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Four Reasons I’m moving from Blogger to self hosted WordPress.

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Blogger, a Google Product, is an easy way to start blogging. However, it has some severe limitations. Here is why I’m moving from Blogger to self hosted WordPress.

Blogger Advantages:

Blogger certainly has some advantages:

  • You don’t need to worry about hosting.
  • The learning curve for a basic blog is somewhat flatter than for WordPress

Blogger Disadvantages / WordPress Advantages:

However, at some point you will run into Blogger’s limitations. If you want to drive serious traffic to your site/blog you will need to move away from Blogger.

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Blogger SEO

The SEO issue hit me suddenly. I was working on standard white hat practices but traffic was slow to grow. I was at a party and wanted to show someone a particular post on my blog. I opened my blog on my phone and searched the blog for “Coast Guard Cutter”.  There weren’t that many total posts on the blog and the page and photos are in Google’s index. It should have been simple.
What came up was an archive page for the year. Scrolling through the posts for the year on a phone just didn’t work. What was happening was that Google was indexing some keywords under the yearly archive. This could be because I wasn’t using read more tags.  Without a read more, the entire post shows up on archives, labels and tags. However, I’m not sure that would have made a difference.

WordPress SEO

I am in the process of moving three blogs from Blogger to WordPress. What I have seen so far is that WordPress provides a lot more tools to help with SEO. For example Yoast will provide information that coaches you as to optimizing your posts for the search engines.
Blogger limits the length of your slug. That is the path and filename for your post. The better that matches the content the better your SEO results should be. WordPress allows for a much larger slug and permalink.

2. Mobile User Experience

Blogger limits the mobile layout

This was the tipping point that forced me to start down the Blogger to WordPress migration. A friend sent an email about a meme. I wanted to send him a collection of memes that I had on a blogger site. This should have been very simple as I had a Blogger label called “Memes”. I sent the link to him of blog.chrismendlatech.com/labels/memes . That works on a desktop. However, he accessed the link using his phone and got a ‘not found’ error. After some checking, I realized that the mobile rendering of Blogger sites did not allow for a display of labels. Worse, the mobile version didn’t understand labels so the link would fail. After some research I found that you could display labels for mobile users but I was still having trouble with the link.

WordPress allows complete control.

I am developing a WordPress blog. I looked at that on a mobile and the Tag Cloud and category lists were visible. I found that I can install plugins to tweak the mobile user experience.

3. Long Term Risk

Blogger could ‘go away’

Google, and other providers, could decide that they will no longer support a particular platform. In that case, you will be faced with figuring out how to migrate your site to a new platform and will be working with a deadline.

WordPress should be stable and available for the foreseeable future.

With the number of sites and blogs based on WordPress I doubt that the platform would ever disappear. Even if it did, the installed base would make certain that there would be migration paths.

4. Other tools.

Blogger does not offer extensions.

With Blogger, you are limited to the tools that are available. For example, your cannot replace the editor with one that will give you more control.

WordPress has thousands of plugins

With WordPress, functionality and user experience can be enhanced by means of plugins. Some examples are:
  • Advanced Editors such as TinyMce which provide a lot more control over formatting including GUI control of tables.
  • Sassy Social Media – There are plugins such as Sassy Social Media which allow you to control the way social sharing buttons are shown to visitors.
  • Custom Handling of 404 pages.
  • An Amazon Associates Link Builder that allows you to easily generate Amazon links relative to the content of a post.
  • Pixabay Images – A plugin that allows you to easily insert Creative Commons images with the proper attribution.
  • Yoast SEO – Provides a very granular interface for SEO

Summary

If you want to get a blog up and running quickly and have limited technical experience, Blogger might work. However, if you want a serious blog for your business or as a revenue producer (through advertising), then WordPress is a much better choice.
Note that this post is referring to the self hosted WordPress sites. This is where you install WordPress on your hosting not WordPress.com which is similar to Blogger.
Note – As of January 12, 2018, this blog is hosted on Blogger. I plan on migrating to WordPress by the end of January 2018

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