Blogger vs. WordPress: My Experience With Both

blogger vs wordpressWhen I started this blog, it was with Blogger.  Six months later, I migrated all my posts and comments to WordPress, and I have never looked back.  A friend of mine did the same thing, and I started thinking.

I have never heard of someone migrating the opposite direction: from WordPress to Blogger.  Why?

Because despite all the good things that Blogspot has going for it, WordPress is simply a better platform.  Since I have experience with both platforms, I thought I would do a “post mortem” breakdown of my experiences with WordPress and Blogger.

blogger What Blogger Has Going For It

  • It’s simple. Very simple. It’s newbie friendly.  If you know nothing about blogging, Blogger won’t overwhelm you.  Now, personally, I think that Blogger is probably too simple.  Initially, you will love that it is point, click, publish as you break in your blogging chops with it. But if you’re looking for a real modicum of control with your site, you won’t get that from a Blogger account.  If you want something that requires very little initial know-how, though, it’s your best bet.
  • Google owns it. Like my calendar, email, and documents, I thought accessing my blog through my catch-all Google account would be a great thing.  It was for a while, but it turned out to just be a “meh” thing because as awesome as automatic picture hosting at Picasa was, I found that it being tied to my other services provided no real benefit.  It does have the benefit of Google’s network, though, which means it’s very stable.
  • You can put ads on it. Unlike WordPress.com (the free version of WP), Blogger addresses allow users to use their Google AdSense accounts or other services to monetize their blog. Unless you’re getting a lot of traffic, AdSense pays squat anyway. But still, the fact that you can do this on your blog is nice. Pennies add into dollars eventually, after all.
  • Using your own domain name is free. If you own your own domain name (professorbeej.com, for instance), you can toss it up in Google’s Blogger Dashboard, and your URL is changed, backlinks and permalinks, too.  They all redirect automatically with a 301 so you don’t get penalized in search engines.  WordPress.com charges $10 a year for that same service. Now, you have to pay for the domain registry with WordPress and Blogger, but once it’s yours, it’s yours on Blogger. No extra fees.

What WordPress Has Going For It

Let me preface this by saying that I never used WordPress.com for a blog.  I have only used WordPress.org’s self-hosted software, so there may be differences of which I am unaware regarding WordPress’ free sites.

  • wordpressComments are easy. Gordon said it best in a comment when I first migrated to WP: “Commenting on blogger is like getting your teeth pulled out.” He’s right. Unless the blog admin has it set, there is no default way to just sign in with your name and URL to leave a comment.  You have to login, captcha, and then post.  WP simply lets readers toss a name/email and say what they want to say. No verification, no nothing.  It really makes the communication part of blogging paramount.
  • WordPress helps build a community of readers. Part of how WP does this is through its comment system.  That aside, the dashboard also allows bloggers to see incoming links to their site, allowing them to enter into cross-blog communication much more easily.  Given that I see blogging as a way of communicating with people, this point is very important to me. My blog would be nowhere without its readers, nor will yours. Being able to communicate and enter into dialogues as easily as possible is important, and it is something that WordPress allows far more easily than Blogspot.  You will want to know who links to your site because you can then build relationships with them, potentially swap posts, or even just keep up with who’s talking about you.
  • Customization abounds with WordPress. Installing a new theme/template/widget in Blogger is like scratching out your eyes and trying to put them back in with your feet.  When I was on Blogger, I had to edit XML and fine-tune one piece of code until I got it just right in Blogger for every new feature I wanted; however, in WordPress, if you want something, you can search for and download a plugin (from the search directly in the user dashboard!), and it will often have its own options page for options to customize it to your liking. If you want a new theme, you just upload the zip file and it is automatically installed and ready to use.  No fuss, no muss. (By the way, I think that WooThemes, affiliate link, has the best WordPress themes after using some free ones and Thesis.)
  • The developer community for WordPress far exceeds that of Blogger. If you want to do something with WordPress, someone else does, too, and they’ve already written a widget/plugin for it. The same goes for themes and templates.  Searching for Blogger themes (even premium themes) can be a headache and a half, and there is no guarantee you’ll find one that has all the features or styles you want.  It’s gotten better over the past couple of years, but it still like few people spend the amount of time on Blogger templates and plugins like they do WordPress. There may be an equivalent number of Blogger and WP themes out there, but the quality of the WP ones shines through immediately.
  • Stat tracking. Free vs. free, what little I know about WordPress.com wins out based solely on stat tracking. WordPress.com blogs come automatically with software that tracks your incoming visitors, page views, and links. Unfortunately, the self-hosted software doesn’t provide visitor information, so I have to use Google Analytics to find that stuff out, but most premium themes (Thesis and WooThemes, affiliate link) have a place for that so I don’t even have to mess with code like I did with Blogger.

Conclusion

blogger wordpress cycle I’ve had a much better experience in my time with WordPress than I ever did with Blogger.  WordPress is far more robust and professional than Blogger is, and it is more conducive to building a community than Blogger.

If you’re just starting out and your plans are to blog for family and friends about what your cat did or random thoughts you might have every now and again, then Blogger will be fine.  If you plan on blogging for an audience and want to connect with them, WordPress is the way to go.

So to answer my initial query: why does no one migrate from WordPress to Blogger? For the same reason one doesn’t trade in a 2010 Porsche 911 Turbo for a 1974 Ford Pinto. It’s just not done.


Comments

  1. I am probably one of the few that moved from wordpress to blogger. This is because I wanted to be able to customize my layout more than wordpress.com allowed, but did not want to pay for self-hosted. The blogger comment system is awful, but I downloaded Disqus, and that allows commenting just as easily as on wordpress. I do miss the tracking, but I installed Analytics code and that works just fine.
    .-= zelmaru´s last blog ..Parliamentary Papers (Pimping Your Blog Edition) =-.

    • I can see that. To me, though, the lack of customization in wordpress.com sites is actually better than the jumble of XML that you get with Blogger. Maybe it’s because my coding skills have atrophied over the years, but I can get far better results when I mess with CSS in WP than I could with the XML of Blogger.

      You’re right, though: you can do /much/ more personalization free vs. free with Blogger.

      I didn’t honestly know that Disqus was available for Blogger. If more people utilized it, I’d be able to comfortably take that off my list, but as it stands, far too many stick with the default. One thing Blogger could do is make name/URL a standard option instead of one that has to be enabled by the admin. That alone would save a lot of headache.

  2. Interesting post. I’ve been using Blogger for a while for my on-again-off-again blogging interests and have appreciated how easy it is to use, and set up. A number of the blogs that I follow use WordPress, and although I had glanced at it before, I think I was less willing to put any real *effort into figuring it out seeing as I had very little content at that point. Now that I’ve used Blogger for a while, I can more fully appreciate the differences.

    So thanks! Thanks for making me write off my morning to get things switched over. Thanks for giving me the push I needed to start taking my blog a bit more seriously and take it to the next level.

    • Glad I could be of service. I think you’ll find that WordPress is much more suited to most kinds of blogging than Blogger was. It’s not quite as simple and user-friendly (or as customizable out of the box) as blogger, but I think the stability and feel it gives are well worth it. Good luck in the migration process; I know how much of a pain that can be.

  3. I think you’re overestimating the importance of which tool you use when it comes to your ability to build a community around your blog. Two of the blogs with most subscribers in the WoW blogosphere – Tobold and Greedy Goblin – with some 4 k subscribers and the highest numbers of comments I’ve seen anywhere are both using the simplest ready-to-use Blogger layout. My own blog is far from being in their class, but I spot some 1600 subscribers and according to some sort ov blog ranking site, apparently I have some sort of impact. http://wowblips.dailyradar.com/world_of_warcraft/world_of_warcraft/blogs/

    And you know what: I’m on Blogger too. And I’m happy about it. It’s possible that you can make a more advanced blog if you venture into WordPress and self-hosting. But I honestly find most of the standard wordpress layouts quite ugly, worse than Blogger, and I think it’s sad to see so many wow-blogs using it.

    For my own part I was really put off when I checked out WordPress back in time as I decided on which tool to use. It was very unintuitive and I couldn’t understand how to use it. While Blogger on the other hand made perfectly sense, I could start right away and blog my heart out, focusing on what matters most to me – the text, the thoughts, the content.

    Admtitedly the comment system isn’t brilliant, but on the other hand I’ve heard more than one wordpress blogger complaining about the amounts of spam they receive. I get spam too, but I don’t count them in thousands like some fellow WordPress bloggers.
    I’ve definitely heard of WordPress bloggers going for Blogger, even though I can’t point at any specific example. The opposite is probably more common though, and I think that has to do with self-hosting ambitions. But why, oh why, should you bother with that? If you enjoy writing more than graphic design I can’t see many good reasons to bother about it tbh.

    • Tobold was actually one of the main reasons I stuck with Blogger as often as I did. I kept telling myself “if he can do it, so can I,” until I finally got too frustrated with the UI and constant XML parsing when I wanted to change a minor detail about my blog.

      You hit on something I think is very important, though: the content. Blogging platforms and preferences aside, no one wants to read crappy blogs. The content is what draws people there. That’s why minimalist blogs like Tobold and Gevlon work. While I do find Gevlon’s blog one of the ugliest (in terms of graphic design and aesthetics) around, he does–subjectively–good things with his content.

      I don’t typically mind the default WP templates. I feel about the default Blogger ones the way you mention regarding WP themes. I see a lot of blogs who do no customizing at all, have a stock Blogspot blog, and they look more like fan-pages than op-ed commentary I should take seriously. Maybe it’s a different view of things and how we approach them, and I can understand and appreciate that.

      In the end, it’s about the content. You, Tobold, and Gevlon are all great examples of how great content outshines even the sparkliest webdesign on a premium platform. If people want to read what you have to say, then they will, and it’s mission accomplished.

      • Yes, yes and yes again about the importance of content. And above all I would say – of having a personal, distinct blogging voice. But sadly enough it isn’t something you easily can teach someone else to find. You have to discover it by yourself I think.
        And I suppose that’s why bloggers love to talk and teach on tech stuff but fail to talk about how-to-write-stuff because it’s not that easy to put your finger on. It’s so much simpler to stick to the superficials.

        This blog is a new finding to me, one of the best blogging voices I’ve seen in a long time. It’s ugly as hell, the layout is a wreck. But what does it matter when the personality shines through? Geekiness rules forever, regardless of the looks! http://wilwheaton.typepad.com/
        .-= Larísa´s last blog ..Skiing vs WoW – different views on difficulty and entitlement =-.

        • It’s taken me a year to really find my blogging voice. Going back and reading some of my initial blogs is painful. I was so stuck in a stilted, pseudo-academic tone that I missed the fact that people might not actually enjoy reading that. As I’ve migrated myself toward a more conversational tone, I find that I get many more comments, subscribers, and overall attention.

          I used to follow Wil Wheaton’s blog, but I stopped because a lot of it became very cynical. And while I get that’s part of the charm, it’s not something that I want to read a lot of, personally. I do admire him for keeping the porch light on for geeks out there who think they should be ashamed of their hobbies and interests.

  4. I have to say that I’ve often wondered if Google favours Blogger blogs over other sites in it’s rankings… plus also Blogger blogs have the ability to skip through other blogs which I think is quite cool and a nice way to increase exposure.

    Having said that though, I’ve never seen a Blogger site that looks at all professional and most have tremendous problems with commenting and control. I’d pick WP over Blogger any day of the week.
    .-= We Fly Spitfires´s last blog ..Lord Of The Rings Online Welcome Back Week =-.

    • From the minor amount of research I did on it before I migrated, I read that Google does not prioritize Blogger over WordPress.com or TypePad or any of the other hosted “blog farms.” In fact, it penalizes them over self-hosted sites for being a part of a network that is so large that individual blogs show up as sub-pages in some part of their algorithm.

  5. I am still making the decision myself, but as I understand it, WordPress allows all kinds of useful plugins that Blogger doesn’t.

  6. I was completely feeling disasteric when one of my big sports blog was deleted in Blogger.For just install blogger theme,i was done only one big mistake to add fake feedburner on that theme which was i installed in Blogger.As a result my blog has been remove from there,therefore i was came in WP.Here i get pre installed plugins,blog stats,akismet(traking spam comments) and much interested things.So,my advise go for WP,don’t choose blogger.otherwise you get suffered.

  7. In Blogger you can get widgets like baby kids or in the WordPress you get new versions of plugins and everything.But Blogger have good support of Google adwards and ad networks while In free version of WP,If in your blog 25000 unique visitors per month visit your site then you apply for ads otherwise You can only write for sharing your thoughts or ideas bcoz In wordpress there is no Java script code plugin.Or in Blogger only a good thing is you can place ads because Blogger provides Java script code area.

  8. Blogger have good support of Google adwards and ad networks while In free version of WP,If in your blog 25000 unique visitors visit per month your site then you apply for ads otherwise You can only write for sharing your thoughts or ideas bcoz In wordpress there is no Java script code plugin.Or in Blogger this is only a good thing.you can place ads because Blogger provides preinstalled Java script code plugin.

  9. There’s a no doubt that WordPress blogs are mostly recommended by Blog gurus.But,take a look into in money makin’ area.Where WordPress blogs are bit slow for givin’ better earning results.But,it has quality themes,widgets and more upgradin’ facilities.

    Where Blogger’s best option for the beginners,because it’s so simple.And the most inportant thing that you can affiliate google ads on it.Google provides better backlink support in blogger.
    Either Blogger or WP…firstly check em’ out.

  10. I had a lots of site and hosted it in Network Blazer but I’m not happy using it. I came across to transfer all my MB sites to a free blog host and I’m confuse which one is much better. Could you help me guys? All my sites are not that big they probably had minimum of 4 pages and maximum of 15.

    • I had to do a migrate when I went to WordPress, too. In the options panel there is a section called “Tools” in the toolbar to the left, and there’s an “Import” option there. You should be able to find what you need by using that. Just be sure to either set up your old host with a 301 redirect, or if you’re going to keep the same domain, you’ll want to alter the free host’s permalink structure to match your old one.

      If I had to recommend one, I’d go with WordPress, Cherry. Blogger just isn’t as robust.

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