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20 Blogging Sites That Can Help Your SEO

Written on April 16th, 2014 by

Everyone has seen the wide variety of online blogging sites out there, but did you know they can play a huge role in your SEO campaigns and help you vault up the search engine rankings?

Blogging sites have been around almost as long as the modern Internet has been. They are the fastest and easiest way for individuals, organizations and businesses to establish a web presence.  If you know how to operate a browser, mouse and keyboard you can have a website of your very own in minutes.

Gutenberg’s moveable type ain’t got nothing on these! In your face ,Johannes!

Gutenberg

Yes, access to this level of publishing and communication technology means the amount of pointless, bottom-of-the-barrel and mind-numbingly stupid content will be astronomical. However, that doesn’t mean these platforms are useless.

Used correctly, blogging sites can help you own more real estate on the search engine results pages and funnel link juice to your main website while protecting yourself from algorithm updates.

What are Blogging Sites?

Chances are you have been on blogging sites before and may not even known it.

These online publishing platforms allow users to easily and quickly post their content on a webpage that they control and manage. While there are top blogging sites that focus their platforms on different content types or specific niches, they all have similar features:

  • The ability to create an account, profile and personalized content page on their domain.
  • Varying levels of control over layout, color, content importation and other features commonly found on web pages.
  • Quick indexing of new content due to popularity and frequent updates on the domain as a whole.
  • Easy connections to other pages and content creators on the same platform.
  • Easy social media integration.
  • Mobile apps and easy usage on devices of all size are both features that most blogging platforms have these days.

Why Would Anyone Use One?

Since you’re reading this blog post, I’m  going to assume you have at least a passing interest in Internet marketing, making money online, SEO and all of that other fun stuff. And the first thing we learn in this business is build your own site.

But getting hosting, picking a CMS platform, dealing with FTPs, customizing your theme and doing everything else needed to make your site functional and look like someone older than 7 created it, can be a real pain.

Now, most of us look at those challenges as learning opportunities. However, there are people in this world that just want instant gratification. I know, I know… your mind has been officially blown!

They have the afternoon to set up a family reunion website. They have an awesome idea for the most epic T-shirt company ever, bro. The world just needs to see these pictures of cute animals. The reasons are endless.

Beyond those types of users, many companies have established websites that were built on systems that are not conducive to blog style updates. In that case, it’s easier to set up an external blog on one of these sites than it is to rewrite their code. 

Top Blogging Sites

As the so-called "Web 2.0" movement took hold, more and more online blogging sites started popping up. Some have come and gone, been absorbed by other companies or just never caught on.

As of the publishing of this post (April 2014), here are some of the most popular blogging sites you can use to show the world your genius:

  • Tumblr: Hands down, Tumblr one of the most popular blogging sites. It’s so popular, in fact, that Yahoo purchased it for $1.1 billion last year. Tumblr has positioned itself as the preferred blog platform for posting pictures, artwork, videos and other fun and engaging content that doesn’t require mastery of the written word to enjoy. But don’t let that fool you: Many companies use Tumblr as the blogging platform of choice for their business needs.
  • Blogger: Owned by Google, Blogger is one of the behemoths of the blogging site world. Hey, isn’t everything Google owns? Like most of the other platforms, Blogger gives you a lot of creative leeway and allows you to pick between dozens of themes, color palettes and widgets galore to get you where you want to go.
  • WordPress: This is WordPress.com, not to be confused with the WordPress.org that provides the open source blogging platform for download on your own hosting. WordPress.com allows you to set up your own sub domain and enjoy most of the advanced customization and design abilities of the self-hosted version. For a small fee, you can also use your own domain name hosted through them.  If you opt for using a sub domain of theirs, your url will look something like bluewidgets.wordpress.com.
  • Medium: This blogging site is the brainchild of Twitter founders Ev Williams and Biz Stone. Some of the Mediums (did I just coin a term for users of this site?) that have created pages complain that the site is a little rigid about how and what you can link to. This has led to a small Exodus from the site but it’s still a viable blogging platform.
  • Svbtle: Also a place for the cool kids of the Internet to hang out, Svbtle was previously by invite only. But now it's all about you creating content on the platform. It has a unique content creation system and a super simple interface.
  • Postach: Have you heard of Evernote? Well, Postach is a product of that note-keeping, cloud-based playground. You can easily move your to-dos, bookmarked pictures and anything else from Evernote to Postach. You can also create new content there and wow the world pretty easily.
  • Sett: Another new player on the blogging platform scene, Sett focuses its platform on increasing reader engagement. Nothing is worse than crafting your masterpiece and no one reading it, right? Sett puts your content in front of readers that are reading similar content and provides other engagement opportunities. If you’re having trouble getting traction, check Sett out. If you still can’t get some views, then it’s time to rethink your 3,000-word post on the joys of birdwatching.
  • Ghost: This bad boy started as a project on Kickstarter and was originally only available to those who helped fund the project. Now, it’s available to all. It boasts a slick interface and is as customizable as it gets.
  • Squarespace: This platform is aimed at businesses mostly, and the service starts at $8 a month. For that you get hosting, high-quality templates and e-commerce abilities. Squarespace and platforms like it offer blogging abilities but are more suited for business websites that are better off being page-based.
  • Typepad:  This site was around when people were still saying "weblog." It’s an oldie, but goodie. You do pay a monthly fee in the $9 range but if you’re looking for a simple  blogging tool, you can’t do better. You do lose some customization abilities, but that’s just the trade off.
  • Post Haven: Do you remember Posterous? If you don’t, Posterous was a content platform that would let you easily post content to a blog and disseminate it to other platforms as well. It was bought by Twitter and a year later fell into the techno world oblivion. Post Haven is what came out of the shutdown of Posterous. It charges $5 a month and promises it will never shut down. I'm not sure how such a promise can be made, but it's there. The best part of this system is that you can post directly from your email. Not too shabby.
  • Weebly: This blogging site is free, has a robust offering of templates and more customization options than you can shake a stick at. If you’ve finally understood that mobile is where it is at, then Weebly is the place for you. The mobile options are top notch. If you’re a code monkey who likes to mix it up with some HTML and CSS, Weebly lets you do that too.
  • Hubpages: While Hubpages can easily be used as a blogging platform, it’s more akin to Web 2.0 platforms. You can create a variety of article-style pages that all link together. You can also comment and interlink with other pages in your niche. One of the downsides of this system is that it places ads on your pages. Yes, you can set it up so you get a portion of the ad revenue, but Hubpages takes the lion’s share.
  • LiveJournal: This was one of the original blogging platforms to gain momentum. You can still set up a free account but your readers will see LiveJournal ads. In 2009, the design team was outsourced to Russia. So, be wary of the political climate: your blogging might get interrupted.
  • Squidoo: Very similar to Hubpages in many respects. You create "lenses" that comprise different content modules. It boasts interactive tools that make your content  fun and engaging. However, it lacks true blog functionality.
  • Xanga: This blogging site is currently going through a redesign that will result in Xanga 2.0. The old blog archives are being transferred to the new system and premium members have already been transferred as long as they have more than 2 followers. It's worth a look once the dust settles.

Beyond the top blogging sites that are specifically focused on letting users post content in this format, there are many bigger sites that offer blogging-like functionality for free.

Other platforms with blogging features include:

  • Facebook: Facebook has revamped and brought back its Notes functionality. While not quite a blog, notes can mirror your blog posts, link to other content and/or serve the same function as a blog. You also get the added benefit of connection to the biggest social network out there. Oh, and Facebook made it so notes are crawlable by Google spiders (unlike all of its other content). If you’re looking for good distribution and quick setup, look no further.
  • Google+: You can use Google’s social network-ish system to post content of virtually any length, making it the perfect place for your blog content. If you have done a good job of building your circles, you can get excellent distribution and engagement on your new content.   
  • Quora: Known mostly for its answer-and-question format, Quora also offers blogging space to members to expound on their expertise. Again, your content gets great exposure and engagement is typically very high.
  • LinkedIn: Until earlier this year, LinkedIn blogging was only available to their elite members; titans of business, celebrities, etc. However, LinkedIn has changed its tune and let us common folk blog along side the Illuminati. If you’re posting blog content for a business, this is a no-brainer. Get in and grab some eyeballs before your competition figures it out.

SEO Benefits of Blogging Sites

Beyond your technological or strategic content needs, there are many great reasons to use blogging sites. There are some pretty hefty benefits to using these sites as part of a well-rounded SEO campaign.

Here’s what properly utilizing blogging sites can get you:

Relevant Links

Off-page SEO revolves around creating links to your site and that is just what these blogging sites can help you do.

Not only are you creating inbound links to your site, but you have full control over the linking content so you can make it as relevant as you want. One challenge of link building is finding sites that have relevant content but aren’t so relevant that they are competitors.

With online blogging sites, you control the content, the link placement and the anchor text of the link so you don’t have to worry about someone else’s content needs and strategies.

Higher-Quality Links

The links you create aren’t just sitting amidst relevant content—they are also high quality.

While the page you just created (mypage.wordpress.com) may not have any sort of juice yet, it sits on a domain that does. Google and other search engines know and trust these domains and once you help your page along with some additional link building, you’ll see that its authority quickly increases. 

Faster Indexing

Nothing sucks more than spending hours making links only to find out a month later that Google hasn’t crawled them.

But when you make links on top blogging sites, indexing is never a problem. The search engine bots are crawling these sites all the time because there are so many updates. This means your links get indexed and "counted" faster than they would if they were built somewhere else.

Diversified IPs

One of the signals that Google and other search engines look for when deciding on how to rank a site is the number of IP addressing sending links.

If your site has 10,000 links and 9,000 of those links are coming from three IP addresses, it looks fishy. Search algorithms use backlinks as a judge of the popularity and trust worthiness of a site. Which site would you rank higher: the one mentioned above or one that has 10,000 links from 8,000 websites? 

By creating blogging sites on different platforms you spread around the IPs of your backlinks and make things looks more natural.

Filter Sites

Your new blogging pages can be used as a sort of filter between your SEO efforts and your main site.

If you want to experiment with a new backlinking strategy or maybe do something more on the Black Hat side of link building, then you can do that with one of your blogging sites instead of risking your businesses main site.

The strategy is often referring to as "tiered link building" or "pyramid link building." Your main site sits on the top of the "pyramid." Then the next level is comprised of blogging sites you have created. Since they are on gigantic domains with millions of backlinks, building lots of low-quality links to them isn’t going to trip any spam alerts with Google.

If something goes awry and an algorithm flips your link building on its head, you simply kill the blogging site or change the links coming to your page.

Risks of Blogging Sites

Now that you’re sold on blogging sites, you want to run out and create a million of them to dominate your niche, right?

Hold your horses: There are dangers associated with using these types of sites in your SEO campaigns. Here’s what you need to watch out for:

Content Creation

The more of these sites you create, the more content you need to create.

You’ll get dinged if you try to use the same content from your site and end up shooting your SEO efforts in the foot. So, not only do you have to create original and engaging content for your site, but you now also have to create it for all of your blogging sites.

That can lead to a heavy workload or some serious outsourcing costs.

Ownership

When you create a webpage on your own hosting, you own it and control it completely. But when you sign up for one of these blogging services, that isn’t necessarily true.

The paid sites may have better protections, but the bigger free sites like Blogger and WordPress can yank your blog whenever they feel like it. If you violate their terms of service or do something else they don’t like, your content (and the time, effort and resources it took to make it) is gone as well.

If you’re using one of these sites as the cornerstone of your business, would you really sleep well at night knowing it can all go bye-bye at the flip of someone else’s switch?

Content Restrictions

Just like you can’t advertise certain products on AdWords or make pages about certain topics on Facebook, these blogging sites have a list of prohibited content.

If your business sells or has cause to even discuss topics or products that are labeled as taboo by these blogging sites, you can find yourself banned quicker than you think.

No-Follow Links

Many of the big blogging and web 2.0 sites like Squidoo have made all of their outgoing links "No-Follow." This will vary between platforms, so make sure to take a look for yourself.  

No-Follow links aren’t the worse things in the world. While the attribution was originally put in place to allow sites to link to others without passing on link juice, there is some value in creating these links still.

That being said, if you’re only looking for "Do-Follow" links (there technically is no such thing—a link is normal or "No-Follow" only—but it’s become a common term), then you might run into some problems with blogging sites.

Are Blogging Sites for You?

Like any other SEO tool or strategy, if you use blogging sites correctly, create original and engaging content and don’t put all of your eggs in one basket, then blogging sites will serve you well.

If you decide to go all in on blogging sites and use them as your only form of link building, then you could run into problems. When you start using low-quality, spun content in an effort to just churn out links, then you’re eventually going to reap what you sow.

Using these established and powerful sites can help you get a jump on your competitors and move your main site up the search engine rankings. Just remember, slow and steady wins the race!