When it comes to creating a blog or a website in general, WordPress and Blogger are still the two most popular options. But which one is the best for you?
WordPress has long been the absolute leader in the market: 27% of websites worldwide have been created with WordPress.
And we are not always talking about blogs, we are also talking about a lot of sites like New York Post, CNN or Spotify to name just a few examples among many.
The crux of the matter is when choosing a platform it makes no sense to speak of “the best” in absolute terms, there is no such thing. They all have advantages and disadvantages.
The question to ask is which one is the best for you and that depends on what exactly you want to do with your website.
It is not the same to blog simply for fun than to do it professionally, create a site that supports a traditional business or create an online site as a business in itself.
In this sense, I am going to make a detailed comparison between WordPress and Blogger (aka Blogspot) as they continue to be the two most popular options today, although in recent years new web-oriented options have increased considerably (not so many blogs). Like Wix, Weebly and Squarespace.
I will detail the differences between them and the reasons for choosing one or the other option. In addition, I will also explain the differences between the two variants of WordPress: WordPress.com and WordPress.org, something that today continues to generate a lot of confusion among users.
With all this information, you should be able to perfectly choose the best platform for your case.
And since I know that it is difficult for impatient people to read a post as long as this, I will start with what the conclusions should really be, although I insist: this is not black or white, so it is convenient to read it all to know why I get to them, even if at another time.
But let’s stop preludes and the mess
When to use Blogger, when WordPress.com and when WordPress.org
First of all, I reiterate, in my opinion, you cannot simply say that one platform is “better” than another.
The good question is:
What is the best option for my specific needs with the blog that I want to create now and in the future?
I would consider the decision according to a series of different scenarios that can occur in this:
You only intend to try
If you simply want to start blogging on a topic you like, but without any ambition and no specific horizon, I recommend you rule out WordPress.org and hire your own hosting (renting an Internet server for your site).
The reason is not so much the cost, since the cost of a hosting is very low, but to keep things simple.
In this way I would also ask myself the decision between Blogger and WordPress.com: here the question would be what your “relationship” with web technologies is.
Below you will see that Blogger demands more technically. I mean, would you rather not have to touch anything that sounds like technical stuff like HTML, or wouldn’t you mind messing around with these things a bit?
If you have a little phobia on the technical side, the decision is clear: WordPress.com. This option is more limited, but they are things that you should be able to live perfectly if you do not have greater claims.
If you are a little more “techie” and you like to mess around with things like HTML or CSS, WordPress.com in its variant will be frustrating because basically you cannot do anything at this level. Now, to get into its paid versions that already allow you to do things, but they cost what a hosting or more, I would go directly to WordPress.org with hosting.
Therefore, here it is more logical to go to Blogger if you want a free option. And also, if at any given time you want to monetize your activity, you will have fewer restrictions than on WordPress.com
You have a serious project, but you can’t spend any money
Here the first thing I want to advise you is to be frank with yourself: can you really not afford what it costs to have a few coffees to pay the monthly fee for a hosting?
To get an idea of what we are talking about, I mean very popular hosting such as: Ionos (1&1), SiteGround, BlueHost or Hostgator, for example (specifically this blog, is hosted by Ionos (1&1)).
If you go into the links, you will see that we are talking about very little money per month in the basic plans.
Basic plans are usually more than enough for something like 98% or 99% of cases.
Frankly, if you then spend every week on drinks or in the breakfast cafe in the company or superfluous things like that, you are not honest with yourself.
In this case, you are simply not giving your project enough priority. Therefore, my advice would be not to start, because a blog that you are serious about requires work and if, from the beginning, you do not give it to them, it is a guarantee to never get anywhere. So better not waste your time.
Not having money is that every month you really spend your time to make ends meet. In the rest of cases they are excuses that only camouflage that your project, in reality, has no priority for you. And it is not open to criticism, you have the right to give it the priority you want, it would be more, but better not to waste time.
Something happens with comments like “is that $ 6 / month seems expensive because I have seen another hosting at $ 3 / month.” In that case, if that is your way of thinking, I tell you the same, listen to me: this is not for you, this attitude is not adequate to get anywhere with this.
Now, if you really are in an extreme economic situation that prevents you from spending money on a hosting, to choose between WordPress.com and Blogger, I would approach the subject as in the previous point depending on your skills with web technologies.
And finally, do not hire a free hosting, stay better with WordPress.com or Blogger.
It will not compensate you, they are little less than a trap, a crappy trick to attract crappy customers (who are not willing to pay what things are worth).
The only exception to this would be that you really want to hire him to tinker technically, that is, to test, know how a hosting works, etc. In short, to roll a little, although this involves the risk that you get a bad impression because of the poor service these options give and you comment on the error of extrapolating this impression to paid hosting in general.
You have a serious project and you want to generate income with it
If you are not in an extreme situation like the one I described above and that really justifies not spending the least cost of hosting, there is simply no doubt: I would always recommend WordPress.org.
Otherwise, you will discover that the limitations of WordPress.com and even Blogger (which has much less) are a drag on your project. In addition, you forget from the beginning of future complications derived from the need to migrate to WordPress.org.
And I am not thinking about the limitations for the use of online advertising, in fact, it is one of the least effective options when you are not an experienced and media professional.
I’m thinking of things like, for example, affiliate marketing where you need to do things like follow conversion statistics to know what content works and what doesn’t for the purpose of generating commissions, being able to design your site freely to adapt it to what you need or the integration of a shopping cart to be able to make sales.
If you’re just starting out and don’t have any technical knowledge whatsoever, also seriously consider spending a little more on hosting that goes beyond normal hosting support and also offers specialized WordPress support.
You can find options like this on Ionos (1&1) or SiteGround, for example. This way you will have all the technical fronts covered and you will sleep much more peacefully
What is Blogger (aka Blogspot) and how it works
Blogger is a free cloud service originally created by Pyra Labs and acquired by Google in 2003, aimed at creating blogs.
I want to place special emphasis on being a cloud service.
This means, creating a blog in Blogger is basically as simple as opening an account in other cloud services, such as a Gmail email account, for example. No need to quarrel with technical issues like installing software on a server, etc. It is to open the account and start working.
In Blogger, after taking the steps to create it, you will again have a URL of the type “myname.blogspot.com”. However, it is possible to link your own domain to your blog, something that I highly recommend always, since a domain costs very little money (some usually around $ 10-15 / year) and greatly improves the feeling that your blog will give.
Below in the bonus track you will see with a video tutorial how this is done.
What is WordPress and how it works
Unlike Blogger, WordPress is a content management system (or CMS for its acronym in English) designed for the creation of any type of website and began operating in 2003.
Today it is the absolute leader in blogging platform, 27% of the websites worldwide, if we limit ourselves to blogs, more than half.
Against virtually all of its competitors has the peculiarity of being a product of open source (“open source” in English). That means that you have the source code of the application at your disposal to use it however you want.
The first thing you need to know about WordPress: the difference between the “.com” and “.org” versions
The fact of being an open source platform has very important repercussions.
The first and most important is that there are two versions of WordPress or, rather, two very different philosophies:
- com: This we could say is the counterpart to Blogger, a cloud service that starts with a free plan with many limitations that you can gradually eliminate in payment plans.
- org: here it is you who download (for free) the WordPress program (its source code) and it is you who have to install it on a server connected to the Internet (that is, a hosting). In exchange,there are no limitations here, you access 100% of the potential of WordPress that is simply enormous.
In both versions we are working with the WordPress application, but in two ways that cannot be more different.
The WordPress.com philosophy
As I said, the philosophy of WordPress.com is “nailed” to that of Blogger: the company behind WordPress, Automattic, opening allows you to simply open a free account in the cloud that will have a default Internet address of the “miniature ” style. wordpress.com”.
As in Blogger you can use your own domain, but here we already find the first limitation: to use your own domain you have to go to the basic payment plan, the “Personal” plan of WordPress.com. We will then go deeper into the strengths and weaknesses of WordPress.com
Of course, it is not necessary to contract the domain from a domain provider, it is WordPress who in this case is a domain provider.
The WordPress.org philosophy
In the “self-hosted” option, the concept of the platform changes radically. In this case, it is no longer about opening an account in Automattic under which you can access your blog, but you have to download the WordPress application and install it on your own web server.
For this you need to contract a domain and install the application in a hosting service such as that of Ionos (1&1) (the one that uses Citizen 2.0 and that we recommend to you as well) and carry out a small maintenance task (approve WordPress updates, plugins, etc.).
Nowadays, hiring a good hosting provider, this is not a big problem, as you can see in one of the videos below.
Now, it is critical to choose the hosting provider well. If your website’s foundation fails, how will the rest work well?
Also, a good hosting nowadays is already very affordable. The option that we recommend costs at the moment about $ 79 / year that is about $ 6.58 / month.
On the other hand, it is true that with this option there is an added technical work of installing WordPress yourself, but in return you access some possibilities that are simply light years away from the two previous options.
To give a little perspective with some first examples:
- In the WordPress.org repository you have +2000 free design templatesto choose from. At com around 200.
- You have about 50,000 pluginsthat are small extensions that add specialized functionality to your WordPress site. Things as powerful as WooCommerce, for example, that makes it a complete online store. In WordPress.com you simply cannot use plugins.
- Since the code is free (also that of these products) you can get your hands on it as you like. With a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS you can already do very interesting things, or hire small custom jobs from WordPress professionals.
In fact, due to this, Raquel and I launched our service platform a few months ago where you can hire these types of professionals if you need them.
To this we must add as many commercial products, another consequence of the fact that WordPress.org is open source: it has favored a huge ecosystem (surely the world’s largest of this type) of third-party manufacturers creating products for WordPress.
In other words, think for a moment about the possibilities that this gives and the brutal support behind WordPress. And it also implies that with WordPress.org you have a professional platform, with no ceiling in its possibilities, because anything you can imagine is technically possible on this platform.
To finish this section I have to comment that, in fact, there is one more version that I have left in the pipeline: WordPress VIP.
It is a kind of premium WordPress.com, aimed exclusively at large companies, which you can easily see in their prices: the most basic plan starts at $ 5,000 / month, so we could say that it is a bit out of the scope of this post
Common points between Blogger and WordPress
Let’s now look at the details of Blogger and WordPress and their differences. For this I will start first with the things they have in common.
They have in common that:
- They allow you to create both blogs and “normal” websites(for a company page, for example).
- Both have a completely free option, the free version of WordPress.com being considerably more limited than Blogger.
- They include themes(design templates) and the basic elements you need on any website: things like comments , contact forms , social buttons , an RSS feed for articles, the ability to embed images, audio and video in content, visit statistics and integration with the Google Search Console , an essential tool for the author of any website.
- They use as a default domain a subdomain of the site, that is, domains of the type “site.blogspot.com” in the case of Blogger and “site.wordpress.com”. In both cases you can also use your own domains, but this already wants the payment of that domain.
- Blogger and WordPress.com limit disk space. That is, the number of files, images, etc. You can upload is limited. In the case of WordPress.org it depends on the hosting that has been contracted.
Differences between WordPress and Blogger. Comparative
Let us now see the differences in terms of advantages and disadvantages of each of the platforms.
1. Captivity level and investment risk
This may sound a bit strange to you, but for me it is, without a doubt, the most important difference of all because it is a question of much depth. So I’m going to entertain myself a little more at this point.
The reflection is that both with Blogger and WordPress.com as with any other similar cloud option (Wix, Weebly, etc.) your website is at the mercy of the provider and what they want to do with you. It is the downside of any cloud service.
Imagine that you have worked for 5 years hard on your blog in Blogger, with a lot of effort not only in the content, but also in things like the customization of your templates. You have achieved a good audience and you even generate income that greatly alleviates the end of the month.
Suddenly, Google, given the decreasing popularity of Blogger (see the graph above), decides to close this service, as it has done without batting an eye on other very popular services at the time (and despite massive protests from users) such as Google. Reader, for example.
How do you stay?
At the very least, scared, right?
Although you can migrate from Blogger to WordPress, doing so is not trivial, much less with an old blog in which this task is quite complicated. Doing all this with the rope around your neck in a situation like the one described is not pleasant.
But, in addition, there are things that are always lost, such as the work on your design template and all the Blogger management knowledge that you have acquired. Starting in WordPress will be starting from scratch and the more complex your blog on Blogger, the more the transition will cost you.
Now, perhaps you will say that, being WordPress.com also a cloud service, it is the same.
But there are three very important differences:
- For WordPress, WordPress is your business. For Google, just one of many branches. Therefore, it is much less likely to cease its activity.
- Migrating from WordPress.com to WordPress.org is easier than doing it from Blogger.
- And if you have to migrate from WordPress.com to WordPress.org you don’t lose the investment in knowledge because both are used the same, WordPress.org.
And it goes without saying that with WordPress.org this risk simply does not exist because everything is in your hands: the program code and the site (your hosting). WordPress could close immediately and you will continue to function exactly the same.
But, what’s more, before I talked about the ecosystem around WordPress. It is so big that WordPress just can’t die. There is too much financial interest in keeping it running. Someone would take care that it wasn’t the current company.
Therefore, I would dare to say that with WordPress.org the continuity of your project is guaranteed 100% for decades.
2. Learning curve and ease of use
There has been much debate here and we are clearly entering a field of subjective taste.
My opinion: taking away the aesthetic differences, the learning curve and general usability is more or less roughly similar to Blogger and WordPress, just like the relatively similar admin panel organization leaves out what purely aesthetic.
Now, in the detail there are differences. WordPress is ahead in terms of possibilities, for example, in the organization of categories or the creation of menus.
The visual editor seems to me an especially clear example: the WordPress editor works much better than the Blogger editor, which, at least, in my (limited) experience has given me quite a few problems with details such as suddenly changing font sizes on their own, etc. . . . And in general, I have observed that Blogger tends to put more “garbage” in the generated HTML than WordPress when the contents are edited.
To this we must add that in the case of WordPress.org, through plugins, the default visual editor of WordPress can be made much more sophisticated, so that Blogger is completely behind.
In exchange, Blogger also allows small “hacks” by pulling a little programming that WordPress.com simply cannot do.
3. Design customization
Here the comparison is relatively simple:
- In my opinion, the worst option is WordPress.com in its free plan due to its limited range of templates (less than 200) and the total impossibility of modifying them, except for some trivial adjustments. However, it must be said that in recent years they have added templates with very attractive designs.
- Blogger has a template designer included to modify the design, fonts and colors of your blog without knowing anything about HTML or CSS. Being Blogger also a free option, I think that this is clearly one or more steps ahead of WordPress.com, although the thing is somewhat related to the payment options of WordPress.com that add capabilities to modify CSS, etc. But you have to pay.
- Org is by far the winner at this point. It just has all the strengths and no weaknesses: an infinity (thousands) of free and professional (paid) templates, and all 100% modifiable by the user if they have CSS knowledge. And with a good professional template, such as Divi, you can do things completely visually, without knowing any CSS and HTML code.
4. Space and traffic capacity limitations
Regarding space limitations , the situation is as follows:
- Blogger limitations: 1Mbyte maximum size per page. Since Blogger will be part of your Google account, share the maximum space of 15 GB with it.
- com limitations: 3 GB of disk space on the free plan. In the payment plans it is successively expanded to 6 GB, 13 GB and unlimited space.
- Limitations of WordPress.org: on the WordPress side there are no limitations on space, supported traffic, etc. Possible limitations in this regard depend on the contracted hosting.
The traffic capacity is a point somewhat complicated because there is clear information to respect or Blogger or WordPress.com are very transparent to the matter.
In theory, neither of them limits traffic, a hosting is limited depending on the plan you choose, as much as many hosting, especially the very cheap ones that compete for price and not for quality speak of “unlimited visits”.
However, many people have come to us who, due to the slowness of these platforms in blogs with a lot of traffic (thousands of visits per day), asked us about the convenience of migrating to a hosting.
As you can see, it is a subject that is not clear. In theory, the free platforms would win here because there are many cheap hosting that are already starting to go wrong with a few hundred visits a day.
In the hosting that we can recommend, as a first option Ionos (1&1) and alternatively SiteGround and Hostgator, this does not happen.
Especially Ionos (1&1) and SiteGround have a very good visiting capacity even in their most basic options that 99% of bloggers are not going to be able to challenge in their lives for not reaching enough traffic for it.
5. Online advertising (AdSense)
Its point is simple too:
- com is the worst here: in the free version, it comes with “forced” WordPress advertising that the user cannot remove. It is removed in payment plans. At the same time, you cannot use your own AdSense advertising to generate income, although other means such as affiliate links, etc. can be used.
- Blogger earns points because it does not put forced advertising on the side of the platform while allowing the AdSense user to generate income and also affiliate links and other options.
- org is the best option of all: it simply allows you to do what you want and is much more powerful thanks to the plugins. For example, there are plugins to intelligently and automatically locate content, others allow you to track user clicks, mediate the conversion, etc. This is all science fiction even for Blogger. WordPress.org plays in another league because all of these things translate into a huge increase in the site’s earning potential.
6. Maintenance and backups
Here the blogger and WordPress.com cloud platforms win a priori because one of the great advantages is that you simply forget about this with a cloud service.
Hiring a good hosting, you will also have automatic backups, etc., but there is a small work of updates to WordPress itself, plugins and themes, resolution of a technical problem with hosting or WordPress itself that you will ever find.
Here you will value a good support service in your hosting and even more if they include special support for applications such as WordPress such as that offered by Ionos (1&1) or SiteGround, for example.
7. SEO on Page
Here there are also important differences between the platforms, although not as pronounced as in other points.
Basically all three are similar: the <title> tag and the <h1> are determined by the entry title and the rest (<h2>, <h3>, etc.) are determined by the subtitles.
The permalinks (the URLs of the posts and pages) can be edited in all, but with the limitation in Blogger and WordPress.com that you cannot change the date that these platforms automatically insert in each URL.
On the other hand, WordPress.com does not allow you to edit the meta-description, Blogger does. Therefore, it can be said that Blogger is slightly superior in this aspect, although I personally do not like that their URLs have to end in “.html”, although that is rather a simple matter of personal taste.
And finally, WordPress.org is, again, far superior to both options:
It does not have any restriction on permanent links (the URL is set as the user wants , for example) and if you also use powerful SEO plugins like Yoast SEO (it is free), you will add endless help that the others do not have platforms and will make SEO work much more comfortable and effective.
8. Integration with Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a very important tool when your blog gains a little visibility,
Here the situation is also very simple:
- com: does not allow integration with Google Analytics, except in the Business plan, which is already going to be around $ 25 / month.
- Blogger: allows integration with Google Analytics.
- org: Allows integration with Google Analytics and adds a lot of value again with specialized plugins that are freely available in the WordPress.org repository and make working with it more effective.
9. Ease to migrate to WordPress.org
If your blog is successful, sooner or later, you will feel the desire or even the need to migrate to WordPress.org because the limitations of the platforms are becoming too big a problem.
So the question is:
How complicated will it be to migrate to WordPress.org from WordPress.com and from Blogger?
The good news is that you can migrate from both systems, the details are in each post. The bad news is that on both WordPress.com and Blogger, you are going to lose the design template. This is a topic that must be rebuilt from scratch in the new blog.
It should be added that this in Blogger is usually more dramatic because due to its greater possibilities, people also invest more work in customizing the template.
As an overview (which you can qualify in those posts), it can be said that with Blogger it is simply more cumbersome, especially if your blog is already large (many posts and, especially, in case of having many images). If you have a large blog on Blogger and want to migrate, you will probably need the services of a professional who will do it for you.