WordPress v Blogger
I’ve been thinking about this post for a while. It’s nearly five months since I moved from Blogger to WordPress and I’ve been coming to some conclusions over that time.
I mentioned to a virtual friend (who has morphed into a real friend) that I had started a post on WordPress v Blogger. “Finish it, please,” she begged! “I’m thinking of changing so I’d love to know what you think!” Once I started really thinking about this post, I decided to do some research and I googled “wordpress v blogger comparison.”
This leaped out at me in the very first page I read :
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. — source TheWonderForest.com
Well, it’s no wonder I’m feeling a little frustrated! I’m using the free version of WordPress which pretty much every article I read dismisses as being restrictive and limiting. Why didn’t I read this five months ago? Well, mostly because it was only written in June…
There’s quite a few “tecchy” WordPress v Blogger articles out there when you start looking. This post isn’t at all tecchy, it’s written from the point of view of someone who just wants to write!
I made the move from Blogger for a variety of reasons, not all of them rational.
Comments. The biggest motivator for the move. I was becoming increasingly irritated by the odious spam comments I was getting on Blogger (just how many artificial or enhanced sexual organs can one woman need??) and, before you suggest it, I flippin’ hate the Captcha verification thingy and would never impose it on my readers!
Inserting Photographs. I was frustrated with the limitations for laying out pictures on Blogger. There are lots of occasions when I’ve wanted to have to photos side by side, or staggered, or just looking a bit fancier.
Layout Envy. The LSH had carefully compared WordPress and Blogger and had opted for WordPress. I liked the layout (Nishita) he chose for his WordPress blog and thought I would have access to a more flexible and more appealing appearance if I made the change.
Ads. The expression “monetise the blog” crops up in blogging circles from time to time. I got the idea that WordPress was going to be better for doing this than Blogger – don’t ask me where I got that notion from, I haven’t a clue.
My Friends Were All Doing It. A lot of bloggers I really like use WordPress. What was I missing out on? I wanted to find out. And yeah, if they all jumped off a cliff, I’d probably want to find out what that’s like, too.
Here’s what I’ve found since last March :
Inserting Photographs. Layout of images has the same limitations as Blogger. They’re so similar, it could be even the same piece of code…
Layout Envy? Frustration, more like it.
I can’t embed videos in my posts unless I pay for an upgrade. I can put them in via youtube. It’s ok, but it’s not the same.
I can’t embed the code provided by Everytrail to display a map marking a new route I’ve done, presumably for the same reason I can’t embed video. That’s why I haven’t been posting maps recently.
I can choose from a wide variety of “themes” for my blog’s layout. Is this a con? Well, yeah. I have to go through a whole pile of themes to see what they look like before I choose one. It’s like trying on clothes – something that very quickly bores me.
Once I’ve chosen my theme, I can’t tweak it, unless I decide to don my very rusty programmer’s hat and start coding in html. I’d love to have the title of each post in bigger, bolder print. I can’t. I’d like a different colour scheme. Nishita offers two choices – charcoal on white or white on charcoal. If I want to change, I’ll have to choose a different theme. Yawn. Or I can select text and change colour one section at a time. Or I can pay for an upgrade.
Ads. How dumb was I. Monetising is much, much easier on Blogger, although rather pointless in my case – this blog is worth a princely $162 per year (source freewebsitereport.org.) I won’t be getting rich on it any time soon! Anyway, I digress… on Blogger, you just decide to have some ads. That’s it. On WordPress, I cannot have ads unless I have 30,000 or more pageviews per month (I wish!) but THEY can decide to put ads on my blog that will earn THEM money. Unless (and I’m seeing a pattern emerging here) I pay for an upgrade.
Community. The biggest pro (and it’s a huge one) is the WordPress community. They really work on trying to get users to look at each other’s stuff. There’s a list of suggestions displayed in my WordPress reader – I’ve found some really good blogs that way. Then there’s the “Freshly Pressed” feature, where they recommend a few posts each day. TailsFromProvence has never been Freshly Pressed (sniff) but this is a really good idea (Hello, Blogger, something you might take on board!).
Commenting. Several computer savvy, intelligent friends from back home struggled to comment on my Blogger blog. They’ve all said that it’s much easier to comment on the WordPress blog. Better still, all that revolting spam is GONE!!! Yes, I get a little, but maybe two or three a week. I got fifteen in one EVENING on the old blog.
iPhone App. An unexpected pro. The WordPress iPhone app is excellent. A superb little addition to my collection of apps – I can do everything from my phone that I can do from my laptop. Last time I checked, the Blogger app still only worked 100% for bloggers in the USA.
That’s a lot of cons and only three pros. I’m sure some people are wondering if I regret moving. Truthfully, yes I do, but I have found a whole pile of new followers and new followees via WordPress which helps to compensate for the weaknesses here.
Would I change back? I’m tempted. I feel very restricted by some of the limitations here. Given that I own the domain TailsFromProvence.com, I would be able to do it without affecting my readers. But I would lose the WordPress community, which I love. Maybe I will splash out and upgrade for video and a full range of font/colour options within my chosen theme.
Would I switch to WordPress.org and self-host? At the moment, no. It strikes me as being a whole pile of extra work, with little extra benefits PLUS the loss of the (to me) biggest WordPress advantage – the community. If you decided to self-host, that’s it, you’re on your own.
While we’re on the subject of blogging and such, what do people think of Bloglovin’? My library of horse blogs is kept there – I thought it would be a nice clean way of splitting horsey and non-horsey stuff. I find commenting on other blogs quite kludgey, and in some cases just plain buggy – there’s a few blogs where I can’t comment from within Bloglovin at all. I wish it would allow easier interaction between users, too. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to do a little private-messaging, or recommending posts to friends?
Anyway, I hope this post is useful to anyone thinking of changing from Blogger to WordPress. I think my advice has to be “Be careful what you wish for” and “Read the small print.”
I was still thinking about this since I hit the “Publish” button and I remembered another important reason why I thought the move would be good. I really like the WordPress “Categories” ability. I like giving readers the option of only looking at Food posts, or Horse posts or whatever. That’s not so easy in Blogger.