Bloggiesta Mini Challenge: WordPress vs. Blogger

Bloggiesta

Hello everyone and welcome to my Bloggiesta mini challenge! My post will be a tiny bit different from most of the mini challenges because it’s more of a FAQ / tutorial post rather than an actual challenge, but you’ll see what I mean in a second. I hope you’ll enjoy my post and learn something new today! Also, feel free to leave me a message or tweet me if you need help, I’ll be happy to do so. :)

My blog went through some changes in April 2012. I’ve been thinking about moving from Blogger to WordPress for quite a long time but it wasn’t until early April when I finally plucked up the courage and went through with it. Since I know a lot of bloggers are in the same boat and since many people have been asking me about my first impressions with WordPress and the reason why I left Blogger, I decided to write a post about it and explain some of the main differences between these two blogging platforms, my concerns in connection with Blogger and whether it’s worth leaving your old blogging platform or not.

The main reason why I left Blogger was that ever since February of March this year, I’ve had constant issues with comments not showing up, blog titles not showing up, and several other things that made blogging less enjoyable than it was before. Mind you, apart from the time when Google decided to delete my blog for no apparent reason, I’ve been quite happy with Blogger. Up until April.

I’ve been on WordPress for almost 6 months and I’ve never looked back. I love it. For me the most striking difference between the two platforms is how professional WP looks compared to Blogger. And in WP’s case, professional doesn’t equal complicated. I thought I’d be confused with its system and I’d need weeks to figure out how it works but here I was, typing away with a huge smile on my face a few hours after the ‘big move’. :) Anyway, here’s why I think you should go ahead with moving to WordPress. Mind you, I’m talking about self-hosted WordPress blogs, not the free WordPress ones. For more information about the differences between these two, check out this article.

Why switch to WordPress?

▸ Control over your blog

One of the most important differences between Blogger and self-hosted WordPress blogs is the amount of control you have over your blog. Blogger is owned by Google and Google has the right to delete your account without a warning. I’m not making this up and yes, it does happen – it even happened to me once. Apparently, Google may remove your blog even if you use a custom domain name (e.g. myblog.com instead of myblog.blogspot.com) so a self-hosted WordPress site is definitely better in this respect. With WordPress, you’re in control.

▸ SEO

Another reason why I switched to WP is SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It basically includes processes behind improving a site’s visibility in search engine results pages, such as Google. What exactly is “Search Engine Optimisation” and why should you care? More info here. What made me think in the first place was April’s article – apparently, if your blog’s HTML coding is bad, your site will be down ranked. Well, I happened to check my blog with W3C validator while I was still on Blogger and there were almost 600 errors in my blog’s html. I mean, 600?!?! Holy shrimp. The great thing about WP and its blog templates is that they are more SEO friendly. Now that my blog is all set up and my template looks almost identical to the one I had on Blogger, I went back to W3C and checked my blog’s html again – guess how many errors it had? 28. Instead of 600. Sounds a tiny bit better, right? In addition to this, WordPress has a great number of SEO plugins you can install and work with and they’re super easy to use.

▸ Plugins

WOW. One of the things I love most about WP is the awesome plugins. WP makes your life super easy – there are thousands of them and you can access each of them right from your Dashboard.

▸ Simplicity

I just love WP’s post editor. It’s quite similar to Blogger so it doesn’t take too much time to get used to it but it’s much better and easier to use. I’ve constantly had issues with Blogger’s editor and photo uploader so it’s such a huge relief to finally be able to use this one. Plus, I know many people who write their blog posts in Microsoft Word before they post it on their blogs, but I noticed that it tends to mess up their blog’s template (on Blogger). I’m not kidding, I’ve seen it happen many times. The good news is, WP has a button which lets you paste a text from MS Word – AND it doesn’t mess up your theme. Cool, huh? You don’t have to worry about it being complicated even if you’re not a HTML expert – the post editor looks almost identical to the one we have in MS word so you don’t even have to go near the HTML editor button.

▸ Privacy and preventing spam

I know some people are obsessed with privacy and captcha (which I still hate, by the way) but they don’t realize that it’s actually the number one reason why people can’t or simply won’t comment on their blog posts. People don’t want to spend ages on your blog, squinting at the screen and trying to figure out those tiny little words – and when you get it wrong five times in a row, you just won’t want to waste any more time and just move on.

Now, preventing spam on Blogger is quite tricky. You may enable captcha, but it’ll put off people from commenting. You may enable comment moderation but then you’ll have to go through tens and hundreds of comments each day and delete the spam ones manually. BUT -and I’m holding my index finger up here – WordPress has a lot more effective spam-filter called Akismet which does (almost) all the work for you.

Akismet is a built-in plugin for WordPress which basically blocks spam comments for you. It marks all the suspicious comments as spam and puts them in a separate spam folder. These comments won’t show up on your blog until you approve them and mark them as non-spam. There are times when non-spam comments get caught by Akismet and go to the spam folder by accident and vice versa, but it’s very rare. (In the past 6 months since I’ve been using this plugin, there were only 5 spam comments that Akismet somehow missed, and 41 comments that were marked as spam but turned out to be genuine non-spam comments – which is pretty good, I’d say.)

What’s also interesting about WP’s comment system is that in addition to being able to moderate your comments before publishing, you can edit your comments too, which you can’t do on Blogger unless the commenter deletes his/her comment and re-submits it. Plus, WP also lets you password-protect your posts – either all of them, or just the ones you’d prefer not to make visible to the public.

All I can say is, I love the fact that WP makes everything so easy and that’s a huge plus when you don’t have much time beside work and reading. I was REALLY nervous about moving because I had no clue how it all worked and I thought it’d be confusing but it really isn’t. Even if I had the choice now, I’d never even think about going back to Blogger. If you’ve been considering this move for a while just like myself, I would definitely say go for it. And feel free to let me know if you have any questions about WordPress or moving blogging platforms – I’d be happy to help. :)

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24 Responses to “Bloggiesta Mini Challenge: WordPress vs. Blogger”

  1. I switched, too. I had decided to start over with a new concept, and someone talked me into switching from Blogger to WordPress while I was on it. I only took my comments with me onto the new page, carefully reblogged by hand. I’ve never had any problems with Blogger and I miss the simplicity of some features a bit, but generally I’m absolutely content with WordPress. It definitively offers up more possibilities.
    D (@TheBookRogue) recently posted..Movie: The Girl with the Dragon TattooMy Profile

    • Vicky says:

      I agree, 100 %. For me it was simpler in the sense that I got used to the whole HTML template editor thing, for example, and WordPress templates are a lot more confusing and I still have no idea how they work. But as for the post editor, the plugins and such – I got used to them pretty quickly, thank goodness. :)

  2. I’m happy with Blogger. I might have considered WordPress if it weren’t for one crucial thing: you have a choice between free and less-good-than-Blogger, and very expensive. I just can’t afford to self-host, and I think Blogger’s the best choice if you’re not gonna self-host.
    Lianne @ The Towering Pile recently posted..Bloggiesta – To Do ListMy Profile

    • Vicky says:

      Yep, I agree with you on that. I don’t think I would have left Blogger for the free version of WordPress because there’s not much point in that. :) And I was the same as you – I didn’t want to pay for something that’s free on Blogger and I don’t think I would’ve left if I hadn’t had all these issues with their post editor and comments not showing up.

  3. I’m pretty happy with blogspot, even when it has a lot of flaws. I’ve started blogging for fun and I want to keep it that way, so self hosting and paying isn’t necessarily for me. I definitely get the whole wordpress-is-better vibe, so it was interesting and informative to read. If I was thinking about switching, this would have been very helpful. Thanks for sharing! :D

    The whole ‘google can delete your blog’ is scary though. My blog disappeared once because they didn’t allow my name change and I had to do a lot before I got my blog back. I had a slight nervous attack :p
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted..Early Review 2. Anthology – Two and twenty dark tales.My Profile

    • Vicky says:

      Thanks Mel! :D And it really is! I almost had a panic attack when I realised they deleted it – and I still don’t know why or what happened. I got it back the next day after I went through the entire verification process but I was terribly worried. *shudders*

  4. I was wondering if you knew this. If I wanted to switch from blogger to wordpress (the free version)do I lose all my posts from blogger? What about losing followers? How did you handle all that? Also, when people try to go to your old blog, what turns up?
    Jennifer Bielman recently posted..Interview & Giveaway: Gena Showalter, Author of Alice in ZombielandMy Profile

    • Vicky says:

      No, you don’t lose your posts. There’s a plugin in WordPress which imports all your previous posts from Blogger and I’m pretty sure it’s the same with the free version of WP. As for followers, for some reason (which even we don’t understand) our posts do show up in the Blogger news feed so those who previously subscribed via GFC can still see my posts. But since we don’t know how long it’d last, I posted about moving to WordPress before the actual move and let everyone know how they can re-subscribe. You no longer would be able to use the GFC widget, though, which I know is major concern with lots of people. :( I was quite worried before I made the move and thought that it’d put people off but the good news is, I don’t think it affected my readers. Those who are interested in your posts will follow you no matter where you go and your posts will show up in their news feed anyway. :)

      As for the last question: it’s tricky if you don’t have a custom domain name (e.g. myblog.com) but the bottom line is – as far as I know- is that you wouldn’t be able to redirect your Blogger blog to WP.

  5. I am having the other issue. I have two blogs one on WP and one on Blogger. WP was first and it was no problem and easy but then I started a new one and decided to give Blogger a try since most book bloggers were using it. It is soooo easy and I love it so much better. I like crazy easy and Blogger seems baby easy to me. I am still 50/50 about keeping the first site on WP. AARGGHH!! What to do? What to do? Thanks for this post!!
    Alysia @My Little Pocketbooks recently posted..Book in the Spotlight: Winter OmensMy Profile

    • Vicky says:

      Funnily enough, that’s exactly how I felt about WordPress at first. I signed up for a free account before I started my blog (on Blogger) and it seemed ridiculously difficult. So I decided to try Blogger and that’s where I spent the next 6 months. I don’t know whether I’d have switched to this self-hosted WP blog if I hadn’t had all these issues with titles and comments not showing up, etc. But all I can say is, stick with the one you feel the most comfortable with. :) There’s no need to switch to something more difficult – if you’re happy with Blogger, I’d definitely stick to that.

  6. As much as I would love to switch, I just am not in a position to be able to afford my own domain right now. So, for now I’m sticking with Blogger. I’ve had the occasional issue with them, but it’s not really been anything I can’t live with. I think all the reasons you gave are great ones, but for now I’ll stick with where I am. Great post though!!
    Lisa Loves Literature recently posted..Second Chance (The Slayer Chronicles #2) by Heather BrewerMy Profile

  7. I think WordPress is fantastic. I’m actually thinking of offering up hosting or directing people to two wonderful free, no strings attached domain hosting sites run by two very good friends of mine. They host my domains for me and I’ve never looked back.

    <3
    Daphne @ Winged Reviews recently posted..Plague by Michael GrantMy Profile

  8. I use WordPress and am not self-hosted … I really like it! I remember using Blogger in the past and it just didn’t seem very professional to me. WordPress blogs just look better to me.

    Great post! Maybe one day I’ll self-host, but I’m pretty happy right now.

    Thanks for sharing, Vicky!
    Kristilyn (Reading in Winter) recently posted..BOOK REVIEW: I Heart You, You Haunt Me, by Lisa SchroederMy Profile

  9. Audrey says:

    I only started my blog a week ago, and I spent a lot of time trying to decide if I should sign up with Blogger or WordPress. I think Blogger is a good starting place since it’s easy to use. Who knows? Maybe I’ll switch to WordPress in the future. I do have experience with HTML and CSS, so it might suit me better. But for now I’m happy with where I am. Thanks for this post! It’s very informative. I’ll refer back to it!
    Audrey recently posted..Bloggiesta: And so it begins! [Goals & Updates]My Profile

  10. Angie says:

    My only problem with everyone switching to wordpress is being able to following them. I know there are ways….By email… but I get enough spam that I don’t want a bunch of updates from blogs, by RSS, well I don’t use RSS though I suppose I could learn how, by saving wordpress blogs in my favorites which is what I have been doing… well I like to just skim blogs through the blogger updates not go to their page everyday to see what they are talking about especially if possibly the post doesn’t interest me. There is also follow from Network Blogs but that barley works. I follow my own and I think it is supposed to show up on facebook or something but has never worked. Maybe I am making it harder then it is? AYE so confusing!! :)

    Angie

    http://angelasanxiouslife.blogspot.com/2012/02/sad-about-those-leaving-blogger.html
    Angie recently posted..Bloggiesta Day One Starting Line!!My Profile

  11. Liza says:

    I use Blogger for my personal blog and free WP.com for my business (not monetized) blog. Even though WP.com has some limitations over WP.org, I’m still happier with using WP.com over Blogger. I prefer the stats, commenting system, and the built-in blog reader to browse WP blogs and follow them. I can even use the reader to follow blogs NOT on WP.

    Part of the reason I am doing this challenge is to decide whether or not to move my personal blog over to WP.com. The only thing I pay for on WP.com is for using my own domain name. Long term, I will likely switch both blogs to self-hosted WP.

    • Vicky says:

      Oh yes, I prefer WP’s commenting system as well. And Akismet. It made my life so much easier and thank GOD I don’t have to go through all those spam comments one by one. :) But yeah, self-hosted websites are definitely worth it in the long run!

  12. Excellent post here! I’ve read some blogs about people changing over to word press, but never really understood the differences or reasons. But now I do thanks to you!
    Elizabeth@Nightmare on Bookstreet recently posted..Bloggiesta 2012…TO DO LIST..OLE!My Profile

  13. Smash Attack says:

    I switch to self-hosting in March and it was the best EVER.
    Smash Attack recently posted..Andrew Smith Saturdays: The Marbury Lens Discussion, Part FourMy Profile

  14. Lisa says:

    I’ve been toying with the idea of switching to WordPress off and on for a while. I don’t think I’m there yet but I’m bookmarking this and may be back to pick your brain about making the switch one day!
    Lisa recently posted..Bloggiesta – OLE!My Profile

  15. Joanna says:

    I switched from Blogger to WP a few months ago and I like it, but I’m sure I’ve only discovered a small percentage of what I can do there. I paid for my own domain name, does that mean I am self-hosted? See how behind on everything I am? ;-)
    Joanna recently posted..Bloggiesta wrap-up – so many great ideas!My Profile

  16. Amber Stults says:

    I’ve used self-hosted WordPress from day one and love it!
    Amber Stults recently posted..Bloggiesta Time!My Profile

  17. [...] And for those who have been pondering a move to Word Press, Vicky (Books, Biscuits and Tea) tells us the differences between WordPress and Blogger. [...]

  18. I’m glad the move has made you happy! I’m an author and post only about 1-2 times a week, so blogger is okay with me for now, but if Google deleted my blog I would cry for days. ;’(
    Jennifer Lane recently posted..Review: Pushing the LimitsMy Profile

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