I know, another post about Blogger vs Wordpress vs Squarespace vs etc. There’s a billion posts but I want to put my own view on this.
I get asked this question a lot: What do I do? What do I choose?
- First: Think about your goal. What do you want to do? How do you want to impress your audience. For example, my website would not work on Blogger. It wouldn’t showcase the work I have the way I want it to. However, I love my blog on Blogger. I haven’t had any issues with it and have even went back to it after dealing with wordpress.com (not to be confused with .org. I’ll talk on that later).
- Second: Budget. Everyone has a set budget in mind. If you’re not doing the website yourself, you need to budget a good designer you can trust (ahem). In all seriousness, hiring someone to help you through your web design needs is a very good investment because they will spend the time you probably don’t have working through details to make it right for you. With a consolation and mood board, your vision really does come to life. We end up sharing a brain!
- Third: How comfortable are you learning basic HTML/CSS? Do HEX numbers scare you? Are you OK with href links? DIV classes? Do you even know what I’m talking about? If you already know you’re going to be overwhelmed with anything web related, you might want to choose something that’s not a lot of fuss, or create a budget someone to do behind the scenes update per month.
Now that you have some things to think about, here’s more:
- Blogger: When I first started blogging, this is was the first hosting site I jumped on. Actually, I had a Xanga but never mind--that’s neither here nor there. Blogger allows you to pick a template design, add some widgets and design the basics of what you want. The more I’ve grown in design, the more I’ve been able to manipulate to get it to be more like I want. It’s free, and after purchasing my domain, I’ve mapped the subdomain (ex: blog.five12studio.com) to Blogger without a hitch. There are a few downsides: There aren’t a lot of plug-ins (like Tweet Old Posts) that work with Blogger. You can manipulate a lot, but it does take some heavy design/coding knowledge. It cannot be moved to a hosting site because there's no FTP availability (which can also be a perk if you don't have a lot to budget).
- Wordpress.com: Honestly, I went to this and found it to be a huge waste of money. If I wanted to change the background color or links, I had to pay $30/year to customize it. I couldn’t access HTML or PHP (so those hover “Pin It” buttons weren’t happening). I felt too limited, so I moved back to Blogger. You can use your own domain, but have to pay $10 to map it there. Eh…to me, it just isn’t worth it.
- Wordpress.org: This is what a lot of bloggers/sites use and I don’t, for a second, argue against this. I think it’s a great option if you’re willing to invest. Unlike some .com template, you can alter .org templates without the extra cost of doing so. This is also where you want to get your hands grimy in some basic HTML/CSS knowledge. The design options almost seem endless, and there are a lot plug-ins to help run your site. One downfall is cost. Buying your domain, buying the host, security, designer, etc can add up. It’s definitely worth the the investment if you got it, no questions, but if you’re on the fence about your start-up/blog and are unsure of the longevity, I’d think long and hard. Don’t go in over your head with this.
- Squarespace: I suggest Squarespace to those who want a site but can’t afford everything that involves Wordpress.org. You already have your hosting and with a yearly subscription have a domain (so you don’t have to buy one), and the backend is easy to use when trying to update. If you already have your domain and subscribe to a year, it’s easy to forward without a problem. You can pay per month and keep the yoursite.squarespace.com. Once you have everything settled, updating is a breeze and you won’t need to budget for someone to update and maintain your site every month. CSS can get a little finicky and seek help boards or contact their customer service (who are pretty fantastic people), but they are pretty helpful.
- Tumblr: Most don’t talk about Tumblr, which is fine, but I don’t want to leave it out as an option. Tumblr does allow you to choose from a number of free templates and customize, though some templates are stingier than others so again, knowing basic HTML/CSS coding is good for you. Tumblr is a very quick way to reach audiences through basic hashtags, and you can use Disqus for comments. Some even use Tumblr for their site because it’s instant. (check out one of my favorite singers, BANKS). The plug-ins are minimal, and again, if don’t know CSS/HTML, customization can be tricky.
So who do you go with?
In the end, it’s up to you. There are pros and cons to everything out there and nothing is 100 percent.
A few more things to share:
Blogger isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. I've seen a lot of comments comparing the nixing of Google Reader to what will happen to Blogger (unless they know something I don't, how do they know?), but the thing is, the disappearance of Google Reader didn’t effect people financially and it was a temporary impact. Google isn’t closing Blogger, and if they were, I’d riot right along with you. I do hope Blogger gets a major facelift that will include plug-ins and FTP services. Maybe it's happening and it'll drop like a Beyonce album. Who knows?
Also, this “rule” going around,
“If you want to be taken seriously, it’s time to jump to Wordpress.”
That’s not true. There are a lot of “big time” bloggers who have Blogger/Tumblr/not Wordpress, and they are fine. No one you want to partner with is going to go, “Oh Lordy. Your blog is amazing but it’s not a self-hosted Wordpress so…nope.” It feels too much like a peer pressure tactic. Again, there’s good and bad to every decision you make, so don’t feel like you HAVE to do one over the other just to be taken seriously. If you’re serious about what you’re doing, you will be taken seriously.
Until next time,