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

Blogger

    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

Blogger

    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

Blogger

    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

Blogger

    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

Blogger’s

    familiar post screen:

bloggerscreen.jpg

    Intuitive, almost self-explanatory. And with the friendly, albeit not wysiwyg Preview mode.

This is WordPress’s post screen.
wpscreen.jpg
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

    Most

Blogger

    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 …
😆

A layman’s analysis

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29 thoughts on “A layman’s analysis

  1. bambit,

    you know i had a feeling you were gonna answer YES, which now puts me in a dilemma. i am one of the laymen who are not computer savvied but would nevertheless try. i like the coffee and the oreos part. all i have to do is find the time and the guts to make the switch. i will, one of these days 🙂

    cheers!

  2. This is certainly a wonderful implementation of WP.. I haven’t upgraded to 1.5 yet because I’ve tampered with the code too much, but when free time permits, I may.

    Just a note though; it’s not really fair to compare Blogger to WP, simply because, since you actually host WP, the things you can do with it are endless, while Blogger is limited to what they make available for you to work with. But Blogger’s pretty good too 🙂

  3. misispi, i’ll be in manila by late next month, what do you say to a switching party, let’s gather everyone who wants to switch in one place with a good ‘net connection, make lots of coffee and open up dozens of oreo packs, and i’ll do the switching for everyone
    ❓

    jorge, this is but a continuation of my previous post, to help my friends who are thinking of switching from Blogger to WP, and i do say in both posts that Blogger is the best thing you can have for free, so i don’t think i’ve been unfair, really.
    :mrgreen:

  4. I love blogger, coz its so intuitive to use.

    but the thing that frustrates me is the template thing…

    WP seems complicated compared to blooger… truth is I dont have the patience to learn WP… I guess I will just have to live with blogger…

    by the way I love your new blog! Amazing! 😀

  5. Thanks for the compliment, mell 😀

    WP is more complicated to use than Blogger. Believe me, it took a lot of convincing myself to make the move because I had already discovered the multitudes of Blogger templates available on the net and how to customize them to my taste. But then the neat-and- orderliness of WP finally won.

    I saw your post airing your frustration about Blogger’s templates, and that other post about your enhancements. All you need to do is keep the code for the enhancements backed up on a text file and then re-insert them into your new template. You do not have to save the haloscan code, you can just go back to the haloscan site, login to your account and do another install after you’ve changed your template.

    Changing templates in Blogger is a lot easier than it is in WP, as WP requires you several more steps to do so than Blogger does.

    I’m no Blogger or WP expert, but I’ve spent enough time on both to know how to do what I want to do with them. I like answering questions too *hint*hint*
    :mrgreen:

  6. bambit that sounds great! lets talk about it and let’s see who else is up for it. i’m sure a lot of us would jump on that offer. thanks 🙂

  7. that is a very tré cool analysis of WordPress and Blogger….

    actually, i finally made the switch from B2 to WordPress 1.5 and i’m amazed at the elegant interface of WordPress.

    i had a Blogger account in 2000-2001 and i dug it back then but it kept crashing or was so slow (mostly due to it’s popularity i think).

    if one can have a webhost account with PHP and MySQL, then WordPress is the way to go.

    -randomguru

  8. Does WordPress have the ability to backdate entries? For example, me post today.. but have it post on a Feb 18 instead?

  9. hey there Aein ❗

    yes, wordpress allows you to backdate, pre-date, in short, change the date of your posts. the place to do it is below the editbox in the write post screen, in the Advanced options. pretty much like blogger, although in WP you have to tick a box that says “Edit Timestamp” for your date edit to work.

    hope i’ve answered your question

    thanks for dropping by!
    😀

  10. Nice to see a fairly thorough comparison, and I’m glad you’re liking it. 🙂

    For posting images, I wanted to point out that IImage Browser works really well.

    Lastly, don’t forget about the Codex. It has some good stuff there.

  11. randomguru you honor me with your presence and your compliments. thanks for dropping by!
    😀

  12. Hello there!

    This has been a very interesting read. I also got into that crossroad before, choosing whether to go ahead a nd continue using Blogger, or, taking a turn towards WordPress.

    My curiosity got the better of me, and I believe Ihave made the right choice.

    I am still having problems though, in regards to Permalinking, and pages, as they tend to go back to the same page, as well as the comments field like this thing I’m entering this post in right now.

    Anyway, with the amount of contributors, and an ever increasing number of followers, WordPress is surely an elite group compared to Blogger users out there(no pun intended). 🙂

    When’s the party? 😀

  13. bryan IImage Browser definitely looks better than photopress. Will try it on my other blog and do a comparison on that. Thanks for the link, and for dropping by.
    😉

  14. I am VERY new to blogging…I’ve been doing a bit of web development for beer $$$ over the past 3 years, so I have a hosting acct w/ mySQL and some programming skill. Tried Blogger for about a week before I found WP…just made the switch tonight and I am MUCH happier. Love the admin interface and abilitiy to add pages and categories. Now just to get my site up and running! 😎

  15. Hello Bambit! I have a new bahay na. My host is AnP. And yes WP. Your layman’s analysis is featured there.
    congratulations my friend! galing galing.. i think ha kung ikaw ang narito ikaw ang nanalo sa TDAM sa halip na si Joshua San.:razz:

  16. Emily! Thanks for visiting, and especially for that link you shared. I will be making a separate post on the useful links that have been contributed by you and the other people who have also commented on this post. I’m sure they will be very helpful to new WP converts, and will also help others decide whether or not the switch is for them.

    Luchie dear I’ve seen your new home and it looks fabulous 😀 saan kamo na-feature ireng analysis ko:?:

    edp thanks for dropping by 🙂

    Pierre you summed up by blog in one sentence! that’s great! i couldn’t have said it better 🙂

    enter Yeah, you said it: WordPress da best indeed!

    :mrgreen:

  17. Blogger is currently having some speed problems. I hope Blogger go better as I do not fell like migrating to another blog service.

  18. Ye, there are a few things I don’t like about blogspot, but the truth is, I’m more convinced by your arguement to stay with blogger than move. I’ll keep my hopes up that google will open up the ability to do applications and plugins for blogger, or if nothing else, create the ability to migrate some wordpress functionality and plugins to blogger.

    Mostly what I’m holding out for is better templates and some cool widgets. (like an easy way to create a sidebar item with the most popular posts, or a way to rate posts and show the results. They’ve added polls, but only to the main page, not for individual posts).

    Thanks for your very informative post. I know some people who will be convinced by your arguements to switch over, but as for me, Ithink I’ll stick with it.

    jorge

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