1. You’re in charge
When you use Blogger (or even WordPress.com), you don’t own your blog; you’re using someone else’s platform that’s hosted on someone else’s servers. Google has you completely under their thumb. Now, in most cases, this doesn’t really mean anything and it won’t affect you. But there are always a few bloggers (most recently Word Spelunking) who are affected by this. If Google decides that your blog violates their Terms of Service, they can take down your blog. And sometimes, they might think your blog violates their ToS, but it doesn’t actually! In Word Spelunking’s case, Google decided that her blog was spam.. but it so obviously isn’t! But even so, her blog was removed!
As most of you know, Blogger has been a pain in my booty the last couple of weeks, with deleting my blog (giving me a huge panic attack in the process), then restoring my blog, to only lock it a few days later, deeming it “SPAM”. Now, obviously, my blog isn’t spam and Blogger finally unlocked it and now it is available to view by anyone (Whew!).
Luckily her blog was restored, but it doesn’t change the fact that this happens and it can happen to you! Luckily, with a self-hosted WordPress blog, this is not an issue.
When you have a WordPress.org blog, you pay for your own hosting. You’re not on Google’s servers creating a free account. You are a paying customer and you have complete control over where your blog is hosted. And let’s face it, paying customers get treated better than free ones. While technically your hosting company can remove your website, they will never do that unless there is actual *proof* of illegal content on your site. You are a paying customer and they don’t want to get things wrong with you! So unless you fall into that “illegal” category, your hosting will leave you alone! 🙂
2. Freedom of design
If you look hard enough, there are some great Blogger themes out there. But with WordPress, it’s like opening a whole new door. Speaking from a web developer’s perspective, WordPress is so much cleaner and easier to design for. It’s super easy to customize and build upon. As a result, there are A MILLION themes out there. Some are free, some are paid, and you can even hire a designer to make one specifically for you. In my experience, there are just a lot more great WordPress themes than Blogger themes. And the higher the quantity, the more likely you’ll be able to find one you like!
Furthermore, many WordPress themes come with very easy to use interfaces that allow you to customize the theme yourself. You can change anything from the header, to the background colour, to the typeface, and more. Some themes also have the ability to easily integrate image sliders, Google Web Fonts, etc. Even if you’re not a web designer or don’t know any HTML/CSS coding, you can still customize your pre-made theme to suit your needs!
Blogger does still have ways you can customize your blog, but the difference is that in WordPress, a theme developer can customize the options. In Blogger you can’t customize what options are available, you just have to work with the options Google gives you (unless you’re a coder and manually edit the CSS). But if I’m a WordPress theme developer, I could decide, “Hmm, I want my users to be able to add this image slider with the click of a button,” and then I could code that feature option into the admin panel. In Blogger, you can’t code into the admin panel.
3. The plugins
The huge collection of WordPress plugins is probably one of the biggest draws for some people. WordPress literally has more than you could count. At the time of writing this, WordPress.org tells me:
23,401 PLUGINS, 406,832,097 DOWNLOADS, AND COUNTING
Many of these plugins are invaluable for blogging. Here are a few examples:
Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not and lets you review the spam it catches under your blog’s “Comments” admin screen.
Every WordPress blogger has this. If someone doesn’t, then they’re not doing it right. All blogs get a lot of spam, but Akismet literally blocks 99.999% of my spam comments. Since starting this blog, I have only had ONE comment get past Akismet, and I swear it was just some crazy fluke.
This plugin is written from the ground up by WordPress SEO consultant and WordPress developer Joost de Valk to improve your site’s SEO on all needed aspects. While this WordPress SEO plugin goes the extra mile to take care of all the technical optimization, more on that below, it first and foremost helps you write better content. WordPress SEO forces you to choose a focus keyword when you’re writing your articles, and then makes sure you use that focus keyword everywhere.
There are a million WordPress SEO plugins, and this is just one of them. These plugins help you create keyword intensive titles, descriptions, and posts. They optimize your titles so that they show up in search engines in the best way possible. They also create XML sitemaps, which help search engines like Google crawl your website fully. This is literally just a small taste of the features that these SEO plugins offer!
Did you remember to write a post for next Tuesday? What about the Tuesday after that? WordPress doesn’t make it easy to see when your posts are scheduled. The editorial calendar gives you an overview of your blog and when each post will be published. You can drag and drop to move posts, edit posts right in the calendar, and manage your entire blog.
This plugin is AWESOME! At first I thought I didn’t need it. I mean, I had been blogging just fine with out it. Boy, was I wrong. This plugin will keep you so organized! It’s such an easy way to see what posts you have coming up, when you have a free spot for a new review, etc. You will LOVE IT!
When a reply is made to a comment the user has left on the blog, an e-mail shall be sent to the user to notify him of the reply. This will allow the users to follow up the comment and expand the conversation if desired.
This is the best plugin for improving interaction and conversation on your blog. I’m sure a lot of you guys are just like me in that you comment on A MILLION blogs. I honestly can’t remember to check back every place I commented to see if the blog owner replied. I just can’t do it. 🙁 Sometimes I remember, but most times I do not. Whenever you reply to a comment on your blog, this plugin will e-mail that person to let them know that you replied and what you said! It’s a great way to keep pulling your visitors back to engage in conversation!
This plugin will visit the site of the comment author while they type their comment and retrieve their last blog posts which they can choose to include at the bottom of their comment when they click submit.
I love this plugin because it’s a way for me to help my blog commenters advertise their own blogs. They can give a little shout out to their latest post, to encourage myself and other people viewing my blog to visit their post. Honestly, without this plugin, I might comment on less blogs. I LOVE it when people comment on my blog, and I see a post of theirs that I like. Then I immediately hop over to their blog to check it out!
This plugin helps you to keeps your old posts alive by tweeting about them and driving more traffic to them from twitter.
We all love Twitter. It’s awesome. Well, this plugin will automatically go through your old posts and tweet them! You can set the time for how often posts should be tweeted, etc. And it actually does work to drive more traffic to your blog! It’s always such a pleasant surprise for me when someone comments on an old post. I know I have Tweet Old Post to thank for it!
4. The Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin
I feel kind of silly for tooting my own horn here, especially since I’m giving it its own section, but I think (I hope) that this plugin helps book bloggers significantly!
I recently made a plugin called Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin. This plugin is specifically designed for book bloggers. It has loads and loads of features like review indexes that update automatically, easy book information display, an image slider, a million widgets (okay, maybe only 6), and a great feature where you can upload your star graphics and automatically display them on your post! And that’s just the start…
The point I’m trying to make here is that these things just aren’t possible on Blogger. You physically cannot make that kind of plugin on Blogger, because it doesn’t have the capabilities.
5. The possibilities are endless
Maybe only developers will appreciate this point, but it’s a good one. Blogger is limited. That’s what happens on a free platform. But with WordPress, the possibilities are LITERALLY endless; if you can imagine it, you can make it. WordPress is not just for blogs. You can build fully functioning e-commerce sites, social media sites, portfolios, websites, AND blogs. You can make any feature update automatically. You can make your website look however you want.
If you’re not a coder, odds are you can find a theme or plugin that does all this for you. If you are a coder, you can just sit down and do it yourself.
6. It’s more professional
Ultimately, all these points are leading to the same place. Add them all up, and you become a more professional blogger. Let’s break it down:
By switching to WordPress:
- You own your site and its content. No one will delete it or remove it.
- You have more customization on your blog.
- You (might) have a better design.
- You will more easily be able to customize your theme without coding knowledge (if you buy a theme with customization options).
- Your blog will be more optimized for SEO, and thus will probably rank better in search engines.
- Your blog will be easier to update and maintain, and thus blogging will be less stressful. You won’t have to manually update your review indexes, or remember to remove giveaways from your sidebar after they’ve expired.