Blogger or WordPress? That is the question!
We promised that a Blogging series was on the way, and here it is! Blogging is something most of us know we should be doing, but struggle to stay on top of. There are so many questions such as “what platform should I use?” and “how often do I need to blog?”. We are going to address these questions throughout our series, but join us in our Facebook group www.growwithusmastermind.com to start the conversation now. It’s also a great place to get support and advice when you are struggling to build your Teacher Pay Teachers businesses.
Ok, get ready everyone. Today we are addressing the popular debate: Blogger vs WordPress. We were a little nervous to record this episode of our podcast because we’ve witnessed this debate get a little heated between Blogger fans and WordPress fans. But, the bottom line is there is no one-size fits all solution.
We were excited to have Danielle Knight from Study All Knight join us for this conversation. Danielle has used both platforms over the years. She was originally coming on as our Blogger expert, but actually just completed a relaunch on WordPress. She has a lot of knowledge on both and shared why she recently decided it was time to jump back over to WordPress.
The pressure to switch to WordPress
If you have had a website for any length of time and aren’t using WordPress you have probably felt the pressure to switch at one time or another. It seems that everyone is being pushed over to that platform, but there usually isn’t a lot of explanation given as to why you should switch. The truth is, we don’t think everyone needs to be on WordPress.
For some of you, Blogger is going to better. For others, WordPress is going to be what you need to accomplish your blogging goals. It truly depends on what you want from your blog.
What we are using on our own blogs
Angie and I both use WordPress on our own blogs as well as on the Grow With Us website. We made this decision because there are a few things that we want to accomplish on our blogs that are easier to do using WordPress. While we might be able to do some of these things on Blogger it would require hiring a designer to do the work for us or having to find a workaround. But, we’ll dive more into that later.
Angie actually found Blogger to be a little confusing to use but knows that there are plenty of people that have had the exact opposite experience.
Blogger is actually owned by Google. That means it comes up easily in Google searches which is always a good thing when you are trying to grow your TpT business. I really like how Danielle explained it. She said, “Blogger is owned by Google. It is a ‘what you see is what you get’ HTML editor for you to format a blog that focuses on content.” And, she’s exactly right.
If all you want to do on your blog is publish content (blog posts) then Blogger is great to use. It will allow you to accomplish exactly what you are trying to do. If you are looking for a basic blog then this platform is easy to set up and maintain.
Things you should know about Blogger:
- You don’t “own” your site – When you have a site on Blogger you don’t “own” your site. You can find a lot of information out there about why this is an issue, but I don’t think this is a good enough reason to switch. When I was using Blogger this never created a problem for me.
- There are limits to what you can do – Blogger pretty much limits you to writing blog posts. If you want to change the design of your blog you are going to need to know HTML or outsource the work to a designer. You can’t do more complex things on your site.
- Bogger still has great SEO abilities – Using Blogger doesn’t limit your ability to optimize your blog with SEO. You will need to know the right tricks to use, but it can be done.
- You can easily see some analytics – Blogger makes it easy to track the basic stats and analytics for your blog. This was something that we all enjoyed while being on Blogger.
If you want a blog then Blogger can be a great option. However, if you want to add layers and turn your blog into a “site” then the WordPress platform might be a better fit. If you want to add things like video, opt-ins for a newsletter, freebies, and password protected pages, WordPress is going to make life a lot easier for you. If you aren’t interested in doing any of these extras than Blogger can save you time and money.
By far the main reason that we see in switching to WordPress is that there are a lot more options. Where Blogger is great if you just want to put out blog posts, WordPress allows you to turn your blog into something more.
Things you should know about WordPress:
- Plugins make life easy – Plugins are a big reason on why I love WordPress. If you have an idea of something you want to do with your blog on Blogger it might be possible if you know coding or hire a designer to do it for you. If you are using WordPress you just need to look for a plugin. By using plugins I don’t have to code or find a developer and I can still constantly update my site with new ideas. WordPress is designed to remove the HTML headaches.
- But, updating plugins can cause problems – We LOVE plugins, but there are times when you update a plugin or add a new one and it doesn’t play nice with other plugins that are on your site. When this happens some part of your site is not going to work properly. To fix it you have to deactivate each plugin one at a time to find the problem or pay someone to help you out.
- WordPress opens up your options – There are many things you can do on WordPress that you can’t do on blogger. For example, I wanted to include an opt-in at the end of each post but wanted it to be formatted to look like it was under the post and not a part of the post. This was possible with a plugin (yep, back to the plugins) on WordPress but just looked like part of the blog post on Blogger.
- SEO is made easy – Through the use of a plugin, SEO is made really easy on WordPress. All you need to do is enter in the keyword that you want to use and the plugin will give you ideas on how to improve your SEO. You can accomplish the same thing on Blogger, but it’s less work on WordPress and you don’t have to worry about forgetting about it.
- Google Analytics isn’t always user-friendly – Most WordPress bloggers are using Google Analytics. I’ll be honest, it can be overwhelming to sort through all the information that is included. It’s a complex system. Angie doesn’t mind it because she knows the few things that she wants to look at and then just ignore the rest. If you want something that is more user-friendly there are many different plugins to choose from.
- Hosting costs money – Blogger is a free platform and WordPress is not. You have to pay for hosting. When I started out I was paying somewhere around $12/year for my hosting. It sounded like a good deal until my site was continually down. Now I use a traffic based plan for my hosting. I pay around $80/month for it, but it’s reliable and fast. I no longer have to worry about my site being down which leads to lost income. The things that I’m doing on the site make it worth the money.
Why Danielle switched over to WordPress
Danielle was pretty open with us during the podcast on the fact that she likes Blogger. So, why did she make the switch to WordPress? She was giving a presentation where she was encouraging people to go download a resource. She was sending everyone to Dropbox because Blogger didn’t have the ability for her to offer this through her own site. The number of people trying to access it at once overloaded the server and people weren’t able to access it. This was during a live session which created quite a mess.
If she had been on WordPress she could have created a password protected landing page which would have been a lot easier. This helped her to see that there were things she was wanting to do on her blog that Blogger just couldn’t accommodate.
In the past, Danielle had switched from Blogger to WordPress another time and had a horrible experience. If you don’t package up the Blogger site correctly it isn’t going to move to WordPress correctly. In the past when she converted her site the issues that she had resulted in her site being down for 4 months! When your site is used to send traffic to your TpT business this can be a huge loss.
Because of her past experience, Danielle decided to find an experienced WordPress designer to help her this time. She did research and then reached out to a designer. This time her transition was seamless.
Tips on Making the Switch from Blogger to WordPress
Switching from Blogger to WordPress can be a headache if you don’t know what you are doing. When Angie made the switch she only had a few posts on her blog. This made the switch relatively easy for her, but she still had problems with her images coming over correctly. This could have been a disaster if she had a lot of posts already up on her site.
I did the work myself to bring my site over to WordPress and also had plenty of issues to work through. While you definitely can make the move on your own it is time-consuming and best if you are experienced in that type of work. If not, we recommend that you hire someone to do it for you.
Be careful who you hire
But, it’s important to know that it’s not always simple to hire someone. There are designers that design in Blogger and want to do WordPress but aren’t as familiar as they should be with the platform and processing of moving a site there. When that happens things don’t migrate over correctly. It can cost thousands of dollars to convert your site to WordPress with a designer. You may be tempted to go with the cheapest designer but you want to be really careful who you hire.
Make sure that you do your research before hiring someone. Check their portfolio and talk to their clients. You want to hear how the actual process went. Anyone can show a good final product, but that doesn’t give you a clear picture of how long it took and if the process was smooth.
Why you might want to expand your blog
Danielle remembers presenting on blogging at TpT conference in 2015. She was really into brand awareness and writing blog posts that included products in the blog posts. At the time people thought it was wrong to have products on the blog. But, now your blog is your business page. You can use it to:
- Establish yourself as an expert
- Build your brand awareness
- Sell your products
- Provide your followers with valuable information like tips and tricks to use in the classroom
It’s important to know what your purpose is for your blog. Know who you are blogging for. If you are going to invest time and money into something, you need to be able to get a return on it. You need to be tracking that return by knowing what you are making compared to what you are spending.
When I add up everything I spend on my blog it’s around $150-$200 a month. That might sound like a lot to you, but I can look at my TpT dashboard and see that it brings me a lot of traffic. I engage teachers through my blog, email list, and social media and help them come full circle. It gives me three opportunities to reach my audience.
A few resources for WordPress
Since WordPress can be more complicated than Blogger I wanted to point you to a few resources that we talked about in the podcast.
I’m a big fan of Thrive Architect. It allows you to do the same things as LeadPages but saves you money. It cost around $70 and is a one time fee. I use Thrive Architect to build my homepage, create landing pages, and custom image or video galleries. I also use Thrive Leads because it provides a seamless integration with my email list.
Chalk and Apple Designs
Danielle highly recommends Kristen Doyle at Chalk and Apples for Blogger designs. She personally used her when her site was on Blogger. Kristen is incredibly knowledgeable and friendly. Here is her Facebook support group for people who use Blogger.
Georgia Lou Studios
We love the look of premade Blogger themes designed by Georgia Lou Studios. They can help you make your Blogger site resemble a WordPress site.
The bottom line about Blogger vs WordPress
Here’s the bottom line, the Blogger vs WordPress decision is completely up to you. Can WordPress do more than Blogger? Sure. But, if you don’t need all the extras that come along with WordPress there’s no reason to waste your time with it.
Blogger is a great simple option for blogging. If all I was doing was writing blog posts on my page then I would still use Blogger. But, if you are looking to add more features and have more options on your blog than it might be worth the switch to WordPress. There are plenty of great designers and resources out there for you to access. Always do your research first before making a commitment.
Join us over on the Mastermind group to continue the debate on Blogger vs. WordPress. But remember the right answer is on an individual basisYouOu need to choose the one that is right for you, don’t make the switch just because your friends are.
Don’t forget to check back in a few weeks to hear the next episode of the podcast when we continue our blogging series.