Starting a Blog? Is WordPress or Blogger the Best Option for You?
Does your business need a blog? If so, choosing a blogging platform for it can be challenging because there are many good options out there. So, how do you choose the best one? Two of the most popular options are WordPress and Blogger.
While this is not an extensive review of either site, I've highlighted the pros and cons of each based on my user experiences, and then I've offered some suggestions on how to find and register a domain name.
WordPress is a powerful content management system that offers more than most blogging platforms for both beginning and pro bloggers.
Because it can be customized to your specifications with themes, layouts, designs and plugins, its versatility is limitless.
You have your choice of two options: wordpress.com and wordpress.org.
What Are My Options?
The application, WordPress, is free but you must decide if you will self-host your blog (choose WordPress.org) or host it at WordPress.com.
For self-hosting, you need a domain name and a hosting service to get started.
WP Self-Hosting Advantages and Disadvantages
Self-hosting is a good way to go if you don't mind handling issues like site security and updates or you are tech-savvy. According to HostIndex.com, if you host with HostMonster, BlueHost, or IX Web Hosting, your monthly costs would average around $3.95 to $5.95 or about $75 a year.
The non-techie blogger may want to choose a hosting service that offers Managed WordPress services like GoDaddy. For as little as $1.00 per month, you get your domain, WordPress installation and management services, and web hosting. Some managed services include:
- Automatic updates to the WordPress core
- Backups done nightly
- Redundancy in the firewalls
- Malware scanning
- 99.9% uptime guarantee
- Approximately $250 credit to spend on Google AdWords, Bing ads or Facebook ads
However, if your technical skills are limited or you want a quick, easy way to get a blog up and running without investing a lot of time and effort, wordpress.com might be a better choice.
It's free, so you won't have to buy a domain name, and it's user friendly for even the tech-challenged, so you can get your blog up to speed and producing fast.
A major downside to wordpress.com is the limits to monetizing your blog. For example, is Google Adsense a major part of your income stream?
Hosted WordPress.com blogs cannot run Google ads; instead, the advertising on these blogs is controlled by wordpress.com, not the blog owner. If it is important to you to control your blog advertising program, managed WordPress self-hosting may be a better option for you.
Where Can I Get WordPress?
You can download WordPress from Wordpress.org, and if you would like an idea of the types of companies and services that depend on WordPress for their websites and blogs, check out their client showcase at wordpress.org/showcase.
Additionally, most web hosts offer one-click WP installation in the cpanel, so if you are choosing a web hosting service, you might want to make that feature part of your search criteria.
Want to Know More? WordPress.Org vs. WordPress.com
Pros and Cons of WordPress
Here are some of my personal reasons for using WordPress:
- As already mentioned, the customization features
- Open source
- Offers an active, supportive community
- User friendly.
Here are some of the challenges I've faced with WordPress (because I am not tech literate):
- Because of all of the features available, there is a higher learning curve
- If you opt for the .com version, you do not have control over the advertising
- If you want to do advanced customizations, you may have to hire someone to do the work if your technical skills are not good or you are unfamiliar with WordPress.
Blogger is an easy-to-use blog creation tool and perfect for the entry-level blogger with few technical skills such as coding or HTML. Conversely, you could be a tech literate individual who wants a blogging platform that is simple to manipulate and manage.
As a book reviewer, I needed a blog to post book reviews but I wasn't ready to become a professional blogger. Blogger was the perfect way to build a professional looking blog for my publishers and readers.
Getting Started with Blogger
To get started, you just need a Google account or a gmail account. Blogger is a free service, fairly dependable, and simple to use so if you are in the market for a minimalistic blogging platform, make Blogger your go-to-source.
You can choose to use the default "www.name.blogspot.com URL" or buy a domain name from Google, GoDaddy or some other source. Blogger is a good way to go if you do not need the feature-rich functionality of WordPress, if you just want to experiment with blogging to see if it suits you, or you just want to learn how blogging works.
Pros and Cons of Blogger
The pros are its security and easy monetization.
Because it is a Google product, it is tied to Google Adsense so you can get ads up and running quickly.
Additionally, as a Google product, it plays well with other Google products like Feedburner and Google+.
Some cons of using Blogger for your blog include:
- Google owns the blog, not you, so you could potentially lose your blog and all your work if Google decided to shut down Blogger. (Google has a history of shutting down products: think Google reader.)
- While Blogger is user friendly and easy to use, its functionality is limited to the built-in themes and tools. Making your blog stand out in the competition from all the other Blogger blogs may be difficult because of these limitations.
- Since this is a Google-owned blog, you must abide by their terms of service. This may limit or exclude some content you were planning to publish.
Blogger vs. WordPress.com
Choosing a Domain Name
Choosing a domain name takes time and effort but it is worth it. Your domain name tells the world what to expect when they come to your website or blog and brands your products or services. After you choose your domain name, you need to register it.
WordPress versus Blogger
Which is your preferred blogging platform: WordPress or Blogger?
Tips for Choosing Domain Names
Just as you would inspect a house for hidden damage and liabilities before you made a purchase offer, inspect a domain name before investing in it.
For instance, has the domain ever been banned by Google? What kind of content is currently or was hosted there? When does it expire? Who owns it now? Here are some other tips I used to find my domain name:
- The best domain names are short, descriptive and memorable: think Amazon.com, eBay.com, PayPal.com. One or two word domains are best.
- Domain names with .com extensions are the most popular and easiest to remember; they are also the most difficult to find because the perception is "all the good names have been taken." However, with a little ingenuity and a lot of trial and error, you can find good, unregistered names with .com extensions.
- Register all the versions of your domain name, whether you plan to use them or not. If the name is singular, register the plurals. If it could be misspelled, register all possible versions.
- An example of this is a domain name I was considering but decided not to buy: organic food adviser. Adviser is also be spelled advisor, so registering both versions as well as all possible extensions would have been my smartest move. This keeps the domain names locked up for you to use or sell later. It also prevents your competition from piggybacking on your successful domain name.
- Don't get sidetracked by trying to find a keyword-rich domain name. With all the Google Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird updates, your best bet is to focus on creating or finding a domain name that describes your product or service.
Use a different registrar for your domain name than the one you purchased from. This protects you in case you want to move the domain or the company goes out of business. GoDaddy, and Pool.com are good sources for domain registration.
Free Tools for Finding Domain Names
I found these free tools helpful in finding profitable domain names:
- Bust A Name: Do a quick search on names you are considering or use their word combiner to generate domain names.
- DomainBots: A fast and intuitive search engine for domain names, DomainBots makes recommendations based on the keywords you enter. Filter results for prefixes, suffixes, extensions and synonyms. Once you decide on a name, Domain.Bots tells you where to buy it for the best deal.
- WHOis.net: Search or register a domain name on WHOis.net.
WordPress Versus Blogger: Which Will You Choose?
User-friendly blogger platforms like WordPress and Blogger can turn almost anyone into a content publisher with just a few easy steps.
Whether you are interested in blogging as a career or hobby, you might want to investigate one or both of these content management systems before you launch your next blog.
Undisclosed author, "Top 3 Cheapest Average Hosting Cost Packages for Webmasters, Developers, Small Businesses, and Individuals," accessed 12/29/2014, http://www.hostindex.com/web/webhostingnews/averagehostingcost/average_hosting_cost.shtm
© 2014 Donna Cosmato