Switching from Blogger to WordPress — Guest: Natalie C. Markey

by Jami Gold on March 19, 2013

in Writing Stuff

WordPress logo with text

Last week, I announced my two workshops on WordPress for beginners. One workshop is geared toward those ready to invest in a paid website/blog, and one workshop sticks to free resources.

Some might wonder why that second workshop focuses only on WordPress. After all, Blogger (also known as Blogspot) is free too. Does it really make a difference which free blogging platform we use?

Years ago, I didn’t know enough about either platform to understand why my tech guy recommended WordPress. Since then, I’ve seen first hand why WordPress is better from a technical perspective:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO—that behind-the-scenes magic that determines where our site shows up in a Google search—is better on WordPress, especially with an SEO-friendly theme. (Yes, even though Google bought Blogger a while back.) WordPress blogs get more spam comments than Blogger blogs because they are so much easier to find, and if the spammers can find us, so can the real readers we want. *smile*

  • Spam Comments

Lucky for us, WordPress comes with Akismet, which virtually eliminates the posting of spam comments. In contrast, most Blogger blogs are stuck with the universally hated Captchas to keep out spam comments. Gee, a Captcha that discourages people from commenting? Or a plugin that handles spam invisibly? Which sounds better?

  • Comment Linking

Comments on WordPress blogs link back to whatever web address the commenter wants: their website, blog, or other social media profile. Comments on Blogger blogs usually link back to the commenters’ Blogger profiles. That extra step between their site and their comment gives people less incentive to leave comments.

I could probably think of several more technical reasons, but since I’ve never used Blogger, I didn’t know about the differences in usability. Maybe Blogger came with a magic wand that made all those issues irrelevant. *grin*

My friend Natalie C. Markey recently made the switch from Blogger to WordPress, so I’ve asked her to share her knowledge about how the two platforms are different. Please welcome Natalie!

*****

My Journey to WordPress

Why do you want a blog? For me, I wanted a casual and easy outlet to be able to reach potential readers and clients with bi-weekly or more posts. Being a working-from-home mom juggling multiple freelance contracts, publishing a non-fiction dog book line, and writing middle grade and young adult fiction, I needed my blog to be easy.

I looked into blog sites and chose to go with Blogger. Like WordPress, it was free, but something about it seemed less intimidating.

My first month of blogging I wanted to pull my hair out! I’m happy my daughter was not yet at that “impressionable age” because she would have been repeating some not too nice words from me. I struggled with formatting and no matter what I did, my blog seemed to take on a “cartooney” look. It looked like I spent little time on my Blogger account but in truth I spent hours working on it. Hours I should have been spending on actual writing.

I knew something had to change. Your website has four seconds to make an impression and I didn’t like the impression I was making.

I started looking at other blogs. Every blog site I liked was a WordPress site. Then one day I was on my personal Facebook page and saw a friend of mine include a link to her family blog in her status. I looked at it and oh my goodness it was a Blogger account!

The more I looked into it, I found that Blogger is often used for personal use when WordPress appears to be mostly businesses or professionals. Now, I thought WordPress seemed scary, but at this point I was willing to try anything that could give me back some of my writing time while giving me the professional image I wanted.

My switch to WordPress was easy. I quickly was won over by its ease and clean look. My days of fighting format issues were over. I finally found a professional, non-cartooney look that allowed me to blog without throwing my time away.

I delayed the switch for months because I thought it would be difficult to get my readers to follow my change. Let me tell you, switching helped my blogging experience in every way.

No matter which blog account you use, the number one thing about blogging is great content. Blogger and WordPress give you an avenue to express that content. From Field of Dreams, “build it and they will come.” It’s up to you to provide quality material for your readers but the blog site can help you in its presentation.

I find that WordPress is easier to work with and more appealing to the reader. In summary, I switched to WordPress for:

  • More professional themes
  • More user friendly
  • It’s where my professional idols are at
  • With ease, comes less of a time commitment
  • No formatting issues

Blogging shouldn’t be hard. It’s like a relationship. It takes work but if you are constantly working really hard at it, then maybe you are not a good fit with your current situation. Don’t be afraid to change. Do your homework before diving in.

If you are reading this, then hopefully you have committed to taking one of Jami Gold’s website classes, which will walk you through creating a WordPress account. See how easy this can be? Where was this class when I needed it? Also, I highly recommend Kristen Lamb’s book, The Writer’s Guide to Social Media.

Lots of things in this business are hard and then many of us add secondary jobs, kids and countless other obligations to the mix. Make your blog easy. Make it work for you.

*****

Natalie C. Markey and her bunnyNatalie writes non-fiction and fiction. She is the author of Caring for Your Special Needs Dog by Cool Gus Publishing. Markey is a ten-year veteran freelance journalist and holds numerous International contracts including the popular “Mortal Instruments Examiner” column. She teaches busy writers and writing parents valuable time management techniques through WANA International.

Markey’s a proud Texan but lives in Saudi Arabia with her wonderfully supportive husband, lively two-year-old daughter, an eighty-pound dog and two rescue cottontail bunnies. Life is never dull in her “sandbox.” Follow her adventures at her blog and/or Twitter.

*****

Thank you, Natalie! I hadn’t thought about the “soft” differences between WordPress and Blogger before. Themes (the templates for how our blog looks) are important for not just technical reasons like SEO, but also for branding reasons. And while WordPress might seem more intimidating at first, some of those differences give us the ability to make things look the way we want.

As I mentioned last time, we all have to decide on our goals. Those who want a blog for personal reasons might be happy with a Blogger blog, as they don’t care about making a professional impression. But those who want a blog to build name recognition for their author names might be better off with a WordPress blog and integrated website pages. Know your goals and find the right blogging platform for you. *smile*

Registration is currently open for my two workshops designed for those with no knowledge of WordPress, websites, or blogs. Interested? Sign up for only one of the workshops: For a free website/blog: “Develop a Free Author Website in 60 Minutes (or Less!)”; or to set up a website/blog you own: “A Newbie’s Guide to Building a Self-Hosted Blog or Website.” (Blog readers: Use Promo Code “jamisave” to save $5 on registration.)

If you’ve used both Blogger and WordPress, how do you think they compare? Do you have a different experience? What other technical or soft differences should we keep in mind when making our decision? Have you thought of switching blogging platforms? Do you have questions for Natalie? (Note: Natalie lives in Saudi Arabia so she might not get to questions right away, but please ask in the comments and check back tomorrow.)

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67 Comments below - Time to Add your own.

Taurean Watkins March 19, 2013 at 9:09 am

I started with Blogger and I don’t regret it, since compared to other options I was considering at the time, this was the less daunting to me.
(Keep in mind, this was during the time before FB and Twitter went mass market)

Since my niche is a little “cartoonish” I didn’t have the same issues as Natalie, and going for a white minimalist look made things not look busy and cluttered. But oy, those issues cited above are true. I HATE typing out those random strings of letters and numbers, and felt bad I had to subject readers to it, and it’s probably why I struggle with getting comments and conversation going at my blog.

After seeing so many sites and writers I respect using Wordpress, I finally am convinced this year I NEED to switch from Blogger to WordPress. It will certainly be easier to merge my upcoming author site with my blog.

Part of the reason for my hiatus was to switch over, and I didn’t want to accumulate too much new content so moving wouldn’t take as long. and I sadly have not found it as quick and simple as described.

But I want to make this transfer soon as aside from wanting to get the word (To those who don’t yet know me) I’ve got forthcoming book coming out, I want to more seamlessly weave my blog and website for SEO purposes and overall ease of access content.

Jami, what do you think of my blog’s current homepage?

Can you recommend any resources to find great templates worth the money?

I know you can use WordPress without being an HTML wiz, but I really want a custom look that’s hard to replicate with pre-made templates, or maybe you could suggest some folks who might give me a good deal on making a custom template for WordPress for me.

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Jami Gold March 19, 2013 at 10:15 am

Hi Taurean,

Great point! Yes, Blogger has been around longer than WordPress, so some people started with Blogger before WP was an option.

As for your current homepage, I (and all this is just my opinion 🙂 ) think the banner needs to be resized. Right now it takes up the whole “above the fold” screen space, forcing people to scroll down before they see any content. Also, it’s so wide that people can’t read your tagline unless they have their window full screen or scroll to the right.

Then again, you’ve mentioned how your “brand” might be changing with a slightly different focus of your writing, so maybe you’ll be redoing the banner anyway. 🙂 Other than that, I would say that having other links like popular posts and whatnot on the bottom works for a website (like an integrated static homepage on WordPress), but that on the blog page itself, most people use sidebars for those to limit the amount of scrolling necessary. (Readers are too lazy to scroll unless they have an incentive.) All that said, I am not a design person. 🙂

However, I would never recommend paying someone to create a custom theme. a) It would be very expensive. b) Every time WordPress updated, you’d have to pay the designer to keep the theme compatible. c) Many of the premium (and some of the free) themes are customizible enough. I went with option “c” here, customizing a premium theme.

WordPress.com (the free version) has 163 free templates as of this morning. WordPress.org (the paid version) has a thousand more free themes. Some themes make it easy to upload backgrounds, set number of columns, have a static home page, etc.–all without paying someone for that customized look. So I’d recommend digging into the themes already out there first. (And no, I don’t have theme recommendations. Sorry! I’ve never used any theme other than the one I have here (Thesis), and even that one I’ve decided not to update for the time being. (I don’t like their current version.))

I hope that helps! 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

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Taurean Watkins March 19, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Thanks for the feedback. I do appreciate it.

I was most concerned that the content was hard to read and not to make the layout too busy.

I had to make the banner that way because when I tried to make it any smaller, the image gets blurry, and you can’t read the text at all. And that was on my desktop, on a mobile device as may as well be “Morse Cord.” Still, thanks for being honest with me.

I tried using sidebars in the early days, but it just looked funky (in a bad way!) and cluttered, at least in the confines of the Blogger template I can work with. I’d hoped the bar under the logo banner would help some with that, but I guess not.

As far as scrolling down, I personally don’t mind doing that, but this is good to know moving forward. If you did “scroll down” was the content easy to read? Type not to small?

I’m still going to have my current blog’s focus, I just want to move it Wordpress, and link direct to it from the blog, that way people who Google me will see it on my author site.

I think I’ll start with building my main author site and connect the blog later.

I know you don’t have to spend a lot for a nice blog or site. I was just trying to be open about design choice, I’ve found a free theme I can work with, but I just wanted something that was unique to me and my brand on the homepage, for my blog and my site. It can hard to make a pre-made design your own.

Also, while you say you’d have to pay to keep your custom theme compatible with WordPress, how’s that differ from the countless ways Facebook changes their UI, and forces its users to comply, aside from the fact you don’t have to (You know I don’t want to give them ideas, it’s hard enough being forced to use it to be relevant…)

Besides, I already pay for both my blog and my author domain (yourname.com) I figured compared to all the obvious and non-obvious costs of attending a writer’s conference or hiring a freelance editor, this HAS to be less, it’s not like I want to build a complex media site.

I want to keep it simple, fast to load, so I avoid as much bloat as possible.

But I am seriously considering paying someone to at least do the initial transfer and setup and continue alone from there, because every time I tried to do it myself in January, it would work for a few hours, than would go 404 on me.

Anyway, I’ll figure it out, take care

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Jami Gold March 19, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Hi Taurean,

Yes, I don’t like the sites that use 3 (or more!) columns with 2 sidebars. That definitely looks too congested. A single sidebar isn’t bad if everything else is clean. On your site, I was able to read everything fine, but like you said, a mobile version might be tricky.

What I meant about WordPress compatibility issues with custom developed themes from scratch (rather than finding a theme that allows customization) is that when WordPress auto-updates, it could break your theme because they might not be speaking the same language anymore. Then you’d have to pay someone again to fix that. I think it would be better to start with a compatible theme that allows customizations, and some of those themes make the customizations very easy: “upload background” buttons, etc. 🙂 Good luck and thanks for the comment!

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Otto March 19, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Hi Taurean! My name is Otto, and I work on the WordPress software, along with helping out on WordPress.org, themes, plugins, and pretty much all the rest of that jazz. 🙂

As far as the transfer goes, WordPress itself, the free software available from WordPress.org, includes a Blogger importer. It can copy your content and comments and such from your existing Blogger website and put them onto your new WordPress site with very little hassle. There’s a few steps in the process of importing, but nothing out-of-reach of a non-technical person.

As for looks, well, obviously designing a custom site is one of those “not-free” things that designers make money to do. But, before trying that route, take a look at some of the free themes on WordPress.org. I think many of them would fit your needs with the “less” concept that you’re describing. And lately, with the new “Theme Customizer” in recent versions of WordPress, you might find that some of the most recently created themes have a wide variety of customization options that you could use, sans-custom-designer. All free.

One downside of the WordPress software is that obviously you have to buy a web hosting account to put that software on. But there are numerous web hosts out there to fit all needs, and at all price ranges. Finding something affordable in your particular range should not be difficult.

(Note, Jami made only one tiny mistake in her reply above: Everything on WordPress.org is free, both in cost and in freedoms. It’s one of our core principles. WordPress.com is the one that is a commercial service. They offer free blogs, with paid upgrade services if you wish to use those. But the WordPress software on WordPress.org, along with all themes/plugins, is totally free to use, for everybody.)

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Jami Gold March 19, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Hi Otto,

Thanks for stopping by and chiming in! As for the WordPress.org platform, yes, the platform itself is free, and as you said, the cost comes in with the hosting provider. That requirement to have a hosting provider is why I refer to the .org platform as the must pay money option. The .com version has certainly been more commercialized over the years with add-ons, but going with .com doesn’t require spending money. Sometimes those nuances are hard to explain properly in an already-long blog post, but I spell it all out in my workshops. 🙂

In regards to themes, I was referring the premium themes–like Thesis, which I use–as a separate option, but you’re absolutely correct that the themes available on WordPress.org are all free. I actually just noticed that earlier today. 🙂 Thanks for the information!

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Jami's Tech Guy March 19, 2013 at 10:41 pm

*coughs* I know a good web host. *coughs*

Pick me! 🙂 http://techsurgeons.com/ #shamelessPlug

-Jay
@jaytechdad

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Jami Gold March 19, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Hi Jay,

Quite right–you’ve never steered me wrong! 🙂 Thanks for the comment and for being my secret weapon in making this all work!

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Natalie C. Markey March 19, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Taureen,

I hear your concern with creating new content before switching over the blog. I chose not to stop putting content out during the switch. I managed it by taking a weekend (when I don’t post blogs) to create my WP site. Then on that following Monday I created a post on why I changed on the Blogger site, obviously including the new link. For the first month a double posted the same post on both sites. I always made the new link very well known on Blogger and I still kept that site live. This way anyone that finds it will see my “I moved” info and can still find me. I think that it was a gradual shift this way for my readers.

The more and more I research and talk to people, I found the WP just seems to be a more “professional” hang out.

Hopefully these tips will help you whenever you change.

Natalie

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Jami Gold March 19, 2013 at 10:29 pm

Hi Natalie,

Wow! That’s a great tip for how to make a gradual change work for your readers. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

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Juli Page Morgan March 19, 2013 at 10:05 am

This is a very timely post for me since I switched my blog from Blogger to WordPress this week! While I like the more professional look of WordPress, the reasons I switched is because Blogger has become increasingly harder for me to use. I couldn’t upload photos to my blog unless I was using the Chrome browser (which I don’t like), so there was all this switching back and forth between browsers just to compose a post. I also didn’t like that there wasn’t a category option on Blogger, and that there is a limit on the number of letters in the tags. Combined with the too-cutesy themes, these problems had me switching to WordPress.

Not to say I’m over the moon about WordPress. Perhaps it’s just the theme I’ve chosen, but I can’t find a way to change font size on my text without having to resort to writing HTML, but maybe after I’ve played around with it for a while I’ll like it better. 🙂

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Jami Gold March 19, 2013 at 10:28 am

Hi Juli,

Wow! Thanks for sharing those other issues with Blogger. And yes, font size is often a function of the theme. My (premium) theme has a design tab that allows me to set the default size for text and headlines, etc. Thanks for the comment!

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Widdershins March 19, 2013 at 2:55 pm

I use the ‘Quintus’ template, and changed the background, header images, and added 6 widgets – which are all free – it looks good and works for me.

Wordpress.com also has an option where you can, for a yearly fee, change the template’s font, size, colour, etc … you can find it on your dashboard, under ‘Appearance’ … click on ‘Custom Design’.

If you’re heavily into custom designing then maybe Wordpress.org is more the way to go. I’m sure Jami has a post somewhere around here on the differences between the two 😀

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Widdershins March 19, 2013 at 3:02 pm

P.S. There’s always the forums for finding answers to all things wordpressy – http://wordpress.org/support/

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Jami Gold March 19, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Hi Widdershins,

Great point! Yes, the WordPress support areas (both for .com and .org) are very helpful. Thanks for the reminder!

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Jami Gold March 19, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Hi Widdershins,

Thanks for sharing the name of your theme! As I mentioned in another comment, I’ve used only one premium theme, so I don’t have recommendations for some of the good free themes. I know they’re out there, but I don’t know their names. 🙂

And yes, the first week of April, I’ll be posting more about the differences between WordPress.com (free) and WordPress.org (paid). 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

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Natalie C. Markey March 19, 2013 at 10:31 pm

Juli,

So happy to hear about the timeliness of this post! I too was irritated with the tagging limit on Blogger and the difficulties with uploading images.

I have not yet tackled HTML. Taking this one step at the time and I’m liking my simple theme look. Sometimes less is more 🙂

Sorry to just be chiming in. I have a much different time zone here in Saudi 🙂

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Carradee March 19, 2013 at 11:40 am

I hate WordPress. Hate. I write my posts in HTML, referring to custom CSS, and it chews up my code and eats it, when it doesn’t refuse to accept it altogether.

My website is currently run on WordPress, and I’m planning on either redoing it by hand or trying Joomla.

Blogger? No such problems. Ever. I write up my post in HTML, and it accepts it, and it even warns me when I forgot to close a tag!

(Note: My current browser of choice is Chrome.)

Granted, I’ve been using Blogger for years. I’m familiar with the code. I’ve streamlined it, too, which helps on the SEO front. (I can even customize CSS settings so they can be adjusted in that “Blogger Template Designer” GUI. (It isn’t hard, but it takes a basic understanding of HTML, CSS, and XML.)

Now, Blogger does have one downside if you’re trying to blog a novel: No easy way to have posts show in reverse order.

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Jami Gold March 19, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Hi Carradee,

Yikes! I know other people who prefer to receive guest blog posts in HTML for WordPress because it makes things so much cleaner, so I don’t know what to tell you. Your experience is good to know, but probably most people write their blog posts in WordPress’s visual editor and never touch the HTML. 🙂 I hope you figure out something that will work for you. Thanks for the comment!

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Carradee March 19, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Thanks, Jami.

While I’m glad WordPress works for some people, I’m not one of those people. Among the others I know who dislike WordPress… we all seem to be fairly fluent in HTML. There may be a connection. 🙂

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Jami Gold March 19, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Hi Carradee,

LOL! Quite probable. 🙂

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Otto March 19, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Carradee: This is a somewhat common complaint amongst people used to writing their website in Frontpage and Dreamweaver and the like. Unlike some others, I won’t tell you to “unlearn” those habits of using HTML directly, because that’s silly.

Instead, I’ll do the opposite, and encourage you to expand what you know just a little further. Have you considered writing your own totally-custom theme for your WordPress site instead? It isn’t difficult, and just requires you to pick up a minor amount of PHP as well. Plus, there are some great pre-existing minimalist starter-themes that can do most of the grunt work for you, leaving you the ability to design the HTML and CSS of your site down to any level you’d prefer.

Here’s a couple of links you might want to take a look at to get started. Might change your mind. 🙂

http://codex.wordpress.org/Theme_Development

http://underscores.me/

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Jami Gold March 19, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Hi Otto,

Interesting! Thanks for the links and the information! 🙂

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Carradee March 20, 2013 at 10:01 am

Hi Otto,

I actually never liked DreamWeaver, either. The code it produced was a headache in itself. *grin*

I’ve considered writing my own WP theme, but I just have too many problems on the posting end to think it worth my time. I seriously had WP take a pure HTML page, chew it up and eat half the page, and only display maybe half of what remained. I finally figured out that it didn’t like my comment tags, but I put comments in my HTML on purpose.

Thanks for the thoughts, though. Back when I had a self-written site, I did have fun writing a PHP script that applied a specific stylesheet dependent on which part of the website the visitor was on. 🙂

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Melinda S. Collins March 19, 2013 at 12:55 pm

This is also very well-timed for me too. 🙂 I haven’t “officially” made the switch from Blogger to WordPress, but I’m well on my way.

Part of my problem with making the switch official and live is the customization of themes. While I’m waiting for my official digital artwork to come through, I’m trying to learn as much as I can. I’ll be honest, it’s been a looong time since I played with C++ coding (which is similar in regards to coding), and back then, I never dove into CSS. So I’m struggling a bit, but I think I’m just going to get my artwork, pick a theme I can easily customize “enough for right now” and then I’ll worry about making more in-depth changes later on.

For me the easiest part about Blogger was the design! Go figure! LOL. I found it really easy to create the header, the font, the color scheme, etc.. But I’m having close to the same issues as Juli now–IE and Firefox are not friends with Blogger anymore. Pictures are hard to post unless you’re using Chrome, and the sizing options for YouTube videos absolutely sucks. Well, I take that back, video sizing is horrible unless you’re using Live Writer, then you can re-size the vids and such. BUT even then, Blogger’s starting to kick Live Writer to the curb too.

So, overall for me, the decision came down to a professional looking author site with a built-in blog, and WordPress was able to provide both–again, this circles back around to what Natalie pointed out: Blogger is more personal, WordPress is more professional. AND, your quick review of the difference between WordPress Free and Paid at WANACon is what pushed me over the edge to WordPress geekery. So now I’ve just gotta learn the ins and outs–and try not bug Jay *too* much in the process. LOL! 😉

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Jami Gold March 19, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Hi Melinda,

I wouldn’t wish that level of coding on anyone. 🙂 For most people, I think finding a theme that works for them will mean that they don’t have to touch the stuff. But I think you’re trying to do more specific customizations now? Good luck and thanks for the comment!

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Melinda S. Collins March 19, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Hi Jami,

Yes, I’m looking to take a theme and tweak some of the coding to make it more of my own … I think? LOL! So yes, I want to do some specific customizations, but I still have to read up and learn on how to do the basics first. So that’s why I thought of just going with a theme for right now. I have a hubby that I can torture with all of this, but I’m one of those who’d like to try and do it on her own first. 😉

I’m also running into the issue Taurean mentioned above about not wanting to add more data to the Blogger blog since I’ll be moving to WordPress. Though it’s not about time because uploading content from Blogger to WordPress is SO amazingly quick and easy. For me it’s more about the starting fresh thinking. Leave the behind the old, embrace the new. Save these amazing posts roaming around inside my head for the new site. 😀

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Jami Gold March 19, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Hi Melinda,

Ah, yes, that makes sense. If you find a good theme to allow some of that customization, please share. The big list of themes can be overwhelming, and sometimes people would like to know where they can start. 🙂 The good thing is that themes are generally super easy to change. Thanks for the comment!

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Melinda S. Collins March 19, 2013 at 2:17 pm

I’ll definitely let you know! I’ve been perusing themes for about a week now (having to do it in chunks so everything doesn’t begin to look the same-lol). I’ve got a few that I really like, so we’ll see how they are with the customizations. 🙂

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Jami Gold March 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Hi Melinda,

That sounds like a plan. And I know what you mean about everything looking the same after a while. To be honest, I don’t know how agents could read queries without everything running together. 🙂 Good luck with your customizations!

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Carradee March 19, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Hi Melinda,

Think of it this way:

HTML defines what things on your website are.
CSS defines what those things look like.

So you use HTML to say “This is a paragraph.” You use CSS to say “Paragraphs are to have a line spacing of 1.2.”

W3schools has handy tutorials, in case you need some.

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Melinda S. Collins March 19, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Hi Carradee,

Ooo, thank you for the quick breakdown. 🙂 And for the link! Awesome! Tutorials are sort of how I learned a bit of C++ back in the day. I’ve got a few books, but they can get sooo boring and then my attention starts–Oh, is that Real Housewives on TV?

Yeah, I’m definitely a hands-on type learner. 😉

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Jami Gold March 19, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Thanks for the explanation, Carradee! 🙂

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Suzanne Johnson March 19, 2013 at 1:20 pm

I’ve been considering the change for a while, but here’s why I haven’t done it yet, even though WP offers a lot more flexibility in design: in order to follow comments in an individual post such as this one, I have to subscribe to every individual blog–a two or three-step step process. I usually won’t go to the trouble. Is there a way around that? If so, I’m about ready to make the leap!

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Jami Gold March 19, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Hi Suzanne,

I’m not sure what you’re trying to do. Follow the comments of every post on a single blog? Follow the comments of a single post on many blogs at once? Follow the comments of a single post easily? Or follow the replies to your comments on a blog post? How comments are handled in WordPress can be different for various blogs, so that probably doesn’t help the issue. 🙂

I prefer the WordPress.com (the free version) way of handling comments, as far as how I see replies. They allow people to log in through WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, or just by URL. Part of the comment entry form is “notify me of follow-up comments via email,” which emails ALL comments to that post. However, that requires us to “approve” that subscription per post. But–and here’s the part I like–those who comment through their WordPress log in automatically see replies to their specific comment in their WordPress top bar.

I think the JetPak plugin on the WordPress.org (the paid version) handles comments in a similar way, but WordPress.com screwed up my account years ago, and if I switch to JetPak, I lose a lot of other functionality. *sigh* I wish there was an easy way to subscribe to comments on my blog, but Shareaholic (my sharing plugin keeps messing up the coding). Commenting is definitely the weak point of my blog, as far as not seeing replies. Nothing is ever perfect. 🙂

As far as following whole blogs or comments, WordPress.com also has an RSS Reader functionality with email settings for things like that, but I haven’t found it to be very user friendly or easy to tweak. Individual blogs can also use plugins like Disqus or CommentLuv to increase their functionality, but again, that’s on an individual basis. Does that help? Thanks for the comment!

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Carradee March 19, 2013 at 2:12 pm

I use the Disqus comment plug-in (which can be added even to Blogspot blogs), for example. If I change a website location, I change the widget location, and the comments come along.

But for what you’re asking about: If you have a Disqus account, you can adjust the setting to “Subscribe to threads that I comment on.” It’ll also let you know when someone replies directly to your comment. There’s probably a way to subscribe directly to a comment feed, but I haven’t actually looked. *makes note to do that*

There’s another popular comment manager, but I don’t remember the name (though I think it begins with A). I’ve been using Disqus for a while, now. Very straightforward and easy-to-use.

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Jami Gold March 19, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Thanks for the information, Carradee! 🙂

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Melissa Maygrove March 19, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Great post! I’m tweeting this. 🙂

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Jami Gold March 19, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Thanks Melissa! 🙂

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Indigo Grace March 19, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Funny you should post this. I’ve been draggin my feet about making the transfer and finally did it last week before I posted anything more on Blogger. I wasn’t sure I wanted to lose the followers, not ever sure how many I had (That’s one problem with Blogger I didn’t like), and the traffic info. But I suppose that little bit of archived information doesn’t really play a part int he grand scheme of creating a brand for myself. One thing I did like was the visual part of Blogger. I liked the ability to change the header, the font and the colors without having to make the image myself in Photoshop. I suppose there are more options once you pay for the templates.

There’s so much to learn in either setting and it takes a bit to get used to it. I think once I become more familiar with Wordpress, I’ll grow to love it and be glad that I’ve switched.

Great post. Thanks!

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Jami Gold March 19, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Hi Indigo,

WordPress has many free themes as well, but yes, most of them you’d probably want to come up with your own header (which is better for branding your site as you anyway). 🙂 Thanks for sharing your experience and thanks for the comment!

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TessQ March 19, 2013 at 4:24 pm

I must admit that I only understood about a quarter of this whole article, how sad is that?! I was advised that I needed to have a blog and possibly website if I wanted to become known out there in writer- and reader-land. Combine a highly introverted, hate-to-market-myself temperament with technical ignorance, and you might imagine what a painful process it was.

I was advised to go to Blogger.com, and I did start out there and then switch… but that’s misleading, because I switched before I’d done more than design the look and make one introductory post. I switched on yet another friend’s advice. Frankly, I found both of them difficult! I did purchase a web address, and I tried to follow a youtube tutorial on how to download an app (or whatever it’s appropriately called) that would give me more design control, but have yet to get it successfully there. Finally gave up and customized one of their looks. I suppose my problem is that I need to lower my expectations. Because I don’t much like the options on either Blogger or WordPress for the look. Blogger actually came closer to the image I have in my head — and yet I ended up with WordPress because it’s a little more manageable… I think! But half of what I try to do fails and I get very frustrated.

So watch out, Jami! Because I signed up for your April webinar, and I am definitely going to be a handful!!! I’m a techno-dunce, and the worst part is, I am doing it all (the site, not your webinar) because I feel I have to and not because I have the least desire to understand how it all works (mechanically and technically.) I’m really looking forward to seeing if you can teach this old dog any new tricks!!! Only today I learned that there are static pages and that I should have one… and I haven’t a clue why! LOL I guess I’m just a Luddite on a mission.

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Jami Gold March 19, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Hi Tess,

Yes, when we’re first starting off, everything sounds Greek (or maybe even Martian!). A perfectly normal question is “What’s a Page, what’s a Post, and what makes them different?” We’ll talk about that. We’ll talk about whether you really need a blog, and all that good stuff. 🙂

Give it time and be patient. You’ll get there. 🙂 Thanks for the comment and I look forward to seeing you in the workshop!

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Natalie C. Markey March 19, 2013 at 10:39 pm

Hey y’all I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and thank you Jami for having me. Sorry to be a little tardy to the party. I have a 9 hour time difference from the U.S. here in Saudi.

Anyway, I wanted to address this to ALL since I’m seeing it come up time and time again in the comments. The biggest concern with switching over is never so much about the set up as it is the fear of loosing readers. I managed the switch by taking a weekend (when I don’t post blogs) to create my WP site. Then on that following Monday I created a post on why I changed on my Blogger site, obviously including the new link. For the first month I double posted the same content on both sites. I always made the new link very well known on Blogger and I still kept that site live. This way anyone that finds it will see my “I moved” info and can still find me. This is what worked for me.

Has anyone handled it differently? How did you manage the switch and did you feel it was effective?

Natalie

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Jami Gold March 19, 2013 at 10:46 pm

Hi Natalie,

No worries on the time delay–I warned everyone. 🙂

That’s a great tip! I’ve seen others leave a link at the old blog to the new one, but I’ve never seen the double-posting approach. As you said, that would make for a cleaner gradual shift. Thanks so much for sharing and for the post!

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Natalie C. Markey March 20, 2013 at 4:29 am

Anytime Jami! Thanks for having me 🙂

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Rinelle Grey March 19, 2013 at 11:00 pm

I switched from blogger to wordpress for my personal blog many years ago, and haven’t looked back, so when the time came to start an author blog, I went straight for wordpress. I have wordpress installed on my own domain (makes branding my page and email consistent), so it’s a little different, but even that is easier these days now many hosting companies are offering automatic installs of wordpress. (For my first wordpress blog, I had to upload all the files and install them myself! That was quite a learning curve, but the help files were excellent.)

I use a free theme, mantra, with a custom header and graphics. I found it a really customisable theme, with so many options I could change through the dashboard. I have had one or two issues with minor things (like images not centering in the sidebar), but have found wordress help forums really great for sorting these out!

Comments are definitely a big thing for me. If a blog won’t let me log on with a name and URL, I generally won’t comment. There’s no point in logging on with blogger, or even the default wordpress, since it doesn’t link back to my webpage.

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Jami Gold March 20, 2013 at 9:30 am

Hi Rinelle,

Yes, my hosting company (techsurgeons.com) does all the WordPress.org installation for clients. I can’t imagine doing it the old way. 🙂 I’ll be doing a guest post next week on what to look for in a hosting company.

Hmm, my WordPress.com account recognizes my WordPress.org website URL, so my default WordPress.com comments link to my website here. Not sure how I did that as it was years ago. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

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Julie Glover March 20, 2013 at 3:16 pm

I started out in Blogger and moved to WordPress. I have grown to prefer it (with the exception of scheduling posts, which I think is more user-friendly on Blogger).

My one learning curve was the tagging. I moved all of those tags manually and found out later that there was a shortcut.

Thanks for the post!

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Jami Gold March 20, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Hi Julie,

Good to know that there’s a shortcut for moving tags. As for the scheduling issue, does Blogger have a pop-up calendar or something to make setting the date easier? I’ve never thought WordPress’s scheduling function was difficult, but a pop-up calendar would be nice. 🙂 Thanks for sharing the tip and for the comment!

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Buffy Armsgtrong March 20, 2013 at 4:45 pm

I’ve taken a blogging hiatus for the past few months. I was 1) getting lazy and 2) irritated with Blogger. I don’t want to have to use Chrome when I want to upload a picture. Ugg! I am one of those people who actually likes Internet Explorer and I hate went something isn’t compatible.

This post has come at a perfect time. I’ve planned on redoing my blog this spring. I just might change over to Wordpress. Blog post bookmarked!

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Jami Gold March 20, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Hi Buffy,

Yes, making things incompatible with a major internet browser doesn’t seem like a good idea. 🙂 You know I’m here for you if you have any questions. Thanks for the comment!

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Marko Saric March 23, 2013 at 10:41 am

Good article! Wordpress is definitely the more flexible and advanced platform, especially the self-hosted version of the software. You are able to control your blog much better with it than with Blogger and other hosted platforms.

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Jami Gold March 23, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Hi Marko,

I agree. I’m lucky I had a great tech guy to steer me in the right direction back when I didn’t know anything. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

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Nicol Marquis March 27, 2013 at 3:19 am

Hi Jami,

Thank you very much for sharing your journey to Wordpress with us. I am at the moment in the balance of deciding where I’m going. I have been using blogger but can never get the clean cut finish I’m after. Someone suggested Wordpress especially as I am a photographer with loads of collections to display. I haven’t started the move yet but I am beginning to have a mess about with Wordpress and enjoying it so far. I’ll let you know how I get on 🙂

Again thank you for sharing x Shooting My Journey x

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Jami Gold March 27, 2013 at 7:44 am

Hi Nicol,

I’m happy to help. Let me know if you have questions. 🙂 Good luck and thanks for the comment!

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C. C. Cedras April 2, 2013 at 8:22 am

My God. I just read an interesting post on a blog (new to me) on Blogger. I was moved to comment. I crafted my comment and then began the jumps through the flaming hoops required to post it. When it finally got to the point that I was asked to put in the CAPTCHA codes? It dumped my comment and snarked at me that I couldn’t I couldn’t publish “an empty field”. I tried backing up to find a screen with my comment, thinking, “okay. I’ll give this another shot.” But no, not there. So I gave up. God help me, I do not want ANYONE who takes the time to visit my blog to encounter this crap.

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Jami Gold April 2, 2013 at 10:09 am

Hi C.C.,

Ugh! I hate when that happens. Of course, I just had WordPress.com eat one of my comments over at Kristen Lamb’s blog today, but I think that’s because I said I was a WordPress.ORG fangirl. 😉

Yeah, ease of commenting is a big deal for me. I’ve looked into Disqus and systems like that, but I don’t want people to have to jump through a log in hoop to comment. If my readers asked me to change, I would though. I just want to make things easier for them. 🙂 Sorry you had to go through that and thanks for the comment!

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Chaplain Winston Tobias Muldrew April 3, 2013 at 8:32 am

You have not given me enough technical details to switch from Blogger to Word Press. Let me tell you I have done on blogger and what they provided for me a virtual unknown.

About twelve years ago I had a website whereby people could view my entire E-books and hear my music before purchase. I have a $50 program that converts any Word document into a Ebook and I have the ability to create my own CDs. And of course you know, you only need 1 copy uploaded for every reader and hearer to download. I could afford to give them away.

Since then we can purchase an assortment of gadgets to download Ebooks and music, most costing more than the computers they already have. With the purchase of a terabyte of external disk storage you unlimited storage you can lock away in a safety deposit box. You don’t have to worry about cloud burst raining on somebody else parade. Unfortunately computers are fast becoming obsolete. Perhaps people won’t be smartphone illiterate like they are computer illiterate. We can only hope. I heard “ONE” store is offering smartphone programming as a service.

Also I could send my Ebooks free as an email attachment to everyone in my contact list like a Word document. Email attachments have regulated to the spam folder as of late or automatically deleted. O well. Blogs are a God send, a haven for the independent.

Blogspot noticed how I was using my blog. You may say it is the first book blog. So they proved themes that the whole page can be utilized. Being the computer programmer I was I created a titled menu for all of my blogs. You only but click on the entry whether it be video, slide show, of computer voice talking books, ect. I have added several blogs to that menu. I check the stats that tell me what is popular.

One great thing is the stats. I find that my blogs have been viewed by say 16 different countries! I also can view the stats for all time history or as little as a day. To keep my audience interested I post regularly. Currently, my reply’s to WordPress has been popular in different in many countries.

I don’t speak in one voice only. That is just the way I am. I have a number of platforms that appeal to my viewers. More importantly I encourage copying and pasting. So I don’t know exactly who views and uses my writings worldwide! I just ask if they use them for profit contact me by email. Well, I can dream can’t I.

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Jami Gold April 3, 2013 at 8:44 am

Hi Chaplain Winston,

From a technical perspective, WordPress generally has better SEO, which means the posts show up higher in search engine results. But it sounds like you’ve figured out how to make Blogger show the layout you want, so you’re right–the rest of this post’s details about formatting and appearance wouldn’t apply in your case. I’m glad you found something that worked for you! 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

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Katherin June 17, 2013 at 6:04 am

Hi!
Thank you for this wonderful post!
In my opinion, both Blogger and Wordpress are good solution for blog running. However, Blogger is more suitable for beginners only while WP is for someone who has some practice in running blogs. I have started with Blogger, but recently I moved to WP. I’m really satisfied with its technical side. There are dozens of very useful plugins. There are more options to get moe traffic and ranking in contrast to Blogger. Also, the themes look more professional than Blogger’s does. Btw I moved to Wp with automated tool cms2cms (http://www.cms2cms.com/) Also, with this tool, I have implemented 301 redirect to my site automatedly and for free absolutely. I like WP very much and recommend it everyone.

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Jami Gold June 17, 2013 at 11:04 am

Hi Katherin,

I haven’t used Blogger, so I can’t comment on its ease of use. I know others who felt Blogger was more user-friendly, but I also know others who felt its user-friendliness was really a limitation of options that made them frustrated. 🙂 I agree with you that the plugins and traffic/ranking abilities of WP are far better.

Just as some like Macs and some like PCs, there’s no right or wrong answer–just a choice we each have to make for what will be best for meeting our individual goals. But like you, I like WP and recommend it to others. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

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