Step 2: Pick a platform

You want to become a content creator but don’t know where to begin? In this article, you’ll learn about the best content creation platforms for blogs, podcasts, and web videos. In each case, there is a recommendation as to which platform is most suitable for the beginning.

Where to start content creation

Quick recap: Step 1 was about deciding on an engine. That is, deciding on a single medium (text, audio, or video) that you want to focus on when you start doing content creation.

So you should already know if you want to start with a blog, a podcast OR web videos. As a reminder, decide on one medium only and put all your focus on that for now.

That being said, I would still recommend that you read all three sections of the following article about the best content creation platforms to build up some basic knowledge in each area.

What are the best content creation platforms?

Now that you’ve decided on an engine, you still need a station. That is, a platform from which you can publish your blog articles, podcast episodes or web videos. Let’s start with the easiest one.

Best video platform to start on

When it comes to web videos, there doesn’t seem to be an alternative to YouTube. Launched in 2005, YouTube is now the second most visited website in the world, right after Google. (The fact that YouTube is owned by Google underscores Google’s dominance of the Internet. Here’s a infographic about it.)

In bare numbers, YouTube’s global impact is breathtaking. But this gigantic popularity also makes YouTube a tough place for beginners. There’s more competition here than anywhere else.

Alternatives to YouTube?

If your focus is on gaming, you might rather want to consider the live streaming video service Twitch. 🎮 If you want to establish yourself as a social media influencer, Instagram and TikTok might be better platforms to start on.

Of course Vimeo, the slightly older video platform than YouTube (launched in 2004), is still relevant today, not just for more artsy productions. We’ll get to that another time.

And as soon as it comes to offering educational videos behind paywalls, there is a whole range of other platforms to consider. 🧑‍🏫

Yet, with the goals of building an audience, gaining influence, and generating income, YouTube is the best video platform for most content creators to start on. Especially because of the vibrant community there, which provides a lot of feedback via comments.

That disadvantage of great competition can easily be seen as an opportunity for your learning curve. On YouTube, you are encouraged to constantly hone your skills, make better and better videos, and learn from experience.

Best podcasting platform to start on

When it comes to podcasts, the platform choice isn’t as obvious as it is for videos. But it’s not as crucial either. YouTube both stores the video files and makes them available to an audience via channels. For podcasts these areas are usually handled separately.

When we’re looking for the best podcast platform, it’s about a place to store our podcast episodes and from there deliver them to other platforms (rather: directories) where your audience is listening to the podcast. Like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and, again, YouTube.

Popular podcast platforms in comparison

To keep it simple, I’m focusing on three of the most popular and largest podcast platforms. Namely: Podbean, Buzzsprout and Anchor. In terms of functionality, these three platforms are quite similar. Here you can find a detailed comparison.

Podbean and Buzzsprout primarily emphasize how easy it is to host podcasts there. Anchor, on the other hand, has quickly made a name for itself as a free service. (Founded in 2015, Anchor was purchased by Spotify in 2019).

There are cautious voices that tend to advise against such free podcast hosts, for understandable reason.

Anchor as a podcast platform · pros and cons

The way Anchor works, is that they offer unlimited free hosting, and they hope to make their revenue from ad sharing. As Spotify has bought them, there is a chance this model will succeed for them.

Unfortunately, in the past, many free podcast hostings have failed and shut down their services […]. [Therefore] I advise caution when relying too much on free podcast hosting.

Chris Land (Improve Podcast)

Still, I think the time might has come for such a service as Anchor. Their compelling argument is:

With modern cloud services and the low cost of file storage today, hosting fees are an outdated and unnecessary burden on podcasters. For almost every single podcast that Anchor hosts online, it costs us less than 10 cents a month. That’s nothing close to the hosting fees required by most other platforms.

The way we see it, it’s pretty simple: you wouldn’t spend money to post a video online, so why should you spend money to upload your podcast?

Anchor: Why podcasting is free with Anchor

Just like in the production of web videos, you will invest a lot of time in the production of podcasts. And money in the necessary technology. So, especially for beginners, it’s worth a lot to be able to save money on hosting and distributing your content. That’s why Anchor seems to be the best podcast platform to start on, but probably not to stay on.

This statement is based on reviews by other, more experienced podcasters than me. See, for example: Matthew Boudreau’s review via The Podcast Host and that of Tal Minear via Discover Pods.

My own long-term experience report on Anchor will follow in due time. Maybe I’ll then have to adjust the recommendation here.

Best blogging platform to start with

Right off the bat, no matter which blog platform you choose, your competition will be huge. Because the most important playground for all blogs is and remains Google Search.

There, a massive amount of blogs compete against each other for the few spots on the first Google page. (Page 2 is known to be the best place to dead bodies.)

According to online marketing expert Neil Patel (Is Blogging Still Worth it?), there’s one blog for every 7 people in the world, so… yeah, you’re not exactly walking on the moon. (But the same goes for podcasts and videos, so take it easy).

Therefore, when choosing your blog platform, you should make sure that it gives you the means to participate in this playground at all. That is, that you can use certain SEO tools, for example. At least if you choose text as your engine and want to do content creation with a focus on blogging.

Best content management system for blogging

Similar to the distinction between hosting and directories for podcasts, we distinguish between hosting and content management systems (CMS) for blogging.

But unlike with podcasts (Anchor) and even web videos (YouTube), with blogs our first choice doesn’t start with hosting, but with the CMS. And, frankly, it doesn’t have to be a difficult choice.

Certainly, there is a thriving website creation market, with many good offerings that emphasize design and simplicity. Like Squarespace and Wix, for example.

But when it comes to blogging, there’s one top dog completely beyond the competition in the battle of the best content creation platforms. And that’s WordPress. (For the popularity of WordPress as a CMS just check this statistic).

WordPress as a CMS · pros and cons

Every reason against WordPress is an advantage at second glance.

And comparisons, where WordPress performs extremely bad, are already at first glance quite nonsensical. (See this comparison between WordPress and the CMS Ghost, in which quite a few fixed costs are claimed for WordPress, which are not fixed at all.)

WordPress is a bit more difficult to learn? Maybe, but there’s a lot of really good tutorials. Far more than about any other CMS. There are whole websites dedicated to explaining WordPress, just because it’s so popular.

WordPress is more insecure? Probably, for the same reason as Windows. WordPress is, of course, sometimes the target of hacking attempts because of its widespread use. But there is also a huge community that offers very good tips and tools on website security as well.

Now it seems to be of secondary importance which content management system we use anyway. So why get into long discussions? After all, with content creation, the content comes first, right?

Not really. In the practice of regular blogging, the choice of platform is important to ensure a productive, undisturbed workflow. And as far as that is concerned, I can say with the confidence of six years’ experience: WordPress is the best blog platform to start on – and to stay on, no doubt.

Best hosting for WordPress?

As I said the CMS is only one, albeit more important, part of the equation when it comes to your blogging platform. The other part is the hosting.

But unlike web videos (or to call a spade a spade, YouTube videos), it’s much easier to switch hosting services with a WordPress project. Therefore, the hosting decision really isn’t crucial.

I myself now mainly use Raidboxes as a hosting service. But I would never recommend it to beginners because honestly, it’s a bit expensive.

I enjoy the great user interface, the speed and performance of my site and the good service. Still, in the beginning I had other priorities. To be precise: One other priority – and that was money.

Back then, I started with Tumblr, one of many free blog platforms for which you don’t need a CMS at all (and no hosting either). But this website is not about such hobby projects. That’s why I won’t go into detail about completely free solutions in this case.

If you’re serious about blogging

If you are serious about blogging as a content creator, then one thing should be clear to you right away: You should spend a little bit of money on it. Compared to the technical effort for podcasts and videos, it is really little. And one of our goals, besides building an audience and gaining influence, is to generate an income that should at least make up for these costs. Otherwise, we’ve missed the mark.

With hosting fees of a few euros per month, you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle and effort and get off to a better start with your blog project. (Probably the same can be said about a podcast project, but I guess I’ll have to learn that lesson myself).

However, recommending a good hosting service also depends on where you live. In a country like Germany, which is fond of data protection rules, there are quite different recommendations than in the Wild West of the USA, which seems rather insecure from a German perspective.*

*In Germany, I’ve had good experiences with Alfahosting as a cost-effective hosting solution and would otherwise follow the recommendations of a much more experienced blogger like Finn Hillebrandt (Blogmojo).

Anyway, in the English-speaking world, I would follow the recommendations of WordPress experts like wpbeginners and probably end up with Bluehost. As I said, I think this choice is less significant. Switching hosters is no big deal. With the CMS you spend much more time, build a more intense relationship, so it’s much harder to break up with it. (Yes, I love WordPress.)

Among other things, the minor hosting costs arise for a proper domain, as a professional blog should have. But more about that another time.

These are the best content creation platforms

Up to this point, you should know the three essential mediums (text, audio, video), and the best content creation platforms to start with. At best, you have now chosen one medium and thus one of the platforms.

  • If you want to put your focus on videos in the beginning, YouTube is the best platform for you.
  • If you’ve decided on podcasts, Anchor is probably a good place to start.
  • And if you want to start a blog, you’re well served with WordPress – depending on the country you live in, for example in combination with Bluehost.

Now, if you want to set up on the platform of your choice, certain questions will come up, such as a niche for your content, and a name for your online project. We will work out and answer these questions together in the next steps.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top