Blogs Head to Head: Blogger vs. Wordpress


Thinking of starting a blog? If so, you’re probably trying to decide what system to use to run it. I’d say the top two are Blogger (blogger.com) and Wordpress (wordpress.org. Blogger is mainly a pre-hosted service that stores all your stuff on Google’s servers. Not a bad arrangement, unless you want more control over everything (you know who you are). Wordpress is a set of PHP scripts you upload to your web host and follow some instructions to install it (it’s pretty easy and only takes 10 minutes or so). “Wordpress.com” is a service that gives you a limited Wordpress blog that’s hosted by someone else (sort of like the Wordpress version of Blogger). I don’t recommend this, unless you are unable to install Wordpress (if your host has Fantastico it can do it for you in 30 seconds by the way). If that’s the case, you may prefer Blogger anyway. I like the look and feel of Wordpress and it’s added power. I may move this blog over to a Wordpress setup eventually (keeping the same address, or course — you’ll barely notice a difference). One cool feature of Wordpress is a “Blog Importer”. If your blog used to be on Blogger or another service, Wordpress can import all your old posts and stuff. Cool or what? Well, enough ranting, it’s time for the Head to Head.

Blogger
Okay, first up is Blogger, Google’s offering.

Blogger has a nice feature set, but doesn’t clutter things or make itself hard to use. It’s a great introductory blogging system, letting you host your blog on Google’s servers or partially on your own. You can use either a subdomain resembling you.blogspot.com or point your own domain at the blog. The template system used since it’s launch in 1999 is amazing. You can install a new design just by pasting some text into a box, or by using one of the included ones in the template gallery. Making your own doesn’t take much beyond basic HTML and CSS knowledge either. You can still use that great template system or the new “layouts feature” that allows you to modify one of the several included designs just by dragging and dropping. Unfortunately this makes it harder to code your own new design. You can use either of the methods, since Blogger understands both. Comments, feeds, posting by email, multiple authors, and lots of other useful features are supported as well. Blogger’s pretty good, especially for the novice user (even if you have plenty of web experience, you may like Blogger).

Wordpress
Now it’s time for Wordpress, the option for those who want absolute control of everything.

If Blogger has a “nice” feature set, Wordpress’s is spectacular. You can separate your posts into categories, write static pages (an about page is a good example), you can easily manage a blogroll, etc. You can configure virtually anything if you want to. The templates used for Wordpress are available all over the web (just Google “wordpress theme”). They’re not quite as easy to make as Blogger ones, though you have a lot more you can do. It’s best to create a web layout first, then start template-itizing it with Wordpress’s “template tags”. Wordpress requires having a place to host it (with PHP and MySQL support). You can get such hosting for as little as $2.99/month. That price includes your own domain too. I like Wordpress a lot, it’s not quite as easy to use as Blogger, but it’s easy nonetheless. I highly recommend Wordpress, but NOT the service known as wordpress.com (it’s practically useless unless you want to pay them for “premium services”).

Conclusion
I highly recommend either Blogger or Wordpress for anyone wanting to start a blog. Blogger is great for people who are just getting started with Blogging and don’t know much about the inner workings of the web, while Wordpress is great for more experienced people. If you can set up a Wordpress blog (or if you know someone who can set it up for you), you’ll definitely not outgrow it when your blog becomes popular.