The Big Debate: WordPress Versus Blogger – which is the best?

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It’s Find It Friday time again and this week the question was asked by FutureSME on our Facebook page.

Which blogging platform would we recommend?

I have to admit I have always used wordpress and so has Marie.  So to get a fair side of the picture, I asked Suz of Vibrant Ireland and Dee of Greenside Up to tell us about their experiences of blogger (their feedback is in italics).

Source: techlila.com via Lorna on Pinterest

I have noticed a somewhat ‘academic snobbery’ amongst wordpress users, suggesting that wordpress is THE only blogging platform to use, especially for business owners. Is this the case? Is wordpress more suitable for business blogging and blogger for personal blogging? Let’s find out!

WordPress*

Pros

  • WordPress hosted blogs are free
  • WordPress backs up their hosted blogs so you don’t have to worry about losing content
  • Akismet anti-spam is superb
  • It is reasonably easy to install
  • There are hundreds of themes to choose from
  • Easy to use
  • Good for SEO
  • Self hosting is possible, some html knowledge is needed
  • A website can be built from a self hosted wordpress customised theme
  • Lots of plugins
  • Widgets are easy to add
  • Has built-in visitor statistics that you can see at any time
  • Static pages are listed separately in menus
  • Good for team blogs as can have administrator, editors, authors and contributors.
  • WordPress blogs offered much better SEO results than blogger

Cons

  • Some plugins can be difficult to install if you aren’t a technie
  • Limited number of plugins available on wordpress hosted blogs
  • Irritating and somewhat inappropriate advertisements can pop up sporadically on the free version
  • You do need some technical knowledge to update the self hosted version and to customise your theme.
  • You have to update new versions of the self hosted blogs quite frequently

Blogger

Blogger is owned by Google so it may become more popular with the introduction of the Google + button. The SEO potential of blogger should improve too due to Google +.

Pros

  • Easy to use and customize
  • With Blogger, I am in control; I can do it myself. I can change the layout, fine tune fonts, headers, colours, page width, background, scrolling style and much more without knowing anything about code, searching help videos for guidance  or having to get my site designer to do it.
  • Good for beginners
  •  I blogged more on Blogger because I enjoyed blogging on Blogger.
  • Has built-in visitor statistics that you can see at any time
  • It is very easy to add widgets and polls (almost anything) to the sidebar
  • It is easy to change the look of your blog
  • Can create up to 20 static pages.

Cons

  • There isn’t a self hosted version but you can buy a domain name so ‘blogspot’ isn’t part of the url
  • I have repeatedly had difficulties leaving comments on blogger posts and since asking on twitter, it seems to be a common problem. This can be really frustrating especially if you’ve written a lengthy comment.
  • I wish Blogger would have the SEO plugins that wordpress.org has.
  • A static front page isn’t possible but can create up to 20 pages

As Susan says, there are lots of great bloggers using blogger very well.   From what I have read and researched over the last week and going by my own experiences and that of Susan,  blogger is a very user friendly platform especially for beginners and hence is particularly suited to personal blogs. I’m not saying it shouldn’t be used for business blogs but I think it will have limitations.  For business blogs, I think WordPress is the better option particularly going with the wordpress.org option for the extra features and other plug ins.

Considerations before you decide:

  • Purpose of your blog – is it for business or personal use?
  • Is the use of it likely to change? Will you need more functionality in the future?
  • Do you have any html knowledge?  Can you afford some html help if you need it? If the answer to both is no, blogger or wordpress.com would be the better option.
  • Would you like the blog to become a basic website? Then setting up a wordpress.org site will be the easiest in the long run.

Tumblr is a blogging platform that is growing in popularity and I’ll post about it next week.

Do share any thoughts you may have on the Big Debate – WordPress v Blogger.

If you are looking for help with a new blog or would like some mentoring for your blog content, do get in touch with Marie and I.

*See this post on choosing wordpress.com vs wordpress.org

Related: What’s the best blog platform to use? 

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Blogs, For Beginners, How to Blog
  • http://www.WiseWords.ie Móna Wise

    I think you know how I feel about it after my talk on Monday night. I agree completely..Blogger for beginners and personal blogs. It is very very user friendly and easily customisable without needing to learn ‘code’ but the
    Inability to leave a comment drives me bonkers – short drive, I know.
    I think for a business, self hosting on WP.org is the only way to go and worth the added expense in my opinion if you want to launch yourself into a professional stream of Blogtopia..

    • http://gravatar.com/ennoconn Marie Ennis-O’Connor (@JBBC)

      Thanks for your comment Mona and again thanks for an informative and entertaining talk on Monday.

  • http://twitter.com/mashlinks Simon Lewis (@mashlinks)

    Nice article. I would think Tumblr or Weebly are two great tools for beginners. My personal site, simonlewis.ie is built on Tumblr. Even though I would consider myself quite techie, I use Tumblr because it lets me get my content up really quickly and the results look decent. I’ve designed two web sites lately using Weebly – http://samassecondskin.weebly.com and carlowwriterscoop.weebly.com – and both were designed and online within 3 hours. Again, it’s really really easy to use and very powerful. On the WordPress vs Blogger debate, I would say both are equally good on hosted versions but the real power of WordPress comes to the fore when you host it yourself. No other platform comes anywhere close.

    • http://ouradoptivejourney.wordpress.com Lorna

      Sorry, Simon, it was buried in spam, thanks again :)

  • http://speltforchoice.wordpress.com speltforchoiceblog

    I use WordPress.com and over the last year. I’m sticking with this as it’s so easy to use and your site can look very professional for little cost and they are constantly improving their service. Also their systems work well with my hosting provider. But now after a year I’m very biased.

    I tried to move over to wordpress.org but found it cumbersome and you would need a technie to sort it out. I have the freedom with .com to do my own thing, until i”m ready to get a technie involved to bring it to the next level.

    • http://gravatar.com/ennoconn Marie Ennis-O’Connor (@JBBC)

      Thanks Marian for your valuable contribution to the conversation. I think perhaps we may do a post in the near future on the difference between wp.org and wp.com now that you have brought it up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/snoodiemctockish Sinead Mitchell

    Great tips Lorna. Thanks! Will be starting my blog this weekend :-) ….. on WordPress… i think

    • http://gravatar.com/ennoconn Marie Ennis-O’Connor (@JBBC)

      Hi Sinead, good luck with starting your blog – do let us know how you get on with it :-)

    • http://ouradoptivejourney.wordpress.com Lorna

      Let us know how you get on Sinead and we have some other ‘for Beginners’ posts too which you might find useful :)
      Lorna

  • http://ayearinredwood.wordpress.com ayearinredwood

    I use WordPress.com for my blog and am coming to the rapid conclusion that I should switch to wordpress.org…. but am terrified! Will have to get a techie involved – no 2 ways about it!

    I also agree with Mona’s comment about the inability to leave comments on some Blogger sites… it is very frustrating!

    • http://ouradoptivejourney.wordpress.com Lorna

      The comments failures are my main ‘problem’ with blogger at the mo as it’s really frustrating and I’m finding it happening more and more.
      Stay tuned, we plan to have some posts coming up in a few weeks on how to switch from wordpress.com to wordpress.org. :) , Lorna

  • http://twitter.com/simonmlewis Simon Lewis (@simonmlewis)

    I commented on this a couple of days ago and it disappeared..but not to worry. I have to say I don’t think there’s any difference between WordPress.com or Blogger. Both are decent hosted packages. For ease of use, I think the best blog is Tumblr.com. My own personal page, simonlewis.ie uses this and it takes less than a minute to set up. I’m also liking Weebly and have designed a few sites with it. The real power of WordPress comes in its .org version. Nothing beats it.

    • http://ouradoptivejourney.wordpress.com Lorna

      Thanks for your comment Simon, not sure where your comment disappeared to either!
      I’ve just set up a tumblr blog for klck but still to do something with it. I’ve heard good things about Weebly too but still to check it out.
      Yes, I think it seems as though more people should be utilising the wordpress.org version from the start – more posts coming up on it I think :)

  • http://twitter.com/beatricewhelan Beatrice Whelan (@beatricewhelan)

    I have to admit that I am a total wordpress snob and haven’t given Blogger a fair try at all. Even at that it is wordpress.org rather than wordpress.com which I am totally in love with. There is no end to the functionality you can add with those .org plugins. WordPress allows you to migrate from .com to .org and for a small fee will automatically redirect your wordpress.com posts to their equivalent on your wordpress.org site so you won’t loose traffic or the SEO value you built up on the WordPress.com site.

  • http://www.spiderworking.com Amanda

    I would argue that hosted WordPress is as much a personal blogging platform as Blogger. If you have any sort of budget it has to be WordPress.org (self hosted). The only reason I can see for WordPress.com being better is that it’s easier to migrate, so you can get started on WordPress.com and once you are sure you’ll continue blogging move on.

    • http://ouradoptivejourney.wordpress.com Lorna

      Good point re the migration ability Amanda, cheers for that.

  • http://twitter.com/timourrashed Timour Rashed (@timourrashed)

    Just an FYI, you misspelled the word “customize” incorrectly in the 9th pro point for WordPress. It should be ” customized theme” as well as the 4th con point “customise your theme” should be “customize your theme”

    • http://ouradoptivejourney.wordpress.com Lorna

      thanks Timour, the UK spelling is ‘ise’ but I guess here in Ireland we would use either :)

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