Blogger vs WordPress – Choosing the Right Platform
If you’re about to launch a website, it’s likely you’ve heard of both Blogger and WordPress, which means you’re probably wondering which of these extremely popular options you should choose.
To help you decide, we’ll be evaluating the key areas of each service, so, by the end of this article, you should be much better positioned to decide which is best for your needs.
Let’s get started.
About WordPress — a quick introduction
WordPress is open source software that anyone can download and use to create a website. Although it started as a blogging platform, WordPress can now be used to create any type of website.
Note: In this comparison, we’ll be covering the software available to download from WordPress.org, rather than the service found at WordPress.com.
About Blogger — a quick introduction
Blogger is a service owned by Google that allows anyone to start a free blog in just a few clicks.
Your blog or website is hosted by Google, and they take care of everything for you. As we’ll see in this comparison, in exchange for this level of simplicity, you’ll forgo certain freedoms available to WordPress users.
The Main Differences between WordPress and Blogger
To help you decide whether you should choose WordPress or Blogger, here are the main areas you’ll want to consider.
When it comes to cost, Blogger is hard to beat — it really is a free service. If you want to register a domain name for your website, such as WinningWP.com, you can do so for around $10, but this is optional, and you can always stick with the default URL that’s assigned to your blog, such as http://WinningWP.blogspot.com/.
Although the WordPress software is free to download and use, there are some costs involved in running a WordPress website. First, you’ll need a domain name for your website. Prices for a .com domain are usually around $10 per year. Next, you’ll need to choose a web host (here are a few recommendations) that will make your website available to internet users.
Entry-level shared web hosting can be had for a few dollars per month, and some hosts may even throw in a free domain name for new customers. However, if your website takes off and becomes popular or an integral part of your business, then you’ll probably need to upgrade to more robust hosting. Prices for professional web hosting typically start at around $25 a month.
Once you have a domain name and web hosting account, you can start thinking about buying a commercial WordPress theme and plugins (which we’ll cover in more detail later). However, if you’re just starting out, you can make do with a free theme and plugins. When the time is right, you can expect to pay up to $100 for a high-quality WordPress theme, and a few hundred dollars for commercial plugins, depending on your needs.
Verdict: With no financial investment required to start a website with Blogger, it’s the clear winner here.
2) Getting Started
Anyone can sign-up with Blogger and start a blog. If you’re already registered with Google — with a Gmail or Google Drive account, for example — then it will only take a few clicks to begin. If you don’t have a Google account, then the sign-up process will take a little longer, but, either way, you can have a new blog online in a matter of minutes. With Blogger, you also have the option of creating and managing multiple blogs through one account.
Compared with Blogger, getting started with WordPress isn’t quite as straightforward. As mentioned, you’re responsible for hosting your WordPress-powered website, so you’ll need to choose a web host and register a new domain name. Registering a domain name and signing up with a web host should only take a few minutes. However, new domains can sometimes take a few hours to actually go live.
Once your web hosting account is activated, you’ll need to install the WordPress software. Some web hosts will take care of this for you when setting up your account, but, even if they don’t, in most cases, you’ll be able to install WordPress in just a few clicks through your web host’s control panel.
Verdict: Blogger wins here, because everything’s provided for you in one place, in just a few clicks.
3) Configuring Your Website and Publishing Content
Once you’ve created your Blogger site, it’s time to familiarize yourself with your new blog and start publishing content. As with WordPress, you work in the dashboard area of your website, while your visitors access the front end of your site.
If you want to change the title and description of your blog, you can head to the Settings area of the dashboard. You can also change the URL or address of your blog here.
The quickest way to get started with Blogger is to leave all the settings in their default configuration and just create your first blog post. However, if you’re curious, you can find settings covering how many posts to display on the homepage of your blog, which language to use, and which time zone and formatting to use for dates and times. You can also add authors to your blog by entering their email address and sending them an invitation.
Like WordPress, Blogger gives you the ability to publish posts and pages on your website. Pages are good for publishing evergreen content, such as your contact details or an about page, while posts are ideal for publishing timely and news-type content.
To get started, you’ll probably want to create an about page to introduce visitors to your blog. To do this, click on Pages from the sidebar menu, and click the New Page button to create a page.
WordPress and Blogger use a similar editor for creating posts and pages — you can enter your content through the WYSIWYG editor and carry out basic formatting through the controls. For more control over the appearance of your content, you can switch to the HTML view in both Blogger and WordPress.
Both Blogger and WordPress make it easy to preview your content before you publish it, allowing you to see how posts and pages will appear to visitors. Once you’re happy with your post or page, you can publish it on the internet for all to see.
Blog posts can be published in the same way as pages, and, once you’ve added content to your new Blogger website, the posts and pages can be managed through the corresponding area of your dashboard.
With Blogger, by default, new posts are displayed on the homepage of your website, with the latest post displayed first.
Once WordPress has been installed, you’ll be able to log into your new website. Like Blogger, the WordPress dashboard is the protected area that only you and those you’ve granted access to can use to manage your website and create content.
WordPress posts and pages can be created in the same way as with Blogger. However, with WordPress, you’ll notice there are more settings and options at nearly every step. When creating a new post, for example, you can choose a post format to determine how the content will be presented. Unlike Blogger, which only lets you label your posts, WordPress gives you the ability to tag and categorize your posts to help group and describe your content better.
As you can see, the WordPress Editor uses a similar layout and format to Blogger. You can save a draft of your post or page, preview it, and, when ready, publish it to make it available online.
Changing the title and tagline of your WordPress site takes place through the General Settings in much the same way as Blogger.
Additional user accounts can also be created for your WordPress website. Unlike Blogger, WordPress has a number of roles that control what level of access users have to your site. This makes it easy to create an account that only allows a user to create new posts, rather than an account that allows the user to edit existing content and make changes to how your site looks and functions.
Verdict: When it comes to publishing content on your blog or website, both options take a similar approach. However, publishing with Blogger is more straightforward, while WordPress gives you more options. Either work well for collaborative projects.
4) Customization Options
In terms of customization options, WordPress is miles ahead of Blogger. Simple things, such as displaying a page on the homepage of your website, rather than your latest blog post, is incredibility straightforward with WordPress and surprisingly long-winded with Blogger.
If you want to create a more traditional website, rather than a blog, the WordPress controls make it much easier to use a static homepage and display your blog posts elsewhere on your site.
However, where WordPress really comes into its own is with the various themes and plugins available. With Blogger, you get a few official templates to choose from, as well as a selection of third-party templates that will change the appearance of your website. With WordPress, there are thousands of designs to choose from.
WordPress themes are available as free and commercial products that can be uploaded to your website to transform its appearance. These themes cover almost every type of website and project imaginable — from stylish blogs and business websites to online portfolios and ecommerce stores.
Your WordPress website can also make use of plugins, which add new features to your website or customize the existing WordPress functionality. They can make simple changes to your site, such as giving you more formatting options, or make impressive upgrades that allow you to sell products and collect payments from your website.
As well as the free plugins available at the official WordPress Plugin Directory and the commercial plugins at the CodeCanyon marketplace (not to mention those available elsewhere), you’re also free to create a plugin yourself or hire someone to build it for you.
Verdict: With countless themes and plugins already available, as well as the ability to customize how your website works and looks yourself, WordPress wins here.
5) Ownership and Control
Another important point to consider is who owns your website and its content. As the only option for keeping your Blogger website online is to let Google host it, you’ll be bound by their terms and conditions. Having your Google account shut down isn’t outside the realms of possibility, and, if it does happen, it could be the end of your website.
As you own your WordPress website and the software is open source, you’re free to use it how you wish. Your web host will have their own terms of service that you’ll have to follow, but, if you fall foul of their rules, you’ll have the option of moving your WordPress website to another web hosting company.
Both Blogger and WordPress give you the ability to back up your website, and, whichever option you choose, this is something you should definitely do regularly. It’s also possible to migrate from both platforms to elsewhere, but you should expect to lose some formatting and settings during the transition.
Like WordPress, Google doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. However, Google has been known to shut down its services in the past, even popular ones such as Google Reader. So, even though Google should be in business for the foreseeable future, there’s no guarantee Blogger will be safe from extinction.
WordPress, on the other hand, is open source software that, in theory, anyone can work on. No one owns the software, so even if every member of the current team of developers stopped work on the software today, it’s highly likely their roles would be filled almost instantly by willing volunteers. Furthermore, with so many businesses reliant on WordPress, there’d be many companies willing to pitch in to keep the software alive.
Verdict: WordPress gives you more control over your website and its content.
6) Support and Maintenance
One of the best reasons to choose Blogger over WordPress is that your website is hosted by Google and there’s very little you can do to break your blog. Features and functionality may be limited, but the payoff is that the service is simple to use and requires almost zero maintenance on your part.
In comparison, WordPress is a lot more open and configurable. As mentioned, you can install plugins from a wide range of sources, edit the code yourself, and customize your website in any way you want. The downside of this freedom is that things can — and do — go wrong.
Thankfully, there’s a large WordPress community and ecosystem to turn to should a problem arise with your website. As well as the official free user support forums, there are many commercial support services that will help you with your WordPress website for a fee. Your web host may even provide you with some assistance.
Blogger does lack the support options of WordPress. However, if you’re using Blogger, you probably won’t need them.
Verdict: While there’s always someone to turn to if something goes wrong with your WordPress website, this category is a draw as it’s unlikely you’ll need any help with your Blogger website because of its low-maintenance and hassle-free nature.
As part of the vibrant WordPress community, regular WordCamp events are held around the world, and many WordPress meetups also take place on a smaller scale. Therefore, if you want to take your website to the next level, get involved with the community, and network with other users, these offline events can be a real plus. Furthermore, there are countless blogs about WordPress publishing news, guides, tutorials, and reviews of the latest products and developments from the WordPress ecosystem.
When it comes to community and ecosystem, Blogger can’t compete with WordPress. There are very few third-party products and services to choose from, hardly any blogs to read, and nothing like an alternative to the passionate WordPress userbase.
Verdict: If community is important to you, whether online or off, WordPress is hard to beat.
Both Blogger and WordPress make it easier than ever to start a basic website. If you’ve been holding off launching your own blog or website, there’s really no excuse not to get started.
However, what happens after you’ve taken the plunge and launched your new website? Blogger does make things exceedingly easy when it comes to starting a new blog and publishing your first post. However, the great thing about the internet is that almost anything can, and usually does, happen. Your humble blog could become hugely popular, or your basic website could start opening up new opportunities that turn your hobby into a business.
Although Blogger makes it easier to start and manage a website, it just doesn’t offer the same potential for growth as WordPress. There are a few more steps during the WordPress setup process, and you’ll have to pay out a few dollars a month to keep your WordPress website online.
However, when it comes to the website’s potential, WordPress really can’t be beaten. As we’ve covered, if you want to sell products online, accept bookings, or use your website for almost any purpose, WordPress and its library of plugins are willing and able.
For a tiny bit more effort, WordPress won’t limit your online aspirations now or in the future, whereas with Blogger it really is a case of what you see is what you get. There are no new features that can be added with plugins, and there’s no access to the underlying code. New capabilities aren’t being added on a regular basis as they are with WordPress.
Verdict: if you don’t want to be limited or constrained by your website platform (either now or in the future), then WordPress wins. It offers the greatest amount of potential for growth of your website.
WordPress vs Blogger: Which Should You Choose?
Both WordPress and Blogger have their pros and cons, and it’s up to you to decide which one is best for your project. Before you make a decision, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions to understand your needs.
The most important question is: What’s the purpose of your website?
If you just want a functional, basic blog and aren’t worried about a stylish or modern design, then Blogger may be the best option. There’s also Blogger’s lack of a price tag to take into account.
However, if you have big plans for your blog, then WordPress is the better option. The countless plugins available enable you to add the essential features your site will need to grow and stand out among the competition, and the vast selection of high-quality WordPress themes will give you an easy way to ensure your website has the right look and feel. These points also apply if your blog or website will be used for business purposes.
Some other questions to ponder include: Are you prepared to invest money in a domain name, web hosting, and possibly plugins and themes? Are you willing to take the time to learn how to use a more advanced solution? Are you ready to resolve any issues if they arise? If you can answer yes to those questions, then WordPress could be right for you. Otherwise, the no-hassle approach of Blogger may be best.
You should now be ready to make a decision between WordPress and Blogger. There are, of course, a range of other options to consider too, but at least when it comes to Blogger vs WordPress you should have a pretty good idea of which is right for your project.
To recap, if you’re just looking for the easiest way to start a blog and share your thoughts with the world, then Blogger could be what you’re looking for. However, if you’re willing to invest a little time and money, WordPress lets you do a whole lot more with your blog or website than you ever could with Blogger.
Do you have experiences with Blogger and/or WordPress you’d like to share? Did we miss anything?
All comments are held for moderation. We'll only publish comments that are on topic and adhere to our Commenting Policy.