Just over a year ago, I was sitting in front of my computer Googling and “Pinteresting” (because that search tool deserves to become a verb almost as much as Google) anything I could find to help me determine if a switch from Blogger to WordPress was right for me.
After reading loads of short articles filled with affiliate links telling me all the scary things that could happen if and when Google decided to blow up my blog (because they can but they probably won’t), I gave up.
I knew I wanted a prettier and more unique blog.
I thought I wanted something more user friendly, but I certainly didn’t know if WordPress would be right. I felt like I’d learned Blogger pretty well and was comfortable on the platform.
Note: For more behind the scenes insights, check out the entire Behind the Blog series with a new edition the first Friday of each month.
I was pretty sure I wanted to make the switch, but I wanted someone to reassure me that I wasn’t going to open up my new blog and completely regret it. I wanted confirmation that I wasn’t going to look at my blog bank account and see the limited funds I’d earned being swallowed up by expensive hosting and other types of support fees.
I wanted to know that if I switched, things might be a little different, but I’d be ok. And for a little bit more cost, I’d be way better off.
If you’re in this camp, rest assured (from someone who’s lived on both platforms), you’ll be fine with either choice.
I ultimately decided to make the switch. But the day I decided, I committed to create a resource that could offer bloggers like me better insight to make the decision for themselves. I wanted to offer the answers I wish that I had found.
I’m not a professional blogger. I have a full-time corporate job and don’t have plans to leave. I like my job, and I blog for enjoyment but appreciate earning a little cash on the side to cover expenses and do some fun things. In other words, I’m not writing from the perspective of someone who does this “blogging thing” full-time. You’re likely in similar shoes.
The Blogger vs. WordPress Basics
Before getting into details, know that Blogger is fine. Also know that WordPress is very intuitive and you’ll find it perfectly easy to use. It’s not scary, and if you’re concerned about user-friendly platforms, you’ll be more than pleased in WordPress.
I can’t decide if Blogger or WordPress is a better option for you. It will depend on your circumstances and, largely, your long-term monetization goals.
Want to monetize your blog with more than Google Adsense or a few sponsored posts? Definitely use WordPress.
Blogging for hobby with no intention of padding a bank account? Blogger might do the trick.
Beyond that, hopefully the following can offer some tips and insights that will help you make your decision and feel great about it.
Your Platform’s Like a Suit
The blogging platform you choose is a bit like the suit you opt to wear to a big meeting with clients in a corporate job.
Sticking with Blogger is kind of like wearing a low quality suit to work. Fresh out of college, we all wear that basic suit and it’s totally acceptable, expected really. But once we get our feet wet and start to get some promotions and raises, we upgrade our attire, as it’s a reflection of our presence and our attitudes.
For a while, one can get away with an entry-level suit. We can add some accessories to make it look more expensive. We can hire a tailor to make some simple modifications for better fit. But eventually, the social norm expects an upgrade. And there’s only so much tailoring one can do when the base product is pretty generic.
Such is the case with Blogger. It’s a pretty simple and standard product. That doesn’t mean it can’t do wonderful things. But it’s far less likely to be that “perfect fitting suit” that carries you up the “corporate ladder” of blogging.
We Act How We Feel. We Reflect our Presence
More importantly, an upgrade to “the fancy suit” breeds confidence, higher quality, better wear and more comfortable everyday fit and feel. It comes with better service from the retailers, higher quality fabrics and production better suited (no pun intended) for specific tailoring and modifications to make it just right to meet your needs, body type and environment. Eventually, you stop spending every day fidgeting with an ok but ill-fitting suit and instead focus on just getting business done inside the comfort and confidence of the perfect suit that supports you at every proposal, networking lunch and tough team meeting.
On Blogger, I spent a great deal of time Googling how to make modifications to the HTML to change the way things looked. I fumbled (and “fidgeted”) my way through updates and, admittedly, learned a TON about HTML.
But as time passed and I had a functional but not fancy working knowledge of HTML, all that Googling and coding just meant time lost on writing great content, promoting my work and growing my presence. I wasn’t making the most of my own strengths and leaving others to work their magic in areas where I was weak.
Further, being on WordPress made me more proud of how my site looked. It gave me more confidence in my work and allowed me to try new things I would never have been able to do on Blogger (thanks in large part to plug-ins).
WordPress allowed me to automate many things I had previously done manually or make more efficient tasks that had been large time-sucks in Blogger. (CoSchedule is an amazing example of this.)
Just like members of management in businesses start to outsource certain of their responsibilities, WordPress allowed me to begin doing this at times. Sometimes it costs a bit of money, but often it’s free.
In the end, we are how we present ourselves and we become a product of the environment in which we live. Operating with a more sophisticated platform and in the same space as bigger bloggers, you start to gain more confidence and feel like one day you might belong.
There Are Anamolies
Just like a simplified conclusion, there are some anamolies. There are a few very popular bloggers still using Blogger, especially in the style blogging space.
Maybe you’re the one? Maybe you’re the Mark Zuckerberg who shows up to major events in a hoodie and bags the expensive suit? He still made it… BIG (obviously).
This analogy that your blog platform is like your suit isn’t an unbreakable law of physics or philosophical truth. It’s a generalization. But it’s also a trend. It reflects societal norms and repeated patterns of success. You might be “the exception” but, if we’re being honest, the odds are not in your favor.
It’s Not Only About the Platform But…
The suit we wear to the big client meeting doesn’t make us smarter or nicer or a better person. In that same light, WordPress doesn’t make our content better or make us better stewards to the blogging community and our readers, in and of itself. But that nice suit definitely changes how others in our spheres perceive us. And it gives us more chances to play “with the big guns” and show off what we have to offer.
But Which Is Better?
Neither Blogger nor WordPress is the smoking gun to online success. Blogger works just fine and works quite well for some. For free, it gets the job done.
WordPress is far more sophisticated. It carries some annual costs (which you can read more about in my initial post when I first transitioned to WordPress and my thoughts after just three months on the platform) but none of those costs will break the bank. WordPress offers loads of customization and endless service providers making great plug-ins, themes, and other add-ons that significantly enhance functionality, usability, and efficiency.
The more advanced capabilities and less manual customization of WordPress has also allowed me to focus more on my content and less on building an aesthetically appealing design. Late nights previously spent fiddling with code to design the “perfect” navigation menu are now replaced with thoughts about what the navigation menus include, how posts are categorized, and how the blog’s content best serves readers.
The smoking gun to a beautiful, beloved blog is amazing content and an effective promotion and marketing strategy. It won’t really matter which platform you use if everything looks amazing and engages readers. In fact, all but the most sophisticated readers probably won’t even know which platform you use. It really depends on your personal preference.
Do You Need To Hire A Professional?
Over the last year, I did run into a couple situations that required modification. In Blogger, I did all modification myself. I Googled everything and spent lots of time in the HTML code. Successfully making changes gave me great satisfaction at times but also cost me many late nights.
In WordPress, I have been able to more efficiently make many changes myself (like my last DIY site redesign), but I hired an expert to help me change my domain. The specialist helped me perform the technical aspects but also ensured my old links from external sources (like Pinterest) redirected properly. For about $350, she took care of a lot of things I had NO CLUE how to do and saved me hours of time. When I Googled these things, they looked complicated and like potential causes for big problems if I made small errors. Although I incurred some additional expense, I felt the cost was well worth the time, effort and stress it saved me.
Unless you’re a seasoned web expert, you’ll probably find it’s helpful to hire someone occasionally to help with any major modifications you want to make to your WordPress site. But those modifications, for the most part, are probably things you couldn’t really do with Blogger (or at least not without hiring a professional).
In The End…
Unless you’re truly blogging just for personal fulfillment, I’ve come to believe that WordPress is better. Even if you’re blogging for fun but you’re short on time, I think WordPress offers a more efficient and streamlined publishing process. So for me, as a working mom with a full schedule, I’m willing to invest a few hundred dollars a year in exchange for significant savings of my time.
That entry-level suit fit my blog perfectly when I first entered the online world. I learned so much about HTML stumbling through small changes to the code and design. But as I outgrew those early learning stages, paying a little bit to let others do the blocking and tackling of designing a website let me focus more on content, the part I most enjoy.
There’s no absolute right answer for everyone, but hopefully these insights help you decide what’s right for you.