of WordPress?” Sure, WordPress gives you pretty much unlimited freedom
to do anything you’d like with your site, there are thousands of
plugins, you can self-host, and with server-side code (PHP) and a
database (MySQL), the sky is the limit.
But we see that as the problem. Unlimited potential often means
unlimited potential to get lost, screw something up, or fail to secure
something. And to be blunt, the vast majority of WordPress sites don’t
need to be done in WordPress, but they’re paying for hosting, hopefully
spending time with security patches, and worried about their site’s
uptime because they believe it’s necessary.
You can make a list of the things that the majority of websites and
blogs need, and almost all of the (90%+) can and have been done in
Blogger. A simple Google search will find you a tutorial for how to do
just about anything in Blogger. A contact form, a slideshow, 5 pages of
text with images, a blog functionality with social sharing buttons?
Piece of cake.
Reason 2: it’s free
No strings attached (so long as you don’t violate the Terms of Service
by being a spammer or posting prohibited content), no subscription fees,
no registration fees, no upsell fees. Free.
Reason 3: high level of customization
Beyond thousands of free templates for download from 3rd party websites,
you can use the customization tool to transform your template without
knowing CSS. And if you want to go in and edit your template, you have
Reason 4: free hosting from Google
And not just free hosting, but 99.999% uptime hosting!
Should your website get a lots of traffic, or even a very sudden surge
of traffic, rather than your hosting company getting mad at you and
shutting down your site, or your site getting extremely slow to load,
your Blogger site will keep serving at peak performance. With hosting
like this you don’t need to worry about getting too popular.
Reason 5: integration with Google product suite
Google+, Google Places, Picasa Web, Picasa Creative Kit, Google Drive,
Google Docs, FeedBurner, Google Webmaster, Google Analytics, Google
Merchant… all of them are continually being improved, and continually
being more and more closely integrated into a cohesive product suite.
And with Google Apps for Business it makes it easy to manage everything
in one place. Don’t think of Blogger as a standalone website management
tool, but the part of a suite of tools that can be used to extend your
site and business.
Reason 6: managed security
Do you know how to update your CMS and implement security patches? Do
you plan on staying current on them? If you’re using WordPress, you’d
better stay informed before your site gets hacked. But if you’re using
Blogger you have nothing to worry about.
Reason 7: custom domain pointing
Adding a custom domain to your Blogger site costs you nothing besides
the purchasing of your domain, and you can purchase that domain at any
registrar that you choose.
Reason 8: show up in search results faster
Did you know that Blogger sites are added to the Google search index
within 24 hrs of you creating your Blogger site? And did you know that
it can sometimes takes weeks or even months before your WordPress site
is indexed? Faster indexing means your site can start getting traffic
Reason 9: search engine benefits
One of the main reasons that people seem to swear by WordPress is the
perceived SEO benefits, not through WordPress itself, but through the
add-ons that give it better SEO. With Blogger’s recent addition of search engine preferences the playing field has been leveled. With the faster indexing, advantage goes to Blogger.
Reason 10: easy to use and understand
This is subjective, but even by its detractors, Blogger is considered
the easiest blogging platform to use, mainly because the interface and
editor are so easy to use. Compare below if you’d like, but we tend to
Add onto this that you can create a new blog in minutes, don’t have to
understand FTP or follow installation instructions, don’t need to
purchase a hosting service, don’t need to tinker with code, don’t need
to manage passwords (beyond your own Gmail password)… well, it’s just
And from a designer’s point of view…Wonder Forest
BlogTrends on Twitter recently asked: “Blogger is free; Is being self-hosted on WordPress really worth the financial investment?”
I’ve been wanting to write a post about Blogger vs. WordPress for quite some time so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.
To answer the question, it really depends. First of all, I work with both Blogger
and WordPress. This blog is hosted on Blogger, and I also do websites
for businesses using WordPress often. I’ve had my own self-hosted
Wordpress sites in the past so I’m not completely against one or the
other. The thing is, however, there seems to be this idea that if you
want to be taken seriously, you need a WordPress blog. This simply is
not true, and I’ll tell you why sometimes WordPress isn’t a good idea for some.
Please note that in this post I am particularly talking about the
self-hosted version of WordPress, not the “yourname.wordpress.com”
shared hosting version, as that doesn’t even compare to either and
offers only a fraction of the abilities.
Let’s get right to it. Blogger offers a free service that is easy to
customize. All of your content is stored on the Google servers, so you
don’t have to worry about hosting fees, or even bandwidth. There is a
limited number of widgets you can add to your sidebar, however I don’t
find that many more are usually needed anyways. You can control the
layout and design through Blogger’s simple editors and see your changes
in real-time through the Template Editor. The post editor also offers
all of the basic functions you need to compose nice posts, as well as an
HTML area for more advanced users. Photos are uploaded through Google
Picasa, which again is stored on your own Google account and not on your
own servers. You can easily backup your blog and content through the
WordPress is a more complex platform. Before you install it, you will need to search for a web host
that offers the space, uptime, and bandwidth that your site needs…
hopefully at a reasonable monthly cost. If you’re not familiar with web
hosting, it’s pretty common that you could be overpaying for services
that you don’t need, and on the flipside you could also not be paying
for enough. Websites with a lot of traffic consume a greater amount of
bandwidth. Bandwidth can be thought of pretty much the same way as your
monthly cellular data plan. Only instead of YOU using the bandwidth
whenever you load something up, your visitors are the ones using it. So
you can imagine some bloggers’ surprise if their web host suspends their
site for going over the bandwidth allowance. A lot of hosts now offer
unlimited bandwidth, but you do still have to follow their rules in
regards to having your site on their servers.
Once you have a web host and plan picked out, you’ll need to install
Wordpress on your server. Some hosts offer a “one-click” method to do
this, while other times you’ll have to manually create databases and
upload everything yourself. After you have configured your site, you’ll
be greeted with a standard, basic WordPress template. Unfortunately,
here is where it could get complicated if you don’t know what you’re
doing. You’ll generally need to hire somebody to create a great template
for you if you’re not savvy with coding/scripting languages. And it can
get a little pricey (trust me, I do this!). That is because templates
on WordPress are actually hand-coded and created from scratch and
contain a number of files and images which are all stored on your
server. Have I lost you yet?
Moving onto creating posts in WordPress. If you have mastered creating
posts, kudos to you! From a beginner’s perspective, this could take a
little time and you could find yourself getting a little frustrated with
formatting woes and HTML additions. Luckily, there are thousands of
Wordpress plugins that you can add to your blog, some of which include
editor add-ons to save you the hassle of wonky posting. Speaking of
plugins, like I said, there are thousands. This is one upside to
Wordpress that trumps Blogger. You can pretty much find anything from
e-commerce plugins to galleries. The most important thing to figure out
when deciding on which platform to use (in my opinion) is figuring out what you want your blog to do and if you will actually be needing any special addons.
Now let’s talk about SEO.
Since Blogger is a Google product, they pretty much already have Search
Engine Optimization covered. You simply click a few settings in your
dashboard and Google will start crawling your site. You can always get a
little more advanced and tweak your HTML a bit for optimal results if
you know what you are doing. (click here to read my post about SEO Basics for Bloggers!)
WordPress on the other hand, since it’s self-hosted, needs to be
“prepped” for search engines, and you might want to search for a couple
SEO pack plugins to help you out.
Without making this post pages long, I’ll just say that WordPress can be
a great platform if utilized properly and by somebody who has the
knowledge to use it. It can take a little getting used to, but is
generally easy once you get the hang of everything. I personally don’t
recommend it for somebody who is just jumping into blogging without any
real idea about any of these things I’ve mentioned. It does take a lot
more time to customize and tweak, and if you don’t have any experience
in this department and want your blog to look good, you might consider
hiring an outside source. Another thing to mention (and I don’t want to
scare you, but it’s important I think because I’ve had it happen to a
good majority of my WordPress clients) is that you are susceptible to
hackers. Unfortunately since WordPress is so commonly used and
self-hosted, it’s not always as secure. There are bots that sniff out
Wordpress sites and attempt to crack your passwords. Certain third party
plugins you add could be less secure and open up the backdoor of your
site, so to speak, allowing access to change your site’s internal
html/php files. It’s quite a pain in the ass to fix, so you really do
have to upkeep your site… Install the latest security patches and
versions each time they come out, and make sure your passwords and
everything are secure. Also do regular backups.
Blogger is my top choice for blogging because of its ease and
customizing abilities. It really isn’t any less feature packed than an
out of the box WordPress site at all, and I think that is where some
people get lost. You can completely overhaul the look of it, and style
it to suit your own brand. It’s generally also cheaper to hire somebody
to customize it for you. Since it is also connected with the Google
network, you get additional features like Friend Connect and easy
commenting abilities. You can also set up your own custom domain easily.
You don’t really have to worry about the security issues like you do
with WordPress, because Google has that down pretty well. You DO however
have to abide by Blogger’s terms of service and if they find your blog
too spammy, might delete you. I backup my blog every week or so through
Blogger (Settings > Other > Export Blog) just in case something
ever happens that is out of my control. It is worth mentioning that this
could also happen on any platform though… Self hosted or not as you
are still using a third party server.
In short, go with Blogger if you’re looking for a free, easy,
customizable, no-fuss solution. Go with WordPress if you have the
experience to do so and are looking for more features and want the
control over your hosted files. If you start with Blogger, you can
always easily move over to WordPress in the future if you choose.
Ultimately the decision is yours, but take the time to research both so
you know what they have to offer!