Blogger (aka Blogspot) and WordPress are two of the oldest and most established blogging platforms. Millions of people and companies use them to create beautiful websites and blogs.
“Should I use WordPress or Blogger for my blog?” is one of the frequently asked questions from newbies. This post will help give you an answer.
Whatever platform you choose, you have my full support. Blogging is such an excellent activity and a great way to spend your free time. I recommend it to everyone. I hope that you will get to experience some of the great benefits. It’s amazing to see all the people take up blogging, start their sites, and share their skills with the world.
Blogger vs WordPress: I recommend WordPress. Here’s why
I’ve experienced many wonderful benefits of having my blog. It has made an incredible difference in my life. I’ve met new people, became a better writer and a better communicator, a better marketer, and even got a new job thanks to my blogging efforts. There’s a great value in having your online presence and building an audience.
Having a complete control and ownership over my site, the look and feel, and the way I present my content are the main reasons why I pick WordPress. This is where WordPress excels and why it’s my preferred content platform.
WordPress powers 27.7% of all websites online as of March 2017. Over 75 million people and brands have chosen to use it. Many of the biggest organizations too, such as Facebook, Google Ventures, eBay, CNN, NASA, and Mozilla. Here’s a list of Fortune 500 companies using WordPress to power their sites.
All these companies use WordPress to create a broad range of beautiful and impressive sites. From large business websites to personal blogs. It’s for everyone. I run all my projects on WordPress too.
Blogger only powers 1.1% of the web. It’s a simple platform that’s easy to use, but it just doesn’t cut it with regards to flexibility and customization of running a site, and the innovation and upgrades of the platform itself.
The open-source community behind WordPress provides many of the unique benefits and advantages to the platform. There are tens of thousands of blog design themes created by hundreds of thousands of people and developers in the active community. Most of them are free for you to use to make a great looking site in minutes.
There are also more than 45,000 plugins and add-ons that allow you to extend your site’s functionality and add new features. Most are free to use. All this without needing to know how to code and without any web design experience. Simply install and activate.
Here’s also a summary from Google themselves on the WordPress vs Blogger question:
Blogger: A quick overview
- It’s got all the basics covered: very straightforward and easy to use
- You don’t own your site. Google owns it. You may risk having your site be shut down without warning or explanation
- You need to have a Google account
- Your URL is yourname.blogspot.com, but you can transfer your own domain name
- Limited choice of design templates means it’s hard to make your site look different and unique
- Template Designer makes it easy to change simple things such as background, column width, fonts, and colors
- You can do HTML changes to your template through a browser interface
- No access to FTP
- No plugins, but there is a decent number of simple gadgets that you can use to improve your sidebar and footer
- Integration with your Google Adsense account. Allows you to simply add banner advertising and start making money
- Integration with Google+. Post there and integrate Google+ comments
Blogger is a nice place to start your adventure. It can help you discover what it’s all about. The problem is that it’s limited, outdated and not very future proof.
If you have bigger ambitions, such as creating a professional web presence or building a business, it’s not the ideal long-term solution.
The state of the Blogger world
Blogger is not a viable option when it comes to the long-term sustainability. It currently doesn’t get much attention from Google. Everyone has seen the fate of Google Reader and other apps Google decides to neglect.
On the one hand, Google is one of the most innovative companies. They run great apps such as Google Photos and Inbox. On the contrary, they’ve decided that Blogger doesn’t fit in their plans. That’s what the lack of updates, and innovation tells us.
There’s been minimal to none big developments on Blogspot for a while now. User interface, usability, the look and feel are outdated compared to more modern platforms. Google seems to just patch things up to keep it from completely breaking down.
Look at this list of updates. Since the start of 2015, the only significant was the introduction of HTTPS. More recently there were some usability updates in order to make the site easier to use for regular users. Still, it just cannot compare to WordPress, a platform that is continuously upgraded and improved by the active open-source community of hundreds of thousands of developers.
Some of the few changes Blogger has done in the recent years have negatively affected users. These include trying to restrict users from posting certain types of content, limitations in pagination, and even blocking of access from specific countries.
The lack of ownership and control
Blogger may decide to shut down your site if they think that your content violates the T&C’s. Most sites won’t be affected by this. Before making your decision on what platform to use, it’s important to know that you don’t have the full control.
A platform that owns your site can simply decide to shut it down. Without giving you a warning. Without even giving you the reason or explanation for their action.
There’s a well-documented example of Dennis Cooper’s blog. It was hosted by Blogger for more than fourteen years. Suddenly it got deactivated by Google on June 27th, 2016.
There’s a petition to get it restored. There’s a complaint made by the lawyers but no word back from Google. No explanation other than that “the specific Terms of Service violations are ones we cannot discuss further due to legal considerations.”
You don’t want to risk being in a similar situation. Losing many years of your work without a warning or an option to back it up.
WordPress: Summary of the features
- WordPress is a flexible solution with many lots of room to grow, and expand your site
- It’s also the platform to go for if you want the freedom: Full control, flexibility, and ownership of your site
- An open-source software with a vast and vibrant community of developers and designers and multitudes of conferences and meetups
- A wide range of design templates to help you create a pretty looking site without a need of design skills
- There’s a plugin for that. Make changes and add features without any coding know-how
- Ability to export and import your content to and from other platforms
- Manage your blog and publish content through the browser-based dashboard, desktop clients for Mac and Windows, and mobile apps for Android and iOS.
There are two ways to start your WordPress adventure. The self-hosted and the hosted version. The difference between the two is like owning or renting a house.
The self-hosted WordPress.org is where you actually own your house. You run your site on a server that you purchase from a web host. This is what I do. The hosted version, WordPress.com, is where you rent your “house” and let WordPress.com host it for you. Click here for my detailed guide on the difference between the two versions.
How to launch your site with WordPress
Self-hosted WordPress needs a domain name and a web server to work. A domain name is the address people will type to get access to your site. The hosting server is where you’ll store your content making it accessible to anyone in the world.
For the easiest possible install, I recommend Bluehost. It’s simple to start with the 0ne-click installation. They also offer a free domain name and an affordable hosting account with unlimited space. WordPress officially recommends them. Take a look at my guide for full step-by-step instructions.
Disclosure: I do earn a commission if you sign up to Bluehost using my link at no extra cost to you. Please know that I only recommend products and services that I find helpful and useful. If you do choose to purchase through my affiliate link, thank you for your support!
Moving your blog from Blogger to WordPress
Sometimes the time is right to move your blog from one platform to another. You may have outgrown the platform, you may want to do a change that the platform doesn’t allow you to do, or you may just need a fresh place to work in. Blogging platforms are flexible and allow the content archives to be exported/imported into other platforms.
Following is the step-by-step guide on how to transfer your Blogger blog to WordPress without losing any of your subscribers, without losing your search engine rankings and without losing your traffic.
Now that you have your WordPress site ready and installed, it is the time to transfer your Blogger content to it. It is simple to move your Blogger to WordPress. The open-source community of WordPress is ready to welcome Blogger users. A free tool has been developed to import posts, images and comments from a Blogger account into a WordPress blog. This “Blogger Importer” plugin has been used by more than 500,000 bloggers to transfer their blogs.
- In your new WordPress Admin area go into Tools > Import in the left hand sidebar.
- Click “Blogger” and on the pop-up window click “Install Now”.
- Then click on “Activate Plugin & Run Importer”.
- Now click “Authorise” to tell Blogger to let your new WordPress account access your Blogger account. Note that if you get an error message about Google no longer supporting OAuth 1.0 use this plugin instead: Blogger Importer Extended.
- This will transfer you to your Google Account. Click “Allow Access”.
- Next page will show the status of your Blogger posts, comments, images and links. This is how the screen looks like for the example blog I created for the purpose of this guide. Click “Import” to start the transfer process to WordPress.
- When the import has concluded the “Import” button will turn into the “Set Authors” button. Click on the “Set Authors” button.
- This takes you to the “Author Mapping” page which allows you to assign the imported posts to your author name on your new WordPress blog. You can also create a new user and come back to this page before assigning the post. Select the user you’d like to assign the posts to and click “Save Changes”.
- Congratulations! The process of importing your Blogger content to your WordPress blog has now been completed.
- In Settings > Permalinks in your WordPress admin make sure to select the structure of URL’s that fit the structure you had on Blogger.
Redirecting Blogger visitors to your WordPress blog
- Now we just need to tell Blogger where your new site is in order to keep the subscribers, visitors and rankings. To do this activate “Blogger To WordPress” plugin made by rtCamp in your WordPress admin. It will help automatically redirect your Blogger visitors to your new WordPress blog. Install and activate this plugin.
- After activating the plugin go into Tools > Blogger To WordPress Redirection in your WordPress admin and click on the “Start Configuration” button.
- Now a list of imported Blogger blogs will be shown – there should only be one as you have only imported one blog. Click on the “Get Code” button next to the correct blog.
- This will generate the code for you. Copy the generated code.
- In your Blogger Dashboard go to “Template” menu and click “Edit HTML” on the theme you are using.
- First take a backup of the template by copying and pasting the existing code into an empty Notepad document. This is just in case if something goes wrong you can always paste this code back and fix the error.
- Paste the copied code replacing all the existing code in the template and click on “Save Template”.
- This should be it. To check that everything works try and enter your Blogger blog or one of your old Blogger post URL’s in your browser. It should automatically redirect you to the front page or to the same post on your new WordPress blog.
- Note not to delete your Blogger blog as that blog is still used in order to redirect your visitors.
Redirecting Blogger RSS feed & subscribers to WordPress
- Last step is to redirect your RSS feed and subscribers. In Blogger Dashboard go to Settings > Other. In “Post Feed Redirect URL” click “Add” to enter your WordPress feed URL – by default the URL is http://yourdomainname.com/feed/. Click “Save Settings”.
Your Blogger posts and comments are on your new site now, your search rankings are intact and your visitors and subscribers automatically get redirected to your new blog. You are ready to start growing your site now. The admin dashboard is where all the day-to-day magic happens.
Explore the opportunities and possibilities with your new site. There is a medium sized learning curve to get used to mostly because of many more options but you will find WordPress quite simple to use. Happy blogging!