If you’ve decided that creating an author blog is the right choice for you and your writing career, your first step is to determine which platform you want to host your blog on. The Internet is sprawling with options, and it’s important to pick a site that will give you credibility, access to a wide audience, and the level of customization that you are comfortable with. To help you decide which platform is right for you, here are six of the most popular author blogging websites, what they offer, and the pros and cons of using them.
WordPress offers two options for blog creation: WordPress.com, which is free for up to 3 GB of space and allows limited customization, and WordPress.org, which allows users to host their blogs on their own domains and code, and customize with complete freedom (but there is a monthly fee to host your site). WordPress is one of the most popular blogging sites and allows for sophisticated and professional blog creation.
Great customization features, frequent updates, and great user support. Many writing professionals use this site. Jane Friedman, an expert in author blogging, personally recommends that authors use WordPress both for their author websites and their blogs.
The customization options may be overwhelming to some, especially if you’re new to blogging. WordPress.com will also put ads on your blog unless you pay an annual fee.
Blogger is an extremely user-friendly free site that allows for a simple blog layout. Like WordPress, it is popular with many creative writers, and both sites have established writing communities.
The site is good for a beginner blogger, and the servers are reliable and well-protected by Google.
Google owns and runs the site, so they do have ownership of your blog and your content. Blogger also has limited templates and limited customization options, unless you have experience with HTML coding. Blogger is not updated often, and there is limited user support.
Tumblr is a free blogging site hosted by Yahoo, with a thriving young blogging community. This site is interesting because it has the popularity of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter with the option to create custom content, though many of its users tend to “reblog” content they like rather than produce their own.
This site works well on mobile, and it is easy to create and customize your blog. There are also many themes to choose from. This site is great for writers and creatives. It allows you to “follow” and “reblog” content from other blogs as well. It is also easy to interact with other users.
Because Tumblr is run by Yahoo, ads do appear on the “dashboard” of the site. While Tumblr is great for casual or creative blogging, it is not as suited for professional or business-oriented sites.
Medium is a free blog site that is popular with writers and bloggers, with a simple, non-customizable layout. It has a thriving writing community that continues to grow.
Users can edit and annotate one another’s work, which can be great if you want writing feedback. It’s also possible to have your posts seen by a wide audience if your posts make it into Medium’s Top 100 section.
Many find the lack of customization frustrating, as all user blogs look the same. It can also be difficult for writers to get their content discovered, and Medium maintains control over your posts. You need a Twitter account to use Medium.
Wix is a site initially intended for building websites, but it can also be used for blog creation. If you want to host your author website and blog on the same domain, Wix is a good fit.
It is easy to create a website with Wix, and a wizard will guide you through the additional steps needed to create a blog. This is a great option for writers who want a website to go along with their blog, whose primary interest may not be blogging. The site is user-friendly and offers many premade designs.
Depending on your monthly subscription, you may be paying as much as $18 a month. Customization is limited. This site is not intended as a blogging site, so other options may be better if you’re only looking to create a blog.
Like Wix, Weebly is great for authors looking to host their blog from their author website. The site is free to use, though you can pay for more customization options and a custom domain.
Weebly is a great choice for authors who don’t want to spend money or a lot of time figuring out how to create a website or blog. It is very user-friendly and makes it easy to include various types of media on a web page.
Weebly is not a blogging platform, though it does support blogs, much like Wix. It is difficult to do HTML coding because the site emphasizes easy drag and drop customization. Because Weebly is not a blogging platform, it may also be a little more difficult to build a community or fanbase around your blog.