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Hipstercrite: Blogger versus Wordpress

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Blogger versus Wordpress

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When I first started Hipstercrite in 2006 as the shittily titled PlasticLA- which garnered about 8 visitors a week- the only blogging platform I knew of was Blogger. It was common and easy to use. The templates were simple and I didn't need anything fancy. I stopped blogging for awhile and started back up in 2008 where I jumped from 8 visitors a week to 10. I really only began taking blogging seriously in 2009 when I moved from LA to Austin to work on my writing and where I saw my followers jump from 4 to over 1,000. This was due in part to receiving Blogger's Blog of Note in December of 2009. Blogs of Note is when Blogger features a blog of their liking for the week. My blog wouldn't be where it is today without that honor. Between all my social media profiles and blog feeds I have almost 6,000 followers thanks in many parts to Blogger.

However, as time has gone on and Hipstercrite has expanded, the inevitable has happened. I want to move to a more professional and sleeker looking blogging platform. People have been telling me to make the move over to Wordpress and I'm about 90% ok with the idea of making that transition.  So what 10% is holding me back? Money, alienating my wonderful followers, and the fear of the unknown.

Knowing what blogging platform is best for you is f'ing hard.

This has been a stressful and educational process for me. Unless I'm blind, it's been difficult finding information about the pros and cons of Blogger versus Wordpress. When I converse with web designers they're mostly proficient in Wordpress or Drupal with little to no knowledge of Blogger and Blogger aficionados don't really understand Wordpress. However, the other day I came across an excellent breakdown of the pros and cons of Blogger and Wordpress from one of my new favorite blogs, Will Work 4 Followers, by Dan over at Single Dad Laughing. This blog is a great resource on how to become a successful blogger. He also points out that his very good-looking blogs are made on Blogger.

I've been working with a wonderful web designer who is proficient in Wordpress and studying Blogger in order to help me better with my situation. He has also been really patient with my back and forth on the two blogging platforms. He and I have come up with a list of pros and cons of Blogger versus Wordpress and though Wordpress definitely comes out ahead in terms of the next step, it is still a difficult decision to make. If you're thinking of making the leap from Blogger to Wordpress here are some of the questions and obstacles I've faced listed below.

*Note- I'm in no way an expert on Blogger or Wordpress so my info below could be off. If you see anything that is incorrect or that I may be forgetting, please let me know in the comments section!

Blogger
Pros:
-I'm already on Blogger so I won't have to worry about transferring content and followers over.
-Blogger has looked after me (loyalty to platform).
-Will cost me less money to customize versus create new blog at Wordpress.
-Has a wonderful vast network of bloggers.
-I'm familiar with it and it's simple to use.

Cons:
-Blogger now offers up to 10 static pages, but makes it difficult to divide old content onto them if you want to create separate categories of your content (i.e. wanting old 'Austin' tagged posts to get placed in a new 'Austin' static page).
-Doesn't offer a lot of widgets, especially progressive and useful ones.
-Less snazzy looking templates (old school-looking) and often boring. Even when customized doesn't always look that great.
-Web designers are less knowledgeable in customizing a Blogger blog.
-Less control over SEO as compared to Wordpress.


vs.


Wordpress
Pros:
-Better SEO than Blogger.
-Ability to self-host and own content.
-Snazzier looking templates.
-Tabbed pages to divide up content or have bio page etc.
-Better platform to incorporate advertising.
-Easier to create posts from mobile device.
-More progressive widgets.

Cons:
-Will cost more money to transfer content/followers over and set up new design/template.
-Wordpress is a platform I'm not familiar with yet.
-I can either use the free version, Wordpress.com, which has limited templates and doesn't allow customized templates or plug-ins, or I can use the costly version, Wordpress.org, which requires me to find my own host and deal with my own back-up/spam/upgrades. Though self-hosting might not be much money a month, having someone knowledgeable in all of this (for I am not) and to take care of my blog for me could end up costing me a lot (see more here).
-Potentially screwing up my migration of content and followers from Blogger over to Wordpress.



What are your thoughts? Should I try to drum up the extra money to put this blog on Wordpress or should I stick with the platform that I'm familiar with?

28 Comments:

At 9:20 AM, Blogger Christine Macdonald said...

I've seen many Wordpress site and I think they are fine, but honestly, I've had great success with Blogger. I've customized my page and love the clean lines of Blogger. On Blogger, I created custom pages ("about, website, reviews, etc) and am happy with that.

The bottom line is, wherever you end up, you will have success, it's just a matter of how much money you want to shell out and how comfortable you are. I LOVE your Blogger site.

Either way - you will rock - because, well.. YOU rock. It's the person we want to read, not so much the platform.

 
At 9:27 AM, Blogger Hipstercrite said...

@Christine- Thanks, Christine! I really appreciate that. I love the way your blog looks. Did you all do yourself or did you have help? Did you find it was easy to customize your Blogger blog?

 
At 9:34 AM, Blogger Christine Macdonald said...

Thanks! I did it myself. I went in to "templates" then "advanced" and you can take it from there...Pretty user-friendly actually.

 
At 9:39 AM, Anonymous Sarah said...

I wrote about this recently: http://sillygrrl.com/2011/01/21/nerd-q-a-wordpress-com-vs-blogspot/

If you're just doing a simple site and don't wait to hire a designer or learn to design yourself I'd go with Blogspot because it is super easy.

But if you're going to build (or pay someone to build) a larger site, with a more complex design it's Wordpress all the way.

And Christine is totally right - if you keep your design clean, then it's all about the content.

 
At 9:40 AM, Blogger Doug said...

Lauren: I love your blog and I would be reading it every day even if you were publishing it via crayon and lined paper.

To more useful comments, I use Google reader to manage all the blogs I subscribe to so it would not be any trouble for me if you end up switching to WP. Based on your entry it sounds like you really need to move to WP the question is really when to move. And that would depend on how stressful your life is right now. Only you know that answer to that.

Keep blogging I really look forward to reading what you have to say everyday!!

 
At 9:40 AM, Blogger Rachel said...

I thought you could self host on blogger?

You can definitely get page tabs though! It's a new feature, or at least, I only discovered it recently.

Also, there are codes our there to have a wordpress style on your blogger blog. You could always try to do something like that.

 
At 10:10 AM, Anonymous vince said...

I love your blog and I rarely comment because the blogger comment workflow drives me nuts.

Wordpress is worth the headache of moving in my opinion

 
At 10:59 AM, Anonymous Mikey said...

I am just getting into blogging (my site isn't finished and no content is complete yet), and I had to research this topic and figure out what I wanted to do.

I ended up going with Wordpress, for a few reasons:

1. SEO is key. It, quite literally, can control your destiny.

2. I looked into what it takes to install plugins and themes, as well as editing themes. It takes literally no technical skill. Click here, and click there. I've got several themes and plugins installed now.

3. I wanted the site to be MINE. No search bar, custom footer, my own domain. It turns out it's not difficult at all to get it up and running.

4. Versatility. You can do so much more in Wordpress with so much less effort.

I would like that if you wanted to, you could purchase the domain "hipsercrite.com" and then set up a 301-Redirect from here to send all your loyal followers to your own personal dot com site so you don't lose them.

 
At 1:01 PM, Anonymous chris said...

The faucethead blog is set up using Wordpress and we like it quite a bit. We've had many clients use them too.

I like them for the long term solutions [SEO, branding, flexibility].

drop me a line and I'll let you know what we recommend to our clients, it's a pretty inexpensive solution.

-ch

 
At 1:14 PM, Blogger em g said...

Hey Lauren,
My nonprofit (www.nag-brooklyn.org) moved from blogger to drupal last year. We had an AWFUL time with drupal, so we consulted with my friend/roommate David who is an absolute whiz. He moved all of our stuff to Wordpress, and the site looks gorgeous now and is MUCH more user friendly, especially when it comes to inserting pictures and creating pages. I bet if you put a little kickstarter or paypal on your page, some of your devoted readers would pitch in a buck or two to move you to a better platform.

I also really really reccomend talking to Dave if you are still feeling confused... he freelances web design while on tour with Titus. If you're interested, shoot me a message and I'll give you his email. He's very reasonable because he is an artist and gets it.

 
At 1:31 PM, Anonymous Bak said...

I agree with Mikey. Before I built my website, I looked into Blogger, Drupal and even Joomla. I wanted my website to be mine. No extra bar at the top, no redirection needed.

What made me choose the self hosted version of WP (.org) was the large community of developers out there. There are plugins for anything and everything. And there's a lotta people out there to help out. Over the past couple years, WP has gotten easier to maintain.

Finding a host was easy and is not that expensive. I pay $24 for 6 months and that gives me plenty of space to upload stuff.

The .com version of WP has really been expanded with polls, social networks, multimedia and more.

But certainly have your current visitors be redirected to hipstercrite.com.

Good luck to you!

 
At 2:12 PM, Blogger William said...

I'm debating making "the switch" as well, and so your post was very helpful. I'm loyal to a fault, and so leaving blogger is hard for me.

It's good to know that Wordpress has a free and and then a pricier option, didn't know that...

 
At 4:18 PM, Blogger IT (aka Ivan Toblog) said...

The simple answer to your question is the answer to do you want to move?

 
At 8:50 PM, Blogger Jessica said...

Doesn't matter where you go, if at all, I'd follow your blog.

I'm on Blogger, just out of convenience and the fact that I'm not a serious writer/blogger. However, there are a few things that I've seen on Wordpress that I do like, but not enough to make the move.

 
At 10:27 PM, Blogger Kris said...

Stay with blogger. They've made some great changes. Then again, I'm just very comfortable with the platform, having been with it longer then you, even. And probably a little stuck in my ways.

I found you because of featured blogger. Have you looked into owning a domain through them?

 
At 11:21 PM, Anonymous Dating Sites said...

Hi,
This is quite an interesting post. This is a big topic for debate and I feel that the blogger fans will surely come out all guns blazing. Wordpress is no way near competing with blogger for sure.
:)

 
At 11:53 PM, Blogger ISRAEL CARRASCO said...

I'm not tech sacy so Blogger works for me.

 
At 1:37 AM, Blogger Brooke Farmer said...

My other blog (you know, the one I've barely done a damn thing with) is on Wordpress. It is far less user friendly. This is a serious issue if you happen to be computer retarded. Which I am. And you may not be.

 
At 4:41 AM, Anonymous MG said...

I use wordpress and because my boyfriend is an economist, he's forcing me to learn how to code and all that jazz. There is definitely a learning curve but I have a small handle on it and I'm doing alright (with the HTML business)

There are a ton of great free templates to use, and I use bluehost ($83 a year) and wordpress.org is free. So it isn't too expensive!

 
At 5:04 AM, Blogger Barbara said...

Go with Wordpress

 
At 7:31 AM, Blogger Tony Russo said...

You spoke about widgets. There's a really useful "Follow Me" widget to help in the transfer from Blogger to WP. Also, when I first moved I used the excellent "Excerpt editor" plugin on WP to continue posting excerpts on my blogger account. It wasn't labor intensive at all and the "read more" link directed people to my new site.

 
At 2:14 PM, Blogger WILDasaMINK said...

Ok here's the deal, you just let me know where you choose to blog-I'll copy your site and paste it in my sidebar link nonsense, and I'll still be reading your blog :) Because I don't care where you choose to write, I'll always heart your blog, its comic relief when I want to laugh and its some damn fine reading material if I do say so myself.

 
At 4:16 PM, Blogger joanna said...

I have really been thinking about moving to Wordpress a lot lately. But I need someone to hold my hand through the process i.e. do it for me while i sit and watch. Just thinking about it stresses me out.

 
At 6:07 PM, Blogger Guise Faux said...

As a very casual, unambitious blogger, Blogger does what I need so far. I haven't exhausted the possibilities yet for creating the overall look I want so the image immediately conveys the snarky content. We'll see down the road.

From the perspective of a reader of many different types of blogs, I don't see any real differences between any of 'em. It's still content over format, substance over style. I've seen plenty of Wordpress based blogs that lack substance, and even more Blogger based blogs with plenty of content and substance accessible in a way that seems intuitive to me.

 
At 5:36 AM, Blogger tennysoneehemingway said...

When I deleted my old Andy Warhol site, I set up a Wordpress site about a year later. Just the free one. In my VERY humble opinion, Wordpress is one of the most difficult platforms to navigate and use easily. I'd stick to what you've got on Blogger. I went back to Blogger after all. I had my Wordpress site for about six months and I got NO hits whatsoever. You've already got a built in audience, so that wouldn't be a problem but if you're just changing because you're bored, or because you want some fancy template, I think it's the wrong move. Your writing is great on here and I think your site looks great. I'm still not sure why you want to change.

 
At 7:35 AM, Anonymous christopher mitchell said...

Drupal is an application framework, so its really more for building a webapp like twitter or a social network like facebook, for blogging purposes it is overkill (unless you have long term secret plans for world domination).

Wordpress is useless without selfhosting, as you mention. If you are ready to make the commitment to purchasing space and really growing your blogs seo/traffic, wordpress is the way to go. Its not hard to modify wordpress to get the type of look you want and really fancy navigation/widgets.

Blogger is the easiest solution (with the least granularity of control), and can suffice for a long time. The question to ask yourself here: "What is most valuable? The design in my head (how the site is presented), ease of use, or something else (mobile app access, rss feed options, seo, etc)?"

Think of it this way: if the issue is just design (what us old hacker types call presentation layer) then stick with blogger and bend it until it breaks, then graduate to wordpress. Any decent designer fluent in jquery should be able modify blogger just as well as wp. It sounds to me like you are interested in some of the nice options that come with wp...so it might be time to graduate.

 
At 9:52 AM, Blogger Samantha said...

So far for my own experience, I can say that both Wordpress and Blogger are give there best to fulfill the satisfactions of their affiliates. I can apply Web Development Los Angeles in both blogging software.

 
At 2:15 AM, Anonymous Website designing Hyderabad said...

Thanks for sharing your incredible thoughts on blogger versus wordpress. it is valuable.

 

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