With the year 2010, coming to an end, we all will agree that we definitely had an amazing blogging experience throughout the year. If I were to nominate two blogging platforms which should be getting the credit for this wonderful experience, I would definitely nominate the two blogging giants-WordPress and Blogger, and I am sure you will approve my nominations, as, both are valued for their own merits.
Blogger.com was a pioneer in the blogging field that provided a platform to setup accounts and blog for free beginning from 1999. Later in 2003, Google bought it, which enabled it to rise, making use of Google's resources. These days, Blogger.com has an undisclosed amount of millions of users. Owned by ‘The Google', it has throughout been influential in bringing a practice that has with time, given blogging; a new and enhanced shape. Extremely easy to download and quick to set up, it amalgamates well with the full line of Google applications.
WordPress.com began in 2003 and has today become a rising blogging platform; assembling almost all blogging professionals on its stage. There are currently over two million people who are active users of WordPress.com, and not only this, there are millions of others who've downloaded various versions of the particular WordPress code. Being an open-source software; it is constantly updated, with its basic code being very light, and the flexibility being in the add-ons which can help your WordPress blog do almost anything you could possibly imagine and want it to do.
When it comes to giving competition to each other, none of the both lacks behind and we, as the panel of judges, are most of the times left confused. Then how do we decide, as to who should be declared as the winner- ‘the best blogging zone'?
To make it easy for myself, I decided to observe both from a competition point of view, and came up with some observations, which I would like to share with you, so that, your decision making becomes easier and you can come to a better conclusion. I will do this by comparing both the contenders; discussing their advantages and disadvantages as well as comparing their features.
To start with the comparison, we will talk as to why one would prefer WordPress over Blogger:
- The first reason as to why one would opt for WordPress is the need to create a usable backup for our content when transferring from Blogger to WordPress. And WordPress makes this amazingly possible!! Not only is it possible to transfer everything from Blogger to WordPress, but, in a matter of few moments, you can also download all the contents of your blog into a small and proper XML File. To test, whether the file is working at its best or not, you can set up a test blog: kenbrown.wordpress.com and can upload it. Well from my experience, when I got the desired result I had just two words- it rocks!!
- WordPress ensures that it preserves all the formatting when you are copying text in a post editor, whereas, Blogger crumble all the formatting. This way WordPress prevents you from falling in either of the hassles; 1. Manually adding HTML to the post as you compose it, or 2. Manually restoring italics and other formatting after copying into the editor. Moreover, WordPress also allows adding a fold, so that, longer posts do not occupy much space on the main page and allows you make posts "sticky" (always at the top of the page).
- You get a much better control over categories and tags as a WordPress user. Blogger has only one kind of label system, whereas, WordPress offers two, which allows you to put posts in broad categories which are listed at the bottom of page, and provide more specific tags which can be displayed or not. This is not all, as, WordPress allows global editing of tags and categories. If you wish you can change the name of a tag once and apply it to every post you ever used the tag on. Also you are allowed to convert tags to categories and categories to tags, either individually or all at once, which is not possible in case of Blogger.
- This is not that important an advantage, yet, it is considered as an advantage of using WordPress. The point is that WordPress is generally more aesthetically pleasing in its looks and feel. A more professional looking version than that of blogger. Though for long time users, the look might not be a counting factor but it can be a very positive point and can have a long lasting impression on first time visitors and can be considered as a reason as to why they stick to it.
These are the major points that might convince bloggers to opt for WordPress over Blogger. Also there are certain small but influencing factors which might lead them to go for WordPress which we will discuss later.
Now, though we have discussed so many advantages of using WordPress, there are also valid reasons as to why few people consider using Blogger as a better option. We can term them as advantages of using Blogger. Let's discuss them:
- Firstly, Blogger has lesser limitations regarding change of the theme compared to the limitations that WordPress has, I will explain how. WordPress places several limitations on our possibilities of modifying themes, and we know that each theme determines a vast range of settings on our blog. For example; it only allows you to change the masthead image–you can no further try your hands on any other area like: adjusting the color scheme, fonts, text size, layout, etc. Whereas, if you are using Blogger, this is true to a limited extent that you are allowed to change some aspects of the color scheme but not others, and have no control over things like column width. But WordPress ties your hands for even stronger areas like all sorts of other settings to the theme, like whether archives show full posts or only excerpts, or which widgets you can use. The sad part in case of WordPress is that you have to pay $15 a year if you want to be able to modify the CSS, and even you are limited to much extent.
- Next crucial comparison that keeps the ball in the court of Blogger is that; with WordPress you are also limited to 3 GB of media; and if you wish to get 5 GB more than that, you have to pay $20 a year. One of my friends told me that Blogger doesn't seem to count the pictures that he had already uploaded on the posts he imported from Blogger (even though it kept them), and even the YouTube video he uploaded was not counted. But he wasn't sure whether it was an error as –he coded it manually rather than using the built in "add video" button, the reason being that he didn't notice that button until after he had done it himself. Masthead image is the only "media" it is counting right now, using up a miniscule 32kb.
Now, let's compare the widgets of both; WordPress and Blogger, as it becomes crucial for any kind of blogging platform:
Here, Blogger wins the race, as, the widgets which are available in a much more limited range and give you limited control in case of WordPress than in case of Blogger.
For example - In case of Blogroll (in WordPress), the only option that you are given is to add categories. You are not given control over the order in which the links appear–you have to follow the alphabetical order whether you like it or not. In order to fulfill your wish of making a separate list of links, you have to code it manually using the text editor, as you are provided with no other option to add a second link list besides the Blogroll.
If we move on to further comparing their widgets, I will provide you with a list and you can judge it yourself:
This is list of widgets that Blogger provides:
Add a Gadget: Software applications that do cool things. There's an extensive menu in the sidebar; Popular Posts: This displays a list of popular posts on your blog; Blog stats: Displays your blog's visitor count; Pages: Displays a list of stand-alone pages on your blog. You can create up to 10 pages; Followers: Displays a list of users who follow your blog; Search Box: Search over your blog, your Blogroll and everything you've linked to; Text: Adds some words to your blog - like a welcome message - with our rich text editor; Ad Sense: Earn revenue by displaying relevant ads on your blog; Picture[for the sidebar]: Add a picture from your computer or from somewhere else on the web; Slideshow: Add a slideshow of your photos to your blog; Video Bar: Clips from YouTube and Google Video for readers to watch without leaving the page; Poll: Survey your visitors by adding a poll.
There are many more advantageous widgets offered by blogger like blog list, link list, and the list goes on... Now this is what WordPress provides:
Akismet, Archives, Authors, Author Grid, Blog Stats, Blog Subscriptions, Box.net file sharing , Calendar, Categories , Category cloud, del.icio.us, Flickr, Gravatar, Image, Links, Meebo , Meta, Pages, Recent Comments, Recent Posts, RSS, RSS Links, Search, SocialVibe, Tag Cloud,Text ,Top Clicks ,Top Posts, Top Rated, Twitter, Vod:Pod Videos.
Do not go on the number for your judgment, but on the usefulness.
After we are done with the major issues of this debate, let us not leave out the minor points that might affect your decision making;
In favor of WordPress:
- WordPress has a better loading speed than Blogger.
- WordPress allows pages while Blogger doesn't.
- WordPress avoids the fake trackbacks which often show up on almost all the Blogger posts as soon as they add their new blogroll widget.
- If we talk about the pinging services and blog directories, hundreds of them with RSS accept all WordPress feeds and are pinged once and always when a post is published in the WordPress blog, and also the pinging in their sites can be automated. Whereas, in case of Blogger, very few blog directories accept feeds from blogger powered sites.
In favor of Blogger:
- WordPress does not allow Java, whereas Blogger does. WordPress has a work-around for YouTube and a few other things, but not for others. Like; you are not allowed to use Google Analytics with WordPress, which disappoints few.
- WordPress does not allow you to preview comments. Moreover, you do not have any other option rather than just to include the comment field on the same page as the post. Whereas, Blogger gives you various other options.
Feedback from users who switched to WordPress from Blogger
Now, this part of the discussion comes under the category of neither advantages nor disadvantages, but annoys those who are trying to switch from Blogger to WordPress. I asked people about their experience and this is what I got as a feedback:
Most of them found the dashboard a bit counter-intuitive and also commented that the comment emails which WordPress sends are more difficult in reading than those that Blogger sends. But, yes, they also say that WordPress also has a plus point which is that they send emails only for other people's comments and not your own.
The built in statistics are limited and for what so ever reason they divide days based on GMT instead of the local time. However, Blogger does not include built in statistics at all.
Another problem that these users faced was that once you switch to WordPress, you can't import WordPress back to Blogger, but here the problem isn't with WordPress but with Blogger.
You are the judge as users!!
Well, no doubt both the platforms are good in their own ways, and are obviously going to enhance themselves with new features to win the title, but for now, you have an easy way to decide and declare the winner by reading this comparison. Some of you might fall under the category of people who have always favored one of these. Let us see who wins the race…Take your time, judge them well…but give us your answer as feedback. As far as my choice is concerned, let it be a secret!! It should not affect your decision.