Comparing Blogger with WordPress.com – Hosted Blog Platforms and Custom Domains

April 16, 2008

So today I just helped two of my colleagues set up their own blogs. We wanted to use hosted software such as Blogger or WordPress.com (not to be confused with WordPress aka WordPress.org).

These hosted options are less-customizable, but are much faster and easier to both setup and maintain. This means more time for creating content, promoting the blog, building a brand and generating leads! I can see how more time on content and link-building (read: relationship-building), and less time on the technical software management can be a good thing.

Lastly, we wanted to use our own custom domain names rather than having something.blogspot.com or something.wordpress.com. Better for branding, and also gives us an “asset” by relating the brand, links, content, etc. with US – the authors – rather than with Blogger or WordPress. This way we could switch platforms and not lose our entire audience and the asset we had built on someone else’s domain.

So here are the pros and cons for using Blogger (Blogspot) vs. WordPress (WordPress.com) for a hosted blogging application:

Blogger
Pro:

  • Very easy to use interface
  • Easy to configure layout arrangement
  • Can use www or non-www for custom domain
  • Totally free – just cost of your domain registration

Con:

  • Can’t customize a style template (???)
  • Lacks common blog features (or at least terminology) like “trackbacks” and “categories”, instead uses “labels”.
  • Took me a little while to get the www version working correctly (CNAME record)
  • (Edit: Added Later) Comments are held on the blogger domain, not your custom domain… meaning to search engines the copy/text in the comments is not something you will benefit from SEO-wise

WordPress.com
Pro:

  • More features than Blogger, yet still less “unnecessary stuff” than full WordPress (.org)
  • Very easy to tie the domain to the blog account
  • More conventional “blog” type admin, especially if you are used to WordPress
  • More configurability re: settings, spam filters, etc.

Con:

  • Costs more – $10 per year plus cost of domain registration
  • Maybe a bit more intimidating for a newbie to the blogging world
  • Not as easy to make small layout changes (???)
  • Can NOT use the www-version of the domain (see here – “note”)

Conclusion
I won’t take a hard stance – both are very good. WordPress.com is probably better for those who are willing to spend a little more time and want a few more features. Seems more customizable… if you can live without the “www” for your custom domain and the $10 fee for doing what you can do for free on Blogger (nominal, but its a principle thing). That said, for a newbie Blogger might be the better pick b/c it takes less time and work to just get started posting new entries.

Taking everything into account, I’m going to lean slightly for the WordPress.com option. However, not strongly enough that I would consider converting over this blog which I just set up a few days ago through Blogger.

For new blogs I create or help clients/associates to create, I will probably choose WordPress.com most of the time, and occasionally Blogger when I want something more “easy” and “lightweight”.

PS – Check out Lead Gen 101 and What’s New in MD?

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5 Responses to “Comparing Blogger with WordPress.com – Hosted Blog Platforms and Custom Domains”

  1. jonpayne Says:

    Let me add two “pro’s” that I left out in favor of WordPress.com

    1) I prefer the default URL format for WordPress which is /this/that/ rather than /this/that.html

    2) WordPress has a pretty useful stats package already set up with the account. Might be less accurate in terms of measuring unique visitors, etc. than say Google Analytics, but seems to be more useful in terms of measuring visitor behavior within the blog b/c it uses post names, etc. rather than URLs and such used by third-party stats packages.

  2. whatsnewinmd Says:

    A great aspect of using WordPress.com is that it can be as complicated as you want to make it. So you have all the benefits of the domain and features if you want to use them, but if your client is a blogging newbie who just wants to write a post and be done with it, it’s easy to click Write Post, type a title and the post, and then click Publish. Once they get more familiar and addicted to it, they can experiment with adding links and configuring the design.

    Side Note: What’s New in Maryland is already indexed in Google. It might have been as early as Friday. Yay! Lead Gen 101 too. Submitting to varioius blog sites help too as when you type “What’s New in Maryland” in Google feeds of the blog come up from those sites.

  3. Jarrod Says:

    From a newbs perspective the WordPress system has an edge on the ease of use.

  4. Gleb Esman Says:

    I totally agree with your principles toward pointing domain to hosted blogging platform.
    Blogging platform always better for SEO than static homegrown domain. And of course – managing upgrades, updates, backups, hack attempts, and general technology and software babysitting is just so unproductive.
    Also hosted blogging platform usually gets more respectable IP address in the eyes of google.

    I was looking for best hosted solution.
    I am more familiar with WordPress ORG-ing but for some reason missed the fact that they offer domain mapping at .COM
    So I went to try Typepad.com but couldn’t take their weirdness of post URLs, inability to create hierarchy of pages (they all are at the same level) and inability to customize URLs. For example typepad converts “poodle t-shirts” to “poodle-t-shir-1.html” for posts and there is no way to argue with that.

    I’d be glad to try wordpress.com hosted.

    Gleb

  5. affiliateplex Says:

    You can use domain mapping for free @ Blogetery. http://blogetery.com/blog/free-domain-mapping-with-your-wordpress-blog-and-more/
    Cool stuff!


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