The great blogger debate: Blogger vs. WordPress. There are other options, but these are really the big kids in the sandbox.
After just over two years blogging my little heart out on Blogger, I made the leap and wrote about my switch from Blogger to WordPress shortly after I jumped the Blogger ship. I didn’t have much experience with WordPress (obviously) so I had little knowledge to compare the two from an operational perspective at the time I wrote the first post. With some time under my belt running a WordPress blog, I thought I’d follow up with more specifics to help those of you wavering about which platform is right for you.
I Vote for WordPress
To cut to the chase, I’d recommend WordPress for almost everyone if it’s in your budget. I like it so much better than Blogger! I didn’t hate Blogger at all, but everything about WordPress feels cleaner, easier and more streamlined. It’s also where all the big dogs play, so it offers the most advanced capabilities and functionality, most of which I haven’t begun to explore.
Truth be told, I probably never will use most of the really impressive tools because I’ll never need them. I’m just not that big or cool. Maybe in due time, but I’m not holding my breath. For now, I do use a few of them and really appreciate the enhanced capabilities.
The Cost of WordPress
Briefly, in my experience, the upfront cost to move over to WordPress might be $100 – $200 if you’re willing to put in some work yourself. It also costs another $100 – $200 to run the blog each year for things like hosting and other services. You can read more about the specific details and costs of my transition from Blogger to WordPress.
A Few Reasons I Love WordPress
I’ve highlighted a few reasons that follow about why exactly I’d recommend WordPress over Blogger if you feel you can afford it. Most, if not all of the reasons, aren’t really WordPress itself. Instead, I love products and services I can use on WordPress that aren’t available on other platforms. (I haven’t yet found anything I miss from Blogger.)
Genesis by StudioPress
You can read a little more about themes and frameworks in my original post. I use the Genesis framework, a very popular, clean, and easy to use option. Consider this the engine that runs my car. I highly recommend this!
Restored 316 Designs
I use the Simply Charming theme from Restored 316 Designs. This child theme overlays Genesis, in a sense, and is like the body and accessories of my car that make it look lovely and operate better. This holds all the bells and whistles.
I’ve been reading many articles and listening to podcasts lately about how to make a blog more effective, more aesthetically-pleasing, and just plain better. Almost every feature recommended is already built into the Simply Charming theme. Some examples of recommendations include end of post templates and calls-to-action, sidebar newsletter sign ups, branded social media buttons, easy and clear navigation tools, and so many others.
While I have to write the end of post copy, add the newsletter sign up URL links, etc…, the theme includes really easy-to-use boxes I can fill in to set these things up without ever touching HTML code or adding additional plug-ins. It’s truly lovely.. or simply charming, shall I say. (Cheesy, but you either laughed or rolled your eyes. It was worth it.)
I’m far from an HTML coding expert. I have just enough knowledge to be slightly dangerous. But the code in WordPress (or Genesis? not really sure) feels so much cleaner! I recall days typing away in Blogger and having a heck of a time getting photos to be positioned correctly or type to be spaced evenly. I’d mess with the code thinking I’d fixed it all only to find that when I returned to the regular view, Blogger made some automatic changes in the code to botch it all up again. It was so annoying! That’s not been my experience in WordPress.
Oh Co-Schedule! How I love thee CoSchedule!
I wrote about this application in my first WordPress vs. Blogger post. I shared how I expected to really love it and did after just a bit of time using it. This application seriously might be the best thing that’s happened to my blogging workflow ever. My editorial calendar integrates with WordPress and certain social media accounts, so I can manage my upcoming posts and social media touts in a very aesthetically pleasing calendar view (without entering the apps and falling down the Facebook and Tiwtter rabbit holes!). I can also shift scheduling around easily with drag-and-drop functionality.
While using Blogger, I used a Google calendar for my editorial planning. Although it has similar drag and drop capabilities, it didn’t integrate with my social media accounts or the blog posts themselves. It might sound like a small difference, but I really enjoy the value it adds to a more streamlined workflow.
The application is built for both small bloggers and larger platforms with multiple writers and much more sophisticated processes. I don’t pay for or use most of the functionality geared toward larger blogs. I don’t need it as an itty bitty blogger sitting in my my bedroom typing away. But my account, the most basic one available, still is well-worth the cost.
P.S. If you’re not interested in CoSchedule, that’s totally cool. Really! But if you are interested in using CoSchedule, I’d be over the moon if you used my referral link when you signed up. Just saying…
Overall Aesthetics and User-Friendly Platform
I think it’s due in part to using Genesis and Restored 316 Designs. But no matter, everything about using WordPress just feels so much easier. I feel like I have a lot more control over everything (without being bogged down by limited coding and technical knowledge). When I work in the platform, it feels cleaner and easier to navigate. It’s easier to update and customize. It’s pretty much easier to do anything I want to do. And it looks a billion times prettier (for whatever that’s worth).
Own the Land on Which You Build Your House
As I mentioned a month or two ago, I recently attended SoFabU On the Road in Chicago. This blogger conference provides education and networking for those of us pursuing this crazy world of writing and sharing and creating on the ginormous Internet. We might be a crazy bunch, but that’s precisely why I enjoyed the day with so many others who feel my blogging fire. #NerdFest #WeLoveIt
At the conference, Jennifer Evers presented a host of useful information. She shared an analogy that helps clarify the ‘owning your own content’ debate that often flies to the forefront of the Blogger vs. WordPress discussion. She said, and I paraphrase, “Building and owning a blog on a third party hosted blogging platform [like Blogger] is akin to building a house on a rented plot of land.” In other words, you’re all good until the owner of the land decides they are no longer interested in having you there, for whatever reason that may be. Your house doesn’t do you much good if you can’t inhabit the land on which it sits.
To keep her comments in context, Jennifer shared this as part of a presentation directed toward bloggers looking to turn their blogs into businesses or use their blogs to support tangent businesses. In other words, their blog is intended to be a component of their livelihood. Building your business on rented property is obviously not highly recommended. Her analogy helps to visualize that. For those looking to grow and monetize their blogs, WordPress is the best option.
Sidenote: While I enjoyed her presentation and learned much from it, I’m not on the path to quitting my day job and becoming a full time blogger. I like my job, quite a bit actually. This is my side hustle, not my main hustle. 🙂
Most people probably don’t intend to use their blogs as significant income generators. If your blog is a hobby, it might not make sense to get your panties all up in a bunch over writing on Blogger. That’s entirely ok. In determining which platform is better for your personal needs, focus on how you (not anyone else) plan to utilize your blog in the future.
As a caveat, I have nearly 500 posts I moved over from Blogger. While I’m far from finished, I have to update each and every one of them because the coding in most cases didn’t transfer over perfectly. It’s boring! It’s terribly boring, and I hate spending time on it! If you think you’re going to move to WordPress eventually, please just do it now! Learn from my endless hours of highlighting and deleting ugly code. It’s mind-numbing.
In the end, I’m a WordPress fan. Maybe I’ve been brainwashed. Really, I think I’ve just experienced something that’s better because far more resources have been put forth to create and enhance it. With better quality, however, comes some additional costs. While WordPress certainly isn’t right for everyone, hopefully this commentary helps you decide what’s best for you.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out via email or social media. I’d be more than happy to answer them!
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