I switched from Blogger to self-hosted WordPress in January 2013. It’s been the single best decision I’ve made for my blog, but making the decision was not easy. In this post, I’m going to discuss how I made my decision, the pros & cons of each platform, and why my blog is staggeringly more successful on WordPress.
Blogger for Beginners
Freeing Imperfections was hosted on Blogger for the first six months I blogged. Blogger was a great starting platform because it was…
- 100% free
- offered plenty of layout options
- helped me find other blogs on Blogger
But I call it a starting platform because, to me, that’s all it was: a place to start. Blogger helped me get the blog going, but as I wanted to grow & improve Freeing Imperfections, I quickly became limited in my options.
I kept seeing other blogs that demonstrated the way I wanted the blog to look, but the options were simply not available on Blogger. Every cool widget I found that I wanted to implement was only available not only for WordPress, but for specific layout software like Genesis or DIY Themes that Blogger would never support.
In other words, what I wanted to achieve on Blogger was out of my league. If I wanted to develop the blog as I did, I had to move to a different ball-park, which is exactly what I did.
Don’t get me wrong – there ARE successful blogs on Blogger. Even ones that still have the “.blogspot.com” address. But when I take a look at my absolute favorite blogs, they are self-hosted, have a unique web address, and are still more professional than the best Blogger blog in my opinion.
I knew if I wanted to emulate a blog even close to my favorite blogs, I had to take the plunge. When I bought my domain name and a year of hosting through Dream Host in January, they were having a New Year’s sale that helped encourage me to take the plunge.
WordPress, Not What I Expected
When I got to WordPress, I had the false expectation that it would magically solve all my blogging problems. I was very, very wrong. Basic WordPress – just the self-hosted site with WordPress installed was NOT what my favorite blogs looked like.
Why isn’t everything better? I thought. Everyone says WordPress is the best! Oh, naïve former-self…
At first, I was really disappointed that WordPress didn’t immediately look like what the blog looks like now. No – all this – took a lot more work than just investing in a domain name and switching to WordPress.
Even on WordPress, I felt very limited with what I could actually do. I had no understanding that WordPress widgets have to be looked up and downloaded, unlike the preset widgets that go along with Blogger. My naked, bare-bones WordPress site looked worse than my Blogger set up.
I quickly realized the piece I was missing: layout framework. I am no HTML genius, and although I know enough to get me by, my efforts were not very fruitful.
It was love at first click.
I realized that this Framework was the missing piece, but the decision to purchase yet another thing to improve the blog was also not easy. But after a few days of messing with what I could do in WordPress (and after already falling in love with this layout from StudioPress), I purchased it.
StudioPress (or other layout Framework of your choosing) + WordPress = Awesomeness.
Money well-spent? Bottom line: YES. There are certain widgets or apps specific to the Genesis Framework that meet my needs & wants for the blog EXACTLY. Once the layout was in place (which was easy as pie to install), all the widgets are free. Genesis did not solve all my problems either, but it gave my blog “that look” that I couldn’t achieve all on my own.
In the End
WordPress did take a while to get used to. It is user-friendly and easy to use, once you already know how to use it. Blogger has much more simplistic and easy navigation right from the get-go, which is why it is immediately more appealing to new bloggers. To me, Blogger is meant so that anyone can blog; WordPress is meant so bloggers can grow.
WordPress ultimately opened a door of opportunity that, for now, Blogger does not hold. WordPress is not “the best” blogging platform all by itself.
As I said above, though, WordPress plus a decent framework is the foundation for a professional, solid blog. The two put together have helped me achieve the look & feel I want plus the professional touch my blog on Blogger was lacking.
If you have any questions about any of the material covered in this post, please feel free to ask in the comments or via email, melissa at freeingimperfections dot com. This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. Happy blogging! 🙂