I’ve been blogging for more than four and a half years and I thought it might be good to take a break from more serious (?) matters to comment on what I’ve learnt
Been there, done that
The two Blogger blogs were hosted by Blogger, but the second was connected with a website of the same name and with the same design. I now have one blog hosted by WordPress, and this one on my own site. So I’ve tried out a few different ways of blogging.
Blogger vs WordPress?
I have no doubt that, overall, WordPress is the better product – more tightly written and with more features (e.g. plugins to enhance the ‘product’ you offer, and to give you more information about and control over your blog via stats, Search Engine Optimisation and anti-spam). I have found WordPress to be much more professional and much less likely to do the unexpected – for example:
- I sometimes found the Blogger ‘Page Elements’ Design page a little inconsistent, occasionally failing to show the header or not accepting changes to Gadgets.
- When uploading a graphic, Blogger, after 5 years, still inserts it at the beginning of the blog post, not where the cursor is. I can’t believe this annoying feature hasn’t been fixed after all this time.
- WordPress is more organised and structured to help you install and update plugins, get site statistics, filter spam comments, etc.
But there are situations where one platform is preferable to the other:
- Both offer free hosted blogs with plenty of themes to choose from, but WordPress is much more suitable for hosting on your own site and incorporating into a website.
- Hosted Blogger is more flexible than hosted WordPress, with more themes available and easy access to the code if you want to customise. WordPress allows much less customisation on its hosted blog (WordPress.com) but easy customisation if you download from WordPress.org and host it yourself.
- Blogger is written in XML and WordPress in php, so if you want to get into the code, your abilities in these two languages will determine your choice. I find php, with its many smaller files, slightly easier and more structured, whereas XML is one long file which I find more difficult to deal with, but that is just a personal preference.
- Blogger allows a limited number of pages in addition to the posts whereas WordPress allows unlimited pages. This means you can use WordPress as the basis of a full website if you wish.
- I find WordPress to be better documented and the internet-wide WordPress community to be more coherent and helpful.
Thus I feel Blogger is only the better platform if you want free hosting and you want to be able to do some serious customisation and you don’t need more than ten non-blog pages, while WordPress is better for most other situations.
The world of blogging
Owning a blog is an interesting experience. It takes time to write posts, and you’ll probably find yourself taking more time to visit other blogs. I have ‘met’ many interesting people, most very pleasant hand helpful, some not so, while commenting on other blogs or reading comments on my own. It is easy to form links and friendships with like-minded people, or even debate opponents.
If you want to get into blogging, there is plenty of advice and help out there. One place to start which I recommend is Grace Blogging, which will give you a lot of practical advice and examples on setting up and customising a WordPress blog.