Free blogging platforms – Blogger or WordPress.com?

Free blogging services such as Blogger (blogspot.com blog), WordPress.com and Typepad are always good for beginners to kickstart their blogging lives. Many wannabe bloggers do not want to complicate things initially and that is why they go for these free platforms, which in a way, makes sense.

Recently, in an attempt to revive, my cricket blog I did a small comparative study of two of Blogger vs WordPress free blogging platform comparisonthe leading free blog platforms – blogger and wordpress.com – and this post is the summary of my findings. Hope this helps many beginners to make a decision on which of these free platforms to choose to get started. (Those who want to set up their own professional, self hosted blog may please read the series on setting up a successful blog)

Blogger and WordPress

Creation – Signup and Getting Started: Both platforms are so easy to get started as the sign up procedures are very simple. You can start blogging in minutes after sign-up and hence both are winners on this aspect. If you already have a Google account, probably, blogger is a dash faster to set up than WordPress.

Ease of use: Though, I am very familiar with the WordPress platform, I think that the blogger’s admin interface is always easier to use than WordPress for those who are seeing for the first time. You may start liking WordPress eventually though. I pick blogger for its ease of use.

Customizing: Via the WordPress admin panel, you can edit style sheets and headers to change the look and feel of your blog. But blogger gives a little more control over the theme as the entire template html can be edited. In addition, the customization that can be done on the theme is dependant on the limited number of themes available in the case of WordPress, where as getting a new theme or customizing an existing one is very much possible in blogger. So blogger wins here!

Extending via widgets: Both blogger and WordPress support a number of widgets/gadgets to support additional features of your blog. Akismet Spam protection is one of the things that stand out as a WordPress widget feature where as AdSense widgets is what blogger can boast off. There are a lot of similar widgets in both platforms though there are variations. I could not pick a clear winner here (and I do not want to do a feature-by-feature comparison of all available widgets, in this post.)

Content organizing & commenting: This is where WordPress rocks!. Having your blog posts organized under categories is one of the key things that WordPress offers. Categories along with proper tagging make the WordPress blogs so optimized, structured and easier to access. Blogger has labels but this does not serve the purpose of categories as they are more like tags.

Another area where blogger lags behind is the way commenting is done. The comment entry form appears in a popup that is not a great usability feature.

Yet another killer feature in WordPress is static pages. Using this you can organize your content into posts and pages where pages usually provide less frequently changing information such as ‘About us’, ‘Contact’ etc. Blogger does not have anything like this.

So in terms of structuring the blog contents, WordPress is the clear leader!

Multiple author support: Both platforms support multiple authors but again WordPress has better control over the roles of authors as administrators, editors etc. This is a very convenient feature where by you could be the main author and administrator and the editor profiles that you create can only edit posts and comments. Wordperss again wins here as well!

Making Money: This is where the decision making usually happens. When you use the WordPress free blog you cannot put CPC ads such as Google AdSense or Bidvertiser or even banner ads and hence you cannot monetize your blog instantly. You still have the option of private ad sales or link sales but they are not always the first things you start with. In the case of Blogger, you can readily use all available advertisement options, AdSense being the preference with most bloggers. As mentioned earlier AdSense set up is so easier in Blogger using the AdSense widget. Moreover, it seems, your AdSense account usually get approved faster if applied for a Blogger account.

Final Verdict

The choice really depends on your primary needs. If you are sure that you want to make money out of your free blog, then blogger is the choice. But if you want a great flexible platform with a lot of features to structure your thoughts and blogging is more of a passion – than money making channel – for you, then you should go for WordPress!

Advantages of FREE blogging platforms

  • You can get started with blogging in no time after signing up with an account
  • Hides a lot of technical complications involved in the platform set up and maintenance if you were to host your own domain for your blog
  • No need to worry about performance issues, scalability and security concerns
  • Not much Search Engine Optimization (SEO) worries if you were to opt for a platform like Blogger
  • Very easy to learn and get started with the concept of blogging

Shortcomings of free blogging platforms

  • Not much extensibility options such as plugins. Moreover, integrating other applications and services to your blog could be difficult
  • Many advertisers do not approve your publisher accounts if you were to run ads on free blogs
  • Cannot be always ported easily to a self hosted domain name later

Hope this short review (intended for the beginners and wannabe-bloggers) was useful. Please add any comments on any major features, of either platform, that is not mentioned here. Also please let me know if any of the other free platforms is better than these two.

Happy Blogging!

Comments

  1. WOw! Good comparison of these two blogging platforms.

    By the way, this is my first time visiting your site while I do blog hopping.

    Your blog was stunned me because it has the same look of Brian’s CopyBlogger.

    Not only that, you also share great content on this blog. Great job buddy and keep up the good work. I was really inspired by you…

    I hope we can be good friends.

    - Felix Albutra

    • @Felix, welcome to DollarShower :) The look part of the blog was highly inspired by CopyBlogger who’s one of my favorite bloggers. When he did this styling on Thesis with the help of Chris Pearson of DIY Thesis, I thought of developing my own theme using similar styling. Mine is a light weight theme and optimized for speed (of course limited by the shared hosting speed now).

  2. You can still use WordPress for your blogging. It would be wise to use an outside hosting like Hostgator. This way you can add anything to it tomake money.

  3. Ali :

    Hello,

    Where can I find a list of free blog providers like wordpress.com that run on the Word Press platform ?
    wordpress.com is one. Any others ?
    blogger.com provides us with free blogs but it doesn’t run on the WordPress platform and so I’m dismissing that one out.
    I want to create more than one blog but on different domains which I do not own as I don’t want to create all my blogs on a single domain (like create all of them on wordpress.com only) because I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket.
    The free blog service provider must be running on the WordPress platform as I’m used to this platform. Hence, on the look-out for free blog services running on the Word Press platform.

    Thanks

  4. Aniruddha Rege :

    The way i see it-

    WordPress.org is the best- complete control over your blog since you own it.

    blogger- because of the template customization. Also, it’s easier to use.

    WordPress.com- lacks many of the features that make WordPress great. Its nothing but a lite version.

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