Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Blogger or Wordpress? Why I am Sticking with Blogger

Which blogging platform should a beginner blogger use? Many different platforms exist, but the two most popular ones are Blogger and Wordpress.

People use Blogger because it's free, easy to use, and they can start blogging immediately. Many blogging authorities urge authors and illustrators to use Wordpress.org (requiring self-hosting) because it gives them full ownership of their blog. Wordpress has powerful features, but I'm sticking with Blogger for these reasons:

1. From a design standpoint, I can tweak a Blogger blog in multiple ways, while I'm limited to the Wordpress themes.



I like how I can start with a standard Blogger template and tweak every element, from the header, to the page labels, to the fonts, backgrounds, and colors:


I can also drag and drop "gadgets" or elements anywhere in the blog. If I want a less traditional look, I can use dynamic views (to see any Blogger blog in dynamic view, add "/view" to the end of the website address).

I can also use any number of free Blogger templates that are beautiful. The one I use for the kid lit website I help run, Kidlit411, is provided by Confluent Forms:

www.kidlit411.com


While Wordpress offers some beautiful themes and allows customization, the snazziest themes are paid premium features and are difficult to tweak on an element-by-element basis.

2. Blogger gadgets provide every "plug in" I need.

Wordpress supporters love the plug-ins available to make their sites more functional. As someone who showcases my work and writes articles, I haven't found anything I wanted that wasn't easily available as a Blogger gadget or added through HTML code.  For example, some of the gadgets on my sidebar are:
  • Picture links: I post a photo that is clickable to another link. My Etsy shop is accessible this way.
  • Popular posts: I can show a list of the blog's all time, monthly, or weekly posts, with thumbnails. 
  • Custom HTML gadgets: Blogger includes social media sharing buttons on each post, but doesn't have a good gadget to include sharing buttons on the sidebar. Here are instructions on how to create the social icons on Blogger using the HTML gadget. (I am not an HTML expert, but I do know how to search the internet for instructions.)

Sample Blogger gadgets

3. Blogger is free without ads.

If I never want to spend a penny on my blog, I don't have to.  If I were to use Wordpress.com, I could do so for free, but Wordpress can run ads on my blog over which I have no control. If I were to use Wordpress.org, I would have to pay for my domain name and hosting. Hosting is not that expensive, but it is a recurring expense.

The only expense I've incurred for this site is to pay for my domain name, www.sylvialiuland.com (the free version would be www.sylvialiuland.blogspot.com).

4. Blogger is part of the Google family.


Because Blogger is part of the Google family, blogs are supported by Google's resources. Other Google products like Adsense, Google Drive, Google+, Apps, Picassa Web Albums, Feedburner, and more, are integrated with Blogger. Google continues to provide new features for Blogger blogs like the ability to set one's own permalink or bringing Google+ comments into your blog.

One downside of having a blog on Blogger is that while you own the content, you do not own the actual blog. Therefore, you must abide by Google's terms of service or face a risk that Google can delete your blog at its discretion (generally, for spam or pornographic sites). That is a risk I'm willing to take, as I doubt that a children's illustration site will come close to raising any Google red flags.

5. I don't need to worry about security or bandwidth. 

If I use a self-hosted Wordpress site, I need to keep up with security updates to make sure the site doesn't get hacked, but I don't have the time or inclination to learn about that. With Blogger, Google takes care of security, and it has a good system of screening for spam.

Also, if one of my posts goes crazily viral, Google will have enough bandwidth to accommodate the additional traffic without shutting down the site.

6. It's a wash for SEO.


© 2012 Sylvia Liu

There's debate about whether Blogger or Wordpress is better for SEO (Search Engine Optimization), but bloggers shouldn't be obsessing over SEO. If a blogger is posting good, fresh content that brings repeated visitors, SEO will take care of itself. But if one is concerned about it, Blogger has introduced several tools to optimize searches, including setting search preferences, meta tags, and making custom error (404) pages.

7. Blogger serves my purposes.

Basically, it's working, so I'm not fixing it. Maybe in the future I may want to run an e-commerce site and will find Blogger limited. But as a blogging platform, it's perfectly functional, and I enjoy being able to tweak and play with the design at a moment's whim.

The debate continues.

For more perspectives, check out these articles that support Blogger:

10 Reasons Recommending Blogger over Wordpress for Most Websites
Why Blogger Has Better SEO Options Than Any Free Platforms
7 Reasons Why Blogger is Better than Wordpress

Articles that support Wordpress:

Why Wordpress is Better than Blogger by Miles
Three Reasons Why Self-hosted Wordpress is Better than Blogger
Why Wordpress is Better than BlogSpot Platform?

And an article that weigh the pros and cons of each:

Blogger v. Wordpress: Which is the Best Platform


What do you think?  Some friends use Weebly to make nice looking websites. Others use Tumblr. What other good options have you found? What are your reasons for choosing the platform you did?




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39 comments:

  1. Hi, I've just made a "simple" blogger site because I just felt challenged by the interface past the initial setup. The thing is I haven't put up any pages and I want a pages that I can put up artwork and have a purchase / shop option. I couldn't even find a way of designing the pages with portfolio style
    for images like you have...much less the shop feature...????

    thanks,
    Centa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Centa,
      You chose two of the harder things to do on Blogger. But they are doable. For the portfolio page, go to my post on How to create an art portfolio on Blogger. I haven't put up a sales page yet because I use Etsy as my storefront, but you could go to Paypal, set up a business account, and get the code from Paypal to make a shopping cart. Then you can paste that on a Blogger page, or if you want to associate a button with each image, paste it as part of each image post you post (does that make sense?)

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    2. blogspot or wordpress the same, which is important how we take care of
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  2. A terrific post, Sylvia! You've expressed some of my thoughts about why I use Blogger to blog (but I never researched the data to back me up so I've never felt expert enough to post about it).

    I've been doing my current blog there since 2006, and for a couple of years before that, I'd run a different blog there. So I'm my nearly 10 years of blogging, I've been pretty happy with Blogger.

    I've had a couple of blogs on WP which I closed after a couple of years due to not being able to figure out how to properly post a photo. I think they've improved it now because I'm running a 365-project there this year and have been happy with it. Still, I'm going to stick with my Blogger blog for now because, like you said, it ain't broke.

    Oh, one problem I am finding is that with my new iPhone (4S), I can't post a comment on a Blogger blog with regular comment option (I can do it if there's a different comment option, like Disqus). So, that means I can't post a comment on your blog via my phone, for example. Do you know a solution to that? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whoa...weirdly enough, Ian's soon as I asked you the question, my response posted (I had read you post on my iPhone and wrote a comment that I had copied in the event that it wouldn't take per usual...them tried to send it and it actually took! So maybe it's solved...so never mind. ;)

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    2. Hi Teresa,
      Thanks for the comment! It looks like the issue got resolved? I also have an iPhone 4s and haven't had problems with commenting that I remember.

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    3. bloggers vs. wordpres equally as great, great again if we could manage it or take care of as best as possible, it's useless if the blogger or wordpress already contrived left without our care, not really the boss??? regards
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  3. Great post. Is Disqus available on blogger or is there special coding I need to use?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know you can do it, because my friend Teresa (the commenter above) uses Disqus on her blog. I would go to the Disqus site and see if they have instructions.

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  4. This post is timely since I've been reading more people switching over to Wordpress. So this got me thinking- should I too? But this validated my decision to stick with Blogger. It is easy for a beginner like me. What makes it easier is having a friend like you. With your informative posts, you have helped me learn a few tricks to manage my blog. So thank you! I value your expertise!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Romelle. I say, as long as it's working, stick with it.

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    2. nice info.... wordpress vs blogspot

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  5. I am on Blogger and like because I am hopeless with computer. The problem i have is that I got 550 blogs and never get a penny. Before they Google Ads used ot add up every month the little I scraped together and eventually it became £60 which was the minimum payout. Now they don't seem to do it. Also you wrote about the share which before they cut it down to t, fb and google I had a lot more pv. You said with HTML but I don't know how to go about it. I wonder if you would be so kind and help me?

    maria.hardy843@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't have much experience with using Google Ads because the main purpose of my blog is not to make money, so I'm not sure I have any helpful tips for you. Check out How to Add Social Icons to Your Blogger Blog for the instructions on writing html for social sharing buttons.

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  6. My main blog has been on Wordpress for several years, and that's not going to change. I go back and forth about Blogger for blogs on other topics, but even with the IU changes, I'm not happy with it. For one thing, blogs there feel isolated, without the various ways Wordpress offers for people to find other bloggers and feel as if they're part of a community.

    Primarily, though, it's the stats that irritate the h--l out of me, something that Wordpress does extremely well, and Blogger just can't seem to manage at all. On my main page, which includes the blogs I subscribe to, my blog info includes the number of pageviews. At present, I have only two posts up and supposedly have had forty views between them. Not likely at all, as my post list page proves. There, neither post has any page views. Until Blogger works this out, I won't be able to take it seriously as an important site for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting. I use Google Analytics in addition to the stats provided by Blogger, and although they are not exactly the same, they track each other fairly well so I tend to think Blogger is generally accurate.

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  7. Seriously all above are same reason because of which i am still stick to blogger as a blogging platform. Professional web design

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    1. I would like to share this on social media. Visit train live status for rail info and cplt20official for IPL. So, keep up the good work.

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  8. Wordpress vs Blogger which is better, i think according to the most reliable and free of cost feature blogger is more suitable.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Well, I was worried about space and WordPress limits their free option to 3 GB ... The writing settings allow you to choose the default post category, posting format ... The main option you need to look at is comment moderation.wordpress

    ReplyDelete
  10. I still use blogspot for all of my blogs. I have Wordpress self hosted blog, but my blog was hacked.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi slyvia, great articles for those who stil finding which one is better: blogspot or wordpress. first time i started to blog, i used blogger. and i've got interested in wordpress because they have reader by categories (it makes us feel like a part of huge communities). but still i've once again getting confused because my blog isn't still shown up on google page. so what do you think, blogspot or wordpress; which one from them that post faster in listing on google?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your question. I don't know if there is a difference between the two for how quickly they get listed on Google, though I have read several articles that says Blogger blogs will be indexed more quickly as they are part of the Google ecosystem.

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  12. I will prefer to use WordPress for creating blog. It is very simple and we can use different WordPress theme in it. Your article is really very informative. Keep updating.
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    ReplyDelete
  13. I prefer wordpress because unlike Blogger, you can control the look and feel of your new WordPress.com blog to a certain extent by selecting from one of their free WordPress themes. Themes control the colours, layout and fonts on your site so this is useful if you want your blog to look different to others.
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  14. i think wordpress gives you more freedom

    also check here Free blogger templates

    ReplyDelete
  15. Very interesting. I have done some dabbling with Blogger and nothing really with Wordpress since it seems to me to be more complicated. Google owns Blogspot, so that was an attraction for me in choosing between the two. I wanted a platform where adsense could be turned on and off easily. Still testing Blogger and hoping that I will find some tutorials that will show me how to make it look and act more like a website than a blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Cathleena, thanks for stopping by. I actually happen to have an article on this site: 8 Ways to Get Your Blogger Blog to Look Like a Website that may help you.

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  16. This post is timely since I've been reading more people switching over to Wordpress. So this got me thinking- should I too? But this validated my decision to stick with Blogger cream anisa asli

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  17. I've been a mostly happy Blogger user since 2006, with multiple blogs. I've never had a reason to switch. http://www.BookMakingBlog.com

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