Though it started to fade in the beginning of the 2010s, blogging has begun another boost in popularity over the past few years. As people become less interested in social media websites to accurately reflect their realities, more are creating personal blogs to share their perspective and photos with others.
Given this newfound rise in popularity, it makes sense that you might be interested in creating a blog for yourself. However, what exactly is the easiest way to go about this?
Many people are embracing previously established blogging services while others are moving to newer platforms to launch their sites. In terms of the most reliable options, currently the best options are Blogger and WordPress. However, each service has its own pros and cons—in this article, we'll be taking a look at both services to help you decide which is right for you.
Before we're able to analyze each service, though, we should clarify what each service is and why you might want to use one over the other:
What is Blogger?
Blogger is one of the quintessential blogging sites still running from the early 2000s. Though you might not be able to see its influence in internet culture today, there was a time where a majority of Google search results were websites with the accessible .blogspot.com subdomain.
It just so happens that beginning with the subdomain is a great way to describe the service to those who aren't familiar with it. Blogger is a service that allows you to design your own blog and publish it right after creating it. The focus of the service is on speed, allowing users to select from a variety of templates with the goal that once they design their website, it goes live.
Blogger has long been the choice of many savvy internet users due to the intuitive nature of setting up the service and the communities that result. For example, most music blogs up until 2010 were run off of Blogger, giving anybody access to a platform with which they could immediately share any thoughts they had.
The only downside with Blogger is that using the service requires you to take on the aforementioned subdomain of .blogspot.com without an option to use a customized domain, unless you pay extra. For many, this is enough to prevent their interest in the service, but others view it as a small blemish.
What is WordPress?
Though we're taking a look at WordPress as an alternative to Blogger, this is not meant to imply that the services are anything alike. WordPress allows you to create blogs just as Blogger does, but it is more of a Content Manager Service (CMS). This means that you'll need your own domain and hosting to use it, as there is no specific place to host your blog with a subdomain. After you set up your website with the service, you can then use WordPress to manage and design your blog and the content that you upload to it.
WordPress prides itself on customization, with many opportunities for users to add plugins and customize their website's functionality and ease. This is why so many people use the service—it allows anybody who is remotely interested to build the type of website they want with little trouble. Making tools to build more complicated websites accessible is one of the major developments in blogging culture that WordPress has provided over the past few years, but some would say that the service itself is too complicated and that the options are not necessary.
It should be noted that, like Blogger, WordPress is completely free to use.
Comparing the Two
Whether or not Blogger or WordPress is the right service for you all depends on how complicated you want your future website to be. For example, those looking to simply publish text with no specific design in mind will be happy to take advantage of the ease with which you can quickly setup your site. However, if you begin looking for something more complex, then Blogger will quickly lose its appeal. Though it is possible to import your own themes and customize your website more thoroughly, the functionality is more limited and restricting.
Something that Blogger does really well is offering embedding options right off the bat. It's easy to put videos or music within specific blogposts with no additional setup or plugins required. WordPress is much different as you have to rely on plugins to get the most out of your website. This is no problem for those who know exactly what they want to do with their site, but some might think it puts too much weight on the user to make the experience ideal.
Still, though our time using Blogger we've never encountered any serious issues with the service itself. It's quick, accessible, and makes throwing up a website incredibly easy.
Our issues with Blogger come in the form of customization options: many of Blogger's features are really basic and don't go beyond that. There are themes you can use, but those who prefer to design their own themes will have to learn extensive coding to do so.
The idea of having to take on a subdomain is also a huge deterrent for us. When you're running a blog within communities that are also using the same hosting service, it doesn't seem that bad to have a subdomain. However, if you're the only person using Blogger, it can look unprofessional and not concise to have your website name be followed by the .blogspot.com subdomain.
The biggest benefit of Blogger, though, is that it is entirely free. Though WordPress is technically free, the requirement that you need a domain and hosting before using it makes it not 100% free. Granted, these elements are usually worth paying for if you want to run a professionally-looking website, but for those who are simply looking for a place to publish their texts with no worries about presentation, the completely free nature of Blogger is an obvious benefit.
For those who have or are expecting strong audiences, being able to incorporate Google Adsense easily into your Blogger website is a benefit of the service. With Google Adsense you can monetize your articles, though this isn't something you should be worrying about if you're not receiving heavy amounts of traffic on your website. On the other hand, if you do, you can make a good deal of money through ad revenue!
It should be noted, though, that you can install Google Adsense on WordPress too, as the program simply requires putting a widget into your site through coding. However, because Blogger is owned by Google, it has the most intuitive interface to implement that feature. WordPress also lets you use any other monetization service, not binding you to Google Adsense if that is not your true preference.
On the other hand, WordPress has customization options in many other ways that Blogger does not. There is a large library of themes easily available for your website that you can add at the click of a button, with even more options being available if you're willing to familiarize yourself with how to copy+paste code properly.
Virtually all of the features for uploading and managing data that Blogger offers are accessible just as easily with WordPress. Being able to make separate posts, make tag groups, upload photos, and more are all things that both services share. With WordPress it might be more difficult to embed videos in a way that works with every Operating System (OS), but this can easily be amended by adding a certain plugin.
And that's the thing—whereas with Blogger you are limited to the features included with the service, WordPress is a truly open source service, meaning that you can change any aspects that you are not interested in. Adding plugins becomes the main benefit of the service, letting you add any features you might require. When using WordPress, this becomes the main appeal, as it is really easy to find any features you want with a simple Google search. There are many users dedicated to making their plugins entirely accessible, so it has even recently gotten to the point where you don't need to know any coding to implement a feature. This is much different than what it used to be, where you would have to familiarize yourself with website structure to add new features.
Another benefit of WordPress is the support services and communities available. Blogger is a mostly outdated service that doesn't have much of an online community surrounding it anymore, meaning that any issues you have with setting up your blog will largely go unanswered. On the other hand, WordPress still has great customer support and communities dedicated to helping others. The key difference between the communities built around each service is that the WordPress community is consistently updating itself with new content, methods, and other ways to help other users navigate the service easily. Most of these communities also offer plugins for free, though it is possible to commission or pay for specific plugins that you want for your website. The free opportunities with WordPress are quite robust, so we never found ourselves having to pay for features at any point during our use of the service.
However, you'll likely need to get in contact with these communities if you want to truly customize and understand your website. This is because that—no matter how streamlined the implementation process becomes—WordPress will always have somewhat of a learning curve for those who are not familiar with coding or website structure. This is almost unavoidable and could be a downside for some, but we also think it's worth learning more about your website if you want to become a truly experienced web designer.
Something that must be addressed when comparing Blogger and WordPress is their future potential. As we've mentioned earlier in this article, WordPress is a more modern service, while Blogger represents a specific time in free website building that is more representative of 2000s internet culture. Both work well and likely will continue to, but whether or not both will continue to receive updates and care from their owners remains to be seen.
Google has not taken the time to update Blogger in quite some time, possibly indicating that they will eventually cut off support for the service. This likely won't happen for a few years, but it is worth noting if you want to have a website that is long-lasting. It also doesn't mean that Google has entirely given up on the service or won't just continue running it without updates, but often companies giving up on updating certain services can be the beginning of the end in many ways.
In comparison, WordPress continues to be updated well into 2020. Even if there is a future in which the platform isn't updated anymore, its nature of being open source will continue to make it accessible to the communities that are interested in maintaining it. This means that even if the company gives up on it, the communities likely won't, at least not any time in the near future.
When looking at whether or not you should use WordPress or Blogger, the most important thing to consider is which type of website you want to make. Both services are incredibly useful, but it's clear that they serve different purposes. Blogger is only useful for those who want to create simple websites to share text, photos, and videos without having to pay for hosting. You're able to create and publish your website instantly without having to worry about syncing your DNS or domain details.
As far as the benefits go, though, this is where Blogger stops being useful. Having to pay for your own hosting and domain are both small sacrifices to make for being able to have thorough customization options and freedom for your blog. The fact that your Blogger site is technically hosted on Google's servers also means that they have access to all of your data, which isn't the most ideal thing, meaning that using WordPress allows you to determine where your data is stored and how you host your site.
Overall, we much prefer WordPress to Blogger. There is more flexibility, unique features, and overall support that makes the experience more intuitive. The only reason as to why we would recommend you use Blogger is if you really want to spend no money on your website and don't mind how the service limits your blog. In all other matters, WordPress is a more thorough service, giving you customization options for your website for no added fee.