Posted by: Ken Brown | February 12, 2009

Blogger vs. WordPress?

Lately I’ve been thinking about switching this blog from Blogger to WordPress. There are a number of reasons–e.g. WordPress seems more flexible and I prefer the “feel” of it–but foremost among them is the need to keep a back-up of the blog. As I’ve now got over 350 posts, with numerous helpful comment discussions among them, I’d be very upset if a server error, hacker or some other catastrophe wiped all of that out. But Blogger makes it very difficult to back up your blog directly. The third party programs I’ve tried are intolerably slow and I’m not even sure I’d be able to use the data they collect if I ever needed it. WordPress, on the other hand, can be set to send you backups automatically, and also allows you to create and use them manually, with little trouble.

The big thing holding me back is the fear of losing my work in the process of trying to save it: As I understand it, you can transfer posts from Blogger to WordPress fairly easily, or so they say, and supposedly it is also possible to transfer comments, but a lot of people seem to have problems with that, so I’m not sure. If I can’t transfer both posts and comments reliably, then its not worth switching to me. But even if I can do so without headaches, transferring to a new platform would require a fair amount of work, it would wipe out all my incoming links and google traffic, and it would force people to update their readers, blogrolls, etc., so I’m not eager to do it unless there is a significant benefit to be had.

So I’m wondering: those of you who have used both Blogger and WordPress, or switched from one to the other (and I know this is true of at least a few of my readers), do you think it would be worth switching over, why or why not? If so, any advice on how to go about it?

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Responses

  1. I prefer WordPress self-hosted with my own domain, but either way, there’s a transitional period that causes problems for your readers.

    You lose your URL at blogspot, so whatever you decide, it might be a good time to invest in a domain name you can point to either this blog, your new blog on WordPress, or a self-hosted blog. You can then maintain the domain name and change it to “point” toward whatever service you use in the future. The cost is nominal, at about $10 per year.

    I don’t know about importing and exporting all your posts and comments; the good thing is that you can try the free WordPress account to see if it works, and then maintain this one as a “pointer” to the new blog.

  2. Thanks for the info Frank!

    But I’m not sure I understand…. Are you saying that the process of importing from Blogger to WordPress automatically deletes my blogspot URL, or are you saying I can keep this one here (at least for a while) as a pointer to the new blog? I’m not really interested in paying to keep a blogger account I don’t use, when I’m not even paying for it now! 😉

    If I must delete the free Blogspot URL to move to WordPress, that might be a reason not to do it, at least at this point. Is that what you are saying?

  3. Hey Ken, I’ve transferred my wife’s blog from blogger to wordpress and it worked pretty easily for me. The first time there were a tiny number of comments that didn’t make it over, but when I tried it again it worked fine. In the end, she decided to stay with blogger (against my recommendation!), but the transfer process didn’t do anything to the blogger site—at least it didn’t for me. I transferred all of her stuff over on two separate occasions and her blogger site was unaffected. Unless something’s changed in the last half year or so, I think you should be OK just doing the transfer, seeing if it works like you want it to, and if not going back to blogger.

  4. Ken, ill be brief because im on my mobile. Unless you go self-hosted or prepared to pay some money DON’T do it, blogger is more flexible and adding more features all the time. WP hosted is horribly limited it will do your head in.

    I did a post with full comparisons a while ago, search my blog. The only reason im doing WP now is because i cant go WP to blogger or i would in an instant.

    Also consider WP dont let you do ads or make money- ok if thats not your mission.

    WP is overrated. Trust me.

  5. Ryan and Alex,
    It’s good to know that I could try it and change my mind, though it sounds like that would mean manually republishing anything posted to WordPress back into Blogger (since you cannot import from WordPress to Blogger), so obviously if I were going to change my mind, I’d want to do it early on. But if the free version of WordPress is as bad as Alex says (and I’m really not interested in paying for a host right now), that may settle things.

  6. Found my posts:

    http://abandonallfear.org.uk/2007/08/02/hidi-blogger-vs-wordpress-round-1/

    http://abandonallfear.org.uk/2007/08/04/hidi-blogger-vs-wordpress-round-2/

    A bit dated now, Blogger does more than it used to but you should find them relevant enough.

    Few more anecdotes:
    – WordPress has a media limit (3gb?), but Blogger still has none.
    – All but a few of my comments carried across from Blogger, but the names were lost- had to go through each one individually and re-instate.
    – WordPress only gives you a selection of templates, you can’t personalise and you can’t load your own (unless you pay).
    – As far as I know WP will accept associates but not paid ads.
    – WP as far as I know doesn’t handle flash/java applets so it’s text/html only

    Some good things about WP:-
    – Blog stats are included as standard (but basic – no ip addresses, locations etc or link between data sets eg. search terms by country etc…)
    – Commenters must leave email, site, will record their ip address so you can potentially block.
    – Ability to filter words, ip addresses, spam etc, via a form in management console

    Finally tips:-

    If you do switch to wordpress,
    1. You can keep your blog, it won’t remove anything, just steal it
    2. You can setup a simple javascript function in your blogger template to redirect to your new blog. I think blogger makes redirects go through a warning page (something like: this blog is redirected are you sure you want to go to the url?)
    3. If you don’t use redirect, just publish a new post, make it sticky and offer the link to the new blog.

  7. You can’t personalize templates on the free version? Why on earth would they prevent that? Does that include modifying color schemes and the masthead image?

    I don’t currently have any plans to use ads, so that doesn’t concern me. Frankly, I’m surprised anyone clicks on the things at all–I don’t think I’ve ever done so on purpose–but not being able to use java would be a negative. Doesn’t Google Analytics use java? I know sitemeter does, though maybe it doesn’t have to.

    Anyway, I’ll just have to set up a test blog and see how I feel about it, but at this point it’s sounding like there are likely to be as many things to dislike about WordPress as I dislike about blogger, so I suspect I won’t bother switching. But if I don’t I will definitely need to figure out a better means of backing up my content here…

  8. I’ve wondered the same thing, Ken. Let me know how the experiment goes. I might have a go too.

  9. I think with javascript it’s mainly for extra functions on your blog, if it’s just a stat counter it will probably work (but then again you have WP blog stats so don’t need it unless you want to do deep analysis on your stats).

    For your theme you are only limited to whatever customisation the current theme allows.

    For instance, the theme I have now allows me to change the colour of the energy beams that go along the header, but that’s it.

    Some themes will let you upload a picture (to their size specification) but for changing things like fonts, fontsize, general theme colours, move text around, background images etc, etc, forget it.

    You sometimes get a header image option that’s pretty much it.

    I even discovered the theme I settled on at first didn’t show post author – no option to add it, so I had to switch to a theme that did.

    The theme I’m using now is basically, for me, best of the bunch in terms of what I want it to show and how I want to display stuff.

    Definitely give it a test run. Do a few posts (not much hassle if you want to copy paste back here).


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