Blogger vs. WordPress

I was recently asked to help someone set up a blog so I had to decide which tool to recommend to them.  This helped crystallise a lot of my thinking on which tool I should be using myself as I have been conducting an ongoing road test by running this blog on both WordPress and Blogger.  Neither of them is perfect and they have different positives and negatives.  So to tilt this in my normal manner, the following review covers what makes me angry about each of these tools.

Obviously there are a hell of a lot more blogging options than just Blogger and WordPress but I don't have the time or energy to compare them all.  I started on Blogger because I figured as Google owns it, this would be the easiest one to include Adsense ads on if I wanted to go that way (so far I don't want to do this but it is true, Blogger is the easiest one to put ads on).  There are plenty of good comparisons out there, do a Google search on "blogging tool comparison" or try this one that I found to be really comprehensive.  This particular review was the one that convinced me to try WordPress for comparison.

So what good things did I discover upon setting up a blog on Blogger?  Well, it's damn easy to set up.  You can do a nice profile with photo if you want.  My girlfriend likes the fact it puts a date and timestamp at the top of each post.  It has an auto-save function when you are drafting a post that usually work (although not always).  That's about it.  Blogger is a bastard to customise, you have to go right down to html.  There are no diagnostic/site visit measuring tools provided.  It's hard to find other active blogs you might have something in common with – in the early days of a blog when you're linkwhoring this is important.  Broadly speaking, site management tools are shit compared to WordPress.

WordPress is slightly more involved to set up but still dead easy.  You can't put Adsense ads on a WordPress blog (although they have pretty good reasons for this) and they don't have an easy profile with photo setup like Blogger.  Beyond that, the customisation options provided by WordPress are awesome.  Through the magic of "widgets" you can add all sorts of features in a few seconds (literally – it's drag and drop).  You can be a clueless non-techie like me and still have heaps of customisation on your blog.  Sadly, it's very easy to over-design and you don't have to go far to see a WordPress blog where the user has gone way over the top and added so many bells and whistles the site is unusable.

WordPress include very good site stats monitoring tools, it's way easier to track comments and they have excellent anti-spam protection.  I had a doomsayer comment on Blogger a while back that said I needed to introduce word verification and/or comment moderation or I'd be overwhelmed with comment spam.  I made a specific choice to make it as easy as possible for people to comment on my blog because that's what makes it worthwhile for me.  I figured I'd manage comment spam manually for as long as I could.  I haven't had a significant issue with spam on Blogger yet, I've had to delete maybe half a dozen altogether (although one dick posted 3 spam comments in one day last week).  Recently on WordPress I have had about 20 spam comments and the spam protection has worked brilliantly.

WordPress only missed one spam that I had to delete manually and it only had one false positive.  That was the right-wing dork I was arguing with a while back and it happened because he included a lot of links in a comment (classic sign of spam).  Or maybe WordPress agreed with me and decided the fuckwit shouldn't be allowed to comment.  Either way, it was a simple job to mark it "not spam" and have it appear.

You might have noticed by now I'm quite a cheerleader for WordPress over Blogger.  And if you look at the site stats you'll see all the traffic is coming to my WordPress blog (around 6500 vs. 1500 on Blogger).  This is largely because WordPress is way easier to promote, they provide lots of links to active and popular blogs – the bread and butter of shameless comment whores like myself.  Oh, and it's way easier to add people to your blogroll on WordPress.  I kept meaning to change the html on Blogger to add my friend to the blogroll but it is a pain.  I'm pretty sure it's going to die soon so I'll add everyone to my WordPress blogroll instead.  So if you happen to have a link to my Blogger blog, you'd make me very happy if you changed it to WordPress.

There is one flaw they have in common – they both have shit spell-checkers.  It's churlish to pick on a free tool (you get what you pay for) but one aspect of their spell checkers actually makes me laugh more than it makes me angry.  Neither of them recognise blog, blogger, blogging etc. as words.  Nice attention to details guys.

16 Comments

Filed under Blogging

16 responses to “Blogger vs. WordPress

  1. Capri

    Blogger listed my Blogger blog as a spam blog when it never was. I lost six months of posts They never replied to my many emails but weeks later emailed me saying sorry and that my blog was no longer being listed as a spam blog. At least WordPress has the forum to ask questions. They are thinking about allowing javascript ads in the future, but maybe as a pay service. Google Adsense is overrated. I had those at Blogger but eventually took them down because many months later, I only made maybe about two dollars. And they only mail our a check when you reach a certain amount. You can make alot of money from them if your site is very high traffic. But the most money is with sponsors and affiliates.

  2. Capri: good advice. Anyone else have experience with gaining some filthy lucre via blogging?

  3. Capri

    What’s lucre? Money? The big gossip sites I visit make alot of money from ads and sponsors and afiliates. I want to put BlogAds. Usually other blogs pay to have their blogs advertised on your blog.

  4. Thank goodness for wordpress. If not for them I’d never have met you. I’d be fucked in the neck with a worthless blog.😀

  5. Kit

    I’m going to start up again, but hosted WordPress negates any issues you may have with WordPress. Overall, WordPress still beats down Blogger regardless of where you have in installed.

    AdSense is not overrated, but you can expect too much when you have too little. With some SEO tricks and consistent content, you can turn even a trickle of content into decent revenue. As blogging continues to grow, AdSense is slowly changing to allow more revenue to be raised in blogging situations. Ad placement is another major factor in relation to the number of clickthroughs, and making sure the contextual advertisements recognise the content is another. [To display relevant adverts]

    I’m guessing that wordpress.com runs Askimet anti-spam, which is the ultimate spam comment killer.

    If the spelling thing is really driving you mad, [I mean really really mad] try one of the free blog writing programs. I’m not sure how great they are, but they should at least recognises ‘blog’ and ‘blogging’ as a word.

  6. Salaamat,
    I try blogger. I think wordpress rocks too. Nuff said:)

  7. Sandra: awww you are so sweet

    Kit: Good points. At this point I have a well-paying day job so I’m not so worried about making money through blogging although I’d like to move in that direction. Akismet is indeed what WordPress uses – it blocked anothe 5 today although in a Murphy’s Law moment it missed one yesterday just after I wrote how good it was.

    Maliha: Yep, I’m glad of the first hand comparison I went through. I’d recommend WordPress unreservedly to anybody.

  8. uhuh! tried the other blog shits too, kinda got confused. went back here instead!😉

  9. Stick with this one Mayang, I think it will be the only active one soon.

  10. Kerryn

    I tried blogger, too. Lasted two weeks before I packed up and moved to wordpress, never regretted it.

    I’ve had no experience with the filthy lucre side of things but have you checked out problogger dot net? Lots of tips and this week he’s running a group writing project on blogging goals, which could be good for wider exposure… if that’s where you want to go😉

  11. Kerryn: I do want to be filthy stinking rich and mind bogglingly famous but I haven’t worked out exactly how a blog fits into this plan yet. I’m in no rush to monetise things yet, the ego rush my incredibly generous readers give me is enough for now.

  12. saly

    I find wordpress better than blogger. I don’t know if you can track visitors on blogger, can you?

  13. Saly: you have to add some html to use an external counter – I did this with my Blogger blog.

  14. I’m still trying both. I implemented an external site tracker (www.sitemeter.com) to get some traffic stats, but I agree that WordPress seems to have much better management tools.

    http://lifeofaprogrammanager.wordpress.com
    http://lifeofaprogrammanager.blogspot.com

  15. What did you do in the early days to gain readers? You mention linking to a bunch of other blogs. What did you find were the most effective linking techniques? Commenting on other blogs and adding your blog address in the comments? Trackbacks? Linking on your sidebar? What other linking techniques did you use?

  16. PM: The trick I learned in the early days was to comment on other sites while logged in so there was a link back to mine. Most people will check the sites of anyone who comments on theirs. The thing is to make it a real comment. I don’t comment on every blog I visit, just the ones I think I can contribute to. That got me some regular readers early and some word of mouth from there was quite helpful.

    I’ve heard Trackbacks can be very effective although I haven’t really done that. The one way to significantly boost traffic is to get mentioned on a major blog and to do that… well, you have to do something really notable. I haven’t managed it yet🙂 Getting put on Digg or Redditt has worked for me (Redditt particularly) but the content has to appear relevant to the users of these sites or it’s not help at all. They can be really bitchy if they think your content is not relevant. Check out the Joel on Software Redditt in particular. http://joel.reddit.com/

    Number one is your content. If people don’t like your content, nothing will help you grow.

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