BLOGGER VS WORDPRESS
Warning and disclaimer: There will be images included on this post that we had used years before (on Blogger) that we don’t own. They may still be found in old posts that migrated when we moved to WordPress and if any of those are yours, please let us know so that we can correct it. We are including in this post as part of our journey.
It’s kind of funny to look back now to what this blog used to look like many moons ago. We’ve always tried to have a certain style or look, trying to be sexier than cartoony. But it never fails to amaze me some of the things we have grown through. A big part of that design change came from our switch from Blogger to WordPress a few years ago. So I wanted to take a few moments to give you the differences and my personal opinion on where each stands out.
When we got the wild hair idea of starting a blog, Blogger was the standard for the most part because of the Blog Reader feature built in their system. Facebook pages, Twitter and all that weren’t as popular in terms of “following” a blog. The Google Reader allowed someone to follow the blogs they liked and then created an automated feed you could look at every day of all your favorite blogs. It was great for the reader and in the way of measuring how many followers you had back then (this is especially necessary when dealing with publishers) it was also great for the blogger. So we picked Blogger as our platform. This is a free system and it was fairly easy to learn to navigate their also free templates, making it our own and changing up graphics and sidebars and things like that. That’s about the extent of our design with Blogger. Nothing fancy, no automated features, we just worked with the graphics to get things to look the way we were happy with at the time. Even if we didn’t have full control over it.
As I was putting this together I dug around a bit on my computer and found these different “looks” we had with Blogger and I just wanted to reminisce a bit.
Our first ever header image before we really knew what we were doing. And the one we launched UTC with.
We quickly decided to adapt an identity for the blog because at the time we didn’t want our faces anywhere on the net. So we settled into the sexy redhead look because we were all very into urban fantasy and redheads, as you know, are a staple in the genre. A quick search online found this model and we adopted her as our very first Autumn.
We loved our Autumn and you can still see this live on our old Blogger site (here). But around the time we made the move to WordPress there was also a lot of talk in the community about copyright of images and not using Google Images for graphics etc. Which up to this point wasn’t something we were very well versed in. That’s a whole new topic for another day, though. Needless to say we corrected this situation once we made the move to WordPress.
But back to the differences.
The lack of control over the look and the lack of automated features that we could use was the main reason we decided to move to WordPress.
As a secondary reason was the unstable environment of Blogger. It seemed like every other day a blog would disappear overnight or was threatened to, due to “sexual” content or a breach of guidelines and things like that. And this was, in part, because of romance covers. Man boobs were apparently not a favorite thing of Blogger, amongst other things. When we looked at the blog we had built by then to almost 2000 followers, which in those days was pretty damn good, we were scared of not knowing what would happen tomorrow with us not owning where our blog was hosted. You are at the mercy of Blogger, basically. So that’s a big deal breaker as well.
And on the fact of the followers we already had, that was the biggest challenge we faced when deciding to move. Because at that time all that work and following would be lost and we were starting over relying solely on social media. A lot of our followers easily made the move with us and were happy with the changes (click here) and that was really the part that made this all work for us.
So the pros of Blogger:
- Easy to use
- Simple for a beginner to get into
- Not too many bells and whistles to worry about
Cons of Blogger:
- The uncertainty of Blogger/Google rules
- Lack of automated plugins that we were looking for
- Heavier to load a design on this platform
- When I didn’t know any better I was fine with it, but the admin function (managing sidebars, editing posts and pages, and menus, etc) is really not the smoothest it can be
- Reader commenting has been found to be a pain in the *ss
So we are ready to make the move to WordPress. It’s November of 2012, and guess what… It’s overwhelming! Believe me, if you’re starting out with WordPress is not a big thing but when you have thousands of posts, and tens of thousands of comments to migrate, the panic sets in. And this is about the time we decided a self hosted WordPress blog was the only way to go. This is what I recommend to anyone wanting to blog a bit more seriously. WordPress.com offers a free blog as well, but then you are almost back to the same issues as with Blogger and even some disadvantages in comparison. We already owned the domain name (underthecoversbookblog.com) and I had been working with a hosting company for many years from my previous work so I simply added in the blog to that. We used Hostgator.com and they were amazing at hand holding us through the migration process. They did most of the work for us, and with a few post exceptions everything has transferred properly. I do find on occasion an old post that doesn’t align properly with our design here in WordPress and one day when I have time I’ll try and fix all that. But for now…. It’s just fine the way it is. We didn’t loose any data. My only recommendation is that you have someone that knows what they’re doing migrate for you. It’s serious business.
Our first look when we made the move and this version of Autumn was the first one we actually bought from a stock site.
Designing in WordPress is so easy! Moving things around, adding things. It takes some getting used to because we were so used to Blogger and the way things are done there. But this learning curve moved quickly and then it was just all about the love. And plugins? It can become an addiction. I wanted a plugin for everything! I looked at the “coolest” templates and we had one that we were over the moon with for a while. But word of caution here. Don’t over do it. It’s so easy to get caught up in everything you CAN do and add that you can end up clogging up your site so much it’ll take ages to load. This ruins the reader experience and might detract people from visiting or staying long. This is one of the main reasons why when I found Nose Graze I’ve been so happy with everything from her line of products that I add to the blog that I don’t even look anywhere else if I can help it. Your template or theme, your functionality, your plugins, your graphics even. Everything needs to be lightweight to keep load time down. This is still an ongoing issue we try to work with here at UTC and maybe one day we’ll get it perfect. 😉
After many years of dark looks, we decided we needed a fresh and light new Autumn. And this was the end result. Autumn 3.0 launched for our 2014 Blogiversary.
3.0 didn’t stay on for long but we used that same light idea and Autumn 4.0 came around in December 2014.
Overall, we found WordPress EASIER to use once we knew what we were doing in here. The possibilities really are endless with your site. You can do anything you want. I look back and wonder how did I not know this to begin with. But all the steps we took to get here were necessary to know what worked and what didn’t for us. And from a visitor perspective, commenting is much easier on WordPress than it is on Blogger.
Pros of WordPress
- Easier reader experience (commenting, browsing, etc)
- Endless possibilities for design and functionality with an array of plugins to choose from
- Same endless possibilities with your template design
- Very organized and easy to use admin interface that lets you run every aspect of your site with ease
- Giddy excitement when a new plugin works for an idea you had in mind
- The perfect tool for Book Bloggers created by NoseGraze, The Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin.
- You control your content. There are still some general rules that your hosting provider will have you follow but since this is a book blog and not some other crazy site, you don’t have to worry about Blogger changing up regulations and deleting your site. Or even having the control to delete your site at any given point.
Cons of WordPress:
You get the picture right? Wordpress for the win. Having seen both, considering both front and back end, I have no doubt that WordPress is the right choice. The one I recommend for anyone looking to start a blog.
Now if you are thinking self hosting, picking the right host is important. And even more important as your site gets more traffic. We have crashed many a server in our days, and at some point a few years ago we had to say goodbye to HostGator, and have moved to RFEHosting and into a virtual private server. The ideal would be a WordPress specialized host (but those are very pricey) because there are still many things that can be streamlined based on the operating system of the server you’re on. But I won’t bore you with those details. If you are interested in a more technical post about choosing a hosting provider, let me know in the comments.
In September of 2015 we had another look change, yes again. Can you see the pattern here? This was Autumn 5.0
As you know, more recently for our blogiversary we had another look revamp. I have to admit, this is my favorite Autumn 6.0. I think it’s the eyes.
Think she will stick with us for a while? Tell us what you think!
And after all the digging around my computer, I was thinking about some of the blog features we used to have that are no longer. Let’s have a moment of silence for them.
Some of you may remember our magazine cover style insider that we posted at the beginning and end of the month. To start, it would give you a guide of what was to come that month, and at the end it served as a monthly wrap up post.
Every week we used to pick a male model to feature on the blog but once the whole copyright of images started becoming an issue this fun feature was nixed to avoid lawsuits. 😉 We do try to feature cover models on the blog from time to time, though.
And while we are on the subject of probably inappropriate pictures to post, our group signature from back in the day.
Have any questions? Leave me a comment and I’ll try to answer them! Also, we would love to hear your topic ideas for Blog It Out posts, so drop us a note. Want to read it from the real experts? I highly recommend (I sound like a broken record, don’t I?) NoseGraze and ParaJunkee for all your blogging tips and answers.
Now are you ready to get these giveaways started?
One winner will take home:
AIN’T SHE SWEET by Marie Force
FLY WITH ME by Chanel Cleeton
TESSA EVER AFTER by Brighton Walsh
EXPOSED by Jasinda Wilder
4 Winners, each will get a massive bundle of books!
Winners will be randomly picked from the Rafflecopter below.
DARE TO RUN by Jen McLaughlin
SPIDER GAME by Christine Feehan
DANGEROUSLY BROKEN by Eden Bradley
EVERYTHING I LEFT UNSAID by M. O’Keefe
NEVER TEAR US APART by Monica Murphy (ARC paperback version)
PERFECT BETRAYAL by Season Vining
BAD ROMEO by Leisa Rayven (Signed)
THE BEAUTIFUL ASHES by Jeaniene Frost (Signed)
THE ART OF TAMING A RAKE by Nicole Jordan
DARING IN A BLUE DRESS by Katie MacAlister
THE GIRL IN 6E by A.R. Torre
DO NOT DISTURB by A.R. Torre
JUST THIS NIGHT by Mari Madison (ARC paperback version)
DOMINATED by Maya Banks (ARC paperback version)
THE EXHIBITIONIST by Tara Sue Me
TOUGH ENOUGH by M. Leighton
DARKNESS by Karen Robards
SWEET RUIN by Kresley Cole
LAST MILE by Katie Ashley
MINE by HelenKay Dimon
UP IN FLAMES by Abbi Glines (ARC paperback version)
EXPOSED by Brighton Walsh
LOVE OF THE GAME by Lori Wilde
RIDE HARD by Laura Kaye
FILTHY RICH by Virna DePaul
A LADY BY MIDNIGHT by Tessa Dare (Signed)
BROKEDOWN COWBOY by Maisey Yates
THE MASTER by Tara Sue Me
THE SHADOW by Sylvain Reynard
SWEET AS SIN by J.T. Geissinger (Signed)
THE UNTAMED EARL by Valerie Bowman (ARC paperback version)
RIVAL FORCES by D.D. Ayres (ARC paperback version)
DARK PROMISES by Christine Feehan