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.
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.
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.
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.