Monday, February 9, 2015

Blogging 101: Wordpress vs. Blogger

I've been been blogging, seriously, for five months, read over 500 blogging articles, pinned 59 items to my "blogging help" board on Pinterest (here), and learned countless lessons. One of the biggest lessons I've learned is that is very easy to get overwhelmed in the "blogging world." Did you notice how I've read over 500 blogging articles (mostly found through Pinterest) but I've only pinned 59 items? There is a lot of information out there, and while all of it is really good, for the most part, everything is not applicable to every blog. For example, I run my blog through blogger, but there are a lot of articles about running a Wordpress blog. While they might be interesting, they're not applicable to me.

Since I've been blogging, I have continually kept my eye out for articles that talked about what to do and when to do it. Kind of like a "complete guide to blogging." When should I get my social media accounts up and running? When should I introduce a newsletter? What can I do to cut down on wasted time? What are link-ups? Eventually, I found the answers, but it took a lot of digging.

So I thought I would start a blog series, Blogging 101, and talk about the very things I wish someone had told me. If you ever have anything you would like to be addressed in particular, send me an email, or a tweet on twitter. I can't guarantee I'll have the answer but maybe we can ponder it together.

To start off this exciting blog journey, I decided to start at the beginning. When I first started blogging, one of my biggest questions was, "Should I use Blogger or Wordpress."

Blogger vs. Wordpress

As you start to get involved in the "blogosphere," you'll discover that most advanced and well established bloggers use Wordpress, not Blogger. I on the other hand use Blogger. It was a really tough decision for me. Ultimately, though, I decided that for this stage in my blog I wanted something that was easy to use, streamlined, and didn't require a large investment (of money that is). Here are some specifics as to why I chose Blogger over Wordpress.

1. When I first started getting serious about starting a blog, I create a Blogger and one and a Wordpress one. I was already pretty familiar with Blogger, but with all attention on Wordpress, I didn't want to be left out. As I started to mess around with design, widgets, and other customization aspects, I realized that Wordpress is tricky. There are TONS (and I do mean tons) of options for Wordpress widgets but they only work if you host your own site. While many bloggers insist that to be successful as a blogger you must host your own site, I'm just not ready to open that can of worms. If you don't host your own site through Wordpress, the Worpress widgets do you no good and leave you little to no room for customization. So since I wasn't ready to host my own blog and I wanted to have some control over customization, Blogger took the lead.

2. Simplicity. I am not a computer person. I can find my way around a few html codes and I can copy and paste when I have specific directions in front of me, but ask me to figure out how to add a space above a picture and I'm lost. With Blogger, a lot of the work is done for you and there are a lot of great tutorials out there for changing things and playing with design.

3. No cost. I am running my blog for free right now (well, minus the investment of time). As a college student, I'm not at a point in my life where I can invest large amounts of money into my blog. Sure, I would love to hire a design specialist to redo my blog and figure out all the crazy codes, but it's not a necessity right now. It is possible to run a blog for free, have fun doing it, and learn a thing or two along the way.

I'm not a diehard Blogger fan but I'm also not praying for the day when I can switch over to Wordpress. Both platforms have their advantages and their drawbacks. At this stage in my blogging career, using Blogger makes the most sense but I am not opposed to switching over to Wordpress at some point. Ultimately, if you have the money and you are ready to get your blog going on a more professional level, then I would encourage you to branch out and explore your options with Wordpress. I would also encourage you, though, to not rule out Blogger completely. It's not as bad as they say.