of Blogger vs WordPress
5 August 2007 Although this post is more than two years old, it still gets a bit of traffic from people trying to decide between blogger and wordpress. I have recently looked at blogger.com’s blogging system and have found it much improved since the first time I laid eyes on it in 2004. Please note that this post has not been updated since then, and a few of my opinions are now obsolete. I have re-opened my blogger account in order to update screenshots and this entire post. I will try to have the update online before the end of August.
This is a blow-by-blow comparison of WordPress and Blogger. It covers required resources and user expertise. It should be read with coffee and chocolates. Double-thick Oreos will do.
Availability and demands on the user
- has the most user-friendly interface of all the free blog hosts I have tried (I registered with 5 before deciding on Blogger). Once you’ve registered for an account and picked a template, you’re up and running. It does not require you to upload anything via a third party software.
WordPress is also intuitive, but although the software is free, the web hosting you will need is not. You also need to go through a complicated setup process in order to get WordPress running. I even tried registering on a free server that offers MySQL just so I could get the WP feel before buying a domain and hosting package. You’ll need to know how to use an FTP program, of course. But once you’re past that …
Setup speed and requirements
- requires you to setup an account. Not too many questions, all of which are friendly to the unsavvy layman. Account setup to actual blogging takes less than 15 minutes (if you read everything carefully before clicking “Next”) on a good DSL connection, maybe twice that on a dial-up.
WordPress, on the other hand, requires that you setup an MySQL database on your server before proceding with the acutal WP installation. Estimated time from database setup to actual blogging may vary. If you do everything right the first time (without going to the bathroom and, if you’re THAT lucky, to have someone else make your coffee for you) I estimate 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Pages and Pagination
- gives you three basic pages, the main page, the comments page (where your post appears with the comments on it, if you use Blogger’s commenting feature), and the archive page.
WordPress gives you a main page, a “more” page, an archive page, an archive by category page, an archive by month page, and any other darn page you’d like to create. You can either auto link self-created pages from the sidebar, if the template you download contains the code for doing so, or you can look through WordPress’ extensive support system for the code, as well as other goodies you might want to add in, like graphical smileys (I just did my smilies this afternoon, took me about 5 minutes).
Look and feel and templates
- offers you a choice of more than 30 pre-designed customizable templates. They do tend to resemble one another, with variations in color and layout. Blogger templates come in one long html file that is editable through the Blogger dashboard. Blogger templates also abound on the internet, just enter
FREE Blogger templates
- in Google and feast on the results. Blogger even has a preview mode for template changes, so you can see what the new look is like before committing.
WordPress 1.5 templates abound as well but you have to download, unzip, upload to your site and select/activate in WP’s admin interface. These too are highly customizable. WP templates are “broken down” into manageable pieces though. The Cascading Stylesheet is always separate from the main file, as is the header, side menu and footer sections. However, for these sections to be editable, you must follow WP’s request that you chmod these files to a writable state. Chmod is a command in your FTP program. I recommend SmartFTP. WordPress does NOT have a preview mode for templates, you will have to activate a template in order to see it. Most WP Themes sites provide users with sample pages of themes, so you will have an idea of how it might look on your site.
Interface and user-friendliness
- This is
- familiar post screen:
- Intuitive, almost self-explanatory. And with the friendly, albeit not wysiwyg Preview mode.
This is WordPress’s post screen.
Die hard Bloggers will blink. I did. Twice even. No graphical buttons. No preview mode unless you save first and it’s like Blogger’s, non-wysiwyg. But once you get used to the text buttons it functions pretty much like Blogger.
On image-handling and uploading
- users I’m acquainted with use third-party image hosts like flickr or image shack. I used Hello/Picasa with my Blogger. In Blogger’s real time compose mode, you can select inserted photos and resize them by grabbing the corners with your mouse pointer. Pretty cool. The downside is your photos (if you use image hosts other than Picasa, which is hosted by Google/Blogger) do not load as fast as your blog does. I’ve had Image Shack time out on me several times before I started hosting my bigger photos on my old Destiny account webspace.
WordPress can be configured to allow uploads to your server via the admin interface. This means your photos will load a bit faster because they are coming from the same place as your blog is. Of course, speed of image loading also depends on how big your images are. You will need about the same degree of knowledge html coding as in Blogger to place your images in a post. You’ll need to install a plug-in to make image handling easier. More on this when I’ve tried it myself. (update: 18 March: Alex King’s wp-photo plugin, originally written for WP 1.2 is a pain to tweak for 1.5. After an hour of trying and diving into WP’s extensive support forum, I gave up. Will look for other ways and will make new post once I go “eureka!”)
So! To answer misispi’s question … do I like having gone WP? The answer is a resounding YES! Once you’ve honed your FTP skills everything is a breeze as long as you follow directions and have lots of coffee and Oreos on hand. Keep your sidebar code saved in a handy text file and you can quickly fit your links and blogrolls and sideblogs into whatever template you change into. WordPress templates look so neat and tidy, compared to Blogger’s busily colored built-ins. And if you stay tuned to Alex King’s website you can keep yourself posted on the WordPress 1.5 Theme Competition Entries, which keep growing with each day. Oodles and oodles of templates for the taking. Hmmm, there’s six more new ones since I last looked … excuse me while I go template fitting …