After 7 years of writing my art blog using Wordpress hosted by GoDaddy, I've jumped ship and switched over to Google Blogger. The main difference you'll see is just the address:
Old Address www.shawnfalchetti.com/wordpress
New Address shawnfalchetti.blogspot.com
All of the content was migrated over, and I was even able to find the same notebook theme so that visually the site looks about the same. The only thing that seems to have not made the transition were comments.
Why the move? To be honest, I'm unsure if it's the latest Wordpress update, GoDaddy's issue, or something that's broken on one of the Wordpress plugins I have installed, but my site has ground to a snail's pace. Load times for posts were > 30 seconds. With enough technical effort I probably could figure out what was broken - but that's just it - I always seem to be troubleshooting. Wordpress is a terrific blogging platform with infinite customizability, but that complexity makes it easy to break things. I have a whole series of Woes of the Web posts where the latest Wordpress upgrade has resulted in my blog going offline for a week.
So, here's a few of the pros and cons I've seen between the two platforms:
- Free, but may require a web host: You have two options: 1) download the program for free from Wordpress.org and install it on your website. In this case, you are likely paying a company like GoDaddy a monthly fee for the website; or 2) create a free blog on Wordpress.com.
- Highly Customizable: Thousands of themes and plugins are available on the Internet for free. Themes define the appearance of your blog. Plugins add features to your blog, such as a guest book or connectivity to social sites like Facebook.
- Elegant Interface: Writing in Wordpress is liking writing in Microsoft Word.
- Free upgrades: People are constantly adding more features to Wordpress. Every few months a free upgrade rolls through.
- Complex: Sometimes all of the customizations don't play well together, locking up your blog or otherwise creating errors. It can be very difficult to troubleshoot, and you may need to even dive into computer code.
- Difficult for you to create a custom appearance, unless you are fluent in CSS and PHP: If you can find a theme someone else has made which looks like what you want, great; if you can't, making one yourself requires computer knowledge (PHP programming) that the average person doesn't have.
- No community if self installed. There's no "Followers" feature like Google has, although there are some plugins that integrate Facebook likes.
- Free, period: It takes 10 minutes to go to the Google Blogger website and make a blog. There is no cost, and you do not need a website provider.
- Simple: Basic interface, and limited choices for themes and gadgets. The focus is on blogging, rather than bells and whistles.
- Easy to customize: The dozen or so themes built in to blogger are very easy to customize. There are sliders for easily adjusting column widths, color pick boxes for changing font colors, and drag and drop layout editors for changing where elements appear on the screens. With a little tinkering you can take a basic template and make it look quite flashy in just a few minutes.
- Community: Everything is integrated into your Google Profile. If you have blogs you already follow, they show up in your link list automatically. Other people with Google profiles can follow you, Facebook style. A web ring is automatically created that allows people to move between blogs of friends.
- Limited customization: The list of available Google Gadgets is small compared to the giant list of Wordpress plugins. Many of the fancy add ons you may be used to with Wordpress just don't exist for Google.
- Somewhat limited themes: There are external sites which have free themes to download, similar to Wordpress, but the vast sea of Wordpress themes does not exist for Google. In general, your best bet seems to be using the built in themes and their customization features.
Well, this is my first post on Google Blogger. More to come!