A lot of bloggers start out on Blogger– I did. I didn’t know any different; that’s what other bloggers I followed were using. And I stayed on Blogger for a long time.
Mainly, Blogger is super user friendly. I had heard WordPress was more difficult for beginners.
However, I recently made the switch to WordPress.org (which is the self-hosted version of free WordPress; more on that below) from Blogger after deciding to take my blog to the next level. Here is a rundown on the pros and cons I’ve learned through the experience.
Pro: Blogger is user friendly.
If you’re just starting out and aren’t tech-savvy (yet!), Blogger is the way to go. It’s easy to navigate and doesn’t require much of a learning curve before you’re up and blogging. Blogger is also a perfect platform if you are just blogging for fun and don’t have any desire/current need to fully customize your blog. That’s okay! If that’s the case, you will have far fewer headaches. This won’t affect you from buying your own domain– such as thefashionablewife.com. Blogger allows this.
Note: WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org
WordPress has two platforms– WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Wordpress.com is the free version, which means you don’t have to pay for the web space you’re using to put your blog on the internet. You can still have your own domain name, but you aren’t paying for the web hosting.
WordPress.org is the paid version of free WordPress. In this version, you are paying for web hosting (also called self-hosting, and from a site like Bluehost). So what does spending more money equal? It means you have a lot more freedom in terms of customization for your blog, because you can access the back-end HTML, download plugins, work with designers (or DIY!) to develop a custom look for your blog, accept ads, etc.
Con: WordPress is confusing
Widgets, themes, cpanels, etc., mean WordPress can be intimidating, especially for a blogging newbie with zero tech experience. It takes a little bit to get the hang of it, that’s for sure. But if you want more customization, this is the way to go.
Pro: WordPress looks more professional
If you want to take your blog to the next level in terms of design + professionalism, WordPress is how you do it.
Again, it’s about customization. WordPress offers a more streamlined look with tons more freedom (think front page sliders, a widget for everything, the ability to choose exact blog colors + themes, etc.). There are tons of pre-designed themes out there for you to purchase, or you can have something designed that is all your own by working with a designer. Note: this gets expensive; I recommend going with a pre-designed theme at least at first.
Which to choose?
The platform you choose (or stay with, or switch to) really depends on where you want your blog to go.
The good news is that you aren’t stuck with one. If you are on Blogger, you can switch to WordPress (like I did). Unless you are super confident in this process, I strongly recommend hiring someone who is well versed in transferring so that you don’t lose everything.
If you’re comfortable on Blogger and don’t want to switch, you certainly don’t have to. Or if you’re a free WordPress.com blogger and like what they offer there, you can stick around. It’s all about where you want to take your blog, what resources you have to do this (because let’s face it, we all don’t have endless cash to spend in the blogging arena!), and how much time you want to devote to it.
Nikki blogs at The Fashionable Wife and is a co-founder of The Blogger Collective.