January 18, 2013 by jcfarnham
Since I’ve had this blog hosted on both, I was asked by someone over on Google+ to do a post weighing up the pros and cons of WordPress and Blogger.
I should really start by saying that I had a very good experience with both platforms, and certainly couldn’t complain either way. Having tried both, I do have a definite preference, but I’m not here to bash. Most of all I want to present my experiences so new and prospective blog owners can make a more informed choice.
Once you get set up, a blog on either platform is really easy to manage. They both make it simple to write and publish posts and even save drafts for later. On WordPress, I know for certain that you have the option to set up a posting cue time to a customisable schedule. Just perfect for those of you who juggle blogging and a busy life style.
Something I find incredibly useful is having the option to blog from my Android. Once again, both have an app for that (and though I don’t have any Apple products myself, I’d imagine they also support iPhones). The apps themselves, as you expect, do much the same thing. When you open the Blogger app you are immediately confronted by a posting window. I can’t fault them for speed of access, put it that way. And that is, more or less, your lot, but then again what else do you need from a blogging app.
In WordPress, you are confronted by a sleek and simple tiled menu. The nice thing is it’s very simple to find the function you need. Regardless of the eventual necessity to strip down an app to skeleton functionality, they really haven’t missed much out. I also love that it allows me to obsessively check my stats from the moment I fire it up. No faffing around with drop down menus.
Speaking of stats, while WordPress collates any kind of data you could want and more besides (views, views per visitor[!], search phrases, hits, links people are referred from and what they subsequently read…) Blogger wins in one major respect. It allows you to discount your own IP address, giving you a more representative view of your followers. WordPress may also have this function, but if it does it’s either is buried somewhere, or far beyond a layman understanding of web design (you could rig up a system involving Google Analytics to sort things out, but it’s just not as simple as Blogger).
In this category, WordPress wins.
My main reasons for switching hosts were that I was reliably informed by a marketing professional (who specialised in SEO), that WordPress is more searchable in the way that it interacts with Google and its fellows. For a writer at least that’s important. There’s no point having a blog in order to create a community around your craft if your target audience can’t find you.
The most current version of WordPress also links up with a service called Gravatar to provide a like function at the bottom of every post. “Liking” things is a bizarre phenomenon in itself but people love it, so give them what they want you know? The great thing about it is that a Gravatar account acts as a really simple way to associate your name with your blog (and have your links verified so no one can steal your identity) and futher associate that with a single avatar across platforms. Once it’s ready to go, all you have to do is press a single button and anybody who stumbles upon that post can find you if they so desire.
It’s quite an intangible thing but for that reason I get a sense that I’m part of something at WordPress. During my time a blogger I felt somewhat more alone, as though the only way I’d get noticed was by actively dropping links in front of people. That being said, linking either in with a Google+ account or any social media and engaging with those communities really helps, but WordPress seems to tap into that certain magic well known social media sites have.
If followers and findablility is something that you worry about, neither host is obviously better than the other, considering the technique is exactly the same in all blogging cases no matter how you do it. If you want people to read you, and you want to cultivate a loyal readership, you first need to be found. There’s more to it, but it’s down to you and your marketing ability, not the blog software itself.
WordPress has a very nice collection of free but professional looking themes with a high degree of customisation possible even to a non-premium user. I’d imagine if you’d like to pay for premium a whole new world of possibilities are open to you in terms of custom layouts, even the chance to code your own.
Blogger has an equally wide range of possible layout choices, but unless you have an innate understanding of art and website design, it’s not as instantly professional. I found myself searching off site for design tips and plugins. WordPress houses their’s all in one place, and if you need anything else there’s probably a blog out there for it.
The layout I’ve chosen for my own blog is apparently specially designed to be compatible with mobile devices. [So, say thank you for being able to view my blog on most if not all your pods, pads, mobiles, and tablets.]
Now day’s people have numerous chances to read blogs, news items and surf the web on the move. If you can safely say that your blog’s layout works squashed up on small screens, you’re ahead of the game. As far as I can tell WordPress’ community of developers guarantee you compatibility on certain designs. I may have missed something but I didn’t feel the same kind of support over at Camp Blogger. It felt almost DIY at times. For some that’s great, but the WordPress user interfaces makes things easier
Here’s the key difference for me:
Blogger is a blogging platform. It does what it sets out to do, and you get out of it what you put in. Nothing to complain about there. You could do much worse.
WordPress is based on blogging too, naturally, but it looks and acts a lot more like a traditional website host. So much so for that matter that I’ve found myself browsing around author websites and thinking, “hey, I’d love to have a website like this with such an integrated blog,” Well duh, they were made using the WordPress software, and hosted on personal domains.
I’m sure it’s not difficult to tell that I’m a WordPress fanboy at this stage, but I’d like to stand in defense of Blogger. With time and effort on both counts, you can create a successful blog on either host. I’ve seen amateur writer and professional best selling authors on both.
There’s really not a lot in it, but if you’re looking for a good user interface and nice app I’d go for WordPress everytime (even though I seriously miss being able to discount my IP address when it comes to stats).
P.S. If you’re into blogging with co-contributers, WordPress makes that incredibly easy to achieve too. Seems legit.
*18/01/2013 @ 11:53*
My concerns about stats have been answered (thanks zireael07!). It seems WordPress automatically discounts your visits, but only if you’re logged in. That does achieve the more respresentative stats I was after, but being able to discount a ‘fairly’ static IP address on Blogger meant I didn’t necessarily need to sign in.
I’ll update periodically, as and when I’ve collected more user experiences.