Most prospective and newbie bloggers have a hard time deciding which blogging platform to use to start their blogging careers, There are quite a number of blogging platforms available namely Blogspot, WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Wix, Weebly and others.
Blogspot and WordPress are the biggest and most popular free blogging platforms on the internet and hence most intending bloggers are stuck between the two. This article compares both platforms to help newbies in blogging choose the content management system (CMS) best for them.
Blogspot: Free and Easy to use but not for Professionals
Blogspot.com is the domain name for Google owned “Blogger” blogging platform. It is a completely free content management system with very nice features and is the perfect choice for personal blogs and other non professional blogs.
Blogspot blogs are identified by their domain names ending with .blogspot.com for example,tade.blogspot.com but this can be changed to a normal domain like tade.com by purchasing a custom domain from Domain Name Registrars such as GoDaddy, Namecheap and more. Domain names are quite cheap, they typically go for about $10 yearly.
Blogger offers lots of features, here are the best:
1. Totally Free
Everything about blogger is absolutely free, you don’t need to pay a dime for anything which makes it super cool for people who don’t have capital.
2. Large storage space
Blogger gives users unlimited storage space free of charge but has a 1GB photo upload limit which is still very good. Since blogger is made for personal blogs, exhausting 1GB for pictures should take a very long time. Additionally, users can open a free Google drive account which has 15GB storage space to upload more photos and use them on Blogger by using the image links.
3. Lots of free themes
There are so many free themes to choose from to customize your blogspot website, they can be installed with one mouse button click and customized very easily.
Because Blogspot is hosted by Google, it hardly ever gets breached by hackers unlike self hosted websites where owners have to protect their websites from hackers by using free and paid security plugins.
5. Easy to setup and manage
Blogger is very easy to setup, simply go to blogger.com and follow the onscreen instructions and you are ready to go. Managing blogspot blogs is also very easy compared to other CMS platforms.
6. Large Bandwidth
Blogger provides basically unlimited bandwidth to users which means blogspot blogs can take almost any amount of traffic without crashing. You will appreciate the free bandwidth Blogger offers when you switch to a self hosted website.
Some very big Blogspot.com websites handle hundreds of thousands of visitors daily without breaking a sweat whereas the same amount of traffic on self hosted websites can only be contained by dedicated servers which cost thousands of dollars yearly.
7. No Web Hosting Cost
Web hosting is required on self hosted websites like those using wordpress.org which is discussed later in this post.
Web hosting is paying for the space your website’s files occupy on the internet and the bandwidth it consumes based on the number of visitors it gets.Web hosting costs can be quite expensive especially when you have thousands of visitors daily to your website, for example I pay $40 monthly to host several websites on an InMotion Virtual Private Server.
Web hosting costs can be as expensive as several thousand dollars yearly if you get millions of visitors monthly.Blogger provides web hosting for users completely free of charge. You might be wondering why people pay so much for web hosting if they can use Blogspot for free, its because blogspot has limited features and is not suitable when you want a world class looking website.
- Not suitable for professional blogs and websites: Blogger lacks many features needed to build world class websites such as professional themes developed for different types of websites to give a professional look, payment integration and more.
- Companies might not take you seriously: If you use blogger, companies who intend to do business with you might not take you very seriously as they might feel you are not a professional.
- Lack of Plugins for additional functionality: Blogspot does not support plugins which are very important for customizing your website to your specifications.
- Not really scalable: Blogspot does not really allow you grow bigger because it does not offer functionality for additional features.
WordPress: Scalable, Professional but Expensive
WordPress is the most popular CMS platform worldwide and for very good reason, it offers so many features needed by any individual or company seeking to build a world class website or blog. WordPress is owned by Automattic Inc. and is free to use however there are independent costs associated with using the platform.
There are two WordPress CMS platforms namely WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
WordPress.com: Free or Illusion of Free…?
This platform is similar to Google’s Blogger i.e. blogspot.com, the difference is that it can be used to create more professional looking websites and blogs easily.
WordPress.com allows users use plugins and professional themes to customize their websites. The major disadvantage of wordpress.com is that most high quality additional software such as plugins and themes have to be purchased.
New blogs and websites on the wordpress.com platform have .wordpress.com domain name extensions for example naijatechhub.wordpress.com.
Unlike Blogger which allows users add custom domains freely, to get rid of .wordpress, users have to either buy a domain from WordPress which is non-transferrable to another CMS or web host and hence is not advisable.
Users have to pay between $48 to $300 yearly to unlock different levels of WordPress Premium account which allows you use a domain you purchase from other registrars and many other locked features.
WordPress.com is good for individuals and small companies who just need a basic professional looking website or blog and do not care for much functionality. It is not recommended if you want a high quality professional website with plans of getting huge traffic and making lots of money.
- Easy to use
- More professional looking than Blogspot
- Plugins are supported
- Basic version is free to use
- Free and Large Bandwidth
- Free Large Storage Space
- Users have to buy WordPress Premium for most top features
- Good Themes and Plugins are not free
- Switching to Custom Domain is not straightforward
- Only Basic Customizations available on Free WordPress
WordPress.org: Super cool but Super Expensive
WordPress.org is the cream of the crop of CMS platforms. It has access to thousands of professional themes, plugins and more for building world class blogs, forums, ecommerce websites, company websites, in fact any type of website you desire.
The major problems associated with wordpress.org are cost and technical skills required.
Advantages of WordPress.org
- Full Control: With wordpress.org, users have full access to control how their website looks and behaves from the backend unlike Blogger and WordPress.com where control is very limited. Users can add html, CSS and other code to their websites to get desired results.
- Speed: WordPress.org has the advantage of speed tweaks to make websites load very fast which improves SEO and User Experience (UX) which in turn results in better traffic from search engines.
- Professional Look: When customized properly, wordpress.org sites look very professional and attractive to clients and potential investors.
- Support for Plugins: A plugin is an independent software which can be installed on a website to provide certain functionality without needing to write any code.
Examples of WordPress plugins are Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plugins such as Yoast and All in One SEO, website statistics plugins such as Jetpack and Statcounter, Pagebuilding plugins such as Visual composer and many more.
There are thousands of plugins for almost anything you wish to do on your wordpress website. Most plugins are free while some are paid, individual programmers and companies create and upload plugins to wordpress.org for users.
Plugins are very important for website customization and is one of the biggest advantages of WordPress.org.
Disadvantages of WordPress.org
- Expensive: Using WordPress.org comes with lots of expenses such as web hosting cost (discussed earlier), paid themes, paid plugins, security, technical management and more. All these make it unsuitable for beginners who do not have spare money to spend without expecting profit for a while.
- Requires Technical Knowledge: Creating, customizing and managing a wordpress.org website or blog can be quite challenging if you are not technically inclined however there are lots of free resources available online providing help, just do a Google search whenever you are stuck and you will definitely find a solution.
- Less Secure: Because wordpress.org websites are self hosted, users have to take care of basically everything themselves including security. Blogspot.com and WordPress.com are secure because hosting is provided by Google and Automattic respectively and they handle security for all users.
If left unprotected, hackers can easily infiltrate wordpress.org websites and wreck havoc sometimes even causing total loss of website data and incurring penalties from Google and other search engines.
The best way to protect your wordpress.org website is to use reliable and secure web hosting companies such as Linode, Bluehost, Hostgator, Inmotion Hosting, Digital Ocean, Dreamhost, iPage and others you can find through web search.
You also need to use good security plugins like Sucuri and Wordfence and a website security service like Cloudflare, also make regular backups of your website monthly so that you can restore it back if it is compromised.
If you are looking at creating a small blog just to voice your personal opinions and interests, Blogspot.com is perfect for you. Companies and organizations should not use Blogspot.com as it makes your organization look unprofessional as Blogger was made primarily for personal blogging.
If you need a basic professional website at the lowest cost possible, go for wordpress.com. If what you need is a world class blog or website, then choose wordpress.org with good affordable web hosting.
You can also move from blogger to wordpress.com or wordpress.org and vice versa if you need to scale up but its better you start on the platform you intend to stick with because moving can cost you your web traffic if not done properly.
To become a successful blogger, drive tons of traffic to your website and make money online, you need to learn, understand and practice Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, Content Writing, Content Marketing and other blogging skills you can find online.
Goodluck in your blogging and website building journey!