Some of you may know that I recently moved my blog from Blogger to WordPress. But what’s the difference? And for those of you looking into starting a blog, which should you use? And why did I decide to move my blog in the first place if it was such a hassle?
Never fear – I am here to explain it all!
Quick clarification before I start: I’ll be discussing the free version of WordPress, which is the one I use, so I can’t comment on any additional features paid users may have access to.
You can see from the screenshots above that the layouts of both sites are relatively similar, each with a sidebar on the left where you can find your posts, pages, blog stats, settings, and where to customise your site, among other things. Since you can probably tell that both are relatively straightforward to use, I’ll be spending most of this post discussing the differences in what you can do with each platform rather than how you do it.
Customisation and Appearance
Both Blogger and WordPress have a good level of customisation, but in different ways. For example, WordPress has more options regarding menus, the various pages on your blog, and which widgets are visible on which pages. Meanwhile, Blogger lets you adjust the width of the sidebars and main blog area, and change many of the colours of most aspects of the page separately.
In terms of themes, WordPress currently has 165 free themes and 214 premium themes (I know this because it tells me), and you can search through them either by typing in what you’re looking for, or by choosing features such as where you want the sidebar, what sort of layout you want, and so on. Blogger, on the other hand, has approximately 50 themes which are all free (I know this because I counted them but then forgot the exact number), and they’re sorted into groups of themes that are vaguely similar.
In general, WordPress themes tend to look more sleek and dynamic, and with more choice in themes, there’s also more variety. This means it’s easier to end up with a site that looks stylish and good quality. In comparison, Blogger themes often look a little clunkier and simple. There is the option to edit your blog’s HTML, which WordPress doesn’t give you (as far as I know), but if you’re hesitant to try that, you may have a hard time trying to make your Blogger blog look less basic and more creative – no matter how many bright colours you use or how many gadgets you add.
Originally I was going to say that WordPress is a little more complex to use (though even if this was the case, it’s possible that this is because I’m new to WordPress but have been using Blogger for years). However, I’ve realised that both platforms are equally easy to figure out and use for a simple blog, and the only reason I’ve found things a little confusing is because I’ve been trying to set up some slightly more complex features (such as the widget visibility options and extra menu options previously mentioned) on WordPress that Blogger simply doesn’t have. So instead I will say that while WordPress is perfectly good for both simple and slightly more involved sites, Blogger is limited only to more simple ones.
In Blogger, you can label your posts with rather creatively-named “labels”. These can help you group your posts together by giving certain posts the same labels, and they can also work as hashtags to help your posts appear in relevant search results. You can even add a gadget displaying all your labels in a list or a cloud so that readers can browse posts with particular labels.
In WordPress, however, you have two options instead of labels: categories and tags. This simply separates the two functions that labels can have. Categories are the chapters or sections listed on the contents page in a book, while tags are the references listed on the index page. Like on Blogger, you can add widgets displaying both your categories and your tags, though separately. Separating them is helpful in that you might want readers to be able to find all posts in the categories “book reviews” or “cookery” without them have to search through things like “Heartless by Marissa Meyer” or “vegan cheese”, which are listed because you wrote a single post about each of these things and wanted people Googling these things to see your post in their search results.
Sharing and Connectivity
When you publish a blog post, Blogger gives you the option to share it to Google+, which is rather nice of it. However, since few people use Google+, doing this will gain you few views.
WordPress, however, gives you the option to automatically share your posts to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and LinkedIn (in addition to Google+) upon publication. This will save you precious time in copying and pasting the link to your new post on various social medias and trying to work out what to put to get people to actually click on that link. It’ll also save you the risk of getting sucked into scrolling aimlessly through your Facebook feed after promoting your latest post when you have better things to be doing.
And even if you don’t share your post to any of your social medias, there’s still a better chance of someone reading it than on Blogger. There’s more of a community on WordPress, and they’re also more active in liking posts. It certainly makes it feel much easier to be seen!
WordPress also gives you the option to change the sharing buttons displayed at the bottom of your posts – you can choose which ones appear how and in which order. Blogger gives you no such option.
The major factors which persuaded me to switch from Blogger to WordPress are the better sharing options and the better organisation options provided by having categories and tags rather than just labels. But I also really like the difference in appearance, the ability to have a more substantial site, and other little perks (such as the fact that WordPress makes it easier to link to previous blog posts – instead of finding the post and copying and pasting the link, it simply lets you choose the link you want from a list of your previous posts).
As for which platform anyone wanting to start a blog should choose, it really depends on what you want from your blog. I would suggest that if you want just a blog, you can take your pick of the two, but if you want a website that has a blog, WordPress is probably the better option. Otherwise, unless Blogger has specific features that you prefer, I’d say there’s a reason WordPress is more popular than Blogger.