About two months ago I began investigating using WordPress as a blog platform over blogger. I had installed it on my local machine and experimented with it occasionally in my free time, of which I have little. Two weeks ago I began the process of moving my blog over to WordPress and one week ago I went live. Peter of Rediscovering the Church helped my quite a bit as I began this journey. I have reached a few conclusions.
Blogger is a simpler platform for basic blogging needs. It is easy to setup and takes little knowledge to make a nice, clean blog. Of course it also takes little knowledge to make a cluttered, useless blog. Blogger has a lot of useful features for being found and followed right out of the gate, but then you begin to reach the limits of the platform. There are many ways to add functionality to blogger but I’ve found that these tend to be clunky and limited. My best example is Intense Debate. It is possible to install this into blogger but it is missing many features. You cannot import your old comments into the ID system and it does not sync your comments so if you choose to leave the system then any ID comments will not roll back into blogger. More over it seems to be slower and more glitch prone in the blogger environment.
WordPress is a different beast all together. It is not quite as user friendly. Well, that isn’t entirely true. It is certainly easy to use in its most basic form, but the generic options are limited and need upgrading to be useful. For example, the basic settings show your webpages at .php?query pages, which are the way the server sees the page. This is not very useful for human interaction or web search algorithms. These settings can be changed but this involves some exploration of the WordPress consol and possibly making some changes to the file permissions on your hosting server. In my case I had to make some changes before I could show my pages in a more search engine and user friendly way.
Of course this is offset by the number of plugins available. The difficulty is picking the right plugins since most functions can be done by many different scripts. That is where Peter also helped me. Being a geek I am not satisfied to leave well enough alone and so I’ve already begun modifying my plugins so they are more unique to my site. Peter uses the “cute profiles” plugin, which displays my various social interaction platforms on the left in nice little icons. I made some small changes that allow mine to change size and go full color on hover not just go full color. It is more like that quick silver dock in the Mac OS that way.
WordPress also gives me more direct control over the layout of my site. In blogger you can directly edit the CSS and make some major changes to the template but the level of customization is limited to positions. With WordPress I can change the function of my website. I can make it a blog, a Content Management Service, or even an online shop.
I have a lot of learning to do and I’m working on building my own templates, but I’m really enjoying the journey. I’m looking forward to helping a friend with her transition into WordPress soon.
What are your experiences with blogger, WordPress, or other blogging platforms? What is your favorite WordPress plugin?