Blogging Platforms: #2 WordPress and Blogger

Written by cormiston. Posted in Blogging, Blogging Platforms

The logo of the blogging software WordPress.

Now that you’ve determined exactly what type of blogger you want to be, review your list and rank what is most important.  Is customization more important, or promotion?  Do you want to pay for premium services, or is free the only price tag you’ll consider?

Remember, we will review five well-known blogging platforms in the next few posts, and we’re looking at four categories: cost (free or paid host), customization (how much can you edit and change), promotion (high traffic or low search engine optimization?), and use (who would use it).

All of the blogs have the following: at least three privacy settings (public, private, and protected) and have the basic abilities to edit HTML, spell check, edit text, add widgets, the ability to set up RSS feeds, and many more basic features.

1. WordPress

Cost: WordPress blogs are probably the number one most common blogging platform on the market, with hobbyists and professionals alike because they are free and highly customizable.

Customization: One advantage to WordPress blogs is that they are highly customizable.  You can change everything from the template to the layout.    In fact, there are so many customizable options on WordPress that sometimes you may be looking at a WordPress blog and not even know it.  (For example, I bet you didn’t know that CNN, Wired.com, and The New York Times all use WordPress blogs!)

Widgets are abound in WordPress, including widgets that let you track your blog’s statistics (ex. how many people visit, how many unique hits) with Google Analytics, set up an RSS feed, and block spammers with various apps.

And if you are looking for a platform to host a number of writers, then WordPress is one of your best options, as it can host numerous writers and admins.

One problem, however, is that WordPress is not as user friendly for new bloggers as other sites.  WordPress does not come as ready to use as other blogging platforms and you will have to upload several Widgets to make your blog more reader and commenter friendly.

Promotion: WordPress is one of the best options if you are trying to embed a blog to a website or have a domain name to upload it to.  For this reason, you’ll see WordPress blogs on websites for businesses and companies.

However, WordPress blogs must be tweaked to be SEO friendly and are also more likely to be targeted by spammers and hackers.  With that said, you will have to take a few additional steps in order to protect your account.

You can host a free blog on WordPress.com, but this means you’ll have blogtitle.wordpress.com in the name.  If you’re trying to avoid this, you can find a web host, but be prepared to pay a fee for the service.

Use:  WordPress is great for the recreational user and can also serve well for self-employed bloggers.  If you decide WordPress is for you, you will find that tutorials, tech support, user forums, and FAQ pages are exceedingly abundant with WordPress should you fall into any problems.

If you’re interested in a hosted WordPress visit WordPress.com.  If what you’re after is a download of WordPress to install on your own website, visit WordPress.org.

2. Blogger

Cost: Free as well, it’s easy to set up a blog – all you need is a g-mail account, which are also free.  The Blogger site prompts you to make an account, choose a blog name/URL, choose a template, and then you’re done and ready to post!

Customization: While Blogger is still a bit behind when it came to looking updated, recent upgrades have opened new templates for users and with some time you can make a pretty good looking blog.

If you want a professional looking blog, however, you will have to use a custom template made by third-party.  And unless you know some HTML, you will have to rely on the design options in Blogger or on custom templates available on the Internet to get the perfect look you want.

One issue with Blogger is that the widget choices are not as advanced or vast as other blogging sites.  However in a post coming soon, we will teach you how to add a Facebook share or Follow Me Twitter tab onto your blogger.

Also, Blogger will only give you one log in name for the blog, which means if you have multiple writers, you all have to share one username (an e-mail) and password, or have separate blogs.

Promotion: Blogger is hosted by Google and comes with it’s own host already.  You will have blogtitle.blogspot in the URL, but if you are a hobbyist blogger looking for your own place with no hassle, this is the place for you.

Another issue with Blogger is that it is not a great blogging platform if you are concerned about submitting your blog to blog services.  Blogger is a great blog if you aren’t concerned about high traffic to it.  However, if a paid blog is your dream then you may want to consider one of the other options.

Use: Blogger is great for recreational users who don’t care about having a high traffic blog, and if you decide to go for it, tutorials are available for help, as are user forums and FAQ pages.

If blogger sounds like more your thing, get started now by visiting Blogger.com.

Next up: Tumblr and TypePad.

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