Monday, May 16, 2016

Why Blogger is better than Wordpress

I am an oddball for moving my blogging from Wordpress to Google's Blogger.  Most people go the other way.  They start with blogger - because it is a great starter platform - and then eventually move to Wordpress.  In fact, I did that, but now I'm moving back to Blogger. Here's why I'm an oddball for doing it, and why more bloggers should be oddballs.

Wordpress Vs. Blogger Compare & Contrast

This compare is based on a self-hosted wordpress blog(i.e. wordpress.org). I won't compare the wordpress.com hosting with blogger because Blogger is just SOOO obviously better than wordpress.com.  If anyone wants to argue otherwise, I will gladly squash your counter-points in the comments :)

Blogger is Free!

Blogger is free.  I do not have to pay any hosting costs for it. It is hard to argue with free. Wordpress, on the other hand, requires you to purchase shared hosting or better. That can start around 50$ a year and go up as your blog becomes more popular and has to deal with traffic spikes.

Some might say that you have to pay for a domain name or a 'premium' theme.  However, you'd have to pay for those things on a wordpress blog in addition to hosting.  So that's no argument.

Blogger is Easy to Maintain

With Blogger, I do not have to deal with updates or maintenance. If I have a wordpress blog, I have worry about keeping the software up to date, plugins up to date, even my theme. Admittedly, this only requires a small amount of time... that is... until something goes wrong with the update.  Then your must spend hours - maybe days fixing it. It can mean that your website is down, or have reduced functionality while YOU have to figure it out.

Blogger Scales with Your Traffic

Most bloggers dream of getting a blog that is popular and gets a lot of web traffic. This dream can turn into a nightmare though once the blog's loading time starts climbing as your cheap hosting fails to keep up. At that point, you then have to detect that it is happening and upgrade your hardware. Which means more money and possibly a migration.

Blogger, on the other hand has a literally effortless process for upgrading. It just handles it. Period!  Your blog runs on Google's hardware which means they do all the monitoring and upgrading(probably not the correct word for what they do) for you.  There are no changes you have to make or pay for if your blog goes from 5 hits a day to 5 million hits a day.  The performance and page load times never change.

With wordpress, you could spend time fine-tuning your website, but again, that is time you spend on technical issues instead of blogging.  I know I would spend days testing out page cacheing, Content Delivery Networks, and trying to figure out which plugin is taking so long to load.

Blogger is Robust (Crashproof)

Another dream for a blogger is a big popular site links to one of your articles. This means a huge traffic spike. But, your website is running on cheap hosting and can't handle the spike and it instead crashes.  A lot of people call this the "Reddit" effect.(I'm old enough that I still refer to it as slashdotting.)  Now your blog instead of getting hundreds or even thousands of new readers, gets a bunch of fickle readers who now just know your site as being that slow and\or crashed site.

With Blogger, just like how it scales, it can handle big spikes and Google keeps your website humming.  Another benefit of running on Google Hardware.  And did I mention that it is free?  Of course, I suppose one might say that they will just pay for a higher level webhost for wordpress so they can stand-up to sudden traffic spikes.  But now it is just costing you more money in anticipation of an event you can't predict.

Some might argue with this point by pointing out a few instances in the past wher ethe entire blogger website went down. It has happened  But let me turn this around.  What about your cheap webhost?  How often has your host had a server go down, get taken down for upgrade or maintenance, and other piece goes down. I'm pretty sure that, on average, Google is coming out ahead in terms of uptime.

Blogger Security is a breeze.

One thing to worry about websites is hackers and other types of attacks.  With Blogger you can pretty much just sit back and relax.  Google engineer handle it.  As long as your google account is secure(At the very least, this means 2-step verification), you pretty much don't need to do anything else.

With wordpress, security means, first of all, making sure all your software is up to date.  And I do mean ALL of your software.  Wordpress, plugins, and themes. Plus, you need to make sure you're set to use the latest software of backend software your provider allows like php, apache, and MySQL.  They usually update these, but sometime you have to opt-in. Of course, this assumes your provider is keeping the backend up to date.

With wordpress, you also have to make sure every password is secure.  Your wordpress password, database password, and blog password.  If any of those is too easy, you're done.

Third, a lot of time, those free plugins and themes can offer hackers a fresh backdoor into your blog.  Not on purpose, but Wordpress can't guarantee the safety of every plugin.  So watching for security alerts on those is neccesary.

Fourth, security means setting up monitoring for hacks and the time it takes to monitor it.

Fifth, security can mean paying for extra protection from your cheap webhost.

But, But, Wordpress is Customizable

Customization and add-ons is the only place where Wordpress really shines.  But I think most people really overstate the case.  For the purpose of blogging, there are few things that can be done in Wordpress that can't be accomplished with Blogger.  The most common features like popular posts, display ads, analytics, Category\tagging, Pages, etc... are all there.  And further, are easier to setup in Blogger.  Also, both have tons and tons of free and premium themes.

If you want something beyond the basics, Blogger lets you edit your html directly and offer programming like tags that you can use.  Also, Blogger lets you include javascript on your page.  Between those 2 things, you can do a surprising amount with your Blogger blog.  So dont let anyone ever tell you that Blogger isnt very customizable (like most wordpress vs blogger posts claim).

Wordpress is customizable, but at what cost.
Granted, Wordpress is more customizable, and pretty easily so thanks to plugins. But that cuatomization comes at a cost.  Every time you add a plugin, you run the risk of slowing down your blog, opening a security risk, and one more thing that has to be maintained.  The net effect of this is that every time you make usr of the one advantage that wordpress has over Blogger, you excerbate the disadvantages of Wordpress.

But, But, Non Blogging ad-ons

You got me here. Because of plugins and themes, your wordpress blog can, in theory, do anything that any website can.  It can be a wiki, issue tracker, image organizer, etc...

Blogger cannot compete with that.  Because Blogger... is a Blogging platform!

In Conclusion

Most of my likes of Blogger over Wordpress is all about maintainability.   Wordpress takes away time from blogging as compared with Blogger.

I am not saying i would never use Wordpress again, it is an amazing piece of software.   The only time i would use it however, is when my budget allows me to pay for Managed Wordpress hosting.  That is costly,  however.  And meanwhile, ive got Blogger for free.  What a steal!

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