Tuesday Tech Tools: Publishing Platforms

Want to start a blog, create a portfolio site, or start a website for your business? Many of the sites below are free. Play around with a few of them and see which one clicks for you.

About Me
Quickly create an attractive profile page. A digital card/personal description site that is highly searchable and smartly designed. Sort of a social media business card. Free. Video introduction here.

beBee
Collaborative platform.

Blogger
Free blog platform with gentle learning curve for beginners Run by Google, so it integrates with Google products well. Lacks many plugins to improve functionality. Limited design options.

Clippings Me
Showcase your work as a journalist, blogger or writer.  Add online and print clippings, link to your social media sites, and customize your portfolio. Free. Demo.

Contently
Tools for creating and showcasing storytelling content of writers. Connects publishers (both news organizations and PR folks at businesses with journalists, then takes a 15% transition fee. Designed to help freelancers find work. Takes care of the paperwork aspect (invoicing and payments) for businesses hiring freelancers. Free.

Ghost (formerly Roon)
Open source, free blogging platform. Simple to use, custom domains. Focused on making beautiful content rather than options like plug-ins and SEO tools.

Joomla
Lots of possible complexity.  Deep level navigation, sections in sections, categories etc.

Live Blog
Live Blog is a liveblogging platform for journalists for posting from a phone or tablet.

LiveJournal
Blogging platform owned by Russians (where the servers are located). Lost subscribers after banning political posts and other topics. Ads are shown except for paid accounts.

Marquee
Publishing platform focused on presentation.

Medium
Created by Twitter co-founders to support good writing. Clean design and easy-to-use interface. For those who want to write but don’t want to maintain a blog or website. Intended to be a place where smart people plant their thoughts.  Share a draft of a post with friends who can make comments as marginal notes (rather than at the end of a post). Free, but Twitter account is required. No custom domains or customization.  

Newsbound
Visual-storytelling platform that can combine photos, graphics, animations and text into a slideshow. Considered part of explainer journalism, the company behind the site can be hired to create pieces. 

Postach.io
Publishing platform limited to Evernote (popular note-taking platform). Custom domains, but limited themes. Pulls your thoughts from Evernote into the blog.  Free for basic service, $4.99 a month for advanced options.

Postagon
Blogging platform. Custom domains, writing-oriented, comfortable setup. Limited customization. $5 a month.   

Posthaven
Custom domains, tagging. Weak on themes.$5 a month.

Pressfolios
Especially designed for highlighting the kinds of things a journalist would want to highlight in order to show what they've done. The links to past content are prominent. There’s also an area for listing skills and a detailed biography. Instead of just linking to your stories (which can be taken down) Pressfolios creates a backup version. Lacks social media integration. Free but $12 each month for a pro version. Samples: One: The Atlantic, GQ freelancer, Two: NY Times freelancer, Three: Rolling Stone contributor

Scribble Live
Live-streaming. Create, curate and publish content to provide real time coverage and storytelling. Fee.

Seelio
The portfolio network for student builders and doers.

Silvrback
Blogging platform. Establish your own brand with a custom domain. Nice archive and bio pages. $29.99 a year special. 14 day free trial.

Sitey
A do-it-yourself publishing platform, sames as WebsiteBuilder.com, SiteBuilder.com and Sitelio.com. Some reviewers, such as this one,  say there are many consumer complaints related to billing.

SquareSpace
Inexpensive and easy way to build a website or blog. WordPress has more flexible design and functionality (no plugins with Square Space), but not everyone will want so many extras. More focused on content than coding. Nice templates and tools for businesses. 14-day free trial. $8--$24 a month includes hosting.

Storify (no longer available)
Social media aggregate. Publish elements - photos, tweets, videos together. Free.

Svbtle
Writing platform. Minimalist interface. Encourages reader response. Must apply for membership.

Tumblr*
This social platform allows users to see posts from all of the blogs they follow in a single stream. Sort of Twitter, but with full text and more images. You can populate your stream with content by others simply by clicking the "like" and "reblog" buttons. Easy to use. Limited customization. Best for photography, art. Free.

Weebly
Simple website creation. Possibly the most easy-to-use with a useful drop and drag function. Limited customization. Free (with footer ad) but more options with paid subscription from $8-$38 monthly.

Wix
Drag and drop website builder using visually impressive layouts. Active customer support but hard to move away. Student example here. Free but a paid account is needed to unlock some features you would expect to be free. $5-$20 a month for a paid account.

WordPress.com 
WP-dot-com is free and easy to use. The dot-org version is not.  WP-dot-com includes hosting and a domain name (yourdomain.wordpress.com) but your own domain name is only $15 more.  Basic customization available (themes, colors, layout and fonts).  Limited monetization and plugin options.

WordPress.org*
The most often used software for publishing on line.  Pick your own domain name, host wherever you like, and add plugins as you like. Steeper learning curve that WP-dot-com.

Find more tools here.