Close

March 19, 2013

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

WordPress logo with text "versus" and Blogger logo

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.)

Pin It

What do you think?

67 Comments on "Switching from Blogger to WordPress — Guest: Natalie C. Markey"

Notify of
avatar
5000
Click to grab Stone-Cold Heart now!
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Taurean Watkins
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… Read more »
Natalie C. Markey

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

Juli Page Morgan

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. 🙂

Widdershins

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 😀

Widdershins

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

Natalie C. Markey

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 🙂

Carradee

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.

Otto

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/

Carradee

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. 🙂

Melinda S. Collins
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… Read more »
Carradee

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.

Melinda S. Collins

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. 😉

Suzanne Johnson

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!

Carradee

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.

Melissa Maygrove

Great post! I’m tweeting this. 🙂

Indigo Grace

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!

TessQ
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!!!… Read more »
Natalie C. Markey

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

Rinelle Grey

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.

trackback

[…] at author Jami Gold’s blog. In preparation of her WANA International website class, I spoke about making the switch from Blogger to […]

Julie Glover

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!

Buffy Armsgtrong

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!

Marko Saric

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.

Nicol Marquis

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

trackback

[…] the decisions we need to make can quickly overwhelm us. Do we really need a website and a blog? Should we go with Blogger or WordPress? Do we want to go the free route or pay for a self-hosted site we’ll […]

trackback

[…] I shared some of the reasons I focus on WordPress and not Blogger for our blogging platform. And I did a guest post at Writers In The Storm blog (with no kidnapping […]

C. C. Cedras

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.

trackback

[…] further investigation, I found people talking about why they’d chosen not to use Blogspot for their professional blogs. Their logic made […]

Chaplain Winston Tobias Muldrew
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… Read more »
Katherin
Katherin

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.

trackback

[…] Blogger/Blogspot blogs use Captchas to ensure commenters are real people, but many hate Captchas with a passion and will avoid leaving comments at all. Between this point and the previous points about linking, I know people who refuse to comment on Blogger/Blogspot blogs for any reason. […]

Click to grab Pure Sacrifice now!
wpDiscuz