Hi lovelies! For those of you who have been long time followers of Label Me Merrit, you know I started my blog over on the Blogger platform. When I started Label Me Merrit, Blogger perfectly fit all my needs. It was free, easy to use and run by a source I trusted (Google).
However, as time went on, I learned more about the pros and cons of self-hosting your site. I realized that to reach my personal blogging goals, I needed to make the switch over to WordPress, and did so in November of 2014. Before making the big move, I had heard tons of bloggers share their stories and tutorials for switching from Blogger to WordPress. I had heard horror stories about making the impossible switch, I heard many claims about WordPress being the only valid platform to blog on, and I heard many people saying basically that Blogger was for chumps.
What I did not hear, were specific reasons why WordPress was so much more preferred over Blogger. What exactly could I do on WordPress, that I couldn’t on Blogger? Why was making the switch seen as the only valid long term action to take if you were serious about your bog? What was so horrible about Blogger, and why was it frowned upon to be a Blogger blogger?
Prior to making the decision about switching my blog from Blogger to WordPress, I did a ton of research to figure out if the added expense, and work, really was necessary for my blog. I learned so much information that is not easily available to bloggers curious about the switch. I wanted to share all I’ve learned about the reasons for moving your blog over from Blogger to WordPress, so you can make the best, most well informed, decision for your own blog.
The most important point I discovered when doing my research, was that you do not own your blog’s content when you are hosted on Blogger. Google does. By setting up a free blog, hosted on their platform, Google owns the rights to your blog and everything in it. And theorectically, Google can do whatever they want with ‘their’ content, including shutting it down without notice.
Now, when making the decision so switch my blog, I did take the scare tactics of “Google will delete your whole blog just because it feels like it” with a grain of salt. While, yes, Google could shut down your bog and all your posts would be lost forever, they most likely won’t if you are following their terms of service. Realistically, the chance of a basic, rule following blog being arbitrarily shut down by one of the most well trusted brands on the internet is well, slim to none. So while the idea of loosing all your hard work is scary as heck, I wasn’t too worried about that.
However, it did concern me that I did not own my own content while my blog was hosted on Blogger. Since I had plans to run my blog as my business, I wanted to be in complete control with full ownership. I’m not an expert on the long term legal implications for a business of Google owning your blog’s content, but I felt pretty confident in assuming it was not an ideal situation. So, point: WordPress.
Another majoyr perk of WordPress is the customization it allows for. With the thousands of themes and plugins available to WordPress users, if you can dream it, your site can do it.
While you do have complete access to your HTML file in Blogger, it is a little more labor intensive to make tweaks and personalizations. While I did enjoy looking up tutorials, and learning the HTML to customize my blog as I desired when it was on Blogger, there really is only so much you can do unless you want to get really serious about learning code. With WordPress, everything is basically a plugin away.
Themes also allow you to more intricately design the aesthetic and layout of your entire site. With Blogger, you are pretty much restricted to one of a handful of layouts and ‘themes’, mostly revolving around a main post area and a sidebar. With WordPress themes, you are able to design landing pages, build unique static pages with the use of widgets, and design your site layout to whatever you desire.
With Blogger, you mostly have to stick with the available settings in your dashboard, unless you want to get really technical with coding. Wordpress is infinitely more flexible, and your design is only limited by your what you can imagine.
This point is especially important if you’re hoping to run your blog as a business. Plain and simple, WordPress is just seen as more professional. Self hosted sites require an investment into your blog, both through time and money. If you expect others (sponsors/readers/other bloggers) to take your blog and your business seriously, and invest their time and money into your site, shouldn’t you?
Now again, I took this tip with a grain of salt when considering making the switch myself. At a very basic level, and for first impressions, WordPress sites are just going to come across as more professional. However, there are definitely at least a few extremely successful full time bloggers out there who are still on Blogger, and still even have their ‘.blogpost.com’ URL. So while I believe it will be harder, it is not impossible to build a successful and respected blog or business on the Blogger platform.
Search Engine Rankings
The last reason I considered when thinking about making the switch from Blogger to WordPress was the impact your platform has on your site’s Google search rankings. Many bloggers believe that since Blogger is owned by Google, that will increase their search engine rankings. This is absolutely not true. Similar to what was discussed in the previous point, Google also sees self hosted WordPress sites as more reliable and professional sources than a Blogger blog.
While Google does own Blogger, their main concern is the quality and integrity of their search engine. Their number one priority is delivering high quality, relevant search results to it’s users. In the eyes of Google, owning your own website (whether is self hosted through WordPress or another CMS) gives you more credibility than simply being on the Blogger platform.
However, just like I stated above, just because the odds are not in your favor, does not by any means mean that your Blogger blog will never rank well in Google. It just means you might have to work a little harder for it to happen. This is just one more factor to consider when making the decision to stay on Blogger or switch to WordPress.
Now that you know the main arguments for switching from Blogger to WordPress, it’s time to start thinking about how these arguments apply to your blog. While these factors definitely point to WordPress as the ideal platform over Blogger, it still may not be the right time to switch.
After making the switch to WordPress myself, I have asked myself a few times if I would do things differently from the start if I could go back to the beginning. Do I wish I launched my blog directly on WordPress, instead of starting on Blogger, then going through the hassle of moving a site from one platform to another?
Honestly, I think I would do things the same over again. I made my decision vary carefully to start on Blogger when I began, and even though I was less informed then than I am now, I still think I madew the best decision for myself and my blog to start on Blogger. At the time, it just made sense financially. It was also an easy platform for me to dip my feet into the blogging world risk free, and test things out through trial and error, without the guilt of investing anything from the outset.
So while I do highly encourage anyone who wants to blog professionally consider moving to WordPress, I still believe this is a personal decision that needs to be made for each blog, and what is right for one, may not be right for another. Only you know what is right for you and your blog, and I hope you can now make that decision with a little more information under your belt.
What are your thoughts on Blogger vs. WordPress? What blogging platform are you using? Have you made the switch, or are you thinking about making the switch? I’d love to hear all about your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!