Both Blogger and WordPress offer free hosting on either blogspot.com for Blogger and WordPress.com for WordPress. Both of these have somewhat limited options as far as additional features and commercialization or making money with a blog hosted on their servers. Your blog can be shut down if they don’t like your content. So you don’t control your own intellectual property.
Hosting a blog on your own domain is the best way to go, the web is full of guides and questions about moving a blog to their own domain and hosting account for a reason. And just about everyone who started on the free hosted sites that got serious about blogging ends up either moving their blog or regretting they used a blog hosted anywhere else but a site they have full control over.
For self-hosted blogs, the options offered by WordPress and the lack of them in Blogger are the big differences. While both can very easy for a beginner to use to just make an occasional post and if that is all you will be doing then it may not matter. However, the scalability of WordPress and the features that can be added as the blogger gets more serious is where WordPress really stands apart.
WordPress is an open source content management system that anyone can use and edit for free. WordPress is self-contained when installing on your site and is not dependent on any other outside source to maintain and run. Blogger blogs on your own website are still accessed on and the script is controlled by the blogger site. In very basic terms, you create a post on Blogger and it is allowed access to your hosting account to create a web page or the post.
The look of a blog is very important to most people as well and there are thousands and thousands of free WordPress themes available. And to look at some of them you couldn’t tell they were a blog. Changing a WordPress theme is as simple as uploading it to your server and clicking on the theme from the dashboard. Items on the WordPress sidebar can be added, moved and changed very easily with drag and drop using widgets. Changing your WordPress theme will maintain all the content, links and sidebar items. I don’t know how many themes are available for Blogger but if you edited your theme’s HTML or CSS, changing the theme, or template as Blogger calls them, it will lose any customization. Oh and I can usually spot a Blogger blog a mile away.
Other options available in WordPress:
- Custom Permalinks – using only the category and the post title in the posts URL looks better and helps with SEO.
- Plugins – Plugins add new features and functionality to the blog. These can be added as the blog evolves.
- Static Pages – The option to create a page that will not go into the blog loop like a post. Using a static page for the main blog page, a WordPress blog can be used like a regular website, in fact, I have recently converted a PIPS site to WordPress using this option.
- Categories – While Blogger has recently added categories I have yet to do much research on or have seen many of them. In WordPress, all posts are added into a category of your choice and your visitors need only click a category on the sidebar to find more information they may be interested in, keeping them on your site.
- Self Pinging – WordPress has a built-in pinging option with plugins available to enhance it. You can also add and remove the individual sites that you want to be pinged. Blogger blogs need pinged manually and using different services to ping may send duplicate pings to some sites.
I have read that Blogger blogs get indexed faster by Google than WordPress blogs and that might be true. However, your self-hosted blog will also get indexed fairly quickly if setup correctly. One thing I have experienced with all my WordPress blogs and even while researching on Google: I have yet to see many or any Blogger blogs show up in the top of a Google search. Have you?