Choosing a blogging platform can be quite a tricky task as there are a fairly large number to choose from.
We are going to be creating a series of articles on the Cosmic blog comparing different blogging and content management platforms so that you can make a decision on which one you want to adopt for your company or organisation.
This installment in the series will compare the two free blogging giants - Automattic's WordPress.com and Google's Blogger. Please note that in this edition we are covering the free WordPress.com rather than the self-hosted WordPress.org, though a comparison will come in the near future.
A great template is essential when starting any type of website - blogs in particular. You want the reader to be engaged from the word go, so a crisp, smart template will play a huge part in that.
WordPress.com and Blogger offer non-responsive and responsive templates - you should always opt for a responsive template. Responsive websites are websites which adapt to enable them to be viewed on different devices such as tablets and smartphones. The rise of the connected world in the past few years has meant that having a responsive website is an essential tool in your online ventures. Considering that 46% of mobile users report having difficulty interacting with a web page if your website isn’t responsive, you are losing out on an increasingly growing market.
Both systems offer responsive templates - Blogger here shows you what the site will look like on a phone
For me, WordPress trumps Blogger in this area for a number of reasons. WordPress has both quantity and quality over Blogger in this instance - WordPress.com has around 500 themes to choose from, with around 50% of them being free to use. Blogger has around 40 available templates to choose from, while these are all free, a lot of them have very similar layouts which means lots of Blogger sites look very similar. The diversity in the WordPress.com templates means you can accomodate for many different niches of blog which will reduce the chances of getting lots of identical looking blogs, and it will engage the audience more if you have a template which is themed on your target audience, i.e. a football themed blog.
Ease of use for admins
It's important for any website administrator to be able to easily access and amend your site. Luckily, both of these systems are very simple to use and can be picked up by people at almost any level with some practice. Both have clean interfaces with signposting to get you where you need to be - terminology used will differ on almost all content management systems, but a little time spent researching what these mean will do you a world of good.
No real coding knowledge is necessary for either of these systems; both use a WYSIWYG editor (what you see is what you get) which allows you to apply styling to text and insert images in a visual way (much like Microsoft Office programmes).
Both systems have a great WYSIWYG editor - this is WordPress'
This is great for beginners - you won't need to know any CSS as this is taken care of for you by the templates, and the majority of the HTML elements will be covered by the WYSIWYG editor already which makes editing extremely simple.
Both systems offer some extra features that you can add to your blog to make it that bit better. The ability to track your visitor statistics is a fundamental part of any website - WordPress.com offers it's own basic stats which can be accessed, whereas Blogger is owned by Google so offers simple Google Analytics integration which is arguably the best analytics service available (and it's free!). As Blogger is owned by Google, it's also easy to integrate with other Google services like AdSense and Google+ which are great features to add to your blog. WordPress is fairly limited with what else you can do on the free scale - they do allow extra features to be added in the form of plugins, Google Analytics and more, though ths can only be achieved by upgrading to their Business plan ($300.00 per year).
For these reasons, Blogger wins this one for us due to the excellent Google product integration.
Based on the points above, we rank WordPress as the overall best blogging platform in this bout. It's excellent array of themes and easy to use administration dashboard make it a great tool to use for beginners and experts.
In total, WordPress has been awarded 24/30, and Blogger has received a solid 21/30.
If you would like to know any more about which system would be best for you, please get in touch with the Cosmic team who will be more than happy to help.