A quick Google search will present you with pages and pages of “top five” lists that tout the old stand-bys (WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, etc.). It’s true that these classic platforms are pretty great, but there are plenty of modern blogging options you might like too.
The default choice for many bloggers, WordPress remains the most popular choice and comes in two forms. WordPress.com offers a premium hosted service that provides free sub-domains and limited customization to users, or WordPress.org’s free self-hosted option that doesn’t contain the restrictions found on the hosted version.
The classic blogging giants have become so popular that they’ve integrated hundreds of features to serve everyone’s needs, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Modern blogging services have responded with more of a minimalistic approach, offering simple tools that prove that the latest doesn’t necessarily mean the fanciest or shmanciest.
Here are five modern blogging platforms that could be a great fit for your next project:
The platform is based on a modern Web technology called Node.js, which means it’s fast and responsive, even under heavy loads. The interface is fast and simple, using Markdown for formatting posts.
It’s initially fairly basic, but Ghost themes are highly customizable (if you know how to code) and the community building them has grown rapidly. Right now, there are no third-party plugins as Ghost doesn’t support them, however they’re expected to land later this year.
Ghost is available in two flavors, as a download for self-hosting or the hosted GhostPro option which starts at $8 per month.
GitHub offers free website hosting for every user. Tinypress builds on that to make it easy to quickly get an open-source blog – where anyone can submit errors of corrections – on the service.
It offers a simple editing interface, customizable themes, a full Markdown/HTML editor and an Android app. If you’re familiar with GitHub, you can download your blog as a repository and directly edit it in your favorite text editor.
You don’t need a custom domain to use Tinypress, because GitHub provides a free sub-domain for you. You can also use a custom domain for free. The service was formerly $9.99 per year, but is now available for free.
It’s feature rich, easy to self-install and gives you ownership of your own content.
Svbtle focuses on making the writing experience as simple as possible. The interface is stripped back, offering only what you need to write and publish a post. It uses Markdown for text formatting.
You can’t customize your blog very much outside of an accent color and logo and it doesn’t offer as many options for arranging your images and text as Medium. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, however, because Svbtle is designed for simplicity.
In the past, Svbtle was invite-only but it opened up in 2014 for all to publish on, offering either a sub-domain or the use of your own custom domain.
Svbtle is only available in hosted form, for $6 per month.
Medium has one of the most well-designed post editors out there, making it easy to quickly style text, quotes, images and other media in an attractive way. There are no options to customize themes or look and feel of your ‘blog’ but different image layouts, quotes and text uses can make a big difference.
There are two major gotchas with Medium: first, you’re required to use the hosted Medium site and second, custom domains are supported but are only invite-only for now so you’ll probably end up with something like http://medium.com/@yourtwittername.
That said, Medium is a great place to get started because it’s currently very popular. If you write something that gets enough recommendations, it can end up on the homepage or in people’s email inboxes, which drives a significant amount of traffic.
With all of the blogging services available these days, it’s hard to tell which one will best suit your needs.