Monday, August 25, 2008

Blogger vs Wordpress

When I first setup shop for my blog two months ago, the idea is to blog all the things I find interesting. Running, life, stuff (stuff as in technical stuff I do). But as popular cliché goes, life happens. This blog more or less evolved into a running-theme blog with sprinkling of various musing, rambling and whatnots. And my technical blog was put on hold. Mmm... actually, I was just procrastinating (as is my wont) doing my techie blog just doesn't seem that interesting. But better late and dead than never.

Which brings me to Blogger vs Wordpress death match. (I've briefly considered LiveJournal and but those are too Web 2.0ish and too teenager-y for me). At the time I started blogging, I was already hook to google suite of services (ie. Calendar, Notebook, Reader, Picassa, iGoogle). And so it was a natural progression to use their blogging tool. I didn't bother checking the competition, my experience was such that I'm content to stick it out as is with Google service despite all the whiz-bang widgets and popularity of Wordpress/Multiply/LiveJournal.

All good in paradise until I noticed that all the blogs I subscribe to are overwhelmingly in favor of Wordpress (for both web service user or hosting their own domain), hmm... what am I missing here? So for my techie blog, I thought I'd head over to Wordpress, give it a spin and see what new features I can use for better blogging experience. So after few hours of fiddling, here's what I found out:

- There are plenty of themes and widgets to choose from. All nicey and cutesy.
- Built-in visitor stat which is very convenient. No drama or tinkering with 3rd-party applets, just turn it on and off you go.
- Contact form which I can't seem to find in blogspot. As it is, my reader would have to use the comment section and make a note that this is personal message and not for public consumption.
- Wordpress automatically include the IP address of readers who left a comment. Useful for tracing rogue commenter.
- Folder-like tabs for different section of your blog. So let's say you want to have 'About' info in another section of your blog that doesn't clutter your home page, it's a cinch and elegant in Wordpress , kludgey and ugly in Blogspot.

Wordpress do have their plus points.

That said, most of these features are really skin-deep (unless you're using -- more on that below). Some of their (critical) behind-the-scene components are so rudimentary as to be outright useless or just not available. You wanna track the minutiae location of your readers (or at least by the city) or perhaps where you're getting your traffic from? Or compare your new visitors against those returning? good luck! Wordpress doesn't believe in web analytics. You want to extend those theme with a few lines of html/css code? Javascript? forget it! Widgets you say? Well, compare that to 44,000+ gadgets you can used in blogspot. Adsense? They seem to have something against it, no easy does it button for you.

Think of Wordpress/LiveJournal/Multiply as glamour chick you'd like to be seen with at the mall, all nice and glittery. Think of Blogspot as girl-next-door chick you would normally hang out with. Not the beauty queen of Web2.0 just the basics but flexible and more fun to work with.

Of course, it would have been a different story if I opted for my own domain and use web hosting for my blog software of choice. Then I'd definitely go for which provides more customization. But as it is, I don't particularly like the idea of administering my own blog (ie. filtering spam, fiddling with third-party apps, etc) when it's done more efficiently by Google nor paying for the privilege when it's already gratis (well, the latter is not strictly true just a compelling one).

So in the end (or at least for the moment) I'm opting for which is just exactly what I need for my next blog.

PS: My other blog focuses on Linux and open source software, mostly setup and configuration I did. Nothing there at the moment, but if Linux and open source are your thing, come back in few weeks time, and see if you find it relevant or useful.


sfrunner said...

Hey Gene, whether it's Blogspot or Wordpress, I'm happy that I met you through the blogging. I thought about Blogspot as well and I may change one day. However, I'm comfortable with the system I'm on.

I'm also on Multiply but it's only for downloading photos. Anyway, take care. Only 71 more days to go until the dream vacation!

Gene Ordanza said...

Same here my friend :-)

Nora, the golden girl said...

I'm probably the most low-tech runner blogger in this planet because when I followed the instructions on how to start a blog, I didn't know the difference between blogger and wordpress (until now actually). But Wayne is right. We met new friends thru blogging--it doesn't matter whether it's wordpress or blogspot. But for a high-tech person like you, I'm sure it does matter!

Gene Ordanza said...

Nora, you're right. Sometimes I'm so dense I missed the rose from the thorns :-)

You know, I didn't realize it but with blogging you can stand back and see your writing from another perspective. Sort of like wearing different glasses. One shade of gray, one shade of brown, no such thing as plain and clear prescription glasses, there's always shades to it (hmmm... does that make sense?)

sfrunner said...

Hey Gene, this is a great post! Blogger and Wordpress are different in some ways. I think it's cool that you gave Wordpress a try and didn't feel comfortable.

If this matters, I was on the Yahoo blog for over a year and I didn't get as many hits as I do in a couple of days! Anyway, please take care. I'll e-mail you soon.

DATC said...

Gene, when I started blogging, I chose wordpress since most of the blogs I visited were already on wordpress. For a non-techie like me, it was simple enough to use, no fiddling around with html code, etc. I don't think it can be customized the way other blogs can though, which works just fine for me.

Jasper Greek Lao Golangco said...

greetings, gene...
i've heard good things about wordpress as well... but for better or worse, i've started on blogspot and intend to stick around since i find too much work to move stuff out...

thanks for the comment, and i'm happy you left one since it led me to your good blog!

cheers, sir!

Gene Ordanza said...

Hey sfrunner, yeah I'd have to take it for a spin before I can pronounce that it doesn't meet my needs. It would have been awkward to pass judgment without even bothering to try it.

DATC, yep 90% of the time you want something that is already familiar and simple. I would rather focus on the content and material rather than fiddle with buttons and settings. I just have this idea that I'm trying that I couldn't in Wordpress :-(

Jasper, thanks for dropping by. But I have to admit, your blog have a more 'professional writing' quality to it that I wish I have in my writing. As it is, mine reads like writing from guy who's in first year college taking English writing 101.