WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that is only 11 years old but has become so popular over the time that in 2016 more than 18% websites used this platform. WordPress is an open source and free CMS – everybody can download it from the WordPress repository and in theory, everybody can contribute to it also.
Blogger is also a free platform and according to W3Techs, it is used by 1,1% of all websites. Blogger is a blog-publishing service that allows multi-user blogs with time-stamped entries and was established in 1999.
Why should you use WordPress that is considered to be a paid service because of the fees you have to pay to the server host instead of Blogger which is a free platform? Let us look into the differences and similarities of these two services that both provide a venue for the blogging enthusiast.
Blogger is a free service – it is a Google tool for creating blogs and for blogging. The basic designs for the Blogger blogs are free and the domain name with the extension yourname.blogspot.com is also free. If you would like to purchase a modified domain through Google Domains you would still have to pay for it, also for any special designs and features that you would like. Allegedly Google hosting services scale well, therefore, you should not have to worry about crashing if your blog becomes popular and gets a lot of traffic.
In Blogger you can also choose to show the ads that are offered by Google AdSense and thus get a small share of the profits. You can do the same in WordPress, of course, by installing a plugin that serves AdSense ads or you can sell space on your website yourself and post any type and size ad you like.
WordPress is usually self-hosted – although the core WordPress files are free and there are many free themes that you can use to skin your site you usually have to pay some amount of money to the host provider for hosting the files.
Blogger belongs to Google and so does your blog in Google’s Blogger environment. Google has not put much effort into developing Blogger lately and theoretically, there is a possibility that they could one day close the service down. Historically in similar a scenario, sthey have provided ways to export content to some other platform so hopefully the same would apply for Blogger also if Google decided to discontinue it.
If you use WordPress, you are the owner of your files which means that you can do whatever you like with them. You are free to make your own decision about how long you want to run your site or when you want to shut it down.
Privacy and Security
Blogger offers the possibility to set the access to the whole blog as private or only to approved readers. This could be a drawback if you only want to restrict access to a portion of your blog and not hide the whole thing from the public. In WordPress, you can choose this option post-by-post.
If you are using Blogger, you don not need to worry about managing your server’s resources, securing your blog, or creating backups – everything is done for you by Google. WordPress is considered quite secure and new security enhancements are developed all the time, but since it is a self-hosted solution, you yourself are responsible for security and backups. Still, there are many WordPress plugins that can be used to make this task easier.
Design and Control
The tasks that can be performed on a Blogger blog are unfortunately limited and do not extend far beyond the simple posting of articles. WordPress, on the other hand is an open source software that is constantly developed and meets a huge host of content management system needs. With plugins you are free to extend the services you provide on your website to an unlimited number. On a WordPress site, you can run a store, register visitors to an event and sell tickets to them, keep a customer database, etc, etc.
The same holds true for the design of your blog – in Blogger you can choose a template for your site from a limited number of options. Still, there is a possibility of to purchase a premade design from one of the many providers, the prices are not very high, starting from around $ 10. Even fancier would be to order a custom design.
The same is true for WordPress – there are plenty of free themes around on the web and if none of these match your needs you can always buy something that is fancier or have a design custom made for your site. In WordPress there are more facets of the design that can be tweaked than in Blogger, though.
In both Blogger and WordPress you can use the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor or toggle to the plain HTML view if you like. Most media types can be embedded in your posts but you should note that the use of JavaSript is restricted. Still, in WordPress, there are many plugins that you can use to incorporate JavaSript if you need.
Blogger has some basic analytics tools that provide you with data on the popularity of your posts, the origin of your audience etc. You can also link your blog to Google Analytics to get even more detailed statistics.
The same applies for WordPress – there are many plugins that link your site to Google Analytics and many themes already have a built-in feature to link the site to GA.
Blogger has very limited support in the form of basic documentation and a users’ forum. WordPress on the other, being the world’s most popular content management system, has a varied support network starting from online documentation, community forum, chat room support and companies that offer premium WordPress support.
Blogger is a very good place to start your blogging career. If you are just starting out it would be wise to use a platform that is free and where it is convenient to build your online presence. Blogger also gives you a chance to find out if you are disciplined and motivated enough to keep your blogging commitment for no cost. When your appetite and competence is growing you can always upgrade to a service like a WordPress website. On the other hand, if you already know that you are serious about monetizing your blog you should not be afraid to take the initially bigger and marginally more expensive step and build a self-hosted WordPress website.