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 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.)Pin It