This article covers the main features of Blogger.com and compares some of the advantages and disadvantages of the Blogger platform with other blogging platforms such as Wordpress.
Creating your Blogspot blog at Blogger.com is a good choice for beginner bloggers as it is a free blogging platform with an easy interface and good features. More advanced webmasters may find the lack of some advanced features irritating but Blogger is definitely worth considering as a place to try out blogging at no expense. You can even use your own custom domain name or go with the default subdomain name that Blogger provides.
Blogger.com (Blogspot) Features
- Blogger is a free blogging platform
- Blogger is fast and easy to set up. It takes about 10 minutes to create a blog, configure the settings and add some gadgets.
- Blogger is easy to use regardless of your level of technical knowledge. The interface is user friendly and intuitive. Tabs and buttons make it easy to navigate.
- Bandwidth is unlimited with Blogger so there are no bandwidth issues with video and pictures
- As Blogger.com is owned by Google there is a high degree of integration with other services like Google Analytics and Picasa Web Album (generous 1 GB of storage)
- Easy to make money with Google Adsense and other banner advertising scripts which can easily be incorporated into your blog
- It is possible to use your own custom domain rather than the default. For instance yoursite.com instead of yoursite.blogspot.com
- Blogger supports Mobile blogging
- Blogger gives users the option to tweak templates depending on their experience. Some knowledge of HTML, XML and CSS are needed. Alternatively you can upload your own template with built in features like advertising space, menus and other useful stuff. There are plenty of free templates for Blogger on the web. These can be customised to suit individual requirements
Comparison of the Blogger Platform with Wordpress
While other on-line platforms like Wordpress.org have greater functionality and are more highly customisable there is also a much heftier learning curve. The Wordpress interface is clunkier to use than the Blogger one in my opinion. On the otherhand Wordpress offers 3 GB for media such as photos and video while Blogger is limited to 1 GB so this may swing the balance if you are intending to use a lot of multi-media on your site. The main drawback of the online version of Wordpress though is that it does not allow webmasters to add advertising such as Google Adsense instead it puts advertising on your blog and Wordpress reaps the benefits.
If you choose a self hosted option like Wordpress.com the maintenance is higher and the learning curve increases too. I have a self hosted Wordpress site which needs a lot more maintenance than any of the other sites I run on Blogger (Blogspot). Plus it is time consuming to find, download and customise plugins to extend Wordpress functionality for self hosted sites. Then there are the obvious disadvantages of having to FTP file uploads rather than making changes online as you do with Blogger. My experience with hosting is that there can be a lot of server downtime which can affect your return traffic. Here I am talking about the vagaries of free hosting not paid hosting which is usually far more reliable.
While Wordpress is constantly being updated to eliminate security risks and bugs Blogger is stable and eliminates a lot of the upgrade headache. Blogger comes with a few really annoying glitches that I have found in the interface but in general it is a breeze to use. I have found Wordpress to be equally, if not more bug ridden, so don't let a few minor interface issues put you off. Nothing is ever perfect right?
One of my main frustrations with Blogger is that it is not particularly search engine friendly. It needs a lot of tweaking to provide search engine optimisation. Also some very handy widgets are left off the default configuration. I am hoping these will be added by Blogger further down the track. In particular, I mean the lack of related posts and most popular posts widgets. These features would be very nice to have and facilitate navigation of a blog. On the other hand Blogger does come with some pretty nice widgets which seem to be developing all the time and it also has the option to extend further with third party widgets.
To get the most out of Blogger as a blogging platform, you might want to consider installing a custom template for a more professional and unique look. If you use your own domain name many would be hard pressed to know what blogging platform is being used. However, you would need to dispense with the Nav Bar completely otherwise it would be apparent to visitors that your blogging platform is Blogger.
This article has covered the main features of a Blogger.com blog. It has discussed some of the advantages and disadvantages of blogging using the Blogger platform in comparison to other blogging platforms such as Wordpress.
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