So you’re new to blogging and trying to decide which platform would suit you best. Let’s compare both platforms for a moment…
Blogger offers a free service that is easy to customize and great if you have no experience with coding. You can control the layout and design through Blogger’s simple editors and see your changes in real-time. The post editor also offers all of the functions you need to compose nice posts, as well as an HTML area for more advanced users. All of the photos you up upload are stored in your own Google account (for free!) and not on your own servers.
There are a limited number of widgets you can add to your sidebar, however, I typically don’t find that many more are needed anyways.
Since Blogger is a Google product, they also already have Search Engine Optimization covered. You simply click a few settings in your dashboard and Google will start crawling your site. If you are a more advance user, you can easily tweak your site’s code to allow for greater SEO abilities.
WordPress is a more complex platform. In this article I am specifically talking about the self-hosted WordPress, and not the shared hosting “yourname.wordpress.com” version as that doesn’t even compare to either platform and offers only a fraction of the abilities.
To get started with WordPress, you will first need to find a web host that offers the space and bandwidth that your blog needs. This will depend on your monthly traffic and how much uploading you do. There will be a monthly cost you will pay your hosting company. Bandwidth can be thought of like your monthly cellular data plan. Only, instead of you using the bandwidth, your visitors are the ones using it on every page load. So you can see how websites with a lot of traffic consume a greater amount of bandwidth. You need to make sure you don’t go over this allowance or your host can suspend your site. 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. Remember, you don’t own the server, you are simply paying rent each month to store your files.
A basic WordPress installation comes with a standard plain template. It could get complicated if you don’t know what you’re doing. You’ll need knowledge with HTML and PHP in particular to create a custom theme, or you can hire somebody to create one for you. Beware though, this can be costly (more-so than Blogger) because of the additional time and knowledge required to build a theme.
WordPress has thousands of plugins. This is one of the features that trumps Blogger. You can find anything from e-commerce plugins to galleries, and I recommend setting up some SEO plugins since you’re pretty much on your own in that department.
WordPress can be a great platform if utilized properly and by somebody who has the knowledge to use it. I don’t recommend it for somebody who is brand new to blogging and is unfamiliar with any of these things I’ve mentioned. It takes more time to customize and tweak, so you might consider hiring an outside source. One downside worth mentioning is that you are susceptible to hackers. Unfortunately since WordPress is so commonly used and self-hosted, it’s not always as secure. They do their best to keep security tight, but you’ll need to take the time to update your software and do a little house cleaning from time to time.
Blogger is my top choice for beginner blogging because of its ease of use and customizing abilities. It isn’t any less feature-packed than an out of the box WordPress site, and I think that’s where some people get lost. It’s more secure, search engine friendly, and you can completely overhaul the look of it and style it to suit your own brand. Since it’s 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 and do regular backups to protect your content (in Blogger go to Settings > Other > Export Blog and save to your computer). I recommend doing a backup every couple of weeks.
Before you choose your platform, think about what you want your blog to do. Will you be needing the additional plugins from WordPress, or can you get by with the standard Blogger features?
In short, choose Blogger if you’re looking for a free, customizable, no-fuss solution. Go with WordPress if you have the experience to do so and are looking for more advanced features. Ultimately the decision is yours, but take the time to research both so you know what they have to offer!
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