9 WordPress Alternatives for Small-Business Bloggers of All Skill Levels
Originally Published by The Capterra Sales & Marketing Tech Blog
WordPress seems to be everywhere you look when you’re blogging.
It’s all over your Google searches; your best friend uses it; it’s hiding in the closet where you checked for your shoes.
Well, that just got creepy.
Anyway, the point stands: WordPress is the Google of blog and content management systems. Just like Google, you vaguely remember that there are alternatives out there, but you don’t try too hard to learn what they are.
I’m here to tell you that there are some really stellar WordPress alternatives for bloggers out there, and you should definitely know what they are.
When searching for WordPress alternatives, I focused on alternatives for blogging specifically. WordPress is not just a blogging site — it’s a content management system, which means you can, for example, set up a whole website or eCommerce business on it.
Some of the alternatives I found are not necessarily good for, or even capable of, setting up more than a blog. But if you’re looking to blog on a site that’s easier to use, or has more blogging capabilities, or is just plain more focused on bloggers than WordPress, this is the list to read.
Blogger is Google’s answer to WordPress. It’s free, but you do have to pay $10/year if you want a custom domain name. Blogger is also easier to learn how to use than WordPress.
One advantage Blogger has over the rest of the blogging platform world is that it’s run by Google. Because it’s a Google property, you get all the Google advantages.
- You can easily check Google Analytics right from the dashboard to see how your blog is performing.
- It’s fully integrated with Google+ which means anyone can comment on your posts using their Google profile.
- You can quickly and easily monetize your blog by displaying ads through Google AdSense.
Blogger is also reputed to have fabulous design tools.
Ghost was started by John O’Nolan, previous deputy head of the WordPress user interface team. O’Nolan decided that WordPress had moved too far from being a blogging platform, so he started his own platform, which is, as the home page says, “Just a blogging platform.”
Given O’Nolan’s background in UI, Ghost’s user interface is innovative and spectacular. Rather than just the usual dashboard interface where you can only see the editing side, Ghost has two columns running parallel in their dashboard. One column is the editing side; the other column is the preview of the post. This is a welcome change from WordPress’s flipping back and forth between tabs.
One downside to Ghost, though, is that you need a server that can support Node.js. If your server doesn’t support that, there are plenty of servers out there for as low as$5/month that do.
Joomla is a full open source CMS, and for experienced bloggers, Joomla is one of the best blogging options available. Joomla is capable of doing far more than WordPress. Of course, because of all this functionality, Joomla is quite complex and is not, perhaps, the best platform for a novice blogger to jump into. A few of the advantages that Joomla brings to the table:
- The navigation you can create for your blog is very deep. Of course, this feature is one of the things that makes Joomla a great CMS, not just a great blogging platform.
- The site is optimized for SEO and produces SEO-friendly short links automatically.
- They have an excellent multilingual feature.
If you are interested solely in blogging, Joomla may have so many features it will become unwieldy for you. But if you’re very experienced and ready to use something that will give you even more freedom than WordPress — Joomla is your friend.
Drupal is the other big competitor to WordPress besides Joomla. Like both of them, Drupal is a fully open source CMS. Drupal is even more complex than Joomla in many ways, and is certainly not for inexperienced users.
Because of its abilities, Drupal is extremely well suited to creating very custom websites. These same abilities, though, do make Drupal a hazard for potential bloggers. Unless you are interested in creating a very deep, multi-layered blog, Drupal may have too much functionality for you.
Another open source CMS, Textpattern is an interesting solution because it uses a Textile markup language editor which appears to be a make or break for people. Some people understand Textile with no problems, and thus deeply love Textpattern — they’ll even declare it easy-to-use and easy-to-learn.
Yet plenty of people have find the editor very difficult to use and declare Textile only for techies. As a result, Textpattern may be best suited for experienced bloggers, but those experienced bloggers should likely find it very easy to use. In addition, Textpattern has few themes, but is extremely customizable if you know code.
Postach.io is very new to the scene — it was in beta mode just last year (2014)! At $9/month, Postach.io is a platform focused solely blogging.
You have to have an Evernote account to use it. If you already have an Evernote account where you’ve been keeping notes and ideas, then Postach.io is a godsend for you. It’s incredibly easy to convert all your Evernote information into published posts on Postach.io. If you haven’t been using Evernote, it may not be as good an option for you because you will have to get yourself an account and then load your information up.
7. Hubspot Blog
If you’re a marketer, chances are, you know Hubspot for their fabulous marketing automation software. Now you know that they also a have a fabulous blogging platform. Hubspot’s blog is different from all the other blogs on here for a few reasons.
First, the Hubspot blog is designed with content marketers who don’t get computers in mind. It’s beyond easy to use. Of course, this ease of use means the customization is pretty limited — but if you’re a marketer who focuses on lead gen and brand awareness, chances are you probably don’t mind the limited customization. You weren’t gonna mess around much with the coding anyway.
Second — and this is what allows the Hubspot blog to compete with any of the big boys on this list — Hubspot’s blog comes complete with the incredible Hubspot analytics and email marketing tools. The two upper pay tiers even come with marketing automation. What Hubspot lacks in customization, it more than makes up for in a full marketing suite.
Of course, all this marketing magnificence comes with a price tag. The lowest tier is set at $200/month. Their highest tier is $2400/month.
Silvrback is focused completely on blogging and is $29.99/year. It is powered by Markdown, which provides a very clean, simple user interface for blogging, making it an ideal platform for the uninitiated.
In fact, the whole platform focuses very much on being a writer’s best friend. Its customization tools are basic — good for someone with little coding experience and who cares more about the content on their site than the design. Where Silvrbackreally shines is in its ability to make writing/publishing simple. For instance:
- You can easily save drafts while making them readily available when you go to look for them — they appear right at the top of the pile of your posts.
- The editing interface makes sure that things look almost exactly like they would in the published piece — the same spacing, font, everything.
One last unique thing about Silvrback: in a Silvrback author bio, in addition to your brief bio and picture, you can also put a list of your favorite links. It’s very different.
Svbtle ($6/month) is very similar to Silvrback, in great part because it’s powered by Markdown as well. Like Postach.io, Svbtle is also fairly new on the scene. It only opened up to the public in the beginning of 2014.
Just like Silvrback, Svbtle focuses on keeping their interface clean, simple and focused on making writing easy. A unique thing that Svbtle brings to the table is a section where you can save ideas. Unlike other blogging sites, the drafts and loose ideas you have don’t get lost in the shuffle — they get carefully filed into their own section. Even Silvrback, which put an emphasis on keeping all drafts at the top of the pile, does not achieve this level of organization.
Bonus: The Micro-Blogging Sites
Tumblr might just be the easiest-to-use blogging platform in the whole world. After all, it was created specifically for anyone to use, even, or perhaps especially, those with zero computer skills.
At this point, it is more-or-less a social media site. Unlike other blogging forums, Tumblr has a very large and very active community of people, largely millennials, who read each other’s blogs and interact via Tumblr. It’s rather telling of Tumblr success that Taylor Swift, international social media queen, just got herself a Tumblr blog this past year to better interact with her fans.
This social media aspect to Tumblr is likely a make or break for any company interested in using it as a blogging platform. A company that markets itself to millennials will probably love this facet of Tumblr; a company marketing to an older demographic will likely find this feature unnecessary and possibly detrimental to the success of their blog.
Medium is essentially a blogging community, and was created by the same people behind Blogger. And like Svbtle and Silvrback, Medium’s backend is powered by Markdown, making it very easy to publish on.
As a user on Medium, you can follow categories and essentially curate a feed of content that you can read in addition to publishing your own content. Unlike Tumblr, it has yet to reach social media status, but Medium is certainly very interactive.
Medium is a good medium to look into if your company is into long form story-telling content and has a niche audience. Because Medium allows you to curate content by categories, it makes reaching a niche audience very easy.
That’s my list of WordPress alternatives for small business bloggers of all skill levels. What other WordPress alternatives do you like for blogging? Why? Have you used any on this list? What were your experiences? Let me know in the comments!