If you are looking to start your own blog, you may be having a hard time deciding which platform you should use. Both WordPress.org and Blogger are great options, which is why we have pitted them against each other in this WordPress vs Blogger guide.
By discussing the pros and cons of WordPress and Blogger in depth, we aim to help you understand which is the right solution for your project’s needs. So let’s get started!
An Introduction to WordPress
WordPress is an open source software that is free to use and can easily be customized. A quite incredible community surrounds WordPress, providing access and support for numerous themes, plugins, and tools. This ensures that WordPress users can create any type of website, producing unique designs, and adding features and functionalities specific to each individual project.
When we discuss WordPress in this article, we are referring to WordPress.org. WordPress.com is a separate entity, and to find out more about it check out our article WordPress.com vs WordPress.org.
Here are the benefits, and drawbacks, of using WordPress.org…
- The software is free to use and always will be.
- A great choice for all, from the humble blogger to global businesses.
- Ownership of your website.
- Unlimited customization options.
- Theme and plugins – choose from thousands of WordPress themes and plugins.
- Create any type of website, not just a blog.
- Takes time to learn.
- Setting up a new website can’t be done in a matter of minutes.
- You will need to pay for your domain name and hosting service.
- Security and maintenance of your website is your responsibility.
An Introduction to Blogger
Blogger is a blog-publishing service, owned and hosted by Google. One of the earliest dedicated blogging tools, Blogger was originally created by Pyra Labs and was bought by Google in 2003. Since then, it has become a popular blogging platform, providing a quick and easy to use, free hosted blogging service to the masses. Here are some of its main pros and cons.
- Ideal for new or casual bloggers – Blogger is very quick and easy to set up.
- Free to use.
- Use your own domain name or a free Blogger subdomain.
- Free templates – choose from any of Bloggers free templates or purchase a third-party template.
- Google takes care of all hosting, security and site maintenance.
- Seamlessly integrates with other Google features like Google Analytics, Google AdSense, and Google Plus.
- Only caters for blogs – if you want to create an eCommerce store, directory site, or in fact any type of website other than a blog, Blogger is not for you.
- Lack of ownership – all Blogger sites are hosted by Google, so unless you export your site to another platform you will never really own it.
- Limited Features – Blogger provides limited features that may not be sufficient for a thriving blog.
- Lack of control – minimal customization options.
As you can see, both WordPress and Blogger have a number of different pros and cons. So let’s now consider each platform in more detail.
WordPress vs Blogger Price
Both WordPress and Blogger are affordable platforms to use and won’t break the bank. Here’s how the money works out.
The WordPress software is also free to use. But, as WordPress.org isn’t an all-in-one solution, you will need to pay separately to host your site and buy a domain name.
There are also numerous premium themes, plugins and tools that you can purchase to help extend your site’s functionality and grow your business. However, these products are all optional, so if you choose to build your site with WordPress you can actually spend as little or as much as you would like.
Blogger is totally free to use. From the subdomain and hosting, to the themes available, you can create a blog without paying a penny. That said, there is the option of purchasing a domain name, as well as a premium Blogger theme. (Blogger themes will be covered further on in this article).
Blogger offers subdomain names free of charge which look something like this ‘nameofblog’.blogspot.com. If you want a domain name that doesn’t end in .blogspot.com then you can purchase your own domain through Google, or a third party.
Blogger is a great option for those wanting to create a blog for free, or on a very tight budget. WordPress vs Blogger can be slightly more expensive to set up, due to the hosting and domain costs. However, it provides the option of extra premium tools, allowing you to upgrade your website’s functionality if you want.
Hosting for WordPress vs Blogger
Blogger and WordPress hosting is very different, and it is important that you understand what both of the platforms are offering.
If you opt for WordPress you will need to find a hosting provider to host your website. There are numerous hosting services available and you will need to do your research to find out which is best for your site.
Hosting providers vary greatly in price, so whatever your budget you will be able to find a plan that works for you. To get you started, check out our article on what to look for in WordPress hosting, or just jump right into our recommendations for the best WordPress hosting options.
The upside of using WordPress is that you 100% own your website. And if you aren’t happy with your hosting provider, you can simply move your website to a different host.
Blogger’s hosting is all provided by Google. This means that, not only do you get your hosting for free, you don’t have the headache of selecting the right hosting provider for your new project. Google also takes care of all your site’s security, speed and optimization issues, allowing you to focus solely on your blogging.
The downside to Blogger is that, as your blog is hosted on Google servers, you don’t really own or have control over your site. Blogger provides a blogging service, and if Google ever decided to suddenly shut it down, or deny you access, then you would lose your blog and all the hard work you put into it.
Choose Blogger if you want free hosting that is all taken care of for you. If you opt to build your site on WordPress you will need to pay for your hosting. However, you will have complete ownership of your site, an important factor for many.
WordPress vs Blogger Usability & Control
The user experience provided by WordPress and Blogger also differs greatly. Blogger is quick and easy to set up but lacks the features and options that most of us would want in a website. WordPress, on the other hand, has more steps in the setup process and it will take longer to design a fully functioning website. However, once created, you have total control over your site, and therefore the potential to grow and improve your blog over time. Let’s take a closer look at the usability of both these platforms.
WordPress Usability & Control
As mentioned, a WordPress website has a much slower set up process. To get started with WordPress you will need to…
- Purchase a domain name
- Select a hosting provider
- Install WordPress (this should be facilitated by your hosting provider)
- Choose a WordPress theme
The majority of the above steps take time, and research is needed to help you select the right hosting service and theme for your project.
After you have installed WordPress and your new theme, you will need to take time customizing your blog. Depending on the theme you have chosen, this can be done via the theme options in your WordPress dashboard, using the customizer on the live side of your site, with a page builder, or using code. Any extra features or functionalities that you need that aren’t provided by your theme can also be installed using plugins.
Once your site is set up, you can add blog posts via the WordPress post editor, that can be found in your WordPress dashboard. The post editor is easy to use and will enable you to add images, video, tables, buttons, and much more to your blog posts.
As you can see, WordPress can’t be set up in a matter of minutes. However, once installed, you have total control over the visuals and functionality of your blog, as well as a choice of tools you can use to customize your site. And the option of adding any extra features to your blog at any time ensures your site can cater for all your blogging needs.
Blogger Usability & Control
To sign up with Blogger, all you need is a Gmail address. Firstly, you will be asked to choose a name for your blog and select one of the Blogger themes (covered in the next section). Your new blog will then open within the Blogger Editor, ready to edit.
The Blogger Editor is where you make all modifications to your website. Here you can add widgets to your homepage, create new pages, and write and publish blog posts. You can also check your blog’s analytics, manage Google AdSense, and much more.
The Blogger Editor is relatively straightforward to use. Any alterations made can be immediately previewed, and all necessary blogging needs are catered for. And once you are happy with your site, simply click Publish. Your site will then be live, with all hosting, SEO, security and maintenance taken care of – an extremely easy way to publish a website.
However, the features provided by Blogger are basic, and adding extra functionality can only be done through a limited number of widgets, or via customization of the CSS code. Therefore, there is a distinct feel of lack of flexibility over how you can customize and grow your site.
Usability & Control Comparison
If you want to set up a blog quickly, and with minimal fuss, Blogger is your platform. With no hosting issues, and a straightforward setup process, you can easily throw together a reasonable blog.
That said, Blogger does not provide a fun and exciting design experience as some website builders do (check out our article WordPress vs Wix). It also gives you minimal control over the look and layout of your site, as well as the features you can use. So if you are hoping to create a unique and attention-grabbing site, Blogger is not the solution for you.
WordPress takes longer to set up but has the long-term advantage of control. This allows you to add features and functionalities that are specific to your blog’s needs. You can also upgrade your website over time, adding extra tools to help your site develop and become truly successful.
Themes for WordPress vs Blogger
Both WordPress and Blogger provide a range of free and premium themes to choose from. Let’s find out more!
WordPress has a LOT to offer when it comes to themes. If you are looking for free WordPress themes then you should always select and install from the WordPress repository or from a well known and trusted developer. Themes in the WordPress repository have undergone a strict screening process, and you will find them well coded, safe and fully functioning. And with thousands of free themes, you will definitely find something there to fit your needs.
There is also a wide assortment of premium themes that you can purchase. These can again be bought directly from theme developers or through theme markets like Themeforest. Premium themes are generally more pricey than Blogger themes, ranging in price from about $30-100. However, the best WordPress themes usually ship with impressive features and functionalities, as well as providing extensive documentation to support you in your design process.
Apart from the decision of free and premium, you also need to pick a ‘type’ of WordPress theme. Many WordPress themes are built-for-purpose, meaning they incorporate particular features to cater for a specific niche. At the other end of the spectrum are multipurpose themes. These themes enable you to design original websites, customizing every aspect of your site.
Blogger provides a number of free themes that you can select from within the Editor. However, premium Blogger templates can also be purchased from a number of Blogger developers and from theme marketplaces such as ThemeForest. These templates are usually priced between $20 to $30 so won’t break the bank. Therefore, whatever your blogging niche, you will be able to find a Blogger theme to suit your site.
There isn’t really any comparison when it comes to themes for WordPress vs Blogger. WordPress themes are by far superior with more choice, a greater range of features, better layouts & visuals, and much more. Although there are some nice Blogger themes available their lack of features and customization options make them a hard sell next to the top quality themes that WordPress provides.
Features and Functionality in WordPress vs Blogger
Adding extra features and functionality to your site will enable it to stand out from the crowd and cater directly to your audience’s needs. So how do the features and functionalities of WordPress vs Blogger compare?
WordPress Features and Functionality
Most modern WordPress themes come with a range of features and functionalities built-in. Premium WordPress themes particularly will incorporate a range of extra tools. These differ from theme to theme, so always check what a theme includes before you make a purchase.
However, one of the most impressive aspects of WordPress, is that whatever features you want there’s a plugin for that. So if your theme doesn’t ship with particular functionalities that you need, just look for a plugin that can be quickly installed to easily add more features to your site.
As with themes, there are thousands of free and premium WordPress plugins available. These can be found in the WordPress Repository, or purchased from individual developers or marketplaces like CodeCanyon.
Blogger Features and Functionality
One of the biggest drawbacks of using Blogger is the lack of features and customization options. Blogger provides ‘Gadgets’. These Gadgets provide a number of different features that bloggers can add to help enhance their site. Gadget functionality includes…
- Email Subscription – encourage your readers to join your email list.
- Blog Search – let your audience search your blog for subjects that interest them.
- Popular Posts List – showcase your most popular posts.
- Logo – add your logo to your blog.
- Profile – display information about yourself.
For those with coding experience, Blogger also allows you to change your blog’s design using HTML or CSS, as well as add HTML code from third-party sites.
Comparing Features & Functionality
There is little comparison between the features and functionality offered by Blogger and WordPress. Although Blogger offers all the essential features needed to start a blog, it simply can’t compete with the wide assortment of WordPress tools and plugins on offer.
WordPress vs Blogger Security and Maintenance
WordPress Security & Maintenance
Unlike Blogger, if you decide to build your site with WordPress, you are pretty much on your own with security and maintenance. Therefore, it is important that you are proactive, and install a number of plugins that will help you keep your website safe and fully functioning.
Here are a few of the most important WordPress plugins you should consider installing from the get-go.
- Security – keep your website safe and secure with the popular and free plugin Wordfence Security.
- Backup – use a plugin like VaultPress or UpdraftPlus to regularly backup your website then easily restore it if necessary.
- Speed – W3 Total Cache will improve your websites speed and overall performance (or your could try a free CDN).
Blogger Security & Maintenance
Security and maintenance isn’t a concern with Blogger, which for many is a key reason for choosing Blogger as their platform. As Blogger is owned and hosted by Google, all your security and maintenance needs are taken care of. Your blog can also be backed up to your computer in just a few clicks. And all for free.
Security and Maintenance Compared
Evidently, Blogger and WordPress provide very different experiences when it comes to security and maintenance. All Blogger security and maintenance needs are taken care of for you. Whereas, with WordPress, you are in full control however you will need to remember to install your own plugins as appropriate.
WordPress vs Blogger Support
Starting a blog on a new platform can be a daunting task. So it is important that there is the right level of support in place to enable you easily create a suitable website. Let’s take a look at what the WordPress vs Blogger platforms offer in the way of support.
WordPress.org also provides extensive documentation and online forums. However, for beginners, this is probably not the best place to look for help. The WordPress community is huge, and many websites and blogs have written countless articles and help guides on how to get started with WordPress. These blogs often use more beginner-friendly language and have detailed step-by-step instructions on how to get started. If you are unsure of how to set up a WordPress blog, read our practical guide on how to get started with WordPress.
Where WordPress support particularly excels is if you purchase a premium theme or tool. Depending on the theme, you may receive video tutorials and documentation, as well as one-to-one email or telephone support. This alone often makes a premium theme well worth the money.
Blogger comes with extensive documentation, detailing how to set up and manage your blog, as well as tips on how to help your articles rank in the search engines, and how to use Google Analytics to monitor your site’s performance.
Within your Blogger Editor, there is a help function, allowing you to search Blogger topics and articles. And there is also a Help Forum that provides a community where Blogger users can come together, ask questions, and share problems.
Final Thoughts on WordPress vs Blogger
The final decision on WordPress vs Blogger will come down to your needs, and those of your project.
Blogger an ideal platform for those who are looking to create a quick yet small blogging project – an online journal, sharing a travel experience with family and friends, or showcasing an experience like a wedding. It is quick, easy and free to set up – yet the offset of this is the absence of extensive features as well as the lack of control and ownership you have over your site.
WordPress will enable you to create any type of website, and customize it to your exact specifications. If you have never used WordPress before, it will take a little while to learn and create your site. However, the long-term possibilities that WordPress provides make persevering with the initial slow start well worth it.
So, now you have a good understanding of the benefits and shortfalls of WordPress and Blogger, which one will you choose?
WordPress vs Blogger – please share your thoughts on either platform in the comments below.