Where can I start a blog and make money on the side?
This is a question many people ask themselves when they realize blogging can be a perfect way for them to make money on the side of their day job.
And I am also sure if you ask yourself such as a question, it is because you want to create your own blog. Obviously, you want a reliable and robust blogging platform to start your online business and avoid some unpleasant surprises.
If so, you are in the right place.
Let’s get straight to the point!
Where can I start a blog?
To build a long-term business it is important and necessary to not only find a trusted and reliable blogging platform but also a good web host provider company (in some cases) that will host your site and get it live 24/7 and accessible to your readers.
What is the best blogging platform to choose for your blog?
There are countless blogging platforms out there on the web offering great service to people who want to build a thriving and scalable online business.
Whether it is an eCommerce site, a portfolio website or a simple blog you want to start, these platforms can somehow be useful to you.
Some of them are easy-to-use, but others require a little technical knowledge and often coding skills to set up a professional website.
However, based on the features and price offered by each of them, what is best for Peter may not be for Paul depending on the kind of business each of them plans to run.
Their size and features as well as the marketing strategy that each of them has implemented to attract customers makes the choice a little difficult.
I did the hard work for you by gathering 9 best blogging platforms I will name:
- SiteRubix powered by Wealthy Affiliate
But to help you choose the right blogging platform to build your online business, I will go through their pros and cons as well as their pricing so that you can choose the right platform that fits your business needs.
Without further ado, let’s dive into it now.
First of all, there is a difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. Many beginners confuse both platforms.
Let’s see their difference in a few words before we move on.
In a nutshell, the main difference between the both is that WordPress.org is a self-hosted platform. That said, you host your own website. To start a blog or website using it, you will need to buy a web host and a domain name. Unless you will install it on your own server.
On the other hand, WordPress.com is a hosting service. That said, you don’t need to care about a hosting service or to download it on a server.
We will cover WordPress.com in detail further. But long before that, let’s try to understand what WordPress.org has to offer, its advantages, and its limitations.
As I mentioned above, Wordperss.org is a self-hosted blogging platform. It is free and easy to use and you don’t need to be tech-savvy to start a blog using it.
What makes it popular and a favorite choice for bloggers and small business owners, is that: it is easy to use, customizable and extendable due to the thousands of themes and plugins available.
Just to say you can build all kinds of websites with WordPress.org. Whether it is an e-commerce site, a membership site (forum) or a simple blog, you can do it without any tech skills thanks to some add-ons available.
- Easy to use with a great Content Management System (CMS)
- Plethora theme (free & premium) to use and give your site look as you want it to be
- Countless plugins available to extend your blog as it grows
- Possibility to create an e-commerce site thanks to their WooCommerce plugin
- Possibility to turn your blog to a forum thanks to their plugins designed for that like bbPress.
- There is a learning curve to get familiar with WordPress
- Too many updates to handles: themes, plugins and even your core WordPress files.
- Customizing your blog can be daunting especially if you are a starter
- There are some themes and plugins which don’t help your SEO effort you need to avoid
WordPress is absolutely free to use. However, if you want to start a professional blog, you need a domain name and web hosting.
Domain name price range from 12$ to 15$ per year.
As for web hosting, the price starts at 3,95$ according to the company you choose.
- Professional bloggers and people who want to start a small business online such as coaching, consulting freelance services, etc.
- Entrepreneurs who want to create an SEO based e-commerce store
- People who like flexibility and control over their site
Joomla is an open-source CMS (Content Management System) just like WordPress for publishing content. With over 108 million downloads, Joomla is the second most popular CMS on the web that enables its users to build web sites and powerful online applications.
The platform is free to use and is full of thousands of mobile-friendly themes and plugins you can use to customize your website to fit your needs.
However, there is a steep learning curve for beginners and some coding knowledge required to build and run a professional site. Because the platform is more complex than WordPress.
Fortunately, there are hosting companies like SiteGroud and Bluehost that allow users to start their blogging journey just in few clicks.
- Offers themes and add-ons for site customization and extendability
- Free to use
- There is a steep learning curve for non-developers
- Joomla presents compatibility problems when some extensions and plugins are installed together
Joomla is an open-source CMS and is totally free to use.
Like any CMS, even it comes free to use, you will need to spend money to build a professional site.
You will need a hosting and sometimes premium theme and plugins to customize your website.
For that I recommend you to go with SiteGround or Bluehost (price starts at 3,95$ per month).
- Tech-savvy users and developers
- People who need to create business websites and eCommerce stores
After Joomla, Drupal is the most popular CMS and is free to use.
Like his sister Joomla, it offers an array of features to users to build a stunning business website or portfolio websites.
With his Content Management System, this platform is perfect for people who want to associate a blog to their business website. However, there is a learning curve evolved to non-developers – that makes it difficult to use.
- Free to use
- Offers a ton of features and themes to use
- Ability to build an awesome complex website
- Not beginner-friendly
- Installation requires some technical skills
- there is a steep learning curve for beginners.
Drupal is cloud-based CMS like WordPress and Joomla and is free to use.
But FREE is not free. Yes – the CMS is free but you will need whether a server to install it or to buy a hosting and a domain name.
The price of a domain name as I mentioned earlier, ranges from $12 to $15 depending on the company. For hosting, you can buy hosting at 3.95$ per month with SiteGround or Bluehost.
- Developers and tech-savvy who want to create a complex site
- People who want to build a business site while running a blog in the same place
Launched in 2007, SiteRubix is a website builder that uses the WordPress platform to help webpreneurs build a thriving website. It is powered by Wealthy Affiliate which is an affiliate platform for newbies and even seasoned affiliate marketers.
With the SiteRubix’s drag and drop editor, you can build a blog in a min.
They offer 2 options to webpreneurs to build their online presence. A free option and a paid option.
With the free option, you can create 2 free websites. As for the premium option, you can build and host up to 50 websites.
- Easy to use drag and drop site builder
- Perfect for beginners who want to build an affiliate niche site
- Possibilité to create any kind of website as they use WordPress
- They provide training to members – even free members
- Possibilité to build and host up to 25 sites
- Possibility to create 2 WordPress websites for free without any ads on it unless you put your own
- SSL certificate provided for free
- Support and community available
- No dedicated hosting provided – only shared hosting
- Impossible to access Cpanel – this is managed by their team
- Free members can only create 2 free sites and they are limited – can’t customize their site as they want
- Online entrepreneurs who want an all in one platform
- Affiliate Marketers who want to get more knowledge in their field for more success in their business
- Newbies who want training and at the same time build their thriving website
- People who want tools like keywords research tool (free), hosting and training in the same place – save their time and their money.
You can follow my guide to start your blog wich SiteRubix site builder here.
Wix is a cloud-based site builder that provides a drag-and-drop editor that allows everyone to create a stunning website with no coding skills.
Thanks to its hundreds of templates and tools & apps it provides, Wix is a perfect site-building platform and suitable for people who want to create and scale a personal online portfolio or a small business website.
Wix is an all in one site builder that gives users the possibility to register a domain name, host your website, and use add-ons on their App market to extend your website.
- easy drag and drop editor with stunning templates – over thousands of templates to choose
- Starting a blog or website is easy and quick
- Possibility to extend your site features by using add-ons in their App market.
- No learning curve like with WordPress
- Perfect for small business and personal portfolio websites like music or photography portfolio
- Once you install a template it is done forever – impossible to change it
- Not being a CMS like WordPress, Wix blog App doesn’t allow users to get comments from their site visitors
- Lack of flexibility and users have less control with their business
- Not suitable for big business or people who plan for a long run
- The free plan is limited and Wix will display his brand and ads to your site visitors
- Wix is expensive compared to some of its competitors (Weebly for instance)
Wix allows users to create a free website using a subdomain name like https://yourusername.wix.com. And keep in mind you are limited and Wix will display ads and his brand name on your website.
In addition, he can delete your site at any time if you go against their term of service. And since you want to start a blog ad make money, I guess this is not what you plan to do.
To build something you own with Wix you need to buy a domain name from with them or with a domain registrar company – price range from 12$ to 15$.
Visit this post to learn how and where to buy a domain name
Another fee that involved to start a blog or website you own with Wix is to purchase a hosting that costs 4.50$ per month.
I found it very expensive because this plan is limited and also Wix continues to display its brand ads on your site. While some hosting provider like Bluehost offers more features at only 3.95$ per month.
That said, you spend money on something you don’t have total control over.
Here are their membership plans to build a site:
- Connect domain: cost 4.50$ per month- Wix Brand ads will still remain on your site.
- Combo plan: Cost 8.50$ per month. This plan removes Wix ads and you get 2 GB bandwidth.
- Unlimited plan; cost 12$ per month. It comes out with unlimited bandwidth + 10GB storage.
- VIP plan: Cost 24.50 per month. This plan offers users unlimited bandwidth + 20GB storage.
Wix Business membership plan:
- Basic plan: cost 17$ per month
- Business Unlimited plan: cost 25$ per month
- Business VIP plan: cost 35$ per month
- People who don’t have coding or web development skill
- Entrepreneurs who want to create a business site and get a blog on the side of it
- People who want to start a portfolios website
- People who don’t care about flexibility
Like Wix, Squarespace is a drag-and-drop site-building platform that allows users to create a stunning site even if there are not tech-savvy. Launched in 2003, Squarespace is gaining a lion’s share in the site-building industry with over 1 million customers.
- Beginner-friendly site builder – No need to be a tech-savvy to create a beautiful website
- 14-day free trial
- Offers unlimited bandwidth on all these packages unlike Wix
- Site support available: 7day/7 and 24h/24
- Do not allow users to create a free site like Wix
- Offers a limited number of template choices unlike Wix where there are hundreds to choose
The price to have a personal site goes from $16 per month to $26.
To build an e-commerce site, it goes from $30 per month to $46 per month.
- People who want to build a portfolio website
- Create an eCommerce store
Just like Wix, Squarespace, Weebly is a What-You-See-Is-What-Get (WYSIWYG) drag-and-drop site editor that allows newbies to create a beautiful website without a lot of hassle.
This site building platform is a better option for companies that want to keep a blog next to their business website. That said, with Weebly, users can integrate their blog with their website in the same place. It offers users the possibility to create their site for free and upgrade when they want.
Weebly offers a generous free plan to its users compared to its direct competitors, such as Wix and Squarespace. In fact, Weebly free plan allows users to build a site with unlimited bandwidth and a basic eCommerce.
However, I find Weebly very expensive when it comes to getting a domain name with them. The price of their domain name is $19.95 and to get domain privacy, you will have to pay an extra cost of $10 per year. While with domain registrars companies like NameCheap, you can get it at $10.85 per year with free domain privacy.
- Easy to use with drag-and-drop features
- A great option for small businesses who need a blog and their
- Business website in the same place to manage
- Offers a great free plan to users
- Numbers of themes and customization are limited as well as add-ons.
- Weebly displays his brand ads on your free blog
- Site migration process made difficult to users
- Their domain names are expensive
Weebly plan for website building range from 5$ to 25$ per month.
As for eCommerce sites, it ranges from 12$ to 38$ per month.
- People who want to create a portfolio website
- Entrepreneurs who want to create a business website and at the same time run a blog next to it.
WordPress.com is the most popular free blogging platform in the world. It is an easy-to-use site builder with many templates and plugins available. This allows users to create their own free WordPress blog without too much hassle.
However, like any free product, you will be limited in the customization of your site.
The good news is that they also offer services such as hosting and custom domain to allow you to build a personal blog.
- Offers easy to use interface to users
- It is completely free to use blogging platform
- Support is available
- the free option is limited
- customize options are limited
- With the free plan, WordPress brands ads will be displayed in your content
WordPress.com is free to use CMS platforms.
However, if you need more customization options or to start a professional blog, you need to upgrade your free membership plan.
Their membership plan starts with 4$ per month (billed annually)
- Hobby and professionals bloggers
- beginners who are new to blogging
Launched in 1999 by Pyra Labs and acquired later by Google in 2003, Blogger is a free blogging platform that allows users to build their online presence without no coding skills.
Started a blog with Blogger is straight forward like 1,2,3. All you need is a Google account to sign up and start building your blog from scratch.
- A secure and reliable blogging platform
- Unlimited bandwidth and storage
- Free to use and insanely easy to set up a blog – no coding skills needed
- Possibility of monetization via Google Adsense
- No support available – only a forum where you can get some help
- You don’t own your free site, Google can delete it and you will lose your hard work if you go against their term of service
- Free blog is limited – lack of appealing theme
Like most Google products are free to use. You don’t need to invest a penny unless you want to connect a custom domain to your blog.
- hobby bloggers
- Beginners bloggers who want to build their online presence
Conclusion and my final thought
I think this post could help you determine the right blogging platform to start your blogging journey.
If you want to start a professional blog and make money from it, I advise you to choose the WordPress self-hosted platform and choose a reliable hosting company to build your business.
For me, SiteRubix is the best way to go as it is powered by Wealthy Affiliate, where you can benefit other great services such as keyword research tools, training, and networking with like-minded online entrepreneurs who have the same interest like you to support you.
If you want more information about Wealthy Affiliate to start a profitable blog, you can read my full review about it here.
An alternative to SiteRubix I recommend is Bluehost. It is a reliable hosting platform for blogging trusted even by WordPress.
However, if you want to build a complex business website associated with a blog, using Joomla is a good choice. You can buy hosting with SiteGround or Bluehost. Their hosting price starts at 3,95$ per month.
If you have a question about this post “Where can I start a blog and make money on the side”, drop it down on the comment section. I will answer you within 24h ASAP.
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