Why are you looking for the best place to start a blog when the “experts” are saying blogging is dead?
Online marketers, like good capitalists, tend to glom on to the latest thing and abuse it until they deplete its usefulness. Think newspapers, magazines, and television. Now they think they have used up blogging and have moved on to social media.
But the joke is on them because blogging is still a very valid and active platform to explore topics and disseminate information.
What is it you want to do with blogging? Do you want to make money, find your voice and an audience, or explore an interest? Knowing what your goal is from the outset will help you decide the best place for you to start your blog and publish your work.
Let’s talk about three.
What is it: Self-hosted blog platform
What is it for: Making money.
Pros: WordPress is powerful and customizable and used if your main intention is to make money. You can easily monetize a blog with WordPress by placing ads (if you must use display ads) or affiliate links, setting up a members-only subscription area, or using a plugin to set up e-commerce and sell your ebook. It also easy to create ways to collect your user’s email address, which is essential.
Cons: Although WordPress is free, you will need to pay for hosting and plugins to help you set up a membership area. If you are planning on making money, you can look at the cost as an investment, but if you are just looking for a place to find your voice and explore different topics, you may want to look at something cheaper or free.
I’ve been building and monetizing blogs for many years. I still have a few of my own because I love having control over my content that you can’t get with some of the platforms.
But, blogging is changing so much right now that making money with a WordPress blog is no longer a given if it ever was.
If you already have a proven niche and audience, starting a WordPress blog can be a great way to bring your audience together from around the web: social media, guest posting, and when you publish on some of the larger platforms. Once you have your audience together, you can gather email addresses and offer them your products and services.
Just know that making money with a self-hosted blog is an uphill battle, and there are no promises that you will ever make a dime — most people don’t.
But, there is a chance that you can make money if you are willing to blog long-term, and you put in the work it takes to create success.
What is it: Newsletter, blog, and podcasting platform where you can charge a monthly fee for access.
What is it for: Making money, exploring an interest.
Pros: Substack is a newsletter platform, but they also host your newsletters on their server, and others can access the older editions, just like blog posts. The great thing about it is you can charge a monthly fee for access, so you could potentially make quite a bit of money of you have a built-in audience in your niche.
Cons: You cannot use your own domain name, and it is not very customizable. It is for someone who doesn’t mind sacrificing some look and feel for ease of use.
I have two newsletters with Substack, and my only complaint has been that I can’t use my own domain name. It is so easy to set up and manage that it’s excellent for beginners who find the WordPress learning curve too demanding.
I haven’t explored the podcasting element, but I send out weekly newsletters and maintain my old issues on a blog.
You should have a defined niche before creating a newsletter, and it helps to have an email list already or following on social media. You can import your list, and Substack will act as your email service. If you ever decide to leave, you can export your subscribers and use them on another service.
Substack is a great place to create a community around your topic and is free to use. The only time you pay is a small percentage of your monthly subscriptions if you choose to start charging.
Substack is a wonderful place to take your blogging to the next level.
What is it: Publishing platform that allows you to have your own blog (publication) and make money by writing and publishing.
What is it for: Making money, finding your voice and an audience, exploring an interest.
Pros: Medium is a great all-around platform. You can become a member and read other writers’ work, publish your own “stories,” create your own publications, and submit work to others. If you join the Medium Partner Program, you can earn money by how much people read your work. Medium also has high domain authority, so it is easy to rank your stories on Google.
Cons: You are very much at the mercy of the curation process and the algorithm. You have very little control of your content and how it’s promoted within Medium. Your stories will continue to be promoted by Medium if you are curated, but if not, stories have a tendency to die quickly. You cannot use affiliate links or ads to make money, and you must only have a simple text link to your email list.
I’ve been writing and publishing on Medium since October 2018, and I’ve been through the ups and downs with the algorithms and the constant race to get work curated. There are others on the platform who make thousands more than my $300 a month, and there are others who only make enough to cover the cost of their Medium Membership.
There are a lot of “experts” that will gladly tell you the secrets to Medium success, but what I’ve found is the best thing to do is publish your absolute best work frequently, and promote the hell out of it on social media.
You will have stories you think will do well, do nothing, and you will have a piece you spend a half-hour writing go on to be your most successful story.
The money is excellent, but the best thing about it is that it gives you a place to explore your interests and find solutions to problems and niches that work for you. Along the way, you will find your voice and build an audience. You will become a better writer and learn what it takes to be a financially successful one.
Medium is a great platform if you want to make a little money and don’t want the hassle of building a self-hosted blog. You can write and publish, and people will read and comment. There is a built-in audience of thousands of other writers who will be your new audience. Some will become your best friends.
Medium is a place for a writer to be seen and read.
The Best Place to Start a Blog Depends on You
Find out what you want to do with your blogging and make an informed decision from there. Research all three platforms and make your own list of pros and cons.
Some may say that blogging is dead, but you can still get value from starting a blog now. Depending on what you want to accomplish, blogging can help you get there.
I’ve given you the best places to start a blog, now all you have to do is step on the path and start your blogging journey.