Blogger vs. WordPress.com: A Complete Comparison

blogger   Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete ComparisonNot long ago I wrote a two-part series about the main differences between a self-hosted blog and the other option of using a “free” blogging service. Opinions were split but there’s no arguing that the two undisputed kings of the free blogging sphere are Google’s Blogger and the content management system-turned-host WordPress.com.

While both offer what every free-thinking democracy-guzzling thought-cannon wants – a place to express themselves – there are some core differences in each service. Both WordPress.com and Blogger are workable free solutions, but which is the right one for you?

This detailed breakdown of each service should hopefully help you decide.

What You Get For Free

WordPress.com is a commercial venture. It’s a way for the kind souls who have put time, money and a whole load of effort into the open source and free-to-download WordPress blogging engine to make some money back. They do this by making it stupidly simple to set up and maintain a blog, while introducing some rather hefty limitations for experienced users.

A free WordPress.com account offers:

  • A blog, which you can turn into a full-on static or hybrid (part blog, part static) website.
  • 3GB of free storage for posts and media.
  • Publicize, a tool for connecting your blog with social networks.
  • Free statistics for tracking visitors.
  • Access to hundreds of non-premium themes, many of which can be customised further.
  • WordPress.com access from mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, Android and BlackBerry.

WordPress.com designates the following as premium upgrades:

  • Custom Design ($30 per blog, per year) adds custom CSS (not PHP editing) and fonts.
  • Custom Domains ($13 per domain, per blog, per year) removes the .wordpress.com part of your URL.
  • Guided Transfer ($129 one-off payment) for transferring your WordPress.com site to your own web-host for greater independence and freedom.
  • Ad-free ($30 per blog, per year) removes any possibility of WordPress.com showing adverts on your blog to non-logged in visitors.
  • Premium themes (priced per blog for the lifetime of the blog).
  • A redirect ($13 per blog, per year) for redirecting traffic from yourblog.wordpress.com to your new domain.
  • Additional space (priced per amount) for storing more posts and media.
  • VideoPress ($60 per blog, per year) for uploading, hosting and embedding your own videos on your WordPress.com blog.

Conversely, Blogger is not a commercial service. It was acquired by Google in 2003 who have since kept it ticking over, with a few redesigns and some recently-added new templates. The rather ancient Blogger features page (ancient because it explicitly mentions uploading to Google Video and easily accessing iGoogle, two of Google’s many dead projects) promises users access to all features. There are no upgrades, no fees for adding a custom domain, and all the customization options thrown in that Blogger has available.

Included features worth noting are:

  • A template designer for customizing your blog’s appearance.
  • Free hosting, free Blogger (or Blogspot) sub-domain and option of using a custom domain (either registering through Blogger or using one you already have).
  • The ability to add media to your posts, with no quoted maximum storage space.
  • Quick access to Google’s advertising schemes.
  • Pages static content on your blog.
  • Mobile access via iPhone and Android apps, as well as SMS or email blogging.

It would seem that despite WordPress having the plugins and themes markets sewn up, Blogger still offers more for those looking for a free service.

The Sign-Up Process

WordPress.com allows you to register for an account with an email address, username, password and URL. Blogger is a Google service, and just like YouTube, requires a Google account. If you already have a Google account then this makes signing up a painless affair, but if you don’t (highly unlikely, unless you have something against Google), you’ll have to register for the whole package. This also means if you do have a personal Google Account but want to distance yourself from the topic you’re blogging about you’re going to have to create a new account, and also deal with Google’s messy multiple-account management.

wordpresscom signup1   Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison

Google’s sign-up process doesn’t indicate that you do not need to supply a mobile phone number or an email address, despite asking for one. Conversely WordPress.com only asks to fill out four fields but will also run a check for the URL you enter and try to sell you a premium domain (which costs to register, and requires an account upgrade to use on WordPress.com) as well as pointing out the flaws in the free account you’re about to register.

blogger signup1   Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison

Once you’ve got yourself an account it’s time to start creating one or more blogs. With a Google Account you’re free to establish multiple blogs on the Blogger service. Each new WordPress.com blog you decide to create can also be linked to your existing account, so neither service will require a lot of user switching in order to maintain a stack of blogs.

Creating Your First Blog

WordPress.com users will be thrown into the blog-creation process as soon as they have confirmed their email address with the service. Click the Activate Blog link in your email and you’ll be invited to give your blog a name, subtitle, and language before choosing a theme. WordPress is famously customizable, earning much of its good name for the huge number of themes and plugins available in the standalone open-source release.

wordpresscom signup2   Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison

The WordPress.com team has definitely tried to retain that same feeling, with new customizable themes in the latest WordPress release making an appearance here allowing you to customize the theme you’ve chosen immediately.

wordpresscom signup3   Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison

This really helps to separate your blog from the rest of the WordPress world, so you should seize the opportunity to quickly stamp your mark on your patch of WordPress.com.

wordpresscom signup4   Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison

Google’s process is a little different and first requires you choose (or create) a profile. This is part of Google’s big push to get us all to start using Google+ and our real names on YouTube. If you’re not interested in Google+, a real name or picture, you can opt to create what Google is now calling a “limited Blogger profile” which is essentially a display name of your choosing, so go wild.

blogger signup2   Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison

Once your profile is set (you can change it by clicking your name in the top-right) you’ll see the rather clean and attractive Blogger back-end. There will be a list of your blogs (which will be empty) and an area below for adding other blogs to follow. Create a blog by clicking New Blog.

blogger signup3   Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison

The window that appears looks very similar to the WordPress.com variant, asking for a blog name and URL to be associated with the blog and offering a few templates to choose from. Click Create Blog! and you’ve just created your first blog – no more work required. Using this method you could set up a whole string of blogs in a matter of minutes.

blogger signup4   Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison

Managing Your Blog

Both WordPress and Blogger have centralized areas from which to manage your blog empire, which are separate to the settings for the blogs themselves. The two areas are equally attractive and usable, with both services featuring an area to read blogs you follow as well as the various outlets under your control.

wordpress ui1   Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison

On WordPress this takes the form of a deep attractive blue theme with a tabulated layout that allows you to quickly switch between reading, overseeing blogs and managing analytics in addition to a quick post button.

blogger ui1   Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison

Blogger houses all of this on the one page, with a quick compose button found next to the blog title itself. Beneath this are new posts from the blogs you have chosen to follow on the service. It goes without saying that you can’t follow Blogger blogs on WordPress.com and vice-versa, though it would be nice if we could all get along.

wordpress ui2   Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison

I’d be surprised if there are many people reading this who aren’t familiar with the screenshot above, which is the WordPress dashboard. Aside from a lick of paint and the odd facelift this UI hasn’t changed for years, and that’s because it’s great. Everything is compartmentalized, making it easy to find settings, compose a new post or page and mass-edit your content.

There’s one addition here that you won’t see on standard, self-hosted WordPress blogs and that’s the Store tab. Here you will find all those upgrades I mentioned earlier, as well as a few bundles that promise to save you money. This is another reminder of the big divide between the two services – one’s going to eventually cost you while the other will remain free (and probably slightly more limited).

blogger ui2   Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison

Blogger’s back-end closely mirrors the WordPress look, with a similar menu bar floating to the left of the page. Straight up you’ll see statistics (this is also true for WordPress) and an overview of incoming posts, comments and new followers. Much like WordPress this is a very effective and responsive UI that does everything you could (probably) ever want.

The Blogger back-end hides a few features that might take a small amount of hunting to find – like adding users to your blog. On WordPress this has its own menu item, but on Blogger it’s hidden in the Settings menu. Both systems support widgets, though WordPress has a lot more to offer (with your theme dictating just how many widget areas you can use). This is a recurring theme, with WordPress feeling like the more mature blogging platform.

Customization & Themes

Both services offer a range of themes, though Blogger’s range is understandably more limited than that offered by WordPress which has benefitted from years of third-party theme development. With a free WordPress account you get access to hundreds of free themes which you can enable on your site in a click. Blogger’s limited range is split between fluid “dynamic” themes that will scale for larger and smaller screens, and older simple fixed-width blogs. You’ll probably want to choose one of the eight dynamic themes and their many different layouts which are highly adaptable depending on your content.

blogger customize1   Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison

Each service comes equipped with a theme customizer for further fine-tuning your chosen theme. Oddly enough the Blogger customization options seem to run deeper than WordPress, allowing you to add your own custom CSS and edit the HTML without exchanging money first. You can even use a slider to change the width of your layout in pixels, at least for the dynamic layouts.

wordpress customize1   Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison

I was surprised to see that the WordPress.com theme customizer is different to that in the latest open source release. The new layout uses a touch-friendly sidebar that runs down the right-hand side of the screen and looks like it has fallen straight out of a Windows Blue developer preview. It looks good, but it’s really not that powerful, allowing you to change only a few variables like background, colors, header images but no additional CSS (that’s a premium feature) or the ability to change your site’s favicon.

The real difference here is minimal, after all if you really want to change your WordPress.com site’s look and feel you can choose from hundreds of ready-to-go themes. Blogger doesn’t have that depth, but instead favors those who are willing to take the time to carefully modify it. WordPress feels clipped by comparison, while Blogger isn’t dazzlingly complex it retains some advanced customization that WordPress.com sticks behind a paywall.

blogger mobile   Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison

Both services also come with basic mobile theme support, which can be enabled or disabled as you see fit. WordPress takes the one-theme-fits-all approach, offering little in the way of customization while Blogger gives you a chance to choose a completely different mobile theme to your main blog theme, if you really want to.

wordpress mobile   Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison

The fact remains that both are effective and look great on my iPhone 5, scrolling fluidly and making excellent use of the limited space.

Expandability & Monetization

WordPress has traditionally been the blogging platform of non-bloggers the world over. By this I mean you can turn a simple WordPress blog into a static website, an ecommerce website, a photo gallery, promotional site and even your own microblog. It’s a workhorse that is adaptable in its open source, downloadable form.

This functionality does not carry over to the WordPress.com hosting service, and it’s a real shame. There are plugins, but they’re curated premium packages that are charged yearly for every blog you use. This means you might find yourself paying out more in upgrade prices per year than what it would cost you to host and manage the website yourself. This would be fine, but WordPress.com hosting severely limits you – there’s no direct editing of the code itself (even with an upgrade) and you don’t have webspace for other non-WordPress projects.

wordpress premiums   Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison

Of course, Blogger isn’t much better and has no plugin support whatsoever. Both services do however support pages, which can include HTML, text and various media. You can also redirect to a website of your choice using this method.

The only platform that will allow you to make a bit of money out of blogging is Blogger. You can choose to enable Google AdSense on your blog which will show targeted adverts based on your content. You’ll need to get some content up first, before choosing the option from the Earnings menu entry. This is in contrast to WordPress.com which has a “remove ads” upgrade to remove adverts shown to your non-logged-in visitors but has no option for opting into a monetization scheme of your own. This is not to say you can’t implement your own rudimentary adverts using widgets, but it’s far from an advertising scheme.

blogger earnings   Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison

Free blog platforms aren’t the best way of monetizing your writing, particularly for WordPress users who will be interested in the many SEO and advertising-based plugins used by many successful websites. For more information download and read our detailed guide about monetizing a blog.

Social Media & Sharing

WordPress definitely takes the crown when it comes to social media integration, with the Publicize feature (found under Settings > Sharing) allowing you to connect to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr for automatic sharing. This menu also allows you to turn on and off sharing buttons, with big names like StumbleUpon, Pinterest and Reddit appearing alongside the option to email or print the article. These tools are very powerful and make up for a lack of plugins, as many WordPress users would add this functionality that way.

wordpress sharing   Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison

Blogger seems to only play nicely with Google+, which is a real shame because it’s the most deserted of the big three. Twitter and Facebook integration at the least would be nice, but you do get +1, Tweet and Like buttons on each post. There is luckily one workaround and that’s through the use of the excellent IFTTT web service.

IFTTT allows you to automate online tasks, like recording status updates and receiving notifications about new items on Craigslist. It can also be used with Blogger to trigger social media updates like Facebook statuses and Tweets when you publish new posts, and can even be used to create new blog entries from other actions, like Instagram photos saved or images added to Dropbox.

Check out what Blogger and IFTTT are capable of when paired together at the IFTTT website.

Writing A Post

wordpress compose quick   Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison

WordPress uses two composers – the quick composer accessible from the main blog hub (above) and the traditional “everything including the kitchen sink” WordPress post editor which has always been a joy to use. I’m not overly impressed with the quick editor, but it’s a personal preference and probably works for quick posts that don’t need to be scheduled. The main editor (below) is as fantastic as ever, with a few extra features.

wordpress compose main   Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison

Here you can compose, edit HTML, add media, format text, add tags and schedule your posts. The WordPress composer actively scans your post and suggests tags to help you better categorize your content as well as the related content pane which suggests news stories and images based on the contents of your post.

wordpress related tags   Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison

You can also choose to categorize your post using WordPress custom post types and depending on the theme you have installed these various content types will appear differently on your blog. Choose Standard for text-heavy blog posts, Quote for a brief quote formatted accordingly or Image to post a photo that displays prominently. One thing you can’t add to your posts without paying is video. It’s fine to embed a video from YouTube but you can’t host the video file on your blog without a $60 per year upgrade.

blogger compose main   Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison

The Blogger composer is also very dynamic and powerful, and actually looks like the Google Docs word processor with more orange. This allows you to edit HTML on the page, format text, upload and embed videos and other media as well as add tags, a location, edit the permalink and choose to schedule or not.

There’s no tagging help or related content to speak of in Blogger, and while it’s a nice feature on WordPress.com, for me it’s not really a deal-breaker.

Front-End & Mobile

The appearance of each blog, and each post, depends entirely on the theme and layout you end up choosing. For the purpose of this article I’ve left the default dynamic Blogger layout on and the Twenty Twelve WordPress.com default theme, neither of which have been tweaked at all.

wordpress post1   Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison

Above is a WordPress.com blog, below is a Blogger blog.

blogger post1   Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison

Both will require a certain amount of work in order to get your blog looking sharp and unique, but both are also good to go from the beginning. Both look great on a mobile device, with dedicated mobile themes. Both allow you to build a static website. Both are visually quite pleasing, but only one is completely free to use.

mobile comparison   Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison

In Conclusion

I could write another article to draw a conclusion from these findings, but the fact remains that each is suitable for different purposes. Blogger is highly attractive for its completely free model – there are no restrictions, if Blogger can do it, so can you. WordPress however will frustrate, particularly if you have used WordPress on a self-hosted blog in the past. The fact also remains that if your blog is the success that you probably hope it will be, that 3GB of space will eventually fill up, or you’ll want to add your own domain name or you’ll encounter another reason you suddenly need to upgrade. At this point you’d probably be better off with your own hosting package, at least in terms of value for money.

Blogger will scale – there will be no nasty surprise a year or two down the line when you suddenly need more space or decide to start hosting video on your blog. Blogger is arguably more customizable with its core template HTML editing abilities and the ability to add CSS. The result is more of a tweaker’s platform, something the standalone open source version of WordPress has long been but that the hosted WordPress.com variant avoids entirely. My only concern about Blogger is Google’s recent wave of closures including iGoogle and Google Reader. If they decide to pull the plug on Blogger then the service and its users will be forced to find new homes. It’s unlikely because Google is currently using Blogger for its own press purposes, but then again a switch to Google+ seems to be creeping ever closer.

Blogger is the platform to choose if you’re after a free product that might allow you to make a bit of money back. WordPress is there for those who are in love with its huge variety of themes, excellent UI and post composer and the user-friendly approach. Each is a viable blogging platform within five minutes of registering an account, but you are the person who will have to decide which one is right for you. That, or choose something different entirely.

Let us know what you think in the comments – are you a Blogger or WordPress.com user? Would you ditch it all and go for a standalone WordPress website? Add your input in the comments, below.

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117 Comments -

Ryan Dube

Wow – this is really thorough Tim. I’ve always been a WordPress guy – stopped using Blogger many years ago. Although – I see that some things have changed a little over at Blogger, and looks like they’ve added some cool features.

I was going to ask whether you were concerned with blogger because of the recent G-Reader closure…but then you went and mentioned that already at your conclusion. :-)

Great article.

Tim Brookes

Ditto – I’ve always been a WordPress guy, and for standalone stuff I probably always will be. However I think that Blogger might just outshine WordPress.com for those looking for free, hosted blogs.

Yes I too worry about the potential closure, but then again any of our daily oft-used services could be sold to the highest bidder and “integrated” into something else… I figured it wasn’t worth worrying about it too much.

Glad you enjoyed the article Ryan!

Karin

great article thanks Tim. Excellent breakdown of both blogging tools, really informative

Catherine M

Great article. I have always thought Blogger was a wimp compared to WordPress. This article has definitely opened my eyes enough to evaluate what will work for my soon to be needed site. Just in time information. Thanks again Tim & Make Use Of for articles of worth.

Tim Brookes

I agree Catherine, before writing this article I was firmly in the WordPress camp but now I’m not so sure. I didn’t expect it either, but at some point in my review I realised that Blogger really isn’t far behind. To the contrary, in some areas it really shows up WordPress.com – let’s hope Google don’t have any plans to can it soon!

null

I have used blogger as a tool for sharing some of my thoughts (not for any money). I did sign up for a wordpress account but somehow never got going. Your article is good and will help those trying to blog decide between the two or use both intelligently.

Alex

Hi Tim! I’ve been a Blogger user since I can remember and I’d really recommend it to those who want to start a blog. Besides its user-friendly features, there are a thousand stylish backgrounds available online for free! I tried going for WordPress, but it made my life a bit harder. For me, WP works best for those who are already familiar with the ins and outs of the blogosphere.

Great article right here!

http://queensica.blogspot.com

Vampie C.

Great article.

But with the recently events (posterous anyone…), i try to host everything on my own hosting space.

But if I need to choose any of the 2, i’d go for blogger.
the WP.com hosting has too few options (paying for video???)

But like I said, i’d go for self hosting. :-)

tbrookes

Yeah I’m not too keen on paying for video, but you have to remember that video is the single biggest bandwidth hog and so there is some method to the madness. I agree – “serious” bloggers looking to monetize quickly should probably use a self-hosted WP install with all the anti spam, SEO and bells and whistles plugins they need.

Blanca

Question for a gal who wants to blog seriously, but doesn’t feel she has enough knowledge. Which one would you reccomend for me, I do eventually want to make money off my blog, I want to use it to help people, but don’t feel self sufficient enough to do it yet, I’m still trying to learn SEO, plug-ins, and all that jazz. What do you suggest?

Tim Brookes

Honestly? Probably a stand-alone WordPress site (http://www.wordpress.org) hosted on your own webspace. It doesn’t have to be expensive – perhaps $4-$8 per month for the hosting, $10 per year for the domain. The plugins are then all free, you can find and install the perfect theme, spend all the time and effort you have customising it without having to worry about running into a paywall at some point.

Remember the most important thing on your site is the content, and that content has to be original and of high quality in order to rank high enough for advertisers to be interested. You’ll probably need to contribute a lot of content for a year or two before you get any sort of advertising offers. In short – its a steep climb, but certainly one that’s worth it. I guess in this day and age, the more niche your site is the faster you could potentially establish yourself. Gaps in the market tend to open up but they’re filled pretty quickly!

Out of Blogger and WordPress.com I’d say Blogger offers the most “bang”, with easy integration with advertising, better analytics, no hidden charges etc. Migrating your site out of Blogger once you decide you’ve outgrown the service isn’t quite so easy thought, and often requires a lot of messing around and manual corrections. If you want your site to get “big” one day, start as you mean to carry on with your own infrastructure.

Just remember a few basics –

Don’t go crazy with plugins, too many plugins are a nightmare to manage and offer potential security holes.

Make sure you update your site as often as you can, because WordPress blogs are targeted by intruders A LOT.

Choose a theme that’s easy to manage and update, like a modified default theme. This way when you update your site it won’t break everything. Learn some CSS and how to modify values to theme a site (don’t worry, it’s pretty easy!)

Content content content! It’s way more important to have something original and of worth than the world’s best looking theme or sharpest URL.

There are a lot of guides around the place, not least here. I recently covered starting a self hosted site here: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/setting-up-a-blog-part-1-the-diy-self-hosting-method/

This is the flip-side: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/setting-up-a-blog-part-2-tumblr-blogger-and-other-services/

And here’s our WordPress guide (a little outdated): http://www.makeuseof.com/pages/set-up-your-blog-with-wordpress-the-ultimate-guide

You can also search “WordPress” and you’ll find tons of content, thanks to our WP guy and author James who is always coming up with more ideas for articles.

Hope this helps,

Good luck!

Blanca

Ahhh! After your response I’m not sure if I am more or less confused!!! Lol, since I don’t know much about hosting on my own, or the web lingo, do you think Blogger would be better for me? I started with wordpress, but I’m no so sure I am up to the challenge of switching it over or purchasing more space as it gets bigger? Any suggestions?

Cdr. Mukund Lele, Country Coordinator ICC, India

You have covered the subject in an amazingly thorough fashion. I will need to read this many times to absorb all the info. You have received many accolades from the visitors and to theirs I add mine. You’ve gone into great detail painstakingly. I admire your patience in responding to every Comment made. My friend helped me recently set up a blog on WordPress.com and connected it to a Page on my FB. BTW, I have only written three blogs so far.
My objective is to reach out to like-minded people in our country to join me in finding ways to curb marine debris. In India the debris is mainly plastic bags and though there is some effort by the Govt,it is precious little. We participate in the Intl Coastal Cleanup coordinated by Ocean Conservancy in Washington DC., and I intend to share cleanup results submitted by volunteers with the rest of the volunteers. You mention that there is a limit of 3GB and that could mean that I shall not be able to share photos which guzzle space. Should I abort this cleanupindia.wordpress.com site and start all over again with a new Blogger site? Will I be able to link the new Blogger site to my FB? My problem is that I do not (currently) have any funding and if I consume 3GB soon I will be stuck. Your advice and suggestions would be most appreciated.

Tim Brookes

(Responding here because we hit the thread limit below)

If you’re not too confident moving things around then yeah Blogger will suffice, plus you don’t have to pay if you want your own domain or anything like that. Blogger is only really ideal for small, personal blogs though I must add and if you wanted to create an outlet, like this website for example, then you would definitely find it too limiting.

The hosted WordPress.com is also limiting, but a flash of cash seems to add a ton more functionality.

WordPress.org already has this plus more and is almost infinitely expandable but requires some web know-how. If you really don’t think you can do it at least have a quick look at the installation guide to find out for sure: http://codex.wordpress.org/Installing_WordPress

Also some web hosts will have programs that can install WordPress for you, in a few clicks – so that might we worth investigating.

I’ve probably confused you some more, haven’t I? Oh well, at least you have all the options open! :)

Nevzat A

Two of my favorites being compared! That’s awesome. Thanks a lot!

Scott M

I no longer blog but was always extremely satisfied with Blogger.Its simple and I didn’t have to waste time making things pretty and was able to get right to the message or photos that I wished to post.My ideas remained fresh as the message was more important than how stylish it would be.

tbrookes

Spending too long on the design and not enough time on the content is a mistake that’s easy to make, and WordPress makes it easy to make this mistake. I personally need some restrictions in order to be properly productive, and I think that’s where Blogger comes into its element.

Maria Hardy

My problems is that I don’t make a penny out of my blogs on Blogger. As before they used to add it up and when it reach £60 it was paid. but now it seems to have vanished. I wrote many a time on that little box at the bottom but ne ver get answer. I thoroughly enjoy Blogger but would like to see some pennies.

Any advice you can give me, please?

Andrew

This a stunning overview! One of the fullest I ever seen, thanks a lot!!
Certainly, Blogger is not a bad platform, but it loses compared to WordPress is flexibility and freedom (i mean self hosted WP). And you’re not 100% sure that you won’t find your blog shut down one day, as google just may terminate Blogger.

This is the major reason I switched from blogger to self hosted WP (used http://www.cms2cms.com – worked like a charm). WordPress has so many options I keep spending sleepless nights by the PC setting things up…

tbrookes

I’m glad you enjoyed the article Andrew. Google terminating Blogger is a concern for many, but at the same time two things are certain:

1) Google will be Google, and there’s probably no point trying to guess what they’re going to do. They have and will surprise us all with a seemingly illogical closure at some point.
2) As with Reader, Google will inevitably provide the tools to export each blog’s contents and migrate to another service. If Blogger really did go down the tubes then the scramble among the rest of the free blogging services to snap-up and easily migrate users would be overwhelming – unparalleled even.

So the way I looked at it is there’s no point worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet, plus we also have the somewhat cosmetic safety net of Google still using its own platform for news and PR purposes. When everything switches to Google+ that will be our canary down the mine, so to speak.

Happy blogging!

Zhong J

I’ve used WordPress as my blogging webpage but what I discover was that the navigation is messy, due to the loads of options that’s unfamiliar and cannot easily add a page or create a post, as there are distinction between the two. The home page seems more appealing and the customization option is satisfying.

tbrookes

I think once you’ve spent some time with WordPress you’ll find it far easier to navigate. It’s true there are a lot of options available, and maybe I’m just so used to it now that I don’t feel lost. Pages are always added under the pages heading, and composing a new post is possible from nearly every page using the Add New button along the top bar.

Blogger is probably more straightforward though, and unless you’re thinking of going self-hosted WordPress then you will probably find Blogger easier to use and just as powerful.

Zhong J

Maybe you’re right, the options aren’t as confusing but I still don’t get what’s the main reason using a page or a post? From what I understand, a page is a complete new section of your main website and if you were to write a blog on your main page then it’s consider a post.

Tim Brookes

A page is essentially static content. If you look at our website, you’ll see that the Best Of pages are indeed static content, and are in fact just standard WordPress pages.

Pages can use different templates depending on the content, so for example as you see on this article there is a sidebar there >> which runs the length of the post. With a page you could vary this by choosing different templates. You could use a full-width page with as an About/Bio page then have another page with a sidebar called “Contact” into which you embed a contact form.

Posts can also use templates, but it’s generally one template fits all posts. Standard articles/entries will just use the template specified, in our case it’s a standard ~600px body with a sidebar to remind readers about our other content.

Hopefully this clears it up a bit, don’t forget Blogger does pages too if you’re using that!

Johnny Comelately

I actually started a free blog a few years ago and ran the identical stuff on each platform. Never had any problem at Blogger but WordPress and their PC police said I was in violation of some vague content rule they had. In short, WordPress sucks and Blogger is more open to truly free speech.

Tim Brookes

Interesting, don’t forget though that Google will look for identical content and when it finds it (thanks to last year’s Panda update) will absolutely bury it in the search results. This is part of an effort to clean up search results for sites that leech content and survive on the SEO value. I’m not saying you’re leeching content (it’s your own content) but Google’s robots might see it differently.

Cee

This was a great article! I’ve heard about WP policing posts. As an aspiring writer of erotic romance that could be a problem if I want to post excerpts. I wish I knew if the open source WordPress polices content also, but WP makes inquiries next to impossible. WP integrates elegantly into personal websites from what I’ve seen, but I’m afraid to take the plunge if they’ll come around at some point and shut down my blog. I’ve noticed that many writers of erotica/erotic romance host their blogs on Blogger. I don’t like the look of Blogger as much but I’ll choose the service which isn’t uptight about content.

Again, thank you for your time and effort into a post that helps so many people.

Tim Brookes

Just to clarify – open source WordPress (i.e. WordPress.org) is not policed as it is hosted on your own servers (or your web host’s servers). Therefore you’d need to check with your host over what is/isn’t acceptable as they’d have the final say before taking your site down for whatever reason. You would however have a chance to make regular backups of your database which you could quickly get online in future should you need to migrate host.

WordPress.com blogs are hosted on WordPress’ own servers, and so they can do as they please with regards to content. I’d recommend your own WordPress website on a web host which you can police yourself. Remember that even Google might suddenly decide to “clean up” Blogger and purge a load of accounts it sees as violating some new policy.

Robert4

This was a great, thorough comparison between these two blog platforms. I’m quite gun-shy about starting my own blog, although it has been in the back of my mind for a while, and this was a very informative and useful article.

I’m quite curious about how the “participant” interface is between the two, and how much control the blogger has over such things. What I mean by “participant” is… how attractive and easy is it for people to respond to your blog? Bloggers like to read comments to their articles, but what features are available to the commenters of the blog? Some blogs seem to have very limited or cumbersome comment sections, while others seem to invite passionate, long-winded discourse.

Anyhow, thank you for the informative article. I’m almost inspired to slap together a blog right now after reading this!

Tim Brookes

Very interesting, and I think I probably should have mentioned that in the article now. I didn’t think of things from a visitor standpoint, it was more for admins and content creators to make an educated decision from their perspective. Nonetheless it’s an excellent point.

By default, WordPress allows anyone with an email address to leave a comment. You just enter name, email and comment. You also have the option of using Facebook, Twitter and a WP.com account. Blogger on the other hand requires a login – either a Google Account or similar. There’s no Twitter or Facebook social login options just things like AIM and OpenID. So WordPress is a bit more open and may encourage a little more discussion, but that depends on visitors being able to find your site in the first place.

I think the WP.com comments system looks better too. Google’s method is a bit stuck in the early-00s to be honest (LiveJournal is still a login option).

Good luck with your blogging endeavours!

Scott

Google just released a new feature to allow you to use Google+ comments within Blogger. This brings a very robust and social commenting system to Blogger ()http://buzz.blogger.com/2013/04/bringing-google-comments-to-blogger.html.

carie

I have used both blogger and wordpress.com, both are great…
That said, blogger is far easier to work with in my opinion. It is incredibly easy to “skin” , or more correctly to create your own template. Also, getting your own domain name is simple and as mentioned it has very few restrictions.
One of the most successful projects I have had with blogger, is to turn it into a newsletter for my clients. They can signup to receive the “letter” via email, or can go to the blog page. It is a two second job using live writer to put out the weekly letter and any idiot can do it. My only concern is google will kill the project and then I’ll have make an alternative plan, but till then happy days.

Tim Brookes

Good points Carie, WordPress actually doesn’t allow you anywhere near the HTML whereas Blogger lets you chop into it however you see fit. The addition of custom CSS is also a quick way of completely transforming a site.

While I think your worries about Google potentially canning Blogger are valid, I don’t think there’s too much point worrying about it because Google are still using Blogger themselves. I’m sure if they did close it they’d make it easy to export content and there would be a huge surge in free blogs looking to snap up refugees.

Jerome M.

I’m new in blogging and in Blogger but in few months I got to learn the ins and out of blogger/tricks and now my blogger site turns to a good website- PhilippineProperties101.blogspot.com Thanks Tim.

imota

I’ve been using Blogger for years. It’s a great service. One gets his domain name easily and it is quite cheap. Also, there are no limits regarding video uploading nor any other restrictions.

Also, Blogger is not as prone to security risks as WordPress. In short, I am extremely satisfied with Blogger. As for WordPress, it is more about style, and less about substance.

Lisa Santika Onggrid

Both are good services and I’ve used both, although nowadays I’m almost exclusively on WordPress. To me, if you want clean and professional look, go to WordPress. If you want something more flexible and allows extra eye candies, go to Blogger. It’s very easy to create your custom theme (I learnt HTML that way) and you can practically do anything to your blog without paying anything (some people go overboard with customization, though).
To make it simpler, if all you want to do is to write, I’ll recommend WordPress. If you’re the experimental type I’ll recommend Blogger.

Tim Brookes

Interestingly that’s the complete opposite of WordPress self-hosted method. The open source version is a tweaker’s paradise – you can run ecommerce, blogs, magazines, forums, static sites – anything! It’s quite a shame the hosted version is so crippled, but I guess they’ve got to think with their financial caps on to make it a viable business.

Glad to see you still commenting, Lisa :)

Lisa Santika Onggrid

I wouldn’t go so far to say crippled. Sometimes, all we need is a writing place, and wordpress.com provides a decent solution. Self-hosted isn’t for everyone, especially casual bloggers.
As long as MUO keeps publishing quality articles, it’s my pleasure to read and comment :)

Karen

Help me understand something. Which is the one that is more difficult to tailor? The free Wordress or the one that you pay for? I have used blogger for 4 years, but I keep hearing that WordPress does better with SEO (is that true?).

But I’m told that I should stay away from the free version of WordPress, and instead use HostGator, or something like that, to purchase the other version.

So which one is the “tweaker’s paradise”? Because the thing I enjoy about Blogger is that I can tweak the living daylights out of the code to change the look of my blog. And the fear of not knowing how to do this with WordPress (tried it once, and wanted to fling the computer across the room), scares me off from trying it.

Tim Brookes

Ok, so there are two versions of WordPress – WordPress.com, which is a registration site like Blogger, Tumblr or other “hosted” (i.e. you don’t need to set it up yourself) services. This is free to sign up and use, but comes with limitations mentioned in this post – 3GB of space, no video hosting, no custom URLs, no premium themes etc…

Then there is the open source, completely free version of WordPress at WordPress.org. This is essentially software, which you must download and set up on your own hosting. You can use any hosting company (HostGator is an example, but there are so many better ones) and requires: some webspace (no more than 100-200MB for a small starter blog), a MySQL database (essentially where your posts live) and a domain name (to access your website). This might sound a bit intimidating, but it really is quite easy to set up – most hosts come with instructions and others will do it for you, though it’s important you learn a few things (like how to keep the software up to date).

The “tweaker’s paradise” I mentioned is the free, open source WordPress.org version. This is because of the massive customisation offered via themes and plugins, something the hosted version (at WordPress.com) limits to paying subscribers. With enough time and effort (and know-how) you can essentially turn the blog software into anything you want. It’s a great system, and as an example this very website uses this version of WordPress.

Whether it does better for SEO isn’t clear, as SEO ranking algorithms change all the time. The best thing for good SEO is good content, period. Nothing can surpass original content, SEO plugins can only go so far toward optimising your site.

So, to get the most out of WordPress you’ll want to use the open source version on your own webspace. I dont think there’s much benefit in migrating a blog from Blogger to WordPress.com as Blogger currently offers more bang for your buck and has easy integration with Google ads.

I hope I haven’t confused you any further with this explanation, it’s a bit longer than I anticipated :)

Tim

Karen

Not confusing at all, Tim! You are actually a gifted “explainer”. Seriously. I am literally going to copy and paste your response into a Word file on my computer, so that I remember it. LOL!

I am very comfortable with Blogger, but feel like a lot of people talk it down, as though you won’t get any traffic if you use Blogger, or as though there is some inherent benefit to WordPress.

And SEO plugins… can’t they be used for Blogger, too? As long as they’re formatted/coded for Blogger, that is?

Tim Brookes

(Replying here as we’ve maxed out the number of replies a comment can have, oops!)

From knowledge there are not any plugins for Blogger in the same sense that there are for WordPress. WordPress plugins expand the CMS with all kinds of features – galleries, chat plugins, database, ecommerce etc…

Blogger doesn’t have a platform for hosting such platforms. WordPress (the free, open source .org version) really does rule the blog kingdom when it comes to expandability like this.

As for SEO, well I don’t think it will make a huge difference which platform you use. I’m always looking for recipes and often find Blogger links appearing before dedicated websites because the content is what really matters the most. I hasten to add that I’m certainly no SEO expert (far from it) but I have learned a thing or two over the last few years, particularly since Google updated its algorithms to focus on unique and high quality content over SEO wizardry and keyword spamming.

One of the worst things you can do for SEO is replicate your content elsewhere, on multiple services. Use quotes and permalinks to share elsewhere :)

Scott

You’re completely right. I had recently done this comparison myself and concluded the same thing. You get more features/functionality for free with Blogger than you do with WordPress.com. WordPress.com is great but there is some basic stuff that you have to pay a premium for that you get for free with Blogger. Also, since you linked to it, you might want to update your “5 Best Blog Sites Other Than WordPress and Blogger” article because Posterous is being closed April 30th, 2013 (http://blog.posterous.com/thanks-from-posterous).

ian stewart

Hey Tim,

Thanks for this in depth article. I have used both and found WP to be a bit more complex and Blogger a lot more intuitive. WP has a greater selection of themes etc and yes, can be a time sink when setting up the page!

I really appreciate you going to the trouble to sift through all this and report to us what you have found. It has made the decision for my next Blog a lot easier!

To note: I found this article through a Google search and found this website to be quite informative as a whole. So thanks! And look forward to further articles :)

Best,
Ian

Tim Brookes

I’m glad the article helped you out Ian, best of luck with your future blogging ventures!

Olt

It was a very informative article I was in need of. Personally i favour Blogger because it allows you to monetize the blog.

Michael

Which blog is free from blogger or wordpress? Blog is?

gg

Hi,
If you are using blogger as professional site to promote your services, doesn’t the B logo on Blogger compromise the fact that you’re trying to make it look like website?
Is there a template in Blogger that does not have the B. (I know it’s free and they are using it to brand themselves. But I’m just inquiring)

I would guess that WordPress.com, which allows you to use a non-Wordpress domain name, would be the way to go then, if you’re trying to look professional?

Thanks

Tim Brookes

Funny you should ask, if you’re referring to the favicon (the icon that appears in the URL bar next to the website address) then you can in fact upload your own from within Blogger, removing the Google branding from this portion of your site.

Unfortunately I don’t think it’s possible to remove the Blogger “cogs” logo that appears while the site pre-loads in the background (at least with the dynamic themes anyway).

So yes and no. You could always choose a simple template that doesn’t pre-load, and doesn’t show the Blogger logo on visiting.

Efren

This is a well created and detailed post! Nice. I’ve contemplated between Blogger and WordPress for a while and I opted to use Blogger though I’ve bought domain names instead of using the free domain (*with .blogger.com).

Nice article.

Shannon

I’ve had a blog on Blogger this year, and I’ve attended a couple seminars and gotten the clear impression that WordPress is the only way to go if I’m going to do my own site/blog.

I’ve spoken to a friend whose husband is a web site designer and said he can change the blog to WordPress with a design I like for $300 ballpark and host it for $30/yr (it goes to $60 normally, but I think he gives friends a discount). Is this a good deal? I don’t know enough to even know what to ask!

My goal is to build platform for writing/creative endeavors that my husband and I are desiring to work on, and to be able to use that as a place to also sell/show our work. Is a hosted (is that the right word?) WordPress site the way to go for that?

I’m thinking I should do like you said and start out the way I want to ultimately be going earlier on!

Thoughts?

Tim Brookes

Self-hosted is the way to do it, grab WordPress from WordPress.org and install on your own webspace.

Are you saying you have an existing blog, and your friend is offering to help you migrate it? Because it shouldn’t really be a $300 job if you ask me, and something you or your husband could probably do yourselves by hand. I mean $300 isn’t a bad price to just get it “done” and not have to worry, but it’s still a fairly easy procedure. Depending on what you get in that package – is he designing you a WordPress theme too? Setting it up exactly as it was? I guess that sweetens the deal quite a bit for the price quoted.

I’ve written an article about getting content out of both Blogger and WordPress.com here: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/blogger-wordpress-switching-tested/ You have to export from say Blogger, potentially convert the file, and then re-import into WordPress using the supplied tools. It doesn’t necessarily all go to plan, first time either.

If you only have a small amount of content (a few pages and say 50-100 posts) then you should be able to do it yourself, and it might be a bit gruelling fixing all those imported posts with the right tags/catagories, but it’s just one of those menial jobs you can zone out and complete. If you’re a big blog with thousands of posts this turns a manageable job into a nightmare – you’re definitely doing the right thing by switching early to the method you intend to use for a while.

As for hosting – it varies. You don’t need much in the way of hosting unless you’re going to be putting up a lot of video content really. A small package you can upgrade, say 250MB of webspace and a couple of GB of data transfer (bandwidth) would probably suffice for a blog that’s going to be mostly text. Some web hosts even have one-click installers for WordPress, which would make getting the site up and running very easy indeed. $30 a month seems a little steep, I think I pay about £4 which is somewhere around $6-7 per month.

If you want to supply a little more info about your situation I’m sure I can help further :)

bitbox

As others have noted, great article. Thanks for posting.

J. Scarper

The post is thorough, so thanks for taking the time to write it. Thing is, Blogger has always looked and felt like the more immature of the two, the kind of place for people like Tom, Dick or Harry’s grandma who wants to start a blog and post pictures of her cooking. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, though, but the simplicity of Blogger sort of invites sloppy authors in my opinion. I mean, Blogger is so simple, the ease with which crappy content can be hammered out invites lousy writers.

Mary Taunton

Hey Tim,

I work for an online travel agency (BookIt.com) and my boss is wanting me to start a blog for the company to increase our G+ interaction and to take advantage of Google ad-words. My first thought was that Blogger would be best for this since it incorporates automatically with Google but the comment above about it not being so good for other social sites has me worried. Our main online interaction is through Facebook. What would you suggest we use? We are a large company so maybe hosting our own WordPress would be best? We would like to profit from this and to get our name out in Google searches more effectively. Your advice would be much appreciated! Thank you.

Tim Brookes

I think a bit of research wouldn’t go amiss. Your own self-hosted WordPress site will probably afford you the most flexibility while requiring you to design the theme (or modify one), get a domain name, install some plugins etc… and for a large company some webhosting with a database isn’t going to be too much of an issue cost-wise. You might already have some webspace you could use?

I don’t know an awful lot about SEO or advertising online, but I’d say that with the right theme (optimised) and a few plugins, and most importantly good content (I can’t stress this enough, unique, original, authoritative are all words that spring to mind) you will find your own WordPress install to be the most suitable platform.

With regards to WordPress.com/Blogger hosted blogs, I wouldn’t let the social interaction element worry you too much. There’s still a lot you can do with Blogger, and there are tools for management of social that will help you get round the restrictions (Facebook’s scheduler, BufferApp.com). Don’t think that just because Blogger is Google that advertising will be any more profitable either, you’ll still be relying on quality content to carry the site first and foremost. Considering you’re a business user, WordPress.com seems like a bad choice when you can just opt for the WordPress.org self-hosted version instead.

I think the best plan would be self-hosted, proper theme, good content, your own social implementations and then plenty of work promoting your content on Facebook. Consider Pintrest if you’re often sharing photos or other visual content, too. Be warned though – the main problem I have with WordPress is that there are just so many plugins, themes, options and customisability it’s easy to lose track of the fact that your content is the most important thing, less the way your site looks or how easy it is to share stuff!

Nishu

Hi Tim, great article I must say! I even read all the comments and replies.. but I am still terribly confused. ok, so I want to start a beauty blog. I want to review stuff and all. I work full time so I don’t know how much time I will be able to give to this! and I definitely want to earn some buck out of it (needless to less, not very keen on spending too much money, which I might not even earn later.. who knows!) I am a science person so all the IT jargon goes over the top of my head. I google stuff, I google everything to learn. cutting short, I am confused, blogger or wordpress?
I even bought a domain name for a year from namecheap but still not sure about self hosting? the wordpress $99 a year.. is that good? what exactly is this self hosting? what role do HostGator and dream host play?
Too many questions I know… It’ll be so awesome if you can clear up some things. Thanks :)

Tim Brookes

I’ll try to answer your questions separately:

Self-hosting means you purchase a web hosting package from a company like HostGator, DreamHost etc… and they provide you with some space (you’ll probably need less than 250MB to start with, probably a base package) and some bandwidth (also known as transfer) which is the amount of data the host will “serve” to your visitors. Too many visitors and you’ll run out of bandwidth, and have to buy more (don’t worry about this to start with though).

When self-hosting you have to set the blog up yourself. This is a lot easier if you choose a host that uses “one-click installs” which installs WordPress for you in a click or two. You could also choose a host based on their expertise with helping newcomers set up their accounts and providing support – something like “30 days free technical support” on the blurb should suffice.

With this method you’re then responsible for the software yourself, so you have to update the blog (by clicking a few buttons) whenever an update is released, and the same goes for any plugins you have installed. You’ll also want to find a theme to use, and maybe modify it you suit you. You can buy premium themes from people like WooThemes for $40+, but there are a lot of free themes out there too.

This method affords you complete control over your blog, you’ll pay less than what WordPress.com are asking (probably) but it comes with responsibility of maintaining and upgrading the software.

WordPress.com will charge you to apply that domain name (it’s $20 to WordPress per year just to use the domain name, then whatever you have to pay to your registrar for the name itself), as well as a load of other bolt-ons for things like video hosting (the article above goes into detail here). You will be bound by WordPress control over the blog, but it also allows you to relax a bit when it comes to the software side of things. This is true for Blogger also, though Blogger is completely free and won’t charge you for things like having your own domain. Blogger integrates with Google adverts, but it won’t exactly pay much.

I’m not sure if this helps too much. A self-hosted blog might be a lot of work on your own, so it might be useful to have someone who has done it before to help you out. WordPress.com charges a lot for a little, but you’re essentially buying convenience anyway. Blogger is a mix of the two, for free, and great if you like the system.

Nishu

Hi Tim,
I cannot tell you how informative it is for me. I really appreciate you using all the simple terminology to make me understand.
I get the picture now. Few more questions. 1.) what host do you recommend for a beginner like me?
2.) Do you mean to say, even after buying the domain name, I’ll still have to pay the host/wordpress to make use of that name? Did I get it right?
3.) how long would it take from buying a hosting package to the website going live?
4.) so, if I use a host for space and bandwidth, what exactly is the role of wordPress then?
Cheers!
P.S. did I just prove how naive I am?

Tim Brookes

We have a forum for questions just like yours called MakeUseOf Answers, if you have any more questions (after I’ve answered these) then I’d recommend asking there, you’re bound to get more, quicker replies!

1) I really can’t recommend a host, but for a package I’d say start small and upgrade as you need. A beginner hosting package works, provided it states you can use it for a WordPress website you should be ok.
2) If you buy (well, rent) a domain name you can use it for free with your host (self-hosted), for free with Blogger but for WordPress.com (hosted) you will have to pay $20 to unlock the functionality on your account (yearly).
3) Probably about 3 days, depending on the host. You’ll have to wait for the domain to register and filter worldwide, which usually takes 48 hours or so.
4) WordPress (the software) is a content management system. It allows you to compose posts, pages, manage content, tags etc… without having to manually update pages. WordPress stores all your content in a database and calls on it as needed. It’s a robust system that’s got a huge amount of plugins, themes and other hacks that make it suitable for just about everything. We’re running it on this site!
WordPress.com (the hosted blog) is the software I just described to you, hosted for you by the company who owns WordPress, with more limitations and less responsibility. They maintain behind the scenes so you can just blog, but they charge you a pretty penny for the convenience.

Hope this helps.

Donna W. Hill

Thanks for such a thorough comparison. I’m currently using WP and bought a domain from them. I am one of those folks who accesses the internet via a screen reader (text-to-speech software), and WP has some serious issues, which seem to be worsening over the years. On the other hand, I tried to register for Tumbler and encountered several huge accessibility issues right up front. Perhaps, Blogger would be easier. BTW, thanks for using the screen-reader/Braille display friendly security question.

Brian

This is an awesome breakdown. I have chosen Blogger because WordPress has been too frustrating to get it to look exactly as I would like. I prefer the basic look of the blogger pages with the ability to customize to the correct functionality. I have also become a fan of G+. I believe it is just ahead of its time.

Thanks again for all the work on the detail!

Mady Ray

I currently use blogger but wordpress users nearly choke when they hear this so I was looking for the differences. Great explanation. I will stick with blogger. It works well for me.

alikhan2100

Great Indepth article :) I am using wordpress blog which i find better then blogger.

alikhan2100

Great Indepth article :) I am using wordpress blog which i find better then blogger.

Tiana Feng

Personally I like WordPress.com more than Blogger because of their active community, something that is not normally mentioned in posts that compare the two. WordPress is a great place to build an audience for a blog through tags and the potential to be freshly pressed.

Tara

I found your article super helpful, but has still left me utterly confused on if I want to go with Blogger or WP. I have been debating starting a blog for close to a year now. Just about life experience, random thoughts, travel, etc. I am not looking to make tons of money (initially) though that aspect of it does intrigue me. I am just really confused. I have always heard great things about WP and really like their sleek lines and easy to use features. Though blogger’s free aspect does intrigue me more-so. Does it take long to fill up the 3GB of free space WP gives you? I don’t really like the bar at the top of the blogger pages – I find it annoying. I find that both of them seemingly would do the job for me, I am just not sure which is best for my situation. HELP!

Crazy Indian Bride

I am a blogger user for a loong time now, tried switching over to wordpress but I find the theme’s to restrictive, you cant really customize the themes too much.

Robert

Im using Blogger ever since because I find the platform more user-friendly and I get to tweaks the HTML. The only issue I have there is the lack of sense of community. You dont get much audience, followers in Blogger compare to WP. You need to work hard to earn this. I have thought of moving to WP many times over because of that but was too lazy to start. I just hope that Blogger should do something about its social netowrking capabilities.

Thomas Androws

Gud article…! I’m a Blogger user..

KAT

Thank you for this article. I am looking into self hosting from the start to avoid the whole switching over process later which i’ve heard can be disasterous. Your article is the first i’ve seen that mentioned the pay wall absence with wp when you are self hosted. May I just ask you to clarify? When self hosting using bluehost or dreamhost or whatever, can i customize the fonts, colors, setup, add video, etc… without paying extra to wp? Can i edit the html, add CSS, plugins, etc? Or do some of the same restrictions apply in the wp software? My choice for free blogging is absolutely Blogger. But I’m willing to pay just a little now to self host. I am just concerned with the extra charges i’ve seen while researching wp and I’m not willing to let it all add up to get the look i want. Thanks.

Tim Brookes

WordPress.org – free, open source software that needs some webhosting, a database and a domain name. Sign up right now with a webhost and pay a small fee ($10/year URL, $5/month host) but do whatever you want with the software – go crazy!

WordPress.com – a free (to start with), platform for blogging that does not require webhosting, and gives you a yourwebsite.wordpress.com domain name. Sign up right now for free, pay later (directly to WordPress) when you need more stuff. Expensive way of doing it.

The first is blogging software that will always be free. You will need to pay out for a webhost etc, and find your own themes, plugins and so on (a lot more flexible, a lot more responsibility, a lot more scaleable and certainly the way to go if you want your site to get “big”).

The second is free but restricted to 3GB of space, no video uploads, no custom URL (i.e. you have to pay them to add yourname.com), no access to your files, limited customisation of themes, more restrictive but no costs to get started.

We built this very website on WordPress (.org, the software) and it can be used for all sorts of different websites. Obviously you will need to know a bit about what you’re doing to set it up, but it’s really not that hard.

I wish WordPress would have chosen another name other than “WordPress.com” for their blogging service… it’s unbelievable how many people don’t separate the software from the platform – and who can blame them when they’re virtually called the same thing!

Solangi Naeem

My dear Its really very fine post i like it and get so much more

Sob

Fine post indeed

willowandwattle

Great article. I’ve used blogger for years, and have had no problems with themes. A quick search on blogger themes and you’ll come up with a load of different free templates, as you mentioned, blogger is fully customizable.

I’ve noticed a few people mentioning the blogger reputation, and I’ve heard the same thing, blogger is not as good, you’ll never get traffic with blogger, you can’t do this, that and the other on blogger. I’ve managed to pretty much do whatever I’ve wanted with blogger so far and not had any issues. There is a way to get around everything. And I’ve found a lot of the naysayers to be fairly incorrect.

While I do find the ecommerce side of wordpress to be very enticing (and I may just change to wordpress.org for that reason..also because I love to tweak, and the money aspect of wordpress.com is just not great for someone who is just starting out wanting to make a buck in this economy), there is also the option of using something like etsy or cafe press (or other commerce sites) to host your product while you have your cute link sitting on your blog. Either way, you pay for it, either through wordpress in thier fees, or with an offsite stores fees.

As far as traffic someone who’s been kinda slack on the blogging in the past year, I’ve still had several advertisers offer affiliations, some of which I’ve accepted and recently made a little money from… not bad start as I’ve only had them up for 3 months, and like I said, have only blogged sporadically (and not at all since January this year – I intend to change this, since I’ve now settled into living in one place for the time being) The point being, traffic, to those who are concerned, not an issue at all. I’ve had people from all over the world find me, and as the OP says, content, content, content.

Thanks for a great article!

Tim Brookes

“Content content content” indeed.

Thanks for adding your personal experience. Great to have confirmation from a reader about what I thought already – Blogger or WordPress isn’t that big of a decision at the end of the day, and it’s what you actually do with your site’s content that dictates success.

Thanks for a great comment :)

Cynde

Thank you for such an informative comparison. Since I’m only writing about my travels I’ll probably use Blogger. The only thing I’m disappointed about with BOTH blog sites is that I can’t upload a custom font. But that’s okay – I’ll just deal with Google’s selection of fonts. Thanks again!

Kenny F.

Wow. Just what I need. Honestly I have been using WordPress for a year now and I feel restricted with regards to simple functions that it can’t execute like WP can’t use widgets from Lookbook.nu. I am a fashion blogger and this function is important to me. Also, I can see that I can fully maximize my writing with blogger. I am currently setting up my Blogger account.

Benetus ikekamma

hi tim, your article is really a great job well done. but I must say, you really have put me in a biased state. I have been a fan to WP and have dream of setting up a music/entertainment site on it. Its going to be both oromotional and commercial. (i believe you really know all that will be involved as am not already a website wizard)

Please help me out… Blogger or WP?

I need your advice.

Also let me know the sorce of http://www.notjustok.com and sites like that. thanks sir.

Jobsp

Fantastic summary Tim. Can you help with one more question. We are wanting to expand into offering ebooks (PDFs) on blogger. I know you can set up an automated purchasing system on WordPress where the recipient receives an automatic download after paying through PayPal. Is this possible through Blogger. I’ve found guidelines on inserting the PayPal buttons onto blogger, but nothing so far on automatic downloads of e books.

Thanks for your help. I love the way you clearly set out the differences between Blogger and Word Press. : )

Amin

Hello Tim. I just want to ask if I start a blog on blogger now and in future if I want to transfer my blog to a self-hosted wordpress.org blog, will it be possible. If it is possible which could be more easy transferring from blogger free blog or wordpress.com free blog to wordpress.org self-hosted blog? Actually i want to start a blog which can give me readers (have good sharing features and good link with social networking) and also some money and can be transferred to self-hosted blog later on. I will go for a free blog without any custom domain. Which blogging platform should I prefer?

Phoenix

I’m currently using self-hosted wordpress blog. I’m running that for 1 month now. Before that I used blogger.com for couple of weeks and due to some limitations I switched over to self-hosted wordpress. WordPress is really vast and little bit frustrating. I’m confused now which one to use. Blogger is simple with better customization but it lacks lot of facilities which wordpress has. I really like blogging and really want to know if I have to make to professional level do I necessarily be with wordpress or can I expect making it through blogger? And I also want to know about spams and potential hacking that can happen over both of them?!

Michael Ray

why would i want to post a comment if i cant add my website. pr 7 you to good to let people link to your website

Amber

Thanks for this! I have a question. I recently took on a new job in which one of my responsibilities is to revamp the companies blog site. They use blogger-I have always personally used wordpress. They are a small company but do international business and growing. FOr business which site do you prefer?

I appreciate your help!

Amber

Richard

I have been asked to put together a blog recently and after some quick research I had been thinking about going with the $99 WordPress as I really want to be able to control the appearance of my blog though after reading this and some of the responses I am wondering if Blogger right out of the box wouldn’t give me that (possible I misinterpreted comments and such, kind of why I plan on reading this again later). I haven’t really looked at either much as this request just came up the other day.

Complexity of either tool isn’t really a main concern as I am a programmer so I would assume that a CMS wouldn’t have too steep of a learning curve. Thought about self hosting but since I am not sure this is something I will do for more than a year is kind of the reason I thought about the $99 premium WP.

Thanks for a great article and I am looking forward to your thoughts.

Jeanne Doyon

Thanks for the comparison. I started by fiddling with WordPress years ago–I think my attempts are still there. But, I seemed to click better with Blogger. I have both a blog and a static “website” using blogger–for now this fits my needs. I may need to go with my own domain name eventually, but my needs are really met with what I have.

Feel free to take a look. I have linked the two together and added a tab on each blogger site to go back and forth.
I don’t use their monetization. I don’t want any ads that I haven’t chosen. But, I do have an Amazon Affiliate account so I can highlight resources that go along with a blog post. I can embed the html code without any difficulty at all.
I use my own photography as well which I think personalizes things nicely.

So, I would love to hear your thoughts on my sites…
http://www.jeannedoyon.blogspot.com
http://www.streams-edge.blogspot.com

Thanks for all the great info. I will be able to share this with others when I teach my hands-on blogger class at a writer’s retreat this fall.

Jeanne

Dave

Hello. Thank you for your thorough analysis.

I am looking for a way for our sales team to communicate in-house with one another.

So, there will be no links, or public postings. Only company sales people helping each other.

Will Blogger or Word Press accommodate this? or is there a better site?

Thanks

Dave

Dustin Schwartz

@Dave – you should look into Basecamp, an excellent service for corporate internal communication and project management.

Tim Brookes

As Dustin says, BaseCamp is designed for this but I’ve personally always got on better with Trello myself.

Both are project management solutions offering rather different features:

http://trello.com/
http://www.basecamp.com

Zulma

I cannot thank you enough for all the useful information you have shared & your insight. I’ve been reading up for months (self educating) on how to blog & what would be the best way to go for a newbie. You totally made me feel confident on the decisions I’m making. I can’t wait to get started & I cannot thank you enough! Kudos to you for taking the time to make such an in depth comparison. Tnx again!

Flow Minwoo Lee

wow It’s very awesome comparison. Thanks for your posting.

The most important thing is that Blogger is changing now! A better one

Jurisrachel

Thanks muchly for the detailed analysis, sir. As a helpless Google acolyte, I’m pleased to see Blogger can probably get it done for me. :)

W3 S

I always used wordpress to create blogs for my clients. No first time, I was planning to setup my own blog. I can’t afford to host a wordpress blog, so I planned to setup blog using blogger platform. But I was wondering whether blogger offers the same features as WP offers. I think Blogger doesn’t has so big collection of plugins as WP has.
Tim, I have a question. If I setup my blog using blogger and after some period of time (say 1 year later) can transfer everything from blogger to wordpress without any loss of data, design and layout?

Mike George

One of the best comparison I have seen recently

HEL

I have been a blogger user for ages, initially I did set test blogs up on both platforms but found blogger was just easier….. This was before Google came in!
Anyway have changed job, and here they have been setting a blog up on wordpress so I thought, right I will give it a go! Now either I am thick (likely) or this is just not intuitive (Hmm) or wordpress is too limited.
I dont seem to be able to move my parts around on the design like I can on blogger, I have to find a theme I like and then I am very stuck with this theme, so yes there might be hundreds of themes, but you are then so restricted what you can do to amend that theme (unless you pay I suspect)
In Blogger I can take a theme and then I can customize to the cows come home…….
Am I missing something, or should I go with my gut and move my new company into the Blogger world – would not be a massive job as they have only just started and what they have in wordpress is not really worth preserving :-)

orange county website design

As for WordPress I think that it is a great platform for bloggers. It is what I use on all my servers just because it offers the users a vast veriety of option to choose and work with. Those are just my thoughts.

Rene Fabre

I use blogger for one of my blogs. My clients are mostly real estate professionals and are taking a big (unknown) step into the world of blogging. I encourage them to start with blogger, especially if they are going to do mostly hyper-local community type blogs, or passion oriented blogs. I think blogger is a great place to start without a cash investment to have a hosted WordPress designed and setup with an IDX feed etc. And, Blogger is being integrated more and more with Google+ and all of it’s other apps and platforms which sets it apart from WordPress.com sites. It still comes down to personal choice, chocolate or vanila? I also like the Tumblr platform. Great post and overview, Tim. Thanks!

Charlie Patton

Super Helpful Information!

Question: Are both blogs capable of allowing followers/viewers to make posts of their own? I want to use blogger, but cannot tell if I can open it up to all viewers to post?

Thanks,
CP

Tim B

I’ve had a look and can’t really find an answer. I think the fact that the service is called blogger really makes searching for such information difficult. I think you can have collaborative blogs, with multiple users, but I’m not so sure about having an area for anonymous followers to submit to.

You could of course create a page and integrate a Google form for people to compose before sending. Then the form would email the contents to you, and you could put it up manually. It’s not perfect, but it would work!

Alex

Hey Tim,

I would like to thank you for this great article.
This was the best article I found on Google, regarding “Blogger vs WordPress.com”. I was looking into which one I should start using and your article was just perfect.
Thank you, Tim!

Tim B

Well I’m really glad it helped you out Alex :)

Manaday Mavani

Great write up, Tim! Thanks for the thorough explanation. I’m using blogger since 2 years and had zero knowledge about WordPress stuff. But your post made me clear that I’m OK with Blogger. The thing I didn’t like about wordpress was the domain mapping charge!! I can’t afford that extra bucks when I’m making zero from a site.

Ablogger

Thank you! Was thinking of switching over to WordPress, but now am going to do more research.

This is helpful, well done.

Ablogger

Thank you! Was thinking of switching over to WordPress, but now am going to do more research.

This is helpful, well done.

Sarah Elizabeth

Very neat! Although I still feel slightly stuck on which to choose. I have Word Press installed on my sites but need to begin blogging. Twitter and Facebook won’t be enough for me. Thanks!

VP

At last an honest comparison of WordPress.com and Blogger, thank you.

I use both platforms for several blogs each – there are pros and cons to each, so it’s down to what the blog is for as to which one I use.

NB it is possible to Follow blogs from the other platform – just copy and paste the URL into the Follow info and they’re there. I now use my Blogger Follow list as my Google Reader.

VP

PS I forgot to say my ideal platform would be a cross between the two. The flexibility and no cost of Blogger & the ability to add a better stats package on there, with WordPress’s better handling of comments, particularly the ability to approve and block particular comment sources.

amdison

don’t like wordpress it not as good as blogger in my opinion. i am a teen blogger and love my blogs! i have a google + account but it is like a tomb i would hate it of google removed blogger. i have been using blogger since march of this year. my blog is Hellya200.blogspot.com and Madisonandrewsadventures.blogspot.com my old wordpress adress was Sexyheartbomb.wordpress.com btw, blogger is a good service while google plus is garbage.

CaveGirlMBA

Thanks for the article and for discussing this question – I have been asking the same question myself for months now. So far, I have not made up my mind, but I am running two sites in parallel, one on wordpress and one on blogger.
The obvious drawback is the little extra effort of publishing the posts on both sides. Do you know of any other disadvantage, e.g. negative effect on search engines?
The sites are http://cavegirlmba.com on wordpress and http://cavegirlmba.blogspot.co.at on blogger. At the moment, I have to say that I have an easier time getting the wordpress version to look like I want it to. Feedback is of course appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

Frank

Thanks for posting this! Like other have said, I have a Blogger site and was thinking of switching to WordPress before reading this. Now, I think I’m okay with Blogger.

Something I noticed on WP, though – it looks like you can export for material from Blogger to WP in Google ever did close up shop.

Tin

Hi Tim! I am using wordpress for my blog. I just started and I am wondering how to customize my pages. My landing page is a home page i created and i wanted to add a feed of my posts as a banner like a slide show or like a summary at the bottom of the page with photos but I don’t know how. My site is wanderbud.wordpress.com.

Uju

Hi Tim,
This is the most honest comparison between the WordPress and blogger I have seen in my research. I have been with blogger since 2007 but haven’t been a constant blogger.. My new bog is supposed to be for reviews and tech advice.. Now I want to really get serious with my frequency of posts and content hence the research on which platform to go with. I recently purchased a domain name too. I thank you so much for the clarifications especially the .org and .com thing in WordPress.
Blogger has been quite limiting in their templates but I understand I can download some custome ones now. My only issue might just be add the social plugins.
Be that as it may, thanks for a great review.. You were not biased as so many sites were probably because some are die hard wordpressers or affiliates.

ranjithreddy

Hi Tim,
How can I develop this type of application in my wordpress site.
Is there any possibility to create multiple blogs for multiple users in wordpress.
using scratch. If I need to develop this type of application how do I start.

Ranjith R

I have a project, like i need to develop a blogger plugin for wordpress, i dont know how to start. Help me, thanks in advance

Mughees A

When i at this time work with blogger yet wordpress customers nearly choke when they listen to that and so i was ready for this variances. Wonderful justification. I’ll follow blogger blog. The idea is effective for me.

Mughees A

Overall Nice Great And Informative Article Thanks For Sharing...

Dear Rose

Great article. It was a good presenting between Blogger and WordPress.com. I saw about a different of there clearly.

WordPress.com has modernity of a post page; can add related link of article of another WordPress.com site. And resources link information from authority site as Wikipedia.com, I like these options. But Blogger can make a good ranking for SEO, I think so. (Because Blogger.com was owned by Google :D )

But I made both the Blogger.com and the WordPress.com. Because I would like get to benefit for making blogger from “free blog sites”. Not just Blogger.com and WordPress.com, it’s all.

Now, I have 2 Blogs. I just started to build it.

WordPress.com: http://malachimorrish.wordpress.com/

Blogger.com: http://likeandshareall.blogspot.com/