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. sayalee :

    I have one wordpress blog and one blogspot blog. But I am amazed to see the response on wordpress. What is the reason that I do not get any comments on my blog spot blog?

  2. Sire :

    @ sayalee I’ve always found it so much easier to leave comments on a WordPress blog. The comment form on blogspot blogs differ greatly between blogs and they are more standardized with WordPress. Perhaps that may be part of the answer.

    Sire’s last blog post… Happy New Year & Birth Of Link Love

  3. @Sayalee, it could be due to the the pain involved in commenting on blogger blogs. I mean, I really hate those popup based commenting mechanism and I am sure many others hate it as well.

    Even, I have a blogger blog that doesn’t get any comment despite handling a popular topic (cricket)

  4. newbie blogger :

    Thank you Ajith for this insightful article.

    I am completely new to blogging and I have been sitting here for days trying to figure out if I should use blogger.com or wordpress.com.

    I have set up an account on both sites and as a beginner to blogging I find Blogger.com much easier to use.
    I sometimes work at a free computer college teaching people how to use the internet, these people have no knowledge of using the internet and to be honest they’d need a manual to use wordpress.com.

    The only thing I do not like about blogger is the interface and the problems with spam.
    Wordpress looks sleaker.

    WordPress has too many limitations and I would like to monetize my site in the near future but I cannot afford to self-host right now. I would need to manual to set up and manage my wordpress.org site.

  5. @Newbie,
    I am glad that this post was of use to you… The ideas was to simplify it as much as possible for the consumption of beginners.

  6. Hi, If you ask Me I will Tell WordPress Rocks!! WordPress is one of THE MOST flexible and custumizable Platform I evr seen.. btw very good post Thanks for sharing..

  7. Brian :

    Thanks for this article, Ajith. I recently started blogging via WordPress.com and have enjoyed many of its features.

    However, I was disappointed to realize that I could not use Google AdSense on my blog. Then I learned WordPress.org supports a plug-in enabling AdSense, however self-hosting seems a bit more technical, certainly more labor-intensive, and of course involves financial costs – perhaps so much as to offset any profits from AdSense.

    I would simply switch to Blogger but you say it compares unfavorably in terms of content organizing and commenting. Do you recommend any free blogging platform that supports advertising services as Blogger does while measuring up nicely to WordPress in terms of other general features?

    Thanks!

    Brian’s last blog post… McCaskill fails to offer solutions on Gitmo

  8. @Brian, you are welcome.

    In fact, keeping your long term blogging needs in mind it’s always better to go for a self-hosted WordPress blog. It may not be as difficult as it used to be in the past because now upgrades are getting more and more automated. This gives you full control over your ad spaces, to add further services than blogs etc. Also, in the future if your blog becomes famous and you want to put private ads, the ad management programs might not work on free blogging platforms. Moreover, many advertisers dont’ prefer advertising on free hosted blogs.

    If you still want to go ahead with free platforms and if blogger is not your choice, the other option is typepad.com. Typepad is almost as good as WordPress.com I hear. Though I have not personally hosted anything on typepad please check out the following typepad freehosted blog to get a feel of it. http://bloggingwithbarbara.typepad.com/ . Also it may be a good idea to contact them to see if there are any major issues with that platform.

    At any time a free hosted blog (your posts, comments, etc) can be moved to a self-hosted WordPress…but this will result in loosing your backlinks and traffic.

    Cheers and Good luck!

  9. Brian :

    Wow, thanks for the quick reply!

    One more quick question: if I self-host using WP.org can I still post from a computer other than the one on which I’ve downloaded the WP software and any hosting-related programs?

    Thanks again! Great site and I have made sure to check out some of the sponsors!

    Brian’s last blog post… Fairness Doctrine

  10. Sire :

    Sure, it doesn’t matter where you are or what computer you use as long as you remember your password to get into the admin area of your WordPress Blog.

    Sire’s last blog post… Sire’s Big Moment A Total Flop

  11. @Brian, When you self-host it means that the WordPress database (containing all your posts, comments, links…), your theme/template, plugins, uploaded files etc. are sitting on a server provided by your paid hosting service (Such as hostgator or hostmonster). WordPress’ administration interface to this server is always accessible by a web browser from any PC that has internet connectivity.

    The WordPress blog platform installation can be easily done by the automated tools provided by your hosting service.

    Hope this is what you wanted to know?

  12. Brian :

    Yes, and good to hear. That certainly makes it reasonable for me to begin exploring self-hosting options. Much thanks.

  13. I found your site and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good articles. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you!

  14. UPDATE: I have taken your advice, Ajith, and secured hosting services so I can use the WordPress.org software while still being able to advertise on my site. Thanks!

    Brian T. Johnson’s last blog post… Your latest web questions, answered.

  15. @Cindy, thanks a lot for your encouraging words :)

    @Brian, congratulations on taking the first step towards creating your self-hosted blog. Though not fully detailed, I had written an article series (8 posts) on setting up a new self-hosted blog from scratch to success! Just in case it helps…

    http://www.dollarshower.com/articles/

    And thanks a lot for the mention of my blog in your last post :)

  16. I’ll advocate for blogger than wordpress.

    Masud Rana’s last blog post… Earn Money Giving Your Opinion Online

  17. Edos :

    When it comes to control panel tools and features for setting up a blog, wordpress is the best

  18. Sushie :

    WordPress is the best for me, more flexible, we can change what we want, more plugins than blogger, more professionnals bloggers are on WordPress.
    Blogger is very easy to use, like it too but i’m not “free” with this platform so i prefer WordPress. ^^
    Even if i’m s**k at php language. xD
    Good article. ^^

  19. I Started blogging on Blogger, then turned to Wp, Wp is better than the best.

  20. Good guide for beginners for choosing the blog platform. The static page option is now available in blogger also.At last they have included it. The ‘ read more’ feature also they have included in blogger.
    But word-press looks much better and simple. More over as you said it is well structured. This is the greatest feature i found useful in wordpress. !!

Trackbacks

Speak Your Mind

*