WordPress vs. Blogger: Which is Better for a New Blog?

When we launched McCloudBros.com a few weeks ago, we had to choose where to host it. While there are many blogging platforms available, we focused on two options: WordPress vs. Blogger. Blogger is free to use and let us sign in with our normal Google accounts. On the other hand, WordPress has better themes and is generally more customizable. Initially, we chose to use Blogger. We recognized that the platform was limited, but it seemed adequate for the needs of a new blog like ours. While I still think that's true, I quickly tired of the limitations after we began testing a WordPress version of the site about a week ago. After considering the pros and cons of each, the four of us agreed to migrate McCloudBros.com to WordPress. That's the version of the site you're looking at now. Below, I list the factors that we considered in making that decision.

I should start this discussion with some disclaimers: We aren't professional Web developers. Accordingly, I'm gearing my comparison of WordPress vs. Blogger to people who want to start a blog without knowing how to code. Also, I'm comparing Blogger with a self-hosted WordPress.org blog, not a WordPress.com blog, although I will briefly explain why we chose the former over the latter.

WordPress vs. Blogger Round 1: Starting a Blog

How easy is it to start a blog with WordPress vs. Blogger? Starting a blog with Blogger could hardly be easier. You can sign into Blogger.com using a Google account, and after giving your blog a title and choosing a Web address, you're ready to start blogging. Starting a WordPress.org blog is significantly more complicated. You actually install the WordPress blogging software on a server to do so. I haven't the faintest idea how to do that manually, but there are ways to simplify the task. We decided to sign up with 1and1.com for a managed WordPress installation. It's still not as simple as starting a new blog on Blogger, but the complicated technical aspects were handled for us.

Of course, you could just start a blog on WordPress.com, which is about as simple as starting a blog on Blogger and offers many of the same customization options as a WordPress.org blog. However, we decided against that for two reasons. First, you have to pay at least $2.99/month to use a custom domain (like mccloudbros.com) with a WordPress.com blog. Second, you're not allowed to run ads on a WordPress.com blog, and we wanted to be able to do so.

WordPress vs. Blogger Round 2: Customization

Any discussion of blog customization has to start with themes. Until last week, Blogger offered only six base themes, though each included between three and seven variations. Last week, Blogger added another four base themes, with five variations each. The old themes look old, as if they were designed a decade ago. The new themes thankfully look more modern, but still don't offer much in the way of variety. In contrast, WordPress offers thousands of different themes, and each theme provides its own customization options. These themes cover everything from simple blogs to sophisticated business websites. In terms of theme customization, there's just no comparison between Blogger and WordPress.

WordPress has another customization advantage over Blogger with its robust plugin ecosystem. Plugins extend the functionality of both your website's front end (what visitors see when they visit your website) and back end (what you see while building it). Do you want a plugin to help you add Facebook comments to your blog? WordPress has one; Blogger doesn't. Or how about a plugin that helps you write SEO-friendly content (like the one I'm using that keeps wanting me to say "WordPress vs. Blogger")? Again, WordPress has that, and Blogger doesn't. Last night I used a plugin that created a landing page to notify visitors that McCloudBros.com was being upgraded while I finished migrating our content from Blogger. Every sort of plugin I've searched for on WordPress, I've found. I can't say that for Blogger.

WordPress vs. Blogger: Conclusion

In summary, Blogger is generally simpler than WordPress, and WordPress is generally more customizable than Blogger. Which you should choose depends on which of those features matters more to you. For us, we preferred WordPress's customization to Blogger's simplicity. But you might think differently, preferring a simple blog with a simple interface even if that means settling for a less customizable website.

Whatever the case, I hope you've found this comparison of WordPress vs. Blogger helpful. If so, please like it on Facebook and share it with your friends. If you have any questions about our experiences with WordPress and Blogger, or if you just have something to add, please leave a comment below.