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 question from newbies. This comparison will help give you an answer:
My recommendation is 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 is the main reason why I pick WordPress. This is where WordPress excels and why it’s my preferred content platform.
WordPress powers 27.3% of all websites online as of January 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.
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 Bluehost. Click on the image below to get the process started. 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!
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.
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.
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. Here’s a guide on how to move from Blogger to WordPress
- 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.
Take some time to make the right decision
It’s important to make the correct decision at the beginning of your adventure. This helps you not have to make dramatic changes a year in or so. This might mean a loss of search engine rankings and a drop in traffic.
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. Good luck and happy blogging!