create a blog on the mobile app.
But like some of the other services on this website, it compromises its easy to use nature with a lack of templates. You also don’t get a preview option; changes once made will automatically be applied to the live blog.
Angelfire is the godfather of all website building services. It predates most of them present in the list. It is so old that when Mark Zuckerberg was 15, created one of his first blog on the website.
On the front, they offer you over 200 templates to choose from, drag and drop builder interface, and a free plan to choose.
Although the sad part is that quite a lot of things are going against it. Themes are not responsive and also not up to standard to what websites use these say. This shortcoming means there is no mobile version of your website.
If you were to see their social media presence, their last tweets and posts were from 2012, and after that, it feels like an abandoned place.
The bottom line is this: Angelfire would have appealed to people in 1996 when there were not a lot of options to tweak. But they have failed to keep up with the progress in web development.
Diigo is quite different in its approach.
You don’t create content. You instead collect links from the internet and store it on a single page. You can bookmark and tag web pages for future access.
Once you bookmark links, you can annotate certain parts of the webpage and highlight webpages. You can attach sticky notes to these highlighted areas or the entire webpage.
After you create your bookmarks, you can choose to share them with other people; they have aimed to make Diigo a social-networking website. So it can do a great job when collaborating with other people to research on certain topics.
One of the best features included in the premium section, where pages once annotated, will be with you forever — no matter whether that specific webpage exists at the source or not.
Diigo can come in handy for you when searching for topics and content for your next blog.
Splash is an event management service. It won’t appeal to users looking to build personal blogs and websites, but if you are planning to have a platform for your event, this can do a good job.
A good number of Fortune 500 companies use Splash. And Splash’s approach is to maximize user conversion. It achieves this by providing users with analytics at each stage. It can also be incorporated with 3rd party applications like Slack and Salesforce for better hold on your marketing process.
You can also track your events' progress through the dashboard present in the Splash.
Developing web pages is easy with Splash, and it provides you with a drag and drop builder and beautiful looking responsive designs so that your brand credibility stays put without compromising on putting in too much effort.
It also gives you responsive themes to choose from that work amazing across all platforms, especially mobile platforms.
As the name suggests, with this website, you can create your own journal. The company claims that the service is the middle ground between blogging and social networking.
It allows users to create journals that can then be shared with other people based on the restriction level. You can also keep your journal entirely private, making it work as a diary as well.
You also get the option to join communities where you can share your journals among like-minded people. It has a friends page as well, which broadcasts other people’s journals. Kind of like how facebook’s social feed works. You also get the ability to change the user’s profile picture for each blog post.
LiveJournal might not be that popular in 2019, but some of the communities have other 100,000 users in it and can be used to socialize with other people.
Hatena is a Japanese owned company, and its blog service is targeted to personal use. They want users to share the daily experiences for others and themselves as well, as they can check their blog in the future, in which case it will act as a journal.
You can easily write and incorporate data such as images, videos, and even additional information like restaurant information to your blog post. You can also import tweets and bookmarks. It also gives you the ability to revert the changes you made while writing.
It provides you with a set of good looking themes which you can edit from your desktop computer and your phone. Plus, you also get to set a restriction on who can read your blog post.
The only drawback here is that since it is made by a Japanese company, you might have to face some issues to move around. Although, it claims that the service keeps in touch with all the latest developments, and constant updates are there.
Phew! So that was a massive list of free blogging platforms you can choose in 2021. You have to sort out your priorities and select the one platform that provides you with more benefits than the negatives it provides you.