You’ve finally made the decision: it’s time to start a blog. You’ve wanted to do it for years, have found yourself scrolling through blogs online time and time again, but never have had the nerve to take the plunge and create your own. But finally, you’re ready – you’re putting the fear behind you and starting the blog you have always dreamed of. And if you’re going to do it, you want to do it right – you want to be able to use your blog not only for enjoyment, but as a form of income. But in order to do so, you know that you need to start off on the right foot from the get-go, starting with the blogging platform that you use to create your blog. But what are the best blogging platforms to make money? Does it really matter which platform you use as long as you have a blog? And if it does matter, why? What’s the big deal? How do you go about putting yourself in the position to run an enjoyable, lucrative blog for years to come?
Take a breath, friend – I’ve got you covered. In this post, I am going to walk you through all of the how-to’s and logistics that you need to know as you create your blog. I’m going to explain the different blogging platforms available to you, and show you how to pick the platform that is best suited to your needs. By the time we’re through, you will be ready to hit the ground running and create a blog that will not only be a fun creative outlet, but will bring in some extra cash along the way.
BEST BLOGGING PLATFORMS TO MAKE MONEY
Let me be clear from the beginning: if you are only looking to begin blogging as a hobby or as a fun creative outlet, this information is not for you.
You may just be looking for a space to publish your work online, and that is completely fine and valid! Blogging is a great way of documenting your life, pushing yourself outside of the box creatively, and connecting with others who are passionate about the same things that you are. If that sounds like you, the important thing is simply that you begin. Create a blog on whichever platform feels the most natural and intuitive to you, and begin publishing content! You have all the tools that you need at your fingertips – the only thing stopping you is yourself. However, if you wish to start blogging as a means of furthering your business, generating a new source of income, or beginning to get your name out there as an influencer, it is important that you be strategic from the start. You want to make sure that the platform you choose is equipped with the tools you need and will put you in the best possible place to achieve your goals. (Hint: if you want to begin bringing in money, you’re going to have to spend a little money upfront. It’s all an investment, baby!)
Sound like you? Read on to learn your best path forward.
Can I really make money blogging?
To many people, the possibility of making money from a blog sounds as though it couldn’t possibly be real – like it’s just a scheme from people online trying to sell you their courses, or the kind of thing that only someone with too much time on their hands could possibly achieve.
Let me tell you – that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Sure, it takes time and effort to build up a blog to the point where it’s profitable. I’m not here to make it sound as though this is an overnight solution to your financial woes, or that you can snap your fingers and immediately have a thriving blog, influencing platform, and brand deals. But I also don’t want you to think that it’s unachievable, because it’s not.
And sure – there are other ways to make money online without jumping into the world of blogging. Pinterest is a great example of that – you can easily make money on Pinterest without ever having to write a single blog post. But I will always be an advocate for the power of a good old fashioned blog. With a blog, you have your own space to create and build as you please. You get to dictate everything, from the content you create to how often you share it, from the kind of environment you want to build to the ways in which you want to monetize it. Blogging gives you a freedom that other parts of the internet like social media just can’t. On platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok, you’re at the mercy of an ever-changing algorithm, and if the social media platform changes or shifts or even dies off, it is out of your hands – there’s nothing you can do about it.
When you blog, you build your own territory. Your blog is your own space, and you are no longer at the mercy of external forces. Sure, you still have to learn to act strategically and work in such a way that you’re going to gain traffic and viewers – hello learning the art of SEO! But again, with blogging, you have a freedom and independence that social media just can’t give.
Okay, I’m convinced…but do I need anything else to begin?
Friend, all you really need going in is an excitement to get started. I would suggest having an idea of what you’d like your niche to be before you get serious about blogging. That way, you have an idea as you build your blog of what you would like it to look like – after all, your aesthetic is going to be very different if you’re a beauty and lifestyle blogger versus a blogger that focuses on the best hiking trails across the United States! Having that niche in mind as you begin will help you to start on the best foot forward.
I also would suggest that you know what you would like to call your blog. As you get started on the technical side in just a few minutes, you are going to need to know the blog’s title in order to get the domain name squared away, so start brainstorming! Sit down to coffee with a friend and ask them to help you bounce around different ideas, or pull out a piece of paper and do a little bit of mind-mapping and brain dumping. This is going to be your space to be as creative as you wish, so you want your name to reflect both you as well as all that you want your space to be!
If you want to go the extra mile, you can also begin thinking through what you would like your first few months of blog posts to look like. I always suggest doing some content mapping before actually beginning your blog to make sure that you’re headed in the right direction. After all, if you sit down to think about what you’d like to write and find that you only have five posts ideas, period, it might be that you are in the wrong niche and you need to take the time to regroup. It is always better to get an idea of this ahead of time so that you don’t go to all the trouble of creating and designing a blog and then realizing that you wish you had done it an entirely different way! If you take the time up front to plan and scheme and dream, not only will you have a newfound excitement for your blog and a strong reminder of why you want to do this, you will also feel more confident knowing that you have a clear path forward in place. It is never a bad idea to be as prepared as you possibly can be!
Once you’ve prepped – you’ve established your niche, you have a name for your blog in mind, and you have begun to map out your future content and know that you are headed in the direction you want to go – you’re ready to begin stepping into the technical side of things. It’s time to find the right blogging platform and get the ball rolling! Are you ready? Let’s do this.
What is a blogging platform, anyway?
Okay, let’s start at square one: what is a blogging platform, and why do you need it? I’m glad you asked. Basically, a blogging platform is the service you will use to publish your work online. You will choose a platform – which is what this blog post will help you do – and sign up for a blogging platform, through which you will create your blog and publish your work moving forward.
What else do I need to know?
While you’re here, we ought to get into web hosting as well. Web hosting goes hand in hand with choosing a blogging platform – these two pieces are your starting point for creating your blog. Your web host is the company that makes your blog available online – it connects to a server and allows your work to be seen. It is through your web host that you can secure your domain name – the thing that your audience will type into the search bar to find you, such as www.livinglesh.com. In order to access your blogging platform, you’ll need a web host. I’m not going to be getting into all of the ins and outs of web hosting today, but there are multiple services that you can use. I would suggest Bluehost, GoDaddy, or DreamHost as a great starting point! You won’t be breaking the bank – often you can find hosting for just a few dollars a month – and it’s a worthwhile investment in exchange for using one of the best blogging platforms to make money.
Do I have to pay for my blogging platform?
Well…you don’t have to. But I would argue that, if you don’t, you’re not putting yourself in a good position to truly be able to make money through your blog.
You’ve heard it said that you have to spend money to make money, and that is certainly true in this case. But why? Can’t I just publish my work through a free blogging platform?
Again – you can. But there’s more to it than just pressing “publish”, and I’m here to walk you through why you really ought to consider investing in one of the best blogging platforms to make money.
1. It looks more professional
What looks more professional? www.livinglesh.wixsite.com? www.livinglesh.blogspot.com? Or www.livinglesh.com?
You already know the answer.
To be blunt about it, having a subdomain name just doesn’t look professional. It’s clunky, it adds in extra text that takes away from your actual brand name, and everyone immediately knows that you are using a free hosting service – which, again, to be honest, most people in the industry don’t do. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to own your own domain name and not lean into the ease of a free blogging platform.
In this same vein, it’s important to note that the internet is full of scammers these days. It is ridiculously easy to end up getting spammed or scammed before you can blink. Thus, when people are trying to find someone to work with, they are going to prioritize all forms of looking professional – including your domain. If someone is trying to decide whether they want to work with you or with someone with a .com url, the .com will probably win out simply because they look more professional. You don’t want people to wonder if you’re legit or not when they look over your information. You care about your content, and you want to be taken seriously, so it is vitally important that you take every step that you can to establish yourself as a pro!
2. Search engines hate free platforms
I’m sorry to have to say it, but it’s true. If your site is based on a free blogging platform, Google is not going to prioritize it in the same way that it would a .com address. Search engine traffic is HUGE for your blog – it’s how the majority of your readers will find you, especially when you get the hang of SEO (or search engine optimization) – so if the search engine is already not your friend from the beginning, it is going to be hard for you to build the platform you want. Using a free platform gives Google the impression that you’re just a casual user instead of a professional authority, so your work will be deprioritized. And let’s be honest – the less people who are able to find your content, the less people who are able to READ your content, and if you seriously want to make money from your blog, you need to have users there with their eyes on it!
3. You’re allowing someone else to have control
Listen, I’m not saying that you have to be a control freak, but isn’t it scary to consider that your content – even your entire site – could be taken down, removed, and deleted without a moment’s notice? When you use free blogging platforms, that’s the risk you’re taking. You aren’t truly the one in control of your blog – the company that owns your blogging platform is. If you want to have complete control over your web presence, you cannot do so with a free blogging platform. It’s scary, but it’s true.
Okay, what should I use, then?
Buckle up, friends – I’ve got you covered. There are a couple of different options that I would recommend you look into as you begin the steps of creating your blog and selecting the right blogging platform for you. Keep reading – I’ve got lots of good things ahead as we dive into the best blogging platforms to make money online!
Iesha, you might be thinking, isn’t WordPress a free blogging platform?
That, my friends, is simply the basic WordPress. WordPress.org, however, is one of the most powerful blogging platforms out there – and it just might change your life. I personally use WordPress.org for my own blog – yes, you’re currently on a WordPress.org site! – and I can’t recommend it enough.
WordPress.org is one of the most powerful blogging platforms on the market because it is incredibly customizable. There are no restrictions, and thousands upon thousands of plugins and widget options, so you can essentially craft your site to do whatever you need it to do. It is simple to use, and you’ll find yourself feeling comfortable with the interface after just a few days of exploring the tools and features that WordPress.org provides.
WordPress.org also allows you to make money in many different ways. It has the capability to host e-commerce, so you can have your own shop within your site and sell products, courses, eBooks, and more. You can do affiliate marketing within your site, and advertise however you see fit – banners, posts, landing pages, and more. Really, you can do whatever you want – and with that freedom comes the ability to start making money through blogging quickly and easily.
Personally, I would recommend WordPress.org to anyone who is looking to begin blogging on a serious level and would like to make money doing so. It’s truly one of the best blogging platforms to make money, and I have had a great experience using it for my own content. However, I know that everyone has different preferences, so I want to include a few more options for you to look into as you decide which platform you would like to move forward with!
If you’ve been in the digital space for any amount of time, you’re familiar with Squarespace – and for good reason. Squarespace is a blogging platform that’s incredibly aesthetically pleasing, and uses a drag and drop editor, so designing your own site has never been easier – though, obviously, it’s simple enough to purchase a template from a professional designer, or even hire someone to set up your site for you if that’s not your thing.
Squarespace has fantastic e-commerce support, so if you are wanting to have an online shop to sell products, services, and more, you can do so easily through Squarespace. You can advertise easily through Google AdSense or affiliate marketing programs, which are both a great source of income. Squarespace also integrates well with your social media accounts, so it is incredibly simple to point your audience in the right direction and thus drive more traffic to your site. Due to the way that the site is designed, Squarespace is a popular choice of blogging platform for people in the visual arts world specifically. It’s a great way to display your portfolio of work, and it is the platform chosen by many professional artists.
As a whole, Squarespace is a great option – certainly one of the best blogging platforms for making money online. I can safely recommend it to you as a fantastic choice as you begin your journey into the world of blogging.
Now, let’s be clear – I am not talking about the free version of Wix, because the free version of Wix does not have the capabilities that you want and need to be able to bring in money while blogging. The paid version of Wix, however, is another story – and it is worth taking the time to consider as you begin building your web presence.
Wix, like Squarespace, has a drag and drop builder, so it is simple enough to build and design your site. And, with the paid version, you gain access to a whole host of tools that the free version of Wix is lacking. With the paid version of Wix, you are able to run e-commerce and advertising – unlike the free version of Wix, where you would actually be hosting Wix’s ads. No thank you! The paid version of Wix also gives you access to analytics, which are huge as you are working to grow your platform and audience.
The free version tends to give Wix as a whole a bad rap, but it is genuinely worth the time to consider if it could be the best blogging platform for you.
No matter which blogging platform you decide to go with, with a little hard work and time, you can begin making money through your blog sooner than you could imagine! So go ahead – pick the blogging platform that feels best for you, purchase your web hosting, and get started building the blog of your dreams.
Check out further resources for blogging on my Influencer Resources Page.