2/14/2012

The Pros & Cons of Blogger . Blog Better

via fiftiesclassic, edited
In my Blog Better introductory post, I asked you guys to share some of your biggest blogging questions and concerned so that I could help you become better bloggers. I received questions on the blog, Facebook, and my email, and several were along the lines of, "Should I use Blogger or Wordpress?" Kira of Her New Leaf has all the pros and cons of Wordpress here, and I've touched on the pros and cons of Blogger below.
I have been writing Shrimp Salad Circus since March 2009 (almost three years - wow!), and I've stuck with Blogger from day one. It sees like Blogger gets a lot of flack from bigger bloggers who've started out on or switched to Wordpress, but I've never been unhappy over here on my dot-Blogspot. As with any service, there are pros and cons to whatever you choose, so hopefully with the input from Kira and me, you'll be able to make a decision that is best for you! 

Blogger Dashboard Interface (click to enlarge)

Dashboard/Interface
The Blogger dashboard has gotten pretty user-friendly of late. You can change and update everything from one screen, and you can even see your basic traffic statistics without visiting Google Analytics. If you want to monetize but don't know where to start, you can walk through Google AdSense right from your dashboard. I'll talk more about templates, monetization, and commenting later in the post, but you can control all those aspects from the screen in the image above. Kira mentioned that Wordpress is very bug-free, never giving her error messages. I have to say that I do get an occasional error message from Blogger, but I have probably only lost a post-in-progress to the internetwebs abyss maybe three times in three years. A point to note - Blogger's schnazzy dashboard does use JavaScript.

Built-In Mobile Version
Blogger recently(ish) debuted the mobile template add-on, and I'm positively smitten. From the templates screen on your dashboard, you can create a mobile version of your blog in three clicks. Seriously - three clicks, and it's totally free. This is becoming crucial, since so many people do everything on their smart phones these days.


Blogger Built In Template Designer Dashboard
Blogger Built-In Template Designer (click to enlarge)


Customizable Templates
In the last few years, Blogger has grown by leaps and bounds in terms of free, built-in template offerings. You can now choose from a selection of templates, and from there you can customize a variety of aspects The theme colors can be selected from automatic combinations, or you can build a set yourself. You can add a background image; change the widths of the post column and sidebars; and switch the layout around. You can even build a four-column template (one column over your existing two sidebar columns), which I kind of love! From what I hear, Wordpress is a bit more professional and user-friendly on this front, but I personally have always found free templates from various websites and then tweaked the code here and there to change colors and widths - yes, even in my very early blogging days. You can do this for free on Blogger, whereas there's a charge for customization on Wordpress. No worries - here's a post on free template resources and another on how to install them.





Interactive Commenting
Blogger now allows threaded commenting so that bloggers and readers can reply to each others' comments - a common complaint in the past about Blogger versus Wordpress. Read this post on Blogger Buzz for more details (Thanks to reader Vicki for this info!). Just like with Wordpress,  you can subscribe to specific comment threads so that you receive emails when someone responds. This is especially helpful when you leave a question for the blogger - you can actually find out when they answer you without having to keep checking back! To again echo Kira's Wordpress review, Blogger's commenting makes it super easy for all readers to comment without signing up for any services. You can add a CAPCHA (scrambled word to type in when commenting to prevent spam), or you can choose to leave it off - totally up to you, though I know that CAPCHAs definitely deter me from commenting on blogs...

JavaScript
Blogger allows for the use of JavaScript. Beginning bloggers might not use this feature much (or even know what it means), but for more seasoned bloggers who are looking to use fancy link-up widgets or raffle tools, this is a feature Blogger has that Wordpress lacks.

Blogger Built In Traffic Statistics Dashboard
Blogger Built-in Statistics Dashboard (click to enlarge)

Useful Built-In Statistics
You probably know that Google Analytics is the go-to resource to track your blog's traffic and user statistics. Since Blogger and Analytics are both Google products, they flow together really well. In fact, you can see a fair amount of analytic statistics right on your blog's dashboard without ever having to click over to Google Analytics. Some stats on your dashboard include pageviews, pageviews per post, and a handy little map showing where your readers are visiting the blog from.


Custom Domain

If you think awesomeblogs.blogspot.com is just horrid, then Blogger makes it super easy to switch over to awesomeblogs.com. You can set up a domain you already own at no additional cost, or you can purchase a domain through Blogger. 

Monetization
Blogger has a built-in option to use AdSense, which basically handles everything for you, including targeting ads to your readers. You can also sell ads, sponsored posts, etc., as you please. Wordpress users, on the other hand, are not allowed to monetize their blogs in any way. This includes selling ad space, allowing sponsorships, and even posting affiliate links. 

Don't forget to read the other half of the story - The Pros and Cons of Wordpress!

24 comments :

  1. Lindsay, Blogger now allows threaded comments...see Blogger Buzz for more information.
    x

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  2. Thanks, Vicki! I just updated the post. I tried to set it up on mine, but I guess mine's too customized. I'll have to work on the code. Great catch!
    - Lindsay

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  3. lots of great information.. thanks for posting!

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  4. I've always wondered which was best - so thanks very much for your thoughts! x

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  5. So happy to read a PRO blogger post! I'm sick of reading so many pro Wordpress posts. It will be 3 years for me as well in July using blogger and it's been fine for me. I agree with everything you said before. I'm glad they allowed for more interactive commenting and many of the basic plugins are already set up for you like a mobile version!

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  6. This is great actually... I've been with blogger from the beginning as well {5 years now} and other than a few glitches when they have an issue, and my slower loading time, I'm pretty happy with it. Everyone insists that wordpress is better but other than the $9.99 I spend on my URL {lovemaegan.com} a YEAR, Blogger is FREEEEEEE. I don't have to deal with servers or hosts or bandwidth or any of that and that makes me happy. I also don't mind the interface at all and love that they have the little "feedback" button now because it is impossible to get in contact with them. But regardless of what everyone says, I still stay with blogger... I dunno, I just like it better.

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  7. The most frustrating part of blogger for me is the actual post formatting. Maybe it's just me, but I'm constantly fighting with what I feel like is the silly stuff once I've submitted the post: spacing, text size changes, etc. Would you happen to have any insight on this? Thanks!

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    1. I've just started posting, but I'm having problems with post format as well! I have to fight to get text where I want it, and it still doesn't space correctly, etc. Any tips on this problem?

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    2. I've customized my default font in the HTML/CSS, so I now only use the default font setting, which has helped for some reason. My biggest issue that I notice is extra line breaks. I've never figured out why, but if I go into the HTML, I can just search for
      and delete the extras. That fixes it right up.

      Also, if you're copy/pasting anything in from another document or site, be sure to 'paste as plain text,' or the formatting will come out really wonky.

      Hope that helps!

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  8. Thanks for this, I have been pondering the same thing for quite some time now so this is such a great help!

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  9. I've read this post and the one about Wordpress and I'm definitely sticking with Blogger. I like that I can customize my blog and it's been very easy to use. I've never had a post disappear.

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  10. I've got two questions, as I'm a Blogger gal too, but considering the jump to Wordpress because I can't solve these two problems:
    1. Is there a "Tweet Old Post" Widget for blogger?
    2. I can't find a way to find the permalink for a post while it's in "scheduled." It would be nice to pre-plan tweets and facebook messages through Hootsuite with the pre-published Permalink!
    Any tips that ANYONE can provide with these two issues would be greatly appreciated!!!

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    1. Katie,

      I've figured out #2, and I've posted about it here: http://www.shrimpsaladcircus.com/2012/07/schedule-your-way-to-better-blog.html

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  11. Katie,

    I'm not sure exactly what you're looking for with your first question. You can install widgets that go beneath every single post to share them. Is that what you mean?

    As for your second question, I've wondered that myself, so I'll dig around and see what I can find.

    Thanks for the great questions!

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  12. I'm right there with Katie on the second question :) I'd love to have pre-published permalinks! Thanks for all of the tips here!!!

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    1. Jen, you can find permalink instructions here: http://www.shrimpsaladcircus.com/2012/07/schedule-your-way-to-better-blog.html

      :D

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  13. Oh! One more thing ... how can I number my comments like you do? It would be so helpful for giveaways, but I've never been able to figure it out on my blog. Every tutorial that I've tried has failed.

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  14. Agreed, Jen and Katie!

    Jen, I used a tutorial ages ago that I can't find anymore. I would think this would work fine though: http://helplogger.blogspot.com/2012/04/how-to-number-comments-in.html. If you have a highly customized template, sometimes things can get tricky, though!

    - Lindsay

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  15. Those asking about the "pre-published" permalinks have you thought about using linkwithin? That's what I've been using on my blogs for quite some time. I'm also a long time blogger fan. I wrote my first blog post back in 2003..

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  16. I used a tutorial ages ago that I can't find anymore.
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  17. hmm hmmm I'm trying to switch and still all over the place!! I love the user interface of Blogger, but switching to the .com I'm trying to go with Wordpress. I think the biggest issue is design - Wordpress blogs always look much cleaner to me, but then again, I'm still only using free templates - Thanks!!

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  18. Hey =) I reached to you via Kira's blog, I've always been happy with Blogger platform (more than three years here already) I think it's easier and nicer and I have to admit I don't like Wordpress at all after having had to use it for a while for college stuff. The thing is that Blogger, for me, has THIS INCREDIBLY BIG PROBLEM which is that it doesn't have a plugin/widget for multiligual blogs as Wordpress does. As I write in English and in Spanish (I'm spanish) for me it is crucial to write in both languages, but I don't feel really comfortable writting such long posts as I've been doing lately in english too because it ends up being a neverending post.
    Still faithful to Blogger tho, haha!

    BTW, you have an amazing blog ;)
    Keep up the good job

    xo

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  19. Enjoyed reading your blog. I use Blogger and am very happy with it. I just don't know enough to use it to the fullest advantage. I'm hoping to learn that here! :)
    My blog is www.fromthebeehive-carmen.blogspot.com
    Thanks for helping those of us who are not as tech savvy!

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