This is the first in a series of blog posts devoted to Moving from Blogger to WordPress
Whether you’re a new blogger or you’ve been around for a while, at some point you’re going to ask yourself, “Blogger vs. WordPress – What’s the Right Blogging Platform for Me?” and “Should I Switch to WordPress?” and “What’s the Best Blogging Platform?”
These are hard questions, and there is no right or wrong answer. The choice of blogging platforms is your decision, but I want to discuss my personal blogging journey, and then discuss the pros and cons of Blogger vs. WordPress.
(I’ll be focusing this blog post on WordPress.org – which is self hosted. For a comparison between the two WordPress platforms, please read: Free WordPress.com vs. Self-Hosted WordPress.org).
Why I Decided to Switch from Blogger to WordPress
I started this blog, “Hip Chick’s Guide to PMS, Pregnancy and Babies” in late October 2010. Sales were down at my company, and I wanted a medium to continue to write about pregnancy and babies. (At that time, I was the in-house copywriter for a popular pregnancy week by week website.) Blogging was a perfect fit. It gave me the opportunity to write, and I had the potential to make extra income on the side.
But before I could start blogging, I had to choose my blogging platform – Blogger or WordPress? There are other blogging platforms out there, including Drupal, Typepad, Movable Type, Tumblr, etc. but I wanted to stick with a blogging platforms that I’ve used before. (I’ve been blogging on and off since 2007.)
I decided to go with Blogger – it was free to use, and it allowed me to easily display my Adsense ads without any problems. I wasn’t a web designer, and Blogger templates are super easy to manipulate to change. There were a few aspects of Blogger that I hated, like the inability to change the permalinks and the lack of SEO options. So, as my Google Friend Connect followers grew, and I had more traffic coming to my blog every day, I decided to revaluate my choice. I asked myself the question, “Blogger vs. WordPress – Should I Make the Switch?”
As I did my research, I realized that I had an opportunity to make my blog more SEO-friendly. (SEO = search engine optimized). Yes, it would cost money to buy web hosting and the domain name, but in the end, I felt that the cost justified the potential revenue that I would make from my blog. So I switched to WordPress.org (self-hosted), and I have never looked back. I can’t even imagine using Blogger now as my blogging platform.
But I am also more of an experienced web designer now. I’m not the best, but I can get around HTML, PHP, CSS and all that jazz.
Blogger vs. WordPress – What’s the Best Blogging Platform?
This is the big question that a lot of bloggers ask themselves. What’s the best blogging platform? Blogger versus WordPress? You could ask other bloggers in your niche, and you’ll get a variety of answers and plenty of debate. As I mentioned above, there is no “best blogging platform.” It just depends on what your goals are for your blog; how savvy you are with SEO and HTML; how much trouble you want to go through for your blog; and whether you’re willing to make the financial and technical risk.
Switching between blogging platforms is a headache, and you are going to run into technical glitches, especially if you’re a newbie and you don’t know what you’re doing. If this is the case, you may want to hire a blogging professional (like me) to help migrate your blogger site over to a self-hosted WordPress site. If you don’t have a lot of time to devote to your blog at this time, don’t make the switch. It’ll give you unnecessary stress. Trust me – I know from experience.
Here is the rundown of the Pros and Cons of Blogger vs. WordPress.
The Pros and Cons of Blogger
Blogger is a free blogging platform, owned by Google. (In July of 2011, Google announced that it plans to change the name of this blogging service from “Blogger” to “Google Blogs” – so if you’re reading this and I haven’t updated it in awhile, just make note that all references to Blogger are “Google Blogs.”)
Because Blogger is free and its interface is very easy to use, it’s very popular with newbie bloggers who don’t want to spend any money blogging. (If you’re not willing to spend any monetary investment blogging, you probably want to stick to Blogger.) Blogger is intended to be for beginners, but it does have enough features that advanced bloggers can enjoy using it too.
Pros of Blogger
- Blogger is free to use.
- You don’t need to have any knowledge of HTML, CSS, or any other coding. Blogger’s template designer gives you the ability to choose between a variety of templates, and you can edit the background, adjust widths, format, colors, and fonts without any technical knowledge. This is a huge bonus for the newbie blogger.
- For advanced customization, you can edit the template HTML directly.
- Blogger has a variety of gadgets you can use. They’re easy to arrange using a drag and drop interface. You can visually see where each gadget will go in the whole design of your blog.
- Monetizing your blog will be easy with Google’s Adsense service. There’s a gadget for Adsense.
- Blogger integrates easily with other Google services, including Google Friend Connect (GFC for short), Google Adsense, Feedburner, etc.
- You can use multiple author support with Blogger, and you can also establish group blogs.
Cons of Blogger
- You don’t have a huge assortment of templates to choose from.
- Google has a crummy commenting system, and it’s not that great at catching spam.
- You can only have 10 stand-alone pages, and the individual pages are limited to 1 MB.
- You don’t have the ability to change the permalink structure, and there are no SEO options – like the ability to write your own meta title tag, meta description, meta keywords. Blogger only gives you the option for labels (which are basically “Categories”).
- Google can shut down your blog for any reason, at their sole discretion, Under “Blogger Term of Services,” which you have to agree to before you are allowed to use their services, the agreement states: “Google may, in its sole discretion, at any time and for any reason, terminate the Service, terminate this Agreement, or suspend or terminate your account.”
- When Google is down, for whatever reasons (and this has been known to happen), your blog will also be unavailable.
- The load time on Blogger sites can be longer than on other websites.
The Pros and Cons of WordPress
For this discussion of Blogger versus WordPress, I’ll be discussing the pros and cons of WordPress.org, which is the self-hosted WordPress platform.
WordPress is perfect for intermediate to advanced bloggers who have more time to devote to blogging, who are willing to learn about SEO, HTML and CSS coding, and who are willing to pay for a domain name and web hosting. Self-hosted WordPress is considered more for tech-savvy bloggers, but this isn’t necessarily true. When I switched to WordPress, I didn’t know anything about coding, but I was willing to learn. So, if you are willing to take time to learn, WordPress may be the right choice for you.
Pros of WordPress
- WordPress is a free, open-source software. (But you do have to pay for your own web hosting, but it’s free to use, as long as you have a place to host your blog.)
- You have the ability to choose from thousands of free themes. You can also buy premium themes, which come at a pretty penny, but they look very professional and some are even geared toward SEO. I run on the Thesis theme, which is SEO-optimized out of the box. If you’re a great coder and designer, you can also upload your own theme. The design possibilities are endless, if you know CSS, PHP, and HTML.
- WordPress gives you full control over the look of your blog.
- Displaying advertising is easy, but you don’t have to display ads if you don’t want to.
- There are a variety of widgets you can add to your blog. You can also insert your own HTML easily into a widget box.
- With WordPress, you have more control over blog authors and their capabilities. For example, as an administrator, you have the ability to limit a certain author to only be able to write and publish a post, and nothing else. They won’t have control over editing your theme, or anything else.
- WordPress allows you to create blogs as well as websites. Your blog doesn’t have to look like a blog, unless you want it to.
- WordPress is an SEO-friendly platform. You have the ability to change your permalinks to whatever you want; you can give each post its own individual title tag, meta description, keywords, tags, categories, etc.
- The post editor has more functionality.
Cons of WordPress
- You have to pay for web hosting. And you have to pay for a domain name.
- When a new version of WordPress is released, you will have to upgrade it manually to avoid any glitches or errors in your design.
- You have to backup your own blog, just in case something happens.
- There’s a learning curve with WordPress. If you don’t know basic HTML or CSS, you are going to have to learn in order to get your blog the way you want it to be.
My Advice to You
When it comes to deciding between Blogger and WordPress, you are going to have to make the decision that’s right for you.
If you don’t want to make the monetary investment in paying for web hosting, and if you want to do minimal design tweaks, then Blogger is right for you. Likewise, you should choose Blogger, if you want to design a blog without touching any coding.
WordPress.org is perfect for more advanced bloggers who want to take their blog to the next stage. With the SEO capabilities of WordPress, you have the ability of doubling your traffic within months – weeks even. My search engine visibility is more substantial now than when I was ever on Blogger (my blog posts didn’t even show up back then).
The choice is yours, but I hope that this blog post has helped you make your mind. If you enjoyed it, please share it with your friends!
Next Blog Posts in this series:
(The links won’t be active until I write the articles, so stay tuned!)
Blogger vs. WordPress – Should You Make the Switch?
An examination of whether you should make the switch from Blogger to WordPress. How do you know the time is right? What are your goals? Will the investment be worth it?
Blogger to WordPress Migration: The Step by Step Guide (Part 1)
Learn the basics of migrating from Blogger to WordPress, including tips for buying a domain name, how to find the right web hosting company, how to import your existing blog posts and comments, and other great advice when making your switch.
Moving from Blogger to WordPress without Losing Page Rank or Followers (Part 2)
Once you’ve imported all your posts, you will need to learn how to seamlessly redirect all your blog posts to the new URL, keep the same Google Friend Connect follower, how to update your RSS information, and more. This post goes into the nitty-gritty of your Blogger to WordPress migration.
Painful Lessons I Learned When Moving from Blogger to WordPress
Moving from Blogger to a self-hosted WordPress is a pain in the butt. Learn from my mistakes, so that you can have an easier time migrating.