Blogging

Blogger versus WordPress

46 Comments 06 April 2011

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When I first started Hipstercrite in 2006 as the shittily titled PlasticLA- which garnered about 8 visitors a week- the only blogging platform I knew of was Blogger. It was common and easy to use. The templates were simple and I didn’t need anything fancy. I stopped blogging for awhile and started back up in 2008 where I jumped from 8 visitors a week to 10. I really only began taking blogging seriously in 2009 when I moved from LA to Austin to work on my writing and where I saw my followers jump from 4 to over 1,000. This was due in part to receiving Blogger’s Blog of Note in December of 2009. Blogs of Note is when Blogger features a blog of their liking for the week. My blog wouldn’t be where it is today without that honor. Between all my social media profiles and blog feeds I have almost 6,000 followers thanks in many parts to Blogger.

However, as time has gone on and Hipstercrite has expanded, the inevitable has happened. I want to move to a more professional and sleeker looking blogging platform. People have been telling me to make the move over to WordPress and I’m about 90% ok with the idea of making that transition.  So what 10% is holding me back? Money, alienating my wonderful followers, and the fear of the unknown.

Knowing what blogging platform is best for you is f’ing hard.

This has been a stressful and educational process for me. Unless I’m blind, it’s been difficult finding information about the pros and cons of Blogger versus WordPress. When I converse with web designers they’re mostly proficient in WordPress or Drupal with little to no knowledge of Blogger and Blogger aficionados don’t really understand WordPress. However, the other day I came across an excellent breakdown of the pros and cons of Blogger and WordPress from one of my new favorite blogs, Will Work 4 Followers, by Dan over at Single Dad Laughing. This blog is a great resource on how to become a successful blogger. He also points out that his very good-looking blogs are made on Blogger.

I’ve been working with a wonderful web designer who is proficient in WordPress and studying Blogger in order to help me better with my situation. He has also been really patient with my back and forth on the two blogging platforms. He and I have come up with a list of pros and cons of Blogger versus WordPress and though WordPress definitely comes out ahead in terms of the next step, it is still a difficult decision to make. If you’re thinking of making the leap from Blogger to WordPress here are some of the questions and obstacles I’ve faced listed below.

*Note- I’m in no way an expert on Blogger or WordPress so my info below could be off. If you see anything that is incorrect or that I may be forgetting, please let me know in the comments section!

Blogger
Pros:
-I’m already on Blogger so I won’t have to worry about transferring content and followers over.
-Blogger has looked after me (loyalty to platform).
-Will cost me less money to customize versus create new blog at WordPress.
-Has a wonderful vast network of bloggers.
-I’m familiar with it and it’s simple to use.

Cons:
-Blogger now offers up to 10 static pages, but makes it difficult to divide old content onto them if you want to create separate categories of your content (i.e. wanting old ‘Austin’ tagged posts to get placed in a new ‘Austin’ static page).
-Doesn’t offer a lot of widgets, especially progressive and useful ones.
-Less snazzy looking templates (old school-looking) and often boring. Even when customized doesn’t always look that great.
-Web designers are less knowledgeable in customizing a Blogger blog.
-Less control over SEO as compared to WordPress.

vs.

WordPress
Pros:
-Better SEO than Blogger.
-Ability to self-host and own content.
-Snazzier looking templates.
-Tabbed pages to divide up content or have bio page etc.
-Better platform to incorporate advertising.
-Easier to create posts from mobile device.
-More progressive widgets.

Cons:
-Will cost more money to transfer content/followers over and set up new design/template.
-Wordpress is a platform I’m not familiar with yet.
-I can either use the free version, WordPress.com, which has limited templates and doesn’t allow customized templates or plug-ins, or I can use the costly version, WordPress.org, which requires me to find my own host and deal with my own back-up/spam/upgrades. Though self-hosting might not be much money a month, having someone knowledgeable in all of this (for I am not) and to take care of my blog for me could end up costing me a lot (see morehere).
-Potentially screwing up my migration of content and followers from Blogger over to WordPress.



What are your thoughts? Should I try to drum up the extra money to put this blog on WordPress or should I stick with the platform that I’m familiar with?

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Your Comments

46 Comments so far

  1. Christine Macdonald says:

    I've seen many WordPress site and I think they are fine, but honestly, I've had great success with Blogger. I've customized my page and love the clean lines of Blogger. On Blogger, I created custom pages ("about, website, reviews, etc) and am happy with that.

    The bottom line is, wherever you end up, you will have success, it's just a matter of how much money you want to shell out and how comfortable you are. I LOVE your Blogger site.

    Either way – you will rock – because, well.. YOU rock. It's the person we want to read, not so much the platform.

  2. Hipstercrite says:

    @Christine- Thanks, Christine! I really appreciate that. I love the way your blog looks. Did you all do yourself or did you have help? Did you find it was easy to customize your Blogger blog?

  3. Christine Macdonald says:

    Thanks! I did it myself. I went in to "templates" then "advanced" and you can take it from there…Pretty user-friendly actually.

  4. Sarah says:

    I wrote about this recently: http://sillygrrl.com/2011/01/21/nerd-q-a-wordpress-com-vs-blogspot/

    If you're just doing a simple site and don't wait to hire a designer or learn to design yourself I'd go with Blogspot because it is super easy.

    But if you're going to build (or pay someone to build) a larger site, with a more complex design it's WordPress all the way.

    And Christine is totally right – if you keep your design clean, then it's all about the content.

  5. Doug says:

    Lauren: I love your blog and I would be reading it every day even if you were publishing it via crayon and lined paper.

    To more useful comments, I use Google reader to manage all the blogs I subscribe to so it would not be any trouble for me if you end up switching to WP. Based on your entry it sounds like you really need to move to WP the question is really when to move. And that would depend on how stressful your life is right now. Only you know that answer to that.

    Keep blogging I really look forward to reading what you have to say everyday!!

  6. Rachel says:

    I thought you could self host on blogger?

    You can definitely get page tabs though! It's a new feature, or at least, I only discovered it recently.

    Also, there are codes our there to have a wordpress style on your blogger blog. You could always try to do something like that.

  7. vince says:

    I love your blog and I rarely comment because the blogger comment workflow drives me nuts.

    WordPress is worth the headache of moving in my opinion

  8. Mikey says:

    I am just getting into blogging (my site isn't finished and no content is complete yet), and I had to research this topic and figure out what I wanted to do.

    I ended up going with WordPress, for a few reasons:

    1. SEO is key. It, quite literally, can control your destiny.

    2. I looked into what it takes to install plugins and themes, as well as editing themes. It takes literally no technical skill. Click here, and click there. I've got several themes and plugins installed now.

    3. I wanted the site to be MINE. No search bar, custom footer, my own domain. It turns out it's not difficult at all to get it up and running.

    4. Versatility. You can do so much more in WordPress with so much less effort.

    I would like that if you wanted to, you could purchase the domain "hipsercrite.com" and then set up a 301-Redirect from here to send all your loyal followers to your own personal dot com site so you don't lose them.

  9. chris says:

    The faucethead blog is set up using WordPress and we like it quite a bit. We've had many clients use them too.

    I like them for the long term solutions [SEO, branding, flexibility].

    drop me a line and I'll let you know what we recommend to our clients, it's a pretty inexpensive solution.

    -ch

  10. em g says:

    Hey Lauren,
    My nonprofit (www.nag-brooklyn.org) moved from blogger to drupal last year. We had an AWFUL time with drupal, so we consulted with my friend/roommate David who is an absolute whiz. He moved all of our stuff to WordPress, and the site looks gorgeous now and is MUCH more user friendly, especially when it comes to inserting pictures and creating pages. I bet if you put a little kickstarter or paypal on your page, some of your devoted readers would pitch in a buck or two to move you to a better platform.

    I also really really reccomend talking to Dave if you are still feeling confused… he freelances web design while on tour with Titus. If you're interested, shoot me a message and I'll give you his email. He's very reasonable because he is an artist and gets it.

  11. Bak says:

    I agree with Mikey. Before I built my website, I looked into Blogger, Drupal and even Joomla. I wanted my website to be mine. No extra bar at the top, no redirection needed.

    What made me choose the self hosted version of WP (.org) was the large community of developers out there. There are plugins for anything and everything. And there's a lotta people out there to help out. Over the past couple years, WP has gotten easier to maintain.

    Finding a host was easy and is not that expensive. I pay $24 for 6 months and that gives me plenty of space to upload stuff.

    The .com version of WP has really been expanded with polls, social networks, multimedia and more.

    But certainly have your current visitors be redirected to hipstercrite.com.

    Good luck to you!

  12. William says:

    I'm debating making "the switch" as well, and so your post was very helpful. I'm loyal to a fault, and so leaving blogger is hard for me.

    It's good to know that WordPress has a free and and then a pricier option, didn't know that…

  13. IT (aka Ivan Toblog) says:

    The simple answer to your question is the answer to do you want to move?

  14. Jessica says:

    Doesn't matter where you go, if at all, I'd follow your blog.

    I'm on Blogger, just out of convenience and the fact that I'm not a serious writer/blogger. However, there are a few things that I've seen on WordPress that I do like, but not enough to make the move.

  15. Kris says:

    Stay with blogger. They've made some great changes. Then again, I'm just very comfortable with the platform, having been with it longer then you, even. And probably a little stuck in my ways.

    I found you because of featured blogger. Have you looked into owning a domain through them?

  16. Dating Sites says:

    Hi,
    This is quite an interesting post. This is a big topic for debate and I feel that the blogger fans will surely come out all guns blazing. WordPress is no way near competing with blogger for sure.
    :)

  17. ISRAEL CARRASCO says:

    I'm not tech sacy so Blogger works for me.

  18. Brooke Farmer says:

    My other blog (you know, the one I've barely done a damn thing with) is on WordPress. It is far less user friendly. This is a serious issue if you happen to be computer retarded. Which I am. And you may not be.

  19. MG says:

    I use wordpress and because my boyfriend is an economist, he's forcing me to learn how to code and all that jazz. There is definitely a learning curve but I have a small handle on it and I'm doing alright (with the HTML business)

    There are a ton of great free templates to use, and I use bluehost ($83 a year) and wordpress.org is free. So it isn't too expensive!

  20. Barbara says:

    Go with WordPress

  21. Tony Russo says:

    You spoke about widgets. There's a really useful "Follow Me" widget to help in the transfer from Blogger to WP. Also, when I first moved I used the excellent "Excerpt editor" plugin on WP to continue posting excerpts on my blogger account. It wasn't labor intensive at all and the "read more" link directed people to my new site.

  22. WILDasaMINK says:

    Ok here's the deal, you just let me know where you choose to blog-I'll copy your site and paste it in my sidebar link nonsense, and I'll still be reading your blog :) Because I don't care where you choose to write, I'll always heart your blog, its comic relief when I want to laugh and its some damn fine reading material if I do say so myself.

  23. joanna says:

    I have really been thinking about moving to WordPress a lot lately. But I need someone to hold my hand through the process i.e. do it for me while i sit and watch. Just thinking about it stresses me out.

  24. Guise Faux says:

    As a very casual, unambitious blogger, Blogger does what I need so far. I haven't exhausted the possibilities yet for creating the overall look I want so the image immediately conveys the snarky content. We'll see down the road.

    From the perspective of a reader of many different types of blogs, I don't see any real differences between any of 'em. It's still content over format, substance over style. I've seen plenty of WordPress based blogs that lack substance, and even more Blogger based blogs with plenty of content and substance accessible in a way that seems intuitive to me.

  25. tennysoneehemingway says:

    When I deleted my old Andy Warhol site, I set up a WordPress site about a year later. Just the free one. In my VERY humble opinion, WordPress is one of the most difficult platforms to navigate and use easily. I'd stick to what you've got on Blogger. I went back to Blogger after all. I had my WordPress site for about six months and I got NO hits whatsoever. You've already got a built in audience, so that wouldn't be a problem but if you're just changing because you're bored, or because you want some fancy template, I think it's the wrong move. Your writing is great on here and I think your site looks great. I'm still not sure why you want to change.

  26. christopher mitchell says:

    Drupal is an application framework, so its really more for building a webapp like twitter or a social network like facebook, for blogging purposes it is overkill (unless you have long term secret plans for world domination).

    WordPress is useless without selfhosting, as you mention. If you are ready to make the commitment to purchasing space and really growing your blogs seo/traffic, wordpress is the way to go. Its not hard to modify wordpress to get the type of look you want and really fancy navigation/widgets.

    Blogger is the easiest solution (with the least granularity of control), and can suffice for a long time. The question to ask yourself here: "What is most valuable? The design in my head (how the site is presented), ease of use, or something else (mobile app access, rss feed options, seo, etc)?"

    Think of it this way: if the issue is just design (what us old hacker types call presentation layer) then stick with blogger and bend it until it breaks, then graduate to wordpress. Any decent designer fluent in jquery should be able modify blogger just as well as wp. It sounds to me like you are interested in some of the nice options that come with wp…so it might be time to graduate.

  27. Samantha says:

    So far for my own experience, I can say that both WordPress and Blogger are give there best to fulfill the satisfactions of their affiliates. I can apply Web Development Los Angeles in both blogging software.

  28. Website designing Hyderabad says:

    Thanks for sharing your incredible thoughts on blogger versus wordpress. it is valuable.

  29. Themespotter says:

    WordPress provides much more flexibility than blogger and is much more scalable. Blogger’s Interface has improved over the years, but is not worked on and updated nearly as much as WordPress. WordPress has a large community of people looking to constantly improve it, while Blogger is pretty far down on Google’s list of products to focus on.

    The many great themes and plugins available for WordPress is tough to beat, and is what really gives it a big edge over Blogger and other software.

    Even for casual bloggers, the appearance of your website is still important. WordPress also has a nicer interface and is easier to learn how to use, in my opinion.

    Switching from one platform to another can be challenging, but most people I’ve spoken to who switched from Blogger to WP were glad they did.

    -Dustin
    Themespotter.com

  30. james says:

    Hi,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    I am using both and I love them both.

    But in my opinion, if you want get more geeky, then WordPress it is.

    And I agree about the SEO!

    Regards,
    James,
    http://nokik.blogspot.com
    http://nagavideosonline.com

  31. Thanks for the post and update. I found it through a search for Blogger and WordPress comparisons. Funny thing is I’m thinking about switching from WordPress to Blogger. I want simple. I moved from self-hosted WordPress to do-it-for-me WordPress because I wanted simple, and I’m glad I did. All I miss is the money I used to make on Adsense ads. I found out I could have Adsense ads on my Blogger site, so I’m thinking of moving my blog over to where I can have simplicity and make money again.

  32. Lori says:

    I have not used either, however it appears Blogger would be the better choice. I say this because their ads are free, customizing the HTML code is free and scripts are included for free

  33. I recently finished reading through ProBlogger-Secrets with regard to writing a blog the right path to your substantial revenue compiled by Darren Rowse and joe Garret. Being an experienced blogger and who owns a new …personal blog

  34. Lucille says:

    Where SEO is concerned you can’t beat Blogger. Google owns Blogger so being in their backyard is a win-win situation.
    I looked at WordPress but it doesn’t grab me!

  35. Lynda Mama says:

    If you’re just doing a simple site and don’t wait to hire a designer or learn to design yourself I’d go with Blogspot because it is super easy.

    But if you’re going to build (or pay someone to build) a larger site, with a more complex design it’s WordPress all the way.

  36. For me blogger is better

  37. Honestly it just depends on what you are trying to do. I personally like them both and use them both on a daily basis. :/ quick content creation, stick with blogger, more versatility, use self hosted wordpress. And it looks like you ended up going with wordpress anyways. so, end of thread lol

  38. {Learn|Practice|manage} to be a successful blogger. Learn how to start a blog, how to write a blog, where to start a blog, the best free blogging platform and much more.

  39. ami tirana says:

    i use wordpress that i purchased at godaddy. i am not happy with wordpress. i have question so i am told to join wordpress.org i did but wordpress.org put you around the whole area just to write a question about my problems. i still dont know who to ask. i wish i join blogger – it looks more friendlier specially i am with AdSense. Can I transfer my file to Blogger so i will not feel so lonely?

    • hipstercrite says:

      You should be able to transfer to Blogger. I’m not quite sure how, but do a Google search for “WordPress to Blogger migration”.

  40. Your style is really unique compared to other people I have read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I’ll just book mark this page.

  41. Katie Balla says:

    thanks so much for sharing your incredible thoughts on Blogger vs WordPress

  42. Gary Brents says:

    Interesting Article, on Have been dealing with similar Issue in trying to decide which platform to use. I however, have been using a great platform which is very flexible. Although a paid platform, it comes with all the ease and functionality of most on the market, including Blogger and WordPress.

    You can read about this platform on my Blogger Site, at gbrents.blogger.com.

    Gary


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