Rent or Own, Blogger or Self-Hosting

| May 26, 2011
WordPress vs Blogger

WordPress vs. Blogger

I often get emails asking whether or not Google’s Blogger is a good platform on which to begin a blog. My answer to this question is…it depends.

Removing ourselves from the internet for a moment, let’s think about Tommy who just turned 18 and wants to move from his parent’s house. He has a little money saved in the bank and saw a great deal on a house. Should he buy a house or rent an apartment?

Switching back to the cyber world, Sally is new to the online arena and has discovered blogging. She also heard that some folks make money by blogging and she wants to join the ranks. She’s not too familiar with the ins and outs of the internet but is wondering should she create a Blogger blog or should she purchase a self-hosting account?

Ease of Transition

In the above scenarios, Tommy and Sally have the financial ability to purchase the Rent or Buyobjects of their desire. 18 year-old Tommy who has never lived on his own or paid a bill has enough money and parental backing to purchase his first home, but is it a wise move?

Sally has the cash to purchase a domain name and hosting account, but she doesn’t understand what uploading, downloading, hyper-linking or even URL means. Do you think it’s wise for her to self-host her blog?

Too Much Too Soon

We’re in a microwave society and we want things yesterday. Unfortunately, getting some things too soon is a recipe for failure. Instead of spending time with his friends, school work and the ladies, Tommy is bogged down handling the responsibilities of home ownership. He can always call on his parents for help, but he left home for a reason. The last thing he wants is mom and dad meddling in his private affairs.

Sally will quickly become overwhelmed with the back end requirements of setting up a new blog on a self-hosted account. Feeling overwhelmed, Sally soon realizes that she doesn’t enjoy all of the stuff associated with blogging Photo by: Joan Kocurand  gives up.

Baby Steps

Now let’s get back to the original question. Which platform should a blogger choose Blogger or self-hosing? The answer depends on experience and purpose. If you’re brand new to blogging and don’t feel comfortable playing around under the hood of a blog, then Blogger is the way to go. As you learn and grow, you’ll know when and if it’s time to graduate to self hosting.

Some folks start with Blogger and remain with Blogger just as some folks rent an apartment and never find it necessary to buy a house. You have to do what fits your blogging/living style.

One word of warning. Sometimes tenants are evicted (usually with good reason) and sometimes Google shuts Blogger blogs down.

Tags: , , ,

Category: Blog, Blogger.com, WordPress

About the Author ()

Felicia A. Williams is a freelance writer and blogger. She spends the majority of her time with her family and writing. If she's not writing or commenting on NJFM, she's either outside smelling the roses or writing articles for one of her other sites.

Comments (59)

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  1. Joni says:

    Good discussion ya’ll. Does anyone know if your up front pay Demand Studio articles written for LIVESTRONG can be used after a certain length of time? For all the “put down” I’ve gotten from certain writers that only write for print magazines, I saw one of those writers use a LIVESTRONG article as a reference last week for her blog. I thought that was kind of hypocritical.
    I applied and wrote for LIVESTRONG through DS for about 8 months and the work that went into my articles was as in depth as papers I had to write in college (especially for only $25). I never wrote for ehow or got into the residual part of D/S. I applied directly to LIVESTRONG through DS. I didn’t even realize eHow was a part of DS for a while…duh.
    I would just like to reuse my articles when I open a blog. Is it true (as someone told me) that you can submit to a site such as Hub Pages or Suite AND put the same article on your blog and it does not count as plagiarism? Am I making any sense?
    I swear I’m getting foggier and foggier.
    Thanks,
    Joni

    • Felicia says:

      Joni, once you accept payment from DMS for your articles, they are no longer yours. You may not use them elsewhere.

      As far as writing an article on Suite or HubPages and later putting it on your blog, you might be able to do that with HubPages, but as Grandma mentioned, Suite has exclusive online rights for 1 year.

  2. Grandma says:

    I frankly do not care…mostly I would probably be updating and otherwise improving or shortening the articles; taking out some links and putting in others. Just have to give Suite credit as first electronic publisher.

    Besides, there is no way they will be able to police all the articles that writers are going to repost as soon as they can. Suite income has …well…first two weeks last Feb I made $54. This whole past month of Nov I only made $4.71 with almost twice as many articles! (91 now).

    Google is not the only bear in the woods. They may even be falling down as a search engine source now.

    Just ’cause they don’t like something doesn’t mean we can’t do that thing. I am the original author; I feel I should be able to do whatever. Also, you can sell your articles to print publications, etc. Need to look at your individual contract; some are different as I understand things. I think mine is one of the newer ones.

  3. Grandma says:

    Duh…guess my mind is bloggy today. I just had a not so small setback. I did forget and yes, I will go reread it right now. Then I think I will be blogging the rest of this week.

    Remember in “Network” – I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” ???

    It’s been almost a year since I put my first 50 articles up at Suite; now I can use them for myself..well, in Feb. Got to get ready. This will be a very interesting month.

  4. Grandma says:

    Now I think I am ready to dip into something new. Just came across this post about Blogger, thank you. I am wondering if this might be the right place for me to begin, with a blog from Blogger? Sounds like it is cheap and easy, always of interest when I don’t know what I am doing.

    Do you get signed up for AdSense when you get a Blogger blog? How do people find your blog?

    I know I will have more questions if/when I do this. Right now is a really good time for me to do it because it is a slow time of year, etc.

  5. Angela says:

    Every since I’ve been blogging my platform of choice has been Blogger. I’ve set up a few sites with it and have always found it to be user friendly, and the longer that I use it, the better I get at setting up and tweaking my sites in more efficient blocks of time.

    Because I’m finally ready to expand and develop multiple niche websites I decided to take the good advice offered here and set up my first self-hosted site using WordPress. Whew! Let me just say that it’s been an eye opener.

    I consider myself fairly technically savvy and usually have no problems in transitioning from platform to platform in most things tech. On yesterday I gathered all of my research together, purchased my domain, signed up with my Web host (BTW, thank you, Felicia, for the discount coupon that you offered us for Host Gator. I got a nice reduction in the price of my plan on checkout), and downloaded the WordPress platform onto my host site. It was slow going because I was trying to take my time and ensure that I did everything just right, but I got through it in a relatively decent span of time for a newbie to the process.

    Then the real work began–choosing my theme and customizing it to get the basic layout to mirror my vision for it. Let me just say that it took me alllll day … 🙁 I literally didn’t go to bed until close to 3:00 a.m. My head hurt, stomach was in a knot, blood pressure was up, and I was irritated beyond words (not the norm for me).

    No doubt it’s going to get easier as time goes on; as a matter of fact, by the time that I went to bed I had mastered a number of basics, the site was live, my ads were placed, and I’ve already set up a few (albeit mediocre) articles on it which I’ll be revising.

    I know that it will all be worth it in the end and that your first is always the hardest, but I won’t even try to fool you … starting out on WordPress self-hosted is no joke. Lol.

    On a side note, after seeing how this process works from beginning to end I now understand how the content sites are making money hand over fist. Folks, as writers we’re giving away too much money by using our skill and talent to populate other people’s websites for pennies on the dollar. This isn’t brain surgery. Once you get past the initial learning curve for setting up your own site the rest is gravy–placing high-quality content (our area of expertise) and doing it all over again, or as Felicia would say, rinse and repeat.

    Felicia, I’m so thankful to you for showing us the way. Duplication of effort is one of the surest paths to success. Keep doing what you’re doing because I’m right behind you.

    Y’all please excuse me now. After the day I had yesterday, not getting enough sleep today, and penning this long comment I think that I’m going to take a nap. Lol.

    • Felicia says:

      Angela, I have to laugh! I remember those days. When I created my first WordPress blog I stayed up half the night trying to learn everything! It sounds like you took your time and learned what is necessary so that when it comes time to wash, rinse and repeat you have the blueprint.

      Your comment will do much to encourage other folks who are afraid to take the plunge.

      Congrats on taking such a huge step! You’re on your way. Hope you were able to get the much-needed rest. 🙂

  6. Ken Muise says:

    Sweeet, thanks…
    Ken Muise recently posted…The 4 “C”s of Blogging for DadsMy Profile

  7. Ken Muise says:

    Felicia,

    I can’t remember where I read it…it may have been here. Someone, perhaps you, stating that they made mistakes with their first blogs, etc.

    My question this week (this must be getting annoying for you!) is whether to “kill your darlings” or let them flounder in blog embarrassment for eternity…

    Thanks

    Ken
    Ken Muise recently posted…Blogging Toolbox for DadsMy Profile

    • Felicia says:

      LOL! Keep the questions coming, Ken.

      Nope, I don’t kill my little darlings. Apparently I have no shame because I let them limp around the internet showing the world just bad things can get. I find it interesting that my old embarrassments not only seem to gain a steady flow of traffic, but they also continue to earn money.

      From time to time as interests and time permit, I add new content to help minimize the old embarrassments.

  8. Felicia, Thanks for the site link. I had already followed Kidgas on google a couple of days ago. I was really encouraged by his site. If anybody has any pointers, or have noticed any problems with my site, please let me know. Blogspot question: I keep reading that an emailing list is essential to building traffic/following. What is a good FREE application for this that is blogger compatible? One comes with blogger, but I’m not real sure how it is suppose to work. Thanks!

    • Felicia says:

      If you follow NJFM for a while, you’ll realize that I don’t always follow what “they say” you should do. I have an email list because “they said” I should. My readers could tell you that I infrequently use it. I still haven’t quite figured out how I want to use it. Maybe someone with more mailing list experience can offer a few gems of wisdom here.

      My answer to all non technical blogging problems is to write engaging quality content. Everything else will fall into place if you have that as a foundation.

      As far as following on Twitter (I removed the Twitter handle – don’t want to be bombarded with Twitter follow requests), I’m not a twitterer. I tried it, but I find all of the social networking stuff too noisy for me. It works well for folks who like it, but the never ending chatting and Twittering and Facebooking is more than I’m willing to handle.

      • Actually, I never joined a social networking site until I started to blog. I did this (twitter) to generate traffic (very little to date). I too find the whole concept a bit obnoxious, and noisy. I prefer to build actual relationships with the people who are interested, not just faking it for the sake of business. I have not tried the email list thing, because I HATE junk mail myself. Whether it be snail or electronic mail. I’m glad my resistance to social networking and mailing lists does not mean that I am doomed for failure. I may give up the twitter thing in short order, we’ll see. Thanks!

  9. I was getting ready to post a comment on another one of your posts to ask this very question. You guys seem to have answered it here though.
    I’ve only been blogging (this time) for a little over a week and have been utilizing blogger with hubpages. I have an RSS feed to my blog on a few of my hubs, and it seems to be generating some traffic. I have found that blogging (or anything else) is a lot lower stress when your not shelling out anything at the start. I’m hoping to initially make enough so that I can invest in hosting and domain. Until then, I will just be patient. Thanks for the encouraging info though! -By the way, I enjoyed your e-book.

    • Felicia says:

      Welcome to NJFM, Believer. You’re definitely heading in the right direction.

      There’s another community member here, Kidgas, who is doing just what you’re seeking to do. He started with a free blog and HubPages and has now earned enough money through those venues (and a couple of others) to purchase his own domain and hosting account. Check out Kidgas’ blog to read about his journey.

  10. Anna says:

    I went back and forth on whether to make the switch for a few months and then finally did it in April. I can honestly say it’s the best move I ever made for my WAH blog. I don’t know why, maybe it’s better optimization, but my traffic since moving over to WP has been incredibly good and I’ve also seen a significant increase in my Adsense earnings thanks to being able to better customize my ad placement. I agree that WP would be incredibly overwhelming for a new blogger, but once you see that your site needs to grow, it’s a good choice to make. There are lots of themes out there that are very friendly to WP beginners as well. I’m using Flexibility 3 on all my sites, and the customization process with that is very similar to the ease associated with customizing a Blogger blog.

  11. Ken says:

    You can set up both Blogger and WP to look and act like a website rather than a blog. Use a static page for your front page and instead of adding posts, add pages. Most of your readers won’t know that it is a Blogger or WP. The links that Felicia gave are excellent as well.
    Ken recently posted…Crossing The Bridge To SuccessMy Profile

    • Kim Mclendon says:

      Thanks ya’ll,

      I’ve gotten so frustrated with trying to get up a site, that I am probably over thinking it. Thanks so much for the link and the ideas about customizing WP to be a regular website. That would really help, as well. I’ll try both and see what works.

  12. Kim Mclendon says:

    I am not fond of either one… well honestly I’ve not given word press a fair chance, but I don’t see what the big deal is. Word press is not pretty, and I am mad at blogger and their haughty attitude. I would like a third choice.

    I used to love front page and set up so many very pretty sites, that were interesting and informative. I have heard nothing but bad things about how front page loads, and how it hurts you in searches that I have stopped using it. It is a real pain in the butt to load onto a web service provider, but once it’s up it looks so great. But of course I want to get hits, so that’s the object right?

    I happened up on a site called Tumblr today. It ranks good on Google. I don’t fully understand what they are doing, but it looks like an alternative blogging possibility. IDK about profits, but it can be monetized from what I gather. Has anyone tried it?
    Does anyone have a viable and pretty option to Word press and blogger?

    I’d like something that works like an actual website, not a blog. I want to be able to just insert content and ads anywhere I want, and not have to see good articles scroll off the page, and disappear to archives. I want pages and a menu with up to 12 buttons, I wish I could make my own custom buttons like I did with front page. I’m up for suggestions?

  13. I’ve tried both and I love Blogger best. It’s just so darn easy and I really don’t have the technical skill for anything else. LOL

  14. Terr says:

    Thank You, Thank You, THANK YOU!!!!

    I have both a WP blog that I need to do something with, and several bloggers. No doubt that I feel more confident with my Bloggers. However, I can’t do with them what I can with my own hosted WP blog. If only my WP blog had the ease of the Bloggers…that would be heaven, and you’d never be able to pull me away from it.

    Now, I will get past the learning curve I suppose. The thing with me is that when I ask people questions about WP, I’m asked all this techie stuff, and I say “I’m just a writer, I don’t knoooooooooowww what you mean!” I think people are surprised when I tell them that I don’t need a lot of stuff for WP.

    I don’t need a lot of glitter, fireworks, stars, graphics, etc. I just want a half decent image, and I can take care of the rest with great content. My main concern is the content as a writer, you know? I’m sharing information, so I think that my readers don’t need all the extras that WP could handle, but that I don’t want to handle or be bothered with.

    The analogies are great, and what I decided is to use Blogger for my personal use, and for a passion project that won’t have advertising. But I will use entries on my passion project blog, and reference them on my WP blog. I will link them, so that people can find my Blogger via my WP.

  15. Amanda S. says:

    And now a few words about why I’m going back to Blogger.

    A few days ago, I left a comment on one of the posts here about how I’d just started my first WordPress blog. I have a new Blogger blog with only a few posts on it, and I thought it would be a good candidate for WordPress. I got my hosting and installed WordPress with one click install (easy as pie!) and I was on my way.

    Unfortunately, things didn’t work out quite the way I’d planned. Why? Time.

    I do my online writing thing around a full-time job and other commitments, you see. Only so many hours in a day! And I realized today that I’d spent about 10 days testing and tweaking various free WP themes (gotta watch that budget!) on my blog and was still far from happy with the results. It’s not that I couldn’t figure out what to do- I’m pretty tech-savvy. It’s just that I couldn’t find a theme that I found aesthetically appealling that could also do all the things I wanted it to. And it turns out that “fully customizable” with free themes seems to mean “customizable to a point”. All in all, my Blogger version of the blog was still much nicer, and had all the features I wanted.

    So, after about 10 days of fiddling around with WordPress (and not getting any writing or networking done!) I’m back to Blogger. I figure if I hit one out of the park with one of my blogs, I can always export it elsewhere later if I need to (or hire a developer to do it for me!).
    Amanda S. recently posted…Sometimes Renting Is BetterMy Profile

    • Felicia says:

      Yep, Amanda, that’s one aspect of setting up your own blog. You’ve got to find a template that you’re happy with.

      In my first year or so of WordPress blogging I used free themes. However, the more I learned, the more I realized that eventually I’d have to pay for a theme.

      I use Solostream because I’ve tried other paid themes and liked them the best. There are things I have to tweak to get the themes the way I want them, but I’ve been using them long enough where I have made notes on what to tweak every time I set up a blog. I bought the license that allows me to use the theme on as many blogs as I wish. They had a 3 for 1 sale and I bought 3 different themes for the price of one, so not all of my WP blogs have the same theme.

      You’re wise in going back to what works for you. When you have more time you can always switch. Thanks for sharing your experience. Your experience will help other readers to decide whether or not to branch out.

  16. Reena says:

    Well, I did everything I should do on paper. The hits are coming, but the money isn’t. And that is what is discouraging 🙁 However, I don’t intend to change my style and will continue to work. Hopefully, one day things will take off for me.
    Reena recently posted…4th Annual Northern Virginia Summer Brewfest- June 25 &amp 26- 2011My Profile

    • Felicia says:

      Hang in there, Reena. Some blog topics aren’t a big money maker from the AdSense point of view, but maybe if you found quality affiliate products related to your blog, you might be able to earn more. If you’re getting the hits, you’re halfway there.

  17. Amberr says:

    Felicia, you are on fire with these great posts lately, or maybe it’s because your posting has aligned with what I’ve been up to. I have blogger now but know that I eventually will be migrating. Thanks for addressing how you do this. I’m almost 30 posts in, so it’s almost time to transition. Thanks again!
    Amberr recently posted…Yakiniku Japanese Steakhouse and Family TiesMy Profile

    • Felicia says:

      Amberr, I really have to thank Bill for asking the question. If he didn’t ask the question, I would have left the pertinent information out.

      Thanks Bill!

  18. I always recommend that new bloggers get a hosting plan and self-host a WordPress blog. it can be super simple to set up if you have a good host. Transitioning from a Blogger domain and blog to a self-hosting one isn’t that simple — and you often lose your audience when you move. I wish I’d started my WAHM blog on my own domain, like I did my Residual Income Web blog. Lesson learned!
    Maria (WriterGig) recently posted…Five Reasons Why You Should Write for ResidualsMy Profile

  19. Joni says:

    Felicia
    This post is perfect timing. I am finally ready and able to focus the majority of my time writing and I am going to start a blog on Blogger June 1st. My kids are grown, my son is on the other side of the country and my daughter works a lot. I have to write at some upfront sites and have several small “jobs” (dog walking, house sitting or cleaning nothing regular) to payment rent and utilities.

    Your post was perfect about which to do first, blog or set up my own site. I am definitely going to join Blogger first. I was already writing for LIVESTRONG and added Textbroker and plan to add 2 or 3 more up fronts. I will start my blog. Then I will study up on the “residual stuff” and read through this site and several others about which sites are good for residual income.

    Your blog and the replies just added to my excitement because I started all the planning today and have a notebook for all my planning. I will keep ya’ll updated if you like. I am so lucky I found your site which has led me to others. It just “feels” right. I want to learn and help others like you and your readers do also.

    Keep up the good work.
    Regards,
    Joni

    • Felicia says:

      Joni, that’s good news. You know it’s funny. With all of the modern technology, nothing beats a notebook. I have my purple notebook that follows me wherever I go. 🙂

  20. Bill Swan says:

    Question for both you and Ken – if a blog starts to take off, how do you transfer it to a paid domain and hosting? I like Blogger for free sites, but prefer using WordPress for my own sites.

    • Felicia says:

      Bill, that’s a good question.

      Blogger has an option under the Settings tab called Basic. There you’ll find the option to import, export or delete a blog.

      What I’ve done in the past is export my old blog to the new location and keep the old blog. I would then modify each of the old blog posts by removing 85 to 90% of the text for each post. All I leave is a teaser and a link to the rest of the post at the new blog location.

      On another transferred blog, I included wording at the top of each post directing the reader to the new blog address. My intention was to go back and remove 85 to 90% of the content, but as I have just checked the blog, I never got around to it. That will be something added to my “2 Do” list.

      The final posts on my old Blogger accounts provide an explanation that the blog has moved giving the links to the new location. I leave the blog on Blogger and in the sidebar I use the new blog’s RSS feed with a title “Posts from [BLOGNAME]’s New Location.”

      The RSS feed displays the post date, title and a paragraph of the content from the new location. This way if anyone ends up on my old blog, they know that it has moved, where it has moved to and a brief synopsis of my new posts. Usually folks click over to the new location.

      The interesting thing I’ve found in doing it this way is that I don’t lose my readers and I also get income from both sources. I don’t remove my Infolinks, AdSense or Amazon links. I provide full disclosure that the Blogger blog isn’t going to be updated and where to find the new info. It’s amazing how many folks still click on ads on the old blog.

      • kidgas says:

        You really need to make a complete post on this in case someone misses it in the comments here. The information is too good to get lost in the shuffle.
        kidgas recently posted…What I Have Learned in Two Years OnlineMy Profile

        • Felicia says:

          You’re right. I’ll do a full post on it next week.

          • Felicia, do you know if you use the export feature if ti has to be to a clean, empty domain or would it work to import a Blogger blog to a domain that already had WordPress with a number of blog posts of its own published there?
            Maria (WriterGig) recently posted…Five Reasons Why You Should Write for ResidualsMy Profile

          • Felicia says:

            I’ve only tried exporting it to an empty domain, but my gut tells me it shouldn’t be a problem because the posts and comments are time stamped. However, if you’re afraid it will screw up an established domain do a little blog testing.

            I don’t know which hosting company you use, but try creating a subdomain under your main domain and setup WordPress on it. Set up a theme and make a few test posts. Once you’re done with the posts, export your Blogger blog into the test domain. You’ll see if it overwrites the existing posts (which I don’t think it should) or imports as it should.

            Once you’re satisfied, delete the subdomain and go for the real thing. I love this Internet stuff because you can always test things out.

          • Bill Swan says:

            That’s an old mail order strategy Felicia! Have an existing brand introduce a product – if the product takes off, make it a unique brand – if not, no great loss in testing.
            Bill Swan recently posted…Please Excuse the Technical DifficultiesMy Profile

    • Ken says:

      Felicia gives great advice Bill. As for me, I do a transfer. I’ll simply get a domain and start a WP blog and leave the Blogger alone. I’ll add a widget on the Blogger to point to the new site and I’ll add a link in the Hubs to point to the new site. What can I say, I’m lazy..lol. But if the free stuff gets traffic, why mess with it? Just enjoy the traffic from all sources. 🙂
      Ken recently posted…It’s Not Always About Making MoneyMy Profile

  21. Ken says:

    You are FAR from being a slacker. Me, I’m just a boring guy with too much time on my hands..lol No Felicia, you are an inspiration and very motivational. You show through your words and blog, exactly what it takes and also allow people to see the reality of working online. You are on my top list of motivational people. Waiting for you to start holding teleseminars..lol
    Ken recently posted…Can You Make Money At Revenue Share Sites Post-PandaMy Profile

    • Felicia says:

      It’s funny you should say that. Not that I’m considering a teleseminar or anything like that, but the ideas are flowing so fast and furiously through my brain that I’m finding it hard to capture them all on paper, even with voice recognition software. I have to find alternative methods for getting my ideas out there. I’m working on a few ideas while trying to put the rest on hold for the moment.

  22. Ken says:

    I have found both useful. My personal method is to test out the neighborhood with a “rental” before “purchasing” property. I will take an idea and create a small 5 page Blogger blog and also create about 5 articles on Hub Pages. If the keywords and the topic show some life after a couple of weeks, I’ll purchase a WordPress and domain. If not, I’m not out any money. Blogger is good for first-timers and those dipping their toes in. Yea Google will shut a Blogger blog down without warning, but as you said most of the time it is for good reason.
    Ken recently posted…Can You Make Money At Revenue Share Sites Post-PandaMy Profile

    • Felicia says:

      Ken, I’m like you, but I’m a bit lazier. If I find that an article I’ve written is doing well in the traffic and income area, I then create a WordPress blog around it. Your method is wise especially from an expense standpoint. By creating a Blogger blog, you get to earn money with no financial expenditure.

      I’ve got to say that you’re probably one of the most prolific guys I know. I’m amazed at how many articles you produce. The thought of creating a 5-page test blog along with 5 HubPages has me exhausted already. 🙂 I must be a slacker. I average about 2 articles/posts a day 5 days a week.

  23. kidgas says:

    Starting with blogger or even putting up a few HubPages can be a great start and allow you to learn some things about how the internet works. I am still learning but now after 2 years think it is time to move out of the apartment and go with WordPress and a hosting account. I know that I will continue to learn and make constant improvements. Such is the nature of life.
    kidgas recently posted…What I Have Learned in Two Years OnlineMy Profile