Blogger vs WordPress.com: The Showdown

Which to pick? Blogger vs WordPress.com
Which to pick? Blogger vs WordPress.com

Recently, a couple of writers had a discussion on creating/building a website/blog on Facebook.  Where to build, who to go with, where to blog, what’s the difference — all of these questions came up.   Most of these writers are my friends and what they know about blogging could fill a shot glass.  (That’s okay because they have me <grin>)

I’m also starting to work with writers who are new to blogging and want to start building their platform. Questions about blogging come up often.

This post is for them and other writers who need help building a blog to help create their platform. I’m here to help. Just call me the Blog Doctor.

No, don’t call me that. That’s rubbish.

Here’s a break down to the blog/website debate. You can create a site out of blogging platforms, two in particular — WordPress.com and Blogger.  You can do the same with WordPress.org but for now I’m limiting it to these two since they are the most common.   They are also perfect for the beginning blogger and for those who want to do this as cheaply as possible until they can do something bigger and better later.

I’ve blogged on both WordPress and Blogger and they have their plus and minuses. Which to chose will depend on what kind of blogger you hope to become.  I’ve broken down the formats on the characteristics bloggers tend to use the most and what will appeal to writers. 

Ease of use

Blogger buttons
Big, beautiful buttons

For me Blogger wins this one. If you are a Google person, Blogger is extremely easy to use.  You can respond to comments or approve comments straight from your email. Your readers can follow your blog through Feedburner, which you can then use to cater to them if you’re into email newsletters (I am and here’s where you can sign up for mine.)  It’s easy to get a Gmail address with your domain (which looks good on a business card), insert a video from your Youtube channel,  and installing Google Analytics is a breeze. One of my personal favorites are the big, simple buttons — a pencil to write a post, pages to view blog posts — that are across the top of the page. It’s like that through your blogging experience on Blogger, everything is streamlined and everything clear and easy.

That’s not to say that working with WordPress isn’t easy; it’s just not as easy as Blogger. One thing that I do like is that you have this groovy menu on the side as you’re blogging. It’s easier to get from one area of the blog to the other in one click.  It’s also easier to put your posts in categories since the menu is right to the side of it.  However, all this information does make the screen a bit cluttered, but I’m one who likes a lot of information right at her finger tips.

Hey now! The groovy menu
Hey now! The groovy menu

BUT it’s annoying that WordPress.com does not support Google Analytics.  It does have its own analytics, which is easy to get to and read but it does have its limitations.  I really hope that WordPress fixes this in the future.

Apps

I’m not always near a computer when I get the time to blog. I usually have my lovely iPad with me, especially when I’m traveling. I’ve tried both the WordPress app and the Blogger app. To this I say neither. I use the Blogpress app which can be used for both.  It’s easy to use, posts can be saved locally or at the blog site, and it gives you lots of great space to write.

Wordpress app for iPhone. Not too shabby.
WordPress app for iPhone. Not too shabby.

However, I have broken down and gotten the WordPress app on my phone. I don’t blog on my phone but if I’m taking my own picture for a post (which you should do to avoid getting sued) I go ahead and put it in the post and save it as a draft for later.  Yes, the app is pretty easy to use and works great in a pinch.

Theme/How it looks

This one is a bit of a Catch 22. Although Blogger sites are easier to manipulate, there’s not that many cool themes to chose from.  However, WordPress.com has lots of cool themes to chose from but are not easily customizable unless you pay extra for them. The even cooler themes also cost extra.  It depends on what you want to do and how you want to grow as a blogger.

Domain

This one is easy. On Blogger you’ll pay $10/year for your domain. On WordPress.com you’ll pay $18/ year (it use to be $15).

Posting Pictures

I miss you, Picasa!
I miss you, Picasa!

This characteristic is probably the one that drives me the most batty. After so many years with Blogger and being a lover of Picasa picture uploading, all my pictures were at my disposal. Not so on WordPress. I have to go find the picture and either copy the link or download it to upload it to WordPress. It’s annoying and something I’m just going to have to deal with.

Why I moved from Blogger to WordPress

Other than needing a clean start, I know that I will eventually move to WordPress.org (the blogging standard) but I wasn’t ready yet to make the commitment. After having researched, I learned it was easier to move a WordPress.com blog to the .org than it was to move Blogger.  Not that it can’t be done, it’s just easier.

I also like how my site is laid out on WordPress better than Blogger. The menu works better for my readers and the layout is clean yet stylish. However, I do miss Blogger’s ease of use and Google Analytics.

Another thing that I am LOVING on WordPress is that more people are finding and following the blog in a shorter amount of time.  But Blogger has Google Plus which automatically lets other plusers know that you have a post up.

What do I recommend?

At the end of the day, when I work with writers on their platform, especially writers who will have to do a lot of things on their own and have never blogged before, I recommend Blogger. I do tell them the pros and cons, we go over what the standards are and where they eventually want to go with their blog.  When it comes down to it, however, the writers I work with chose Blogger for pricing and ease of use. I don’t blame them. That’s where I started.

Want more info about WordPress.com vs WordPress.org? Here’s a great post by Alta Peterson at Meghan Ward’s site.  She’s got some stuff I didn’t even know about!

So where do you blog? What would you recommend for the beginning blogging writer?

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8 thoughts on “Blogger vs WordPress.com: The Showdown

  1. The problem with blogger is that it is incredibly hard to “mass search” for certain topics. You thus can’t “network” as fast on blogger. WordPress is much easier for that. Much much easier!

  2. Thanks for demystifying this. I get the same question a lot and I haven’t used Blogger, but love WordPress. One note, if you use a WordPress.org (I know you said you’re on .com) site, you can use Google Analytics, you just need the Google Analytics for WordPress plugin.

  3. Hi there .. Thanks for linking to the post I did for Meghan.
    Although I am a wp.org peep I agree that for someone who is really non-technical and who just wants a text-based blog, blogger is great. As a blog reader I love the separate comments window and blogger seems more smooth on my iphone as long as the person is using a super standard template. The thing I don’t like about blogger (as a reader) is that the archiving seems really limited. So if I love a site and want to search the archives I’m always glad if it’s on WordPress.

    There’s really no ‘right’ way to do things in the internet IMO. WordPress just made sense to me fro the first time I tried it out. But I know developers that didn’t have that experience and prefer other platforms. I think whatever people will actually use is the way to go even if the functionality is ‘not as good’ as something else. The point is to do something and interact with other humans. … something I’m working on doing for myself rather than just helping my clients to ‘engage’ … : >

  4. Oh dear! WordPress.com just ate my comment!! points off for that!

    It was something like this:
    Thanks for linking to my post for Meghan. Although I’m a wp.org peep, I agree that blogger is great for non-technical people and people who just want a text based blog. As a blog reader I like blogger’s separate comments window and blogger seems smoother on my iPhone. But the archiving is so limited that if I love a blog I’m glad when it’s WordPress so I can actually find things in the archive.

    I think there’s no right way to do things online really. WordPress just made sense to me from the first time I used it. But I know developers that didn’t have that experience and much prefer other platforms. It’s hard work to engage with people so whatever you will use is the way to go. This is something I’m working on myself rather than just helping my clients do it!

    1. No, no eating. LOL. There is a glitch I wasn’t aware so THANK YOU for pointing that out. I’ll get to work on it today.

      Love your thoughts on this, It’s really one of those topics people are always going to be curious about. The next one I write will probably be when I FINALLY make the leap to .com to .org next year. Am I in for a trip?

  5. Like I said in the Meghan post, the thing you should be most concerned with when moving to self hosted is the ongoing backing up and keeping the software updated which WP.com is currently doing for you. I’ve been trying to pay attention to the ever changing features of wp.com. At some point it seems like it will potentially make sense for people to use wp.com, even for more complex sites. We will see.

    You should def look into how to successfully move the featured images and keep them associated with the posts.

    I’ve moved one site from .com to self hosted and it was quite smooth and easy. I’ve also moved a blogger site to self-hosted WP which went a lot better than you would think.

    I think WordPress provides excellent instructions on how to do the move so that should help. As long as you make sure you have a full backup before you move anything you should be good to go… I’m planning a series of posts about backing up. : >

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