Thursday, 16 June 2011

Wordpress or blogger - which do you prefer?


Morning mist over the River Usk obscuring the Blorenge Mountain


Is Wordpress better than blogger?

When I decided to start a blog, the question was: should I use Wordpress or Google’s 'blogger'? Both had their devotees, with a slight bias towards Wordpress. I finally decided to plump for blogger for the simple reason that I already had a googlemail account so I felt I’d be ‘keeping it in the family’, so to speak.

But since I joined Twitter last year, I’ve been reading a great many blog posts about blogging and there often seems to be an assumption that any serious blogger (in the sense of a person who blogs!) will naturally be using Wordpress - and I’m wondering why. It almost seems as if there are first- and second-class bloggers but perhaps I’m attributing a kind of technological snobbery to this, that exists only in my slightly befogged mind.

It’s true that blogger does have its occasional ‘mad moment’ and recently I’ve been getting ‘error 503’ rather frequently. But refreshing the page seems to solve that error quickly and effortlessly and on the whole I rather like using blogger. It mostly seems to do ‘what it says on the tin’!

Content aside, I have quite strong negative feelings about Wordpress. When I visit a Wordpress blog, my first visual impression is generally less ‘user-friendly’ than a blogger blog. It often takes just that important fraction of a second longer to locate the actual blog post on the page. With time and attention at a premium, that matters.

And then there’s the business of commenting. Many a time, I’ve decided not to bother with commenting because there seem to be more boxes to fill in – email address, website URL etc – than with blogger. And if I want to be informed of follow-up comments, emails arrive which require me to ‘subscribe’, not just once, but for every set of comments.

But probably the feature of blogger that I most appreciate is the ‘follow’ button. Just a couple of clicks and a small adjustment to my bloglist in the sidebar and I can easily see when the blogs I follow are updated. No need to bother with RSS feeds, Google Reader and the like, which I have to contend with if I want to know when a Wordpress blog is updated!

There is a huge amount that I don’t understand about computers and the internet – is there a person alive who knows it all? So it’s likely that I am missing something about Wordpress, due to my lack of knowledge and understanding. But when I start to read about the wonderful ‘plug-ins’ and ‘apps’ that are available with Wordpress, my mind seems to turn into something resembling the mists that often obscure the Blorenge Mountain that I can see from my upstairs windows. I believe the correct term for this is ‘cognitive shock’ and it’s not a condition I enjoy!

So, please, if there are any Wordpress advocates out there, is it possible to explain the advantages to someone who is not entirely technologically challenged but who likes to keep things computer-related as simple as possible - to free up as much ‘brainspace’ as possible for the important things in life?

9 comments:

Jean said...

Judy, I also have noticed that Wordpress is not as user friendly.
Blogspot does have bugs now and again but they do seem to quickly correct the problems.Having my blog,email,browser,and online photo site under one account certainly makes my life easier. So I will stick with Blogspot until I decide to get my own....what do you call it....domain name/URL.

This is a good post and question!

art2cee2 said...

This is an interesting question Judy. Sorry to say I have no answer. I have never used wordpress and have only been blogging for less than a year. I have my troubles using blogger and finally have gotten used to the little bumps so to try something new would be counterproductive for me. I also, sometimes find it a bit more difficult to comment due to all the extra things that are required. If I visit a site again, though the boxes are already filled in when I am on my laptop.
So I guess to conclude...blogger is alright with me, wither it be second class or not! Hope you enjoyed your time with your son and had fantastic birthday too!!! :-)

Barbara Backus said...

Judy,
You've read my mind. I've often wondered if I should switch to Wordpress but the Google Blogger seems to fit my needs at this time. Part of my decision might be my hesitation about attempting to conquer the idiosyncrasies of something "new."

I love your blog and look forward to it, whether it's Blogger or Wordpress or the newest place on the web!

Di said...

Hi Judy, I actually started on Wordpress and then switched to Blogger in a week. WHY? because I found it less user friendly BUT most importantly for me, it does not allow you to use your GCU widgets or other POD widgets. In fact selling directly or blatant advertising about your products for sale is prohibited. ON WP you may only talk around it. Needless to say I'm in the pro-Blogger camp.

I think the benefit of WP is for people who want/need to turn their blog into an actual website or add on to their website directly.

Judy Adamson said...

Hi Jean - I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds Wordpress less 'user friendly' to visitors. As long as blogger does all that you need it to - ie gives you somewhere to write and somewhere to display images, we might as well stick with it!

Hi Barbara - I'm glad to hear that you enjoy my blog. I enjoy writing it but it makes it all worth while if others enjoy it too - so thank you!

As for changing to Wordpress - unless someone comes along and gives us some really good reason for changing, I'm all for staying with what I know! When I set up my first blog, it took me all day; when I set up the second one, I did it in less than an hour - so I wouldn't want to go through all that 'learning process' again, unless there was some huge advantage to be gained!

Hi Di - interesting to hear that you switched, partly because Wordpress was less 'user-friendly'. I didn't know about the widgets and advertising issue.

I must say I don't much like blogs where the advertising is too intrusive but I think it's OK as long as it's kept to the sidebar.

It seems that so far we're all in favour of blogger! I wonder whether anyone will comment on the benefits of Wordpress?

Ulla Hennig said...

I've got a blog on wordpress and a blog on blogger. I find wordpress not too difficult to use, and there was a time when more themes were offered on wordpress than on blogger. There is one very important difference between the two platforms though: wordpress does not allow posts linking to the same domain. That would mean that I would not be able to feature my Zazzle products as I do on blogger. So I use both platforms for different aims: blogger is my Zazzle promotion platform and wordpress.com is the platform for a more general blog.

Judy Adamson said...

Thank you, Ulla. It's good to have a comment from someone who actually uses both Wordpress and blogger to explain the differences.

I can't comment on how difficult Wordpress is to use but certainly, from the point of view of a 'visitor', I find it far more difficult to find my way around some Wordpress blogs, especially if I want to be updated on comments on a post.

At the beginning it was my understanding that blogger didn't look kindly on advertising but, in practice, it seems to be OK.

Norm said...

There needs to be a distinction between using the WordPress.com blog site and using the WordPress.org "system" to create your own blog/website on your own domain.

With blogger or wordpress.com you take your choice and can have your preference as to which is better.

With your own website domain you can do with it as you choose. If you use the WordPress system on it, it is a very powerful tool to develop functionality and style. The downside is that people who are "not good with PCs" might not pick it up so easily and if they do, may not produce such a pleasing result, determinate on their technical and creative acumen. (If that is the case blogger could be the way to go).

WordPress.com is probably more difficult to use than blogger.com but is ultimately more versatile and powerful. Restrictions on what they let you do with WordPress.com don't exist with your own domain.

How much advertising to include in a site is a matter of choice and personal taste when constructing your own website.

I never liked very much advertising on sites I visited and consequently tried to keep it low and subtle on my own blog. After a while with little to show for it and reliable testimonies with examples of other sites that make money I've upped the ads on mine. Will it work? Time will tell.

The other big plus for installing the WordPress "system" on my own domain is that I can use tools to optimise SEO. Simply using the WordPress system is a boost in itself compared to my old html sites.

Try googling a few key words from your website. Not your name or business title. Keywords from the content of one of your posts. Are you on page 1 of google's results? Are you on page 3 or less? If not you are seldom, if ever going to get traffic from that.

Try googling "keyword benefits". At this moment my "noyo.eu" website is on page 1, 3rd item. That may not last forever & takes some effort, both in terms of site content and with respect to WordPress settings. I have other keywords that I want to get onto the front page that are not there yet. It's not automatic, there are no guarantees and it takes time and effort.

Ultimately you may "only get what you pay for" and "free" simply means that no money is going around. At least not in your direction. Although the WordPress.com is "open source" (which I guess is why you cannot advertise on it) and as such provided altruistically, the blogger.com service is not. Go figure where the money is going.

While the technical tools to create websites are much simpler than a short time ago, there is much more involved to creating a "successful" site. Site configuration along with quality, original & unique content all play their part. Unless you know what you are doing the cheapest option may not be "free". In terms of your profitably, "free" may be the costliest one.

These are a few reasons why I use the WordPress system on my own web domain sites. It is increasingly getting me site traffic. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa. I do use free blogs and others with simple html coded sites but the WordPress system ones are the ones getting the web traffic. If only a few people are visiting your site. What is the point?

Judy Adamson said...

Hi Norman - thank you for taking such trouble to explain all this.

I think the point that stands out for me in what you've written is that people can use Wordpress as a whole website, not just as a blogging space. That's probably what can make them seem more complicated to navigate - so less user-friendly.