Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Blogger vs Wordpress - battle of the free blogging sites





Both blogger & wordpress.com are free (not self hosted wordpress.org) but what else do you need to consider when making you're choice of which platform to go with? I've not been using blogger for that long so these are mostly first impressions (which I may edit or add to over time) but for now everything is compared to wordpress.com (so the advantages below are where WP falls short).


Advantages of Blogger:

  • Free repointing to your own domain if you have one. With wordpress, unless you pay, you are stuck with .wordpress.com on the end of your site name. With blogger you can dump the .blogspot.com. 
  • No Ads.
  • Ads if you want them. This is a double point in the favour of blogger. Wordpress.com funds itself on its ads so you are not allowed any of your own or any affiliate links. Blogger hooks directly into Google Adsense and you are allowed to set other ads & affiliates - or have none if you want a cleaner look.
  • Better SEO? This one is subjective it just seems I get more hits on my blogger site even though its new that I would on a new Wordpress site.
  • Add your own widgets. At least I think you can. You can certainly run embedded scripts in text boxes which is a no-non on WP.
  • You can add your own commenting system of choice e.g. Disqus. This is a pro and a con - see below for the disadvantage.


Disadvantages of Blogger:

  • Generally just not as user friendly to edit posts on blogger.
  • No draft saving history. Have you ever been half way through a blog post and accidentally wiped it or something happens to ruin it, the autosave has kicked in and now you can't get back to where you were? Well its happened to me more often than I'd like. Wordpress.com has a handy feature where you can go back to an earlier draft. Blogger does not.
  • Mobile blogging with Blogger? Might as well forget it. The wordpress app it great but the blogger one is very very basic. You cannot even edit the HTML of the post to work around how basic it is. 
  • I might just be missing it, but I cannot seem to find the media library on blogger. You can certainly upload images to the blogposts and see them when you want to enter one you've previously uploaded them into a post but how can you get there and search and maintain them? This is easy on wordpress.
  • When adding a link, there is no way to pick from your existing posts, if I want to refer back to a post I made I have to manually go and find the link in another browser tab and then treat it as any other. 
  • Better templates on wordpress. Its just my opinion but there seemed to be many many more to choose from on WP (and better more up-to-date designs) and the choices on Blogger seem somewhat limited.
  • Weirdly no hierarchical way to organise things. In wordpress you have tags and categories. In blogger you only have labels (which are like tags).
  • Less built in widgets to choose from. This follows on from the pro point above where you can add your own I suppose (which you cannot do on WP) but if you just want something ready made and right there, its isn't always obvious. For example a twitter box - took me a while to figure that one.
  • One disadvantage which annoys me with every new post is the lack of ability to say which social networks to push this post out too, and to be able to customise the text of the message on them. For example. If I know the topic has a particular hashtag, I may wish to use it on social media but not so much in the title of the post. Plus, it pushes to Google+ (sometimes) but I'm forced to use another service (such as IFTT) to push out to other sites, which means I have to administer to it elsewhere if I want to skip a certain one going out to twitter or Facebook. 2005 wants their social interactions back please blogger.
  • Again, I might be missing it, but there seems to be no way to search the blogspot community (assuming there is one, it appears from the interface that I'm blogging in a vacuum). Wordpress provide lots of ways to interact with other WP users, following, reblogging, seeing whats just been posted by other users etc. I know there are lots of good bloodspot blogs but I have no real idea of how to find them from within blogger. Once I have a link to a known blog I can add it to a reader though.
  • You pretty much have to choose your own commenting system (I choose disqus but there others commentluv etc) because the blogger one is so awful. It means I have to go into another program to manage them which is annoying (and to be honest I don't really get it yet so I keep missing replying to comments straight away).

Of course there's always hosting your own as an option (probably the best option, if you have the money). You can download the Wordpress software from wordpress.org for free and run your own site on a hosted server. (which you pay for). The famous ones are bluehost and godaddy but there are many others. I had 1and1 hosting for a while but never really did anything with it, it felt like gym membership, pay yearly and feel guilty for not going. I was trying to create my own site full website, gallery and blog though, a bit ambitious at the time. You get a lot more choice with themes and widgets (because it's your own you do as you please, ads, no ads, its totally up to you). You can get hosting for  as little as £30 per year so it won't break the bank but I just wanted to get up and running in 5mins which is why I choose blogger. Another advantage of the free ones is that they will back up for you, so barring user error or doing something to get your account suspended, your blog will be there forever. With a self hosted one as soon as you stop paying they stop existing. I thought I'd start off with blogger but using my own domain name (£5 per year), this was, if/when I switched over I could take my blog with me and all external links to me would still work after the move.

Any of you blogger/wordpress.com users got anything else to add in the comments? I'd love to hear what others think.




5 comments:

  1. You Baby Me Mummy19 March 2015 at 16:08

    This will be a really useful post for people starting out. Thanks for linking up to #TheList x

    ReplyDelete
  2. Laura Powell-Corbett22 March 2015 at 11:31

    I always think that word press looks better but I can't even think of changing now unless I go self hosted which in itself is a distant pipe dream still!!!x

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  3. Yeah, I totally have the same problem with my underwater blog and all my photos on pbase. Been meaning to get it into one all in one website & blog for about 5years!

    ReplyDelete