WordPress and Blogger are two well-established content publishing platforms. “Should I use Blogger or WordPress for my new site?”, is a frequently asked question from newbies. This comparison post will help you answer that question.
My recommendation is WordPress. Here’s why
I have experienced many wonderful benefits achieved by having my website, and this has made an incredible difference for me in my life. There is a great value in building your own online presence and growing your audience. Having a complete control, ownership and freedom over your site are the main reasons why I pick WordPress as my preferred content platform.
Blogger is a simple and easy to use platform, but it just doesn’t cut it in regards to flexibility and customization. That is where WordPress excels. Over 60 million people and brands have chosen it to power their sites and use it to create a broad range of beautiful and impressive blogs and websites.
The open-source community behind WordPress provides many of the unique benefits to the platform. There are thousands of free design themes for you to use to make a great looking website, and there are even more plugins that allow you to extend your site by adding great features. All this without needing to know how to code or without having any web design experience.
Many of the biggest organizations run their blogs and sites on WordPress. Some examples are Facebook, Google Ventures, eBay, CNN, NASA, and Mozilla. I run all my projects on WordPress too. WordPress actually powers 26.4% of all websites online while Blogger powers 1.2% (as of May 2016).
How to launch a blog with WordPress
Self-hosted WordPress needs a domain name and a web server space to work. A domain name is the address people will type to get access to your site, and the hosting server is where you will store your content and files making it all accessible to anyone in the world.
For the easiest possible install of a WordPress, I recommend Bluehost. It is simple to use, offers a free domain name, an affordable hosting account with unlimited space and is officially recommended by WordPress. Click on the image below to get the process started:
For full step-by-step instructions on installing WordPress take a look at this guide.
Disclosure: I do earn a commission if you signup to Bluehost using my link at no additional 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!
Minimal to none active development on Blogger
Blogger might not be a viable option in regards to the sustainability of the platform. It doesn’t get much attention from Google now, and everyone has seen the fate of Google Reader and some other products Google decides to neglect.
On one hand Google is one of the most innovative companies with great apps such as Google Photos and Inbox. On the contrary, they’ve decided that Blogger is not something they really believe in for the long haul. That’s what their lack of updates, upgrades, and innovations to the platform tells us.
There’s been minimal to none development on the Blogspot platform for a long time now, so the user interface, the usability, the look and the features feel outdated compared to more modern platforms. They’re simply just patching it up to keep it from completely breaking down. Look at this list of updates. Since the start of 2015, the only significant update to the platform was the introduction of HTTPS. It just doesn’t compare to WordPress, a platform that is continuously updated and improved.
Some of the few changes Blogger has done in the recent years have affected users negatively such as trying to restrict users from posting explicit content, limitations in pagination and even blocking of certain countries.
The risk of having your blog shut down without warning or explanation
In case there are issues like someone reporting that you use copyrighted material like pics or videos, Blogger may shut down your site. Same can happen if the algorithm thinks your content is spam or that there’s another violation of the T&C’s. Most sites won’t be affected by this, but it’s important to be aware that you do not have the full ownership and control of the site before making your decision on what platform to use.
A platform that you cannot control can simply decide to shut down your blog without giving you any warning or without even giving you the reason or explanation for their action. There’s a well-documented example of Dennis Cooper’s blog that was hosted by Blogger for more than fourteen years before suddenly getting deactivated and shut down by Google on June 27th 2016.
There’s a petition to get it restored, there’s complaint made by the lawyers but no word back from Google. There was 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, explanation or an option to back up and download your content.
- It’s got all the basics covered
- Very straightforward and easy to use
- You don’t own your site. Google owns it
- 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 background, column width, font, and colors
- You can do HTML changes to your template through a browser interface
- No access to FTP
- There are no plugins
- 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 add banner advertising and start making money
- Integration with Google+ allows you to post on the platform and pull Google+ comments instead of default Blogger comments
- You have the risk of having your site being shut down without any warning or explanation for the action
Blogger is a nice place to start your blogging adventure and see what blogging is all about, but it’s limited, outdated and not very future proof. If you have bigger ambitions like creating a professional web presence or building a business, it’s not the ideal long-term solution.
- WordPress is a flexible solution with many design and functionality options, room to grow and expand your site
- It’s also the platform to go for if you want complete freedom regarding control, flexibility, and ownership of your site
- What’s great about WordPress is that it’s an open-sourced software with a vast and vibrant community of developers and designers
- A wide range of design templates to help you create a pretty and unique looking presence without need of design skills
- There’s a plugin for anything you want to do, and it allows you to make changes and add features to your site without needing any coding skills
- Complete flexibility regarding import and export of your content to and from other platforms. If you’re on Blogger and want to move to WordPress, this is your guide
- Many different official ways of managing your blog and publishing content from web browser based dashboard to desktop clients for Mac and Windows and mobile apps for Android and iOS.
For beginners, there is a bit of confusion surrounding WordPress so let’s clarify that. There are two WordPress versions: the self-hosted and hosted version. Like in Blogger vs. WordPress, the difference between the two WordPress versions is like owning or renting a house.
The self-hosted WordPress is where you actually own your house (you own your site) and this is the version I recommend. The name for this self-hosted version if WordPress.org. The hosted version is called WordPress.com, and that’s the one where you just rent your “house” from WordPress. In many ways, it’s similar to the service that Blogger provides. If you want the full rundown on the differences between the two WordPress versions, click here for my detailed guide.
Take some time and make the right decision
It’s best to make the correct decision at the beginning of your blogging career and not have to make some significant changes to your site a year in or so. Making big changes to your site when it’s established might mean a loss of search engine rankings and a drop in traffic so making the correct decision at the start is important.
Whatever platform you use for your site you have my full support. Blogging is such an excellent activity, a great way of spending your time and I recommend it to everyone. I’m jubilant you’re considering to start blogging and urge you to do so in the hope that you will get to experience some of the great benefits.
It’s amazing to see all the people taking up blogging, starting sites of their own, sharing their knowledge and their skills with the world, building audiences, making friends, and even making money and building careers from their online projects. Good luck and happy blogging!