Thank you for joining Anne and I for another week of Blogging Basics! Today we’re discussing Blogging Platforms.
I started blogging almost two years ago. When I made the jump, I went with Blogger because it was free and the interface was relatively simple. I hit “publish” for the first time with one of the free pre-designed layouts and stayed satisfied until I began reading other blogs. I knew I wanted more. I had three blog designs in my year and a half with Blogger. It served me well and I’m grateful for what it taught me, especially since I now run the Blogger site at my place of employment.
When I started thinking of starting a side freelance business, I knew I’d want a cleaner, more professional blog design. While I think each of my designs fit my personality and captured the spirit of my blog, I wanted to create a more formal space where businesses and individuals felt comfortable (even with the occasional curse word ;)). Instead of spending money on a new Blogger design, I decided to take the plunge and migrate to WordPress. I’ve only been a WordPress convert for a month, but I am in love and wish I’d done it sooner.
As with anything, there are pros and cons to both platforms:
- Ease of use
- Blogger traffic stats
- Editable HTML/CSS (for some of you. not me. it blows my mind).
- YOU DON’T OWN YOUR CONTENT. Google can shut it down whenever they like.
- Lack of available support
- Lack of updates
- Few widget options
- Ownership of site and content
- Simple customization
- Thousands of plugins
- Access to site support
- Expense, especially up front
- You’re responsible for backup and security measures
- Intimidating interface
Ultimately, I find WordPress easier to customize because there’s no coding involved. I’m still learning and have sent many panicked texts to Anne and Kerri (who fixed my homepage!). There are lots of changes I can make myself- with Blogger, I had to reach out to a designer for simple updates and edits. If you’re an HTML pro you will find Blogger easy to navigate and change. I am slowly learning basic HTML, but haven’t had time to take the classes for which I enrolled. I’ve seen many gorgeous, clean Blogger sites, but prefer the features and plugins of WordPress.
Full disclosure: migrating to WordPress cost me over $600. You can choose to migrate yourself (Jasmine did!) but I do not have the time or patience. I debated a DIY migration but was terrified of losing all my hard work. There’s not enough bourbon in the world. You can also purchase WordPress designs on Etsy, etc., and customize them to your liking. I chose Amanda from The Suitcase Designs (based on a recommendation from Sheryl) for my transfer and bought a design from her, too. I loved working with her so much I sent Kerri her way. She was unbelievably quick and efficient and provided me with lots of instructions instead of telling me to go with God.
The biggest expense was unforeseen. I chose to self-host so I’d have ownership of all my content and signed up with BlueHost. I’m sure I missed something, but I was charged for hosting through August of 2018, sending my account a $400+ kick in the rear. They market their rates on a monthly scale, but I didn’t receive any warning that I was signing up for the next three years. That’s been my only dissatisfaction with the WordPress experience: what if this isn’t in my future? I am highly satisfied with everything else and recommend it to anyone desiring a change and more control.
Blogger and WordPress are not the only blogging platforms! Obviously I have experience with both, but there are other options out there:
WordPress.com: I’m self-hosting through WordPress.org (huh?), but WordPress.com is FREE. You can supply your own domain. You don’t own your content like you do with WordPress.org and I’ve read it’s more difficult to customize, but I have no experience to confirm those statements.
SquareSpace: I don’t know much about it other than you can build your own website and they advertise the hell out of it on the Undisclosed Podcast.
As the saying goes: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Blogger no longer provided what I needed and I feel I can take my freelance business further with WordPress. Where do you want to take your blog? Do you feel you’re getting what you need from your platform?
If you’re considering a migration, let me know! I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have. Make sure to check out Anne’s post on the topic!