Welcome to my new “How To Blog” series! In this series, I’ll try to put my knowledge to good use and shed some light on the basic of blogging. You will learn how to set up a self-hosted blog, what are the must-have plugins, how to attract readers, how to monetize your blog etc. I’ll publish a new “How To Blog” post every Saturday.
Indeed, it’s sometimes hard to make a decision, whether you are new to blogging or are looking for the best platform. So here is my comparison chart:
|Developed by||Google Inc.||Matt Mullenweg (and a team of developers)|
|How it works||It’s a blog publishing system.You will need to sign up on Blogspot (open an account) and choose an URL. Then you can start blogging.||It’s a blog publishing system written in PHP and backed by a MySQL databaseBasically, you need to download the software script (WordPress) and install it on a web host. You will also need to buy a domain name (an URL, the address of your blog).|
|Price||Free||Free download (under the GNU license) of the WordPress script.Additional costs: a domain name and a web host.|
|Sponsored||There’s a Blogspot navigation bar on top of your blog. It can be hacked but this is against the TOS (term of service).||No sponsored link unless you choose to. If you download a free theme for your blog, you will most likely have to leave the designer’s link in your footer.|
|Knowledge required||You don’t need much technical knowledge. Signing up on Blogger is as easy as opening an email account. Drag and drop widgets.
Tweaking CSS is quite easy and only requires basic HTML in most cases.
|You will need some technical knowledge to install WordPress (FTP files etc.). Plugins and widgets are quite easy to install (just a few clicks in most cases).
Edit PHP and CSS to tweak your blog.
|Help available||There’s a Blogger Help Center. Many blogs/ website offer help in tweaking and hacking your blog.||There’s an official support forum but I never found it helpful. There’s a lot of “geeky” speak and users have a nasty habit of looking down at people less skilled than them,That said, many blogs offer hacks, advices and themes. Among my favorite: WordPress Max, WPDesigner, and Hack WordPress.|
|Reliability||Possible down time due to Blogger maintenance.
There is somewhat of a grey area on who owns the blog: you or Google? Bloggers have sometimes had their blog blocked or deleted without reason…
|You have 100% control over your blog.
Problems can include broken themes/ plugins (especially when updating) and host maintenance issues.
|Customization||Choose from a lot of themes (see for example Jackbook).
Tweak your CSS and add widgets.
|WordPress is an open source project… the sky is the limit.|
|Spam||I rarely got spam on Blogger… not sure if it was just because my blog wasn’t that popular or I was lucky.||WordPress users tend to be spammed more often. Fortunately, plugins like Akismet usually filter spam comments.|
|Marketing/ SEO||Indexed quickly.||The URL looks more professional. Great SEO plugins.|
|Future||Google is a major company (duh!) and not likely to give up Blogger any time soon. That said, during the year I used it, I found improvements were coming slowly. I ended up tweaking my blog by myself 90% of the time.||WordPress is updated quite frequently and thousand of people develop their own plugins and widgets, usually available for free. There is always something new… and I love it.|
Please note that I’m comparing Blogger with self-hosted WordPress, not WordPress.com, which is a free platform similar to Blogger. I’m also aware they are many great blogging platform… I just choose the two that seem to be the most popular, and that I happen to know.
Finally, I’m really happy I switched to self-hosted WordPress. I think Blogger is great and it’s very user-friendly for beginners, but I found it limited after a while: not enough hacks, no control over my comment pages (which are all designed the same and don’t really fit a tweaked theme), a sponsored domain name… I find my WP blog much more personal.
Final word: if you’re an occasional blogger, don’t bother with WordPress which can be time consuming, especially at first. If you want to take your blogging further or if you want to be more self-reliant, move to WordPress.