Finally, a question I can offer a bit of insight into. Mind you a lot comes up to subjective preference. Where do you blog?
First, let’s just push out different forms of media. Podcasts, videos and live streaming should be considered separate categories and I haven’t done enough research on the subject to give you even a decent suggestion. Going off the top of my head I’d say SoundCloud, YouTube and Twitch. Hmmm, I guess I could give you suggestions. I’ll let you debate how decent they are.
However, there isn’t necessarily such a ubiquitous blogging platform that people would just instinctively guess it. Sure you have the best-known options for individual blogs, i.e. good ole WordPress, Blogger or newcomer Wix, but you also have Reddit or if anyone still uses it Tumblr that will let you post on any subject. Sites like MAL, AniList Anime Planet all offer dedicated spaces to review particular series and forums for more general discussion. Heck, you can even post your thoughts directly on Crunchyroll where but readers can immediately watch the series.
It’s not always easy to figure out which would offer the best blogging experience for your particular needs. First, let’s divide the personal blogs from the posting sites. Having your own blog gives you much more control over presentation and content. You can moderate your comments if you want and there are no real limits to the type of content you post within reason and legal constraints. It also gives you the ability to express yourself more creatively through your layouts and images. But it’s generally a lot more work.
Not only is it more work to create and upkeep an entire blog. It’s also more difficult to drive traffic to it. Sites like Reddit and MAL already have a large built-in audience that can easily stumble into and access your content. It is a lot easier for your random review to be picked up there than on your little blog. Or should I say, mine? I must admit I don’t have much of an impression of Crunchyroll (or HiDive) reviews at all. I often forget they are there, and I never visit the forums. However, when I’m researching posts, they often come up on Google so it may be a more influential platform than I think.
Point is, working off established sites means trading some control, identity and individuality for ease of use and visibility. I know that I could post roughly 2 to 3 times a day on Reddit without having to schedule extra writing time or shorten the articles much. And I wouldn’t spend my weekends formatting posts or trying to figure out how to better promote the blog. But the tradeoff isn’t appealing to me. I really like the feeling of having a tiny little spot in the infinite universe of the internet that’s all mine. It feels like home.
Not to mention that fussing over layout is 60% of what I do on the blog anyways. Without that, it just isn’t the same, you know? Ok so let’s really concentrate on personal blogs. If you have the skills you can probably just code one yourself and do whatever you want with it but that’s way beyond me. I do believe most people take the easy way out and choose a platform that lets you build a blog from existing parts. Squarespace and Shopify are aimed at people who want to create a virtual storefront but I believe they have some blogging functionality as well. Wix is heavily advertised and it’s more of a jack of all trades site builder which does have robust enough blogging tools to create something interesting. Finally, Blogger and WordPress are two of the oldest and best known primarily blog building sites although you can easily use them for e-commerce or advertising as well.
Full disclosure, I’ve only tried WordPress for myself but I have read up a bit on the other options and this is what I found. Blogger, WordPress (both org and com) and now Wix are the most popular blogging platforms because they offer by far the most features and options specifically for creating blogs and posting articles (as opposed to listings or pictures). Blogger is a little more rigid with the premade layout options but still allows for decent customization. It seems pretty user-friendly. Wix is the new kid on the block. It favours cool sleek designs which are more trendy right now and offers some immersive and impressive layouts. It has less “traditional” or “classic” looking themes. And for the moment it has fewer little extras (plugins) meant created specifically for the blogging experience. It is growing rapidly though so that may change sooner rather than later. I’ve heard of some troubleshooting issues but all in all, it’s also fairly straightforward.
WordPress may still be the best-known option. It is heavily invested as a blogging platform so it offers the widest array of themes and plugins for blogs. The more packaged .com experience does constrict you in what you can do a lot more. The .org allows you to self-host and gives you much more control but asks you to do a bit more work and isn’t as user-friendly. It also doesn’t come with a help desk. It does, however, have integration with reader.
This brings us smoothly to the reader app and what I believe is WordPress’ biggest selling point. Although it doesn’t quite get the traffic if MAL or a well-placed subreddit, it’s still a way to have access to a lot of ready present views that are likely to engage with your blog. It also is a great place to discover other blogs and build your community.
I’ve heard from other bloggers that WordPress.com “hurries” your site, suggesting it less on the reader app and making it less visible to search engines if you downgrade your package. I haven’t found anything to support this and my personal experience goes slightly counter to that statement, so I’m inclined to throw this one in the conspiracy theory. That the urban legend exists at all though, is telling.
People are willing to believe it because WordPress is fairly finicky and inconsiderate with its clients. They change functionalities around, often removing functions from higher pay plans for no obvious reason and without warning. The updates are rarely well received and it feels as if the platform is trying to give less for more money (quite a bit of money in those top tier plans).
So the where actually depends on what you want. Blogger for a more straightforward experience and it’s own by Google if you wanna make conspiracy theories. Wix for a more modern feel and non-Blogging tools, if you want to add an e-commerce section for instance. WordPress.org for more freedom and flexibility and WordPress.com for a mix of ease of use, lots of available tools and customization, some inherent traffic. Basically second place in all.
I’m not sure this helped anyone but I figured it’s good to know your options. If you have experience with different platforms, please tell me about it.