I have faced many hard times in my life, and one among them was when I tried to count the benefits of having your own blog. I started counting and listing them down and believe me, these benefits never end. Now I can confidently claim that blogging has too many benefits. You can earn money, you learn new things, it makes you think clearer, it helps you write better, it increases confidence, helps you build an audience and this list never end. This is the reason that we see thousands of blogs appearing on the internet every day. However, as a blogger, you’ll have to invest a lot of precious time and effort. So, the important thing which should consider before starting your own blog is that How to get most out of it?
Why SEO is Important For Bloggers
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is very important for blogs and your blog is almost useless if you’ll have zero audiences. With a perfect SEO, you can not only build your audience and learn from them, but you’ll also be able to earn some money out of it. Your published work will get famous and as you’ll address more people, you confidence level will increase. Famous bloggers can even influence public policies and can change the mindset of whole nations. It is the power of words that can turn the course of situation. Blog is the only way to guide and streamline the thoughts in a clearer manner to your readers. In short, with a brilliant blog, you can live forever in the hearts of people and for that, you definitely need killer SEO for your blog.
The first step towards having an SEO optimized blog is selecting the best platform so you’ll never run into the SEO problems later and will be able to rank yourself high in the search results easily. SEO friendly blogging platforms not only help you concentrate on your actual work, i.e. blogging but they also do a lot of work for you. For instance, an SEO optimized blog will automatically build your audience and will help you reaching new people every day. Hence making you famous as time passes by.
After a lot of detailed and careful research, we have carefully handpicked five best SEO optimized blogging platforms so you’ll not have to spend time taking this decision. Let’s have a look on these platforms and see what they are offering in terms of SEO, speed and structure. These platforms are sorted according to the priority where the first one should be considered as the best one.
Which Blogging Platform Best According to SEO Audits
WordPress is world’s most popular blogging platform. According to a survey, 48% of top 100 blogs around the globe use WordPress, which is highest among all.
WordPress Hosted or Self-hosted WordPress Which one Suites Best For SEO?
WordPress is available in two forms. WordPress.com hosted on WordPress servers and you can also get self-hosted WordPress blog from WordPress.org. We’ll look into both options. Self-hosted version might be effect your SEO performance because choosing right hosting is also essential in terms of website speed. WordPress servers provide high speeds and also CDN feature.
A content delivery network (CDN) is network of distributed servers which delivers Web content to a user on the basis of his geographical location i.e. it will fetch information from the server located closest to the location from where user has made the request.
Self-Hosted WordPress Plugins Enhance SEO Performance
SEO of Self-hosted WordPress blog is easy and can be made much better with the use of right plugins. Yeah! That’s right. WordPress directory contains dozens of efficient Plugins which create sitemaps and post unique Meta descriptions. Thus, you can create each and everything of your blog including SEO, and this will rank you high in the search results. Self-hosted WordPress blog is highly recommended for bloggers who really want to create a difference in the blogging world. Below are some of the highest rated SEO Plugins used by majority of WordPress sites:
Yoast SEO (Yoast is the best SEO plugin for wordpress but there are lots of things to configure. So you should read a yoast seo guide to suit best. Free and premium versions are available but you don’t need to buy the premium one. The free version covers your basic needs. It is just as simple as to click and install and then configure as per your requirement. It will help in making back links to your website as well.)
Wp-Rocket (WP-Roket provides immediate results with minimal configuration providing all the necessary features which will make your website sparkle on top of search engine results. Wp-Rocket provides fastest website performance with these features: page caching, cache preloading, image on request and static file compression. It starts with 39$ per domain license.)
Image Optimization Plugins (i have mentioned my previous blog post which image optimization plugin is best so you can read and select the right plugin)
- Full Control Customization (URL, Content, Theme and Settings)
- Access Professionally Developed SEO Plugins (Cache, Speed and Optimization Plugins)
- Custom Development & Easy Integration
- Easily Define No-Follow and Follow and Canonical Links
- Don’t have any Personal Support
- Finding a Good Hosting (it should be wordpress optimized hostings like WPengine and WebSynthesis)
- Security Threats (if you hacked and don’t aware of for a long time? Your website will be penalized by google). Moreover, need the server access or support in order to recover the website.
WordPress Hosted Free and Premium Versions Compared
WordPress.com offers both free and premium versions. With this option, you don’t need to do anything regarding hosting, just sign up on the site and start blogging. Also, you don’t need any SEO plugin as wordpress.com has great SEO right out of the box. All wordpress.com themes are SEO optimized with XML sitemaps, and thus they keep on asking the Google and other search engines to crawl the content whenever you post a new thing. Also, for better SEO, it is recommended that you shouldn’t use too many tags for your posts. Few tags for each post are enough for best SEO of wordpress.com blogs. It is also recommended that you should start blogging on wordpress.com and then move to self-hosted WordPress blog because it provides you more freedom and options regarding SEO and speed optimization. Strategically, it is a good approach for beginners since they don’t know much about the website and blog customization thing and in this way they can focus on their blog content only. Once the blogger gains appropriate number of audience, he can easily switch to his own self-hosted WordPress blog.
Although WordPress has many benefits, it has some drawbacks as well which a blogger should know before choosing this platform. Sometimes WordPress creates duplicate pages and thus the same page comes under 2 or several URLs. However, this issue can be fixed using 301 redirect or colonial tags. So you should SEO optimization plugins like YOAST. You just need to take care of this thing and you’ll find WordPress as best ever blogging platform.
- One minute Blog Creation & No Setup (You don’t need to make any change to do something SEO according to audits. Everything will be done by wordpress team)
- Simple to Use (Build for end users so you can focus on content. Content is king and it’s very important for Search Engine Optimization)
- Managed Hosting by WordPress (WordPress optimized hosting and cdn solutions)
- Custom Domain or High Authority WordPress.com Subdomain (If you use the website for short period, you should take advantage of wordpress.com domain authority. It has lots of impact on SEO)
- Technically, you do not own your blog, wordpress can stop anytime due to their policies.
- You’ll have theme limitations i.e. theme cannot be customized or code can’t be edited.
- You can’t control anything you want (Hosting, Code and Theme Customizations)
Blogger can also be another choice for people who are looking for SEO optimized blogging platforms. This platform is developed by Google and has the best SEO you can get out of the box. This platform is recommended for those who are not SEO experts but are worried about SEO. This recommendation is given because unlike WordPress, you don’t need technical skills for managing your SEO on blogger.
Blogger is very useful for those who just want to start a blog to share thoughts and don’t want to earn money. Although it has some limitations regarding functionalities but overall if you just need a platform to begin with almost zero cost, Blogger or BlogSpot might be a right choice for you. However if you want to start a blog to earn money, blogger is not a very good choice as you have limited control on visibility in search engines, and after a while, you are limited to adding new features.
SEO on blogger depends on few factors. Keeping these factors in mind can help you ace SEO. However, ignoring them may result in a very bad SEO. You should follow these rules while blogging on blogger:
- Good Beginning For End Users (Blogger.com is not for professionals, it’s easy way to have blog and it’s not sustainable.)
- Easy to Use (Content, Website Creation and Publishing)
- SEO Optimized By Google (Blogger.com website infrastructure is developed by google so there are no any option to change SEO settings. All are the same. The only different thing is content for each blog on blogger.com. Hence quality content is a necessity if you want your blog to be on top of search engine results.)
- Limited Customization
- Ugly Themes and Bad User Experience (Content is king but i you don’t have a good design, people don’t know how it works. So it effects Search Engine Marketing)
- Limited Support.
- Not simple to use like WordPress.
Following these instructions, I hope you’ll be able to do much better with the blogger.
Tumblr is a cool blogging platform which is getting popular very rapidly among young bloggers. It is easy to use platform and perfect for those who like the idea of “reblogging” posts. This platform is best for small blogging options and isn’t a good idea to use if you are thinking to develop a big blog for long term uses.
Tumblr provides you unlimited storage, HTML CSS access for customization and around 1000 themes to choose from. It is good regarding SEO but not as good as WordPress and Blogger is. The platform faces several problems regarding SEO most of the times. For example, Tumblr blogs don’t open fast sometimes and prevent crawlers from indexing them. Thus, this platform should only be used in case you don’t need to run your blog for a very long period of time.
Although Tumblr faces SEO problems but these can be resolved to some extent and SEO can be made much better if you follow these important tips.
- Use a brand domain name. Never use sub-domains for your blogs.
- Write detailed posts because usually search engines rank 2000+ words blog posts higher on SERPs.
- Always use a user-friendly theme.
- Don’t forget to submit your blog website for Webmaster tools and search engines. This is crucial.
- Fix 404 errors in your site. Redirect them to similar pages.
By following these tips, you can make Tumblr SEO much better and thus it will automatically start building your audience for you.
Do-follow Links (Even if tumblr is a social network, it provides do-follow links on blogs. So if you reblog a post, you have a canonical url to point the source. Therefore you can easily get backlinks into blogs.)
Easy Content Creation (Tumblr integrated with many services. So you can easly enrich your tumblr blog. For example, if you using ifttt.com you can create a flow with tumblr. When you like a photo on instagram, iffft.com can post on tumblr the image with description. Therefore your tumblr blog will be up-to-date.)
Customizable User-Friendly UI (I mentioned that content creation is effortless an also there are lots of well-designed template option on tumblr. Good design and content with a good optimized blogging platform perfect solution for effective SEO. Tumblr is an good option for that.)
SSL Support: Tumblr being the self-hosted, provides secure server license hence making you hassle free from the fear of blog being hacked
- Tumblr does not Officially Support Plugins
- You don’t Have Full Control Of Codes (You can just control html + css files)
- Not Accessing URL Structure, Canonical and Follow Attribute (You can not define url taxonomy and pointing with canonical as well as no and do-follow rel tags)
Ghost is a new software project started by non-profit Ghost foundation in 2013. This blog is free to download and just like wordpress.org, it can be hosted almost everywhere. This platform is recommended for those who want a self-hosted temporary blog and are not considering it to run for a very long period of time.
In terms of SEO, although ghost is good but it is not up to the WordPress mark. The reasons why people choose ghost is because it’s backend experience is very simple and beautiful. However, this results in problems on SEO aspect. As you can’t do much on SEO part while working with the ghost.
Ghost is only recommended for beginners who are looking for an easy solution. It is not only easy but also provides a live preview of your post so you can easily see changes and correct them as you write. However, after a certain period of time, you should move your blog to some other blogging platform with good and flexible SEO options.
It should be noted that Ghost is the only free available option after WordPress that can be hosted on your own space. Also, if you want to host your blog on Ghost servers, you’ll have to pay for it as it’s self-hosted version is only available for free.
SEO & Social Media Built-in (Ghosts provides for SEO and social media intagration features of any blogging platforms. You don’t need to setup any extra plugins or extensions, and you don’t need to write any extra code. It just works. There are built-in XML sitemaps, canonical urls, custom URLs, microformats, Facebook OG tags, supporting Twitter cards and clean semantic markup.)
Speed (Independent tests have revealed the report Ghost to be up to 1,900% faster than WordPress. What does that mean? In the amount of time it takes WordPress to respond to 1 request, Ghost will have already responded to 19 of them. The speed of your blog impacts everything, from search engine rankings to mobile user engagement.)
Simple and Useful UI (Backend and User Interface)
Quality of Theme Design (Like wordpress, there are thousands of themes on marketplaces so it makes hard to find well-designed themes. However Ghost has a hundred themes which is mostly has beautifuşl UI. Tumblr is also has a few themes on their marketplace. It adds a plus to ghost.)
Price & Performance (Ghost has the best hosted service, called Ghost(Pro). It’s comparable to running WordPress on a fully-managed hosting service with a dedicated CDN.)
Not Enough Feedback ( Since Ghost is a newly launched blogging platform, there are no any reviews on web. So people are worry about that. Beginning a blogging platform is serious starts because changing the platform has lots of difficulties. I recommend that you should start with ghost if you doesn’t need any extra customizations providing wordpress plugins. Ghosts default feature is enough for a certain blogger according to SEO. It is competitive to WordPress when it comes to market. However, WordPress has stable market but Ghost is not guaranteed when it comes to scalability i.e. what would be the reaction of the server when it faces a lot of load in terms of blogs.
Medium is a twitter-based and emerging platform which unlike traditional blogging platforms offers a wide range of new and innovative features. Users sign up on the site and can post and create their content there. Also, medium provides you freedom to embed your content on your own website and thus you can promote your self-hosted blog in this way.
The medium also informs readers about the time it will take them to read a post. So they can read it or bookmark it for later. Users can also comment on posts and provide their suggestions to the writer.
In terms of SEO, Medium is very good as Medium Corporation takes care of the SEO of whole website itself. In addition to that, you can also publicize your self-hosted blog with custom domains on Medium. However, there are few things which need to be taken care of before you publish something on Medium.
Medium Publications and Profiles
- High Authority Domain (Medium has high authority domain so it is easy to rank top with well content and interactions)
- East to Build an Audience – (Medium create connections to similar interests together for you.)
- Good Reading Experience (Medium doing lots of UX improvements to develop reading experience)
- No-Follow Links (Medium doesn’t allow their platform to use do-follow links. Therefore it’s hard to do link-building with other websites.)
- Lack Of Control (You can’t have full control over the user experience and other things so you can’t improve some SEO audits on your profile or publications.
- Limited Heading Tags (Medium only supports h1 and h2 tag for your heading so if you have more specific headlines for your content, you can’t use these.)
Medium Custom Domain
- Canonical URLs (A canonical link element is an HTML element that helps webmasters prevent duplicate content issues by specifying the “canonical” or “preferred” version of a web page as part of search engine optimization. It is described in RFC 6596, which went live in April 2012. Medium provide Canonical URL in your custom domain website. When you read a post which are also in your custom domain points with canonical url to your custom domain medium blog)
- Medium Infrastructure (Medium has a certain amount of Search Engine Optimization ‘best practice’ built in page titling, mobile optimization, clean code, navigation and internal linking based on topics of interest, publications clustered around themes etc.)
- Free SSL Certificate (Medium custom domain also provide free SSL certificate. As you know, having a ssl certificate is a ranking factor.
- Custom Design Layouts (Medium allows you to select their home page layouts so you can select according to your audience which fit most reading experience with the right UX)
- Medium Logo Still There ( Even if you have a custom domain, the medium logo still appear in their position. Medium get backlinks from all custom domain medium webpages. It is not a good SEO signal to have outgoing link for all pages.)
- Page Redirects (When you open a custom domain medium webpage there will be 2 redirections. the redirects introduce additional delays before the page can be loaded. Google page speed insights mention that you should avoid redirects.
Though Medium is a good option for beginners but still has limitation which will anchor the blog ranking with respect to themes, plugins and customization.
Weebly is one of the most powerfully and widely used blogging platforms. This is really a great platform for the people looking forward to starting their websites or a blog on the websites. Weebly was founded back in 2007 and according to the reports of 2014, it has more than 40 million users. No matter what kind of website you need like for professional, personal or business purposes it is a tremendous and robust website builder.
Based in San Francisco, Weebly used USA servers and more than 100 employees are a part of this great blogging platform. One of the great things about Weebly is they truly give value to the customer needs. They let you create beautiful but powerful websites with thoughtfulness behind the product. Another amazing and most loved aspect of Weebly is the user-friendly nature that comes in handy to build a website and live it in less than an hour.
Features Offered by Weebly for SEO
- The Editor: It is truly a reliable platform and with the editor feature you have flexibility to perform multiple functions design sites by dragging and adding text, images, galleries, slideshows, maps, forms, embedding codes and several other useful applications.
- Templates: A wide range of templates is offered in Weebly. The experienced guys can code to create amazing templates and customize those using CSS. The templates can be altered any time. When a template is created, it automatically generates the mobile version as well.
- SEO: Talking about the most important factor in a websites’ success, SEO is easy to be done in Weebly. Title, keyword and met descriptions are allowed and can be fully customized. Weebly also lets the users add other tools like online chats, payment buttons etc.
Pros and Cons
- Simplicity: This is a tremendous and very friendly platform for the new bloggers and those as well who need technical sites. It offers the best, simple and friendly interface.
- High Quality Sites: If compared to other platforms, most of them don’t allow building high quality sites free and add other features. Weebly is an exception to such sites and you are allowed to build high quality websites.
- Mobile Apps: Using Weebly’s mobile apps, you can also create and edit websites as per your needs.
- Easy Upgradation: As multiple plans are offered, you can choose that best suits your needs. It’s quite easy to upgrade your websites and secure them.
- Limited Blog Options: There are tools for blogs in Weebly but they are less customizable and if you have to make changes to your blog and edit, you will be supposed to do some coding as compared to other blogging platforms like WordPress.
- Expensive Premium Plans: If we talk about the overall packages and their prices, Weebly proves an expensive choice.
- Basic Photo Editor: The photo editor in Weebly has limited tools and you will need advanced tools or software to edit photos. Thus the limited capability of photo editing pushes users for other blogging platforms.
Weebly, being the expensive choice, provides limited customization features as compared to WordPress or any other Content Management System (CMS). With the expensive pricing plans, basic photo editor is the very minimum feature offered by Weebly.
There are numerus blogging servers and CMS in the market offering various features. Depending upon the type of blog, aim of monetization and good user interface, one can choose the best suitable platforms. For DIY type blogs, one must focus on good UI hence WordPress serves the best. If you aim for some science or educational blog, simple blogger can work. For fashion blogs, one must go for some premium blog server like Medium or Weebly. All the CMS have their own pros and cons however, all serves best for different bloggers at different stages from beginner to professional. Therefore, cost and benefit analysis is a must in order to start a good blog.
After all this discussion, we can easily conclude that WordPress is the winner of today. A self-hosted WordPress blog site is the best choice you can go for. However, if you need a short-term blog or a beginner, WordPress.com will also work. Moreover, a blogger can also be a good choice for you and tumblr, ghost serves best for the beginners. Also, we saw that Medium is best for writing as well as promoting personal blogs. You can be a successful blogger, all you need is a right platform and good content!