Thirteen Reasons Why WordPress is Superior To Blogger
An entry in Litemind’s Lists Group Writing Project and included in Second Edition of WordPress Links at WordPress Posts
I began blogging in March 2005. Being a neophyte, I signed up with Blogger because it was free and easy to use. But over time, as I learned more and more about blogging and, more importantly, the blogging community, I found Blogger’s inherent limitations extremely frustrating and, ultimately, unacceptable. I was spending as much time hacking my blog, implementing work-arounds in an effort to approximate the features that are built into WordPress, as I was writing content.
I migrated Colloquium to WordPress in early July 2007 and, in the process, spun some of my content off into two specialized sites, Here’s looking at . . . me! and Robert’s Legacy. It has not been a painless experience. The transition was labor-intensive and I am still working on formatting and other issues, mostly with the oldest content. But making the move has proven to be the correct decision for me.
If you are thinking about launching a blog or considering a move from one platform to the other, this list of features and characteristics that are unique to WordPress may be useful and assist you in making a decision.
1. Article Excerpts
You just experienced the first reason to use WordPress. The “more” function permits you to feature excerpts of posts on the main page of your site. You can do so in Blogger by implementing an “Expandable Post” hack, but it requires line by line modification of the template. There is a WordPress plugin that will automatically place an excerpt for each post containing a predetermined number of words on the front page for a completely uniform look. While I use excerpts, I prefer to control where the break appears depending on the flow of the content.
2. Static Pages
The ability to create static pages is not built into Blogger, although a couple of clever bloggers devised complicated work-arounds that are far from perfect.
Once again, hacking a template involves spending time tinkering with functionality that could be better invested in writing quality content. WordPress allows the creation of static pages, one of which can be used as a front page. Click here to see an example.
3. Scheduled Content Publishing
The “edit timestamp” feature is a must-have option for folks like me who can’t be in front of the computer to hit “publish” at the optimal moment. I write my content on the weekends or in the evening, tell WordPress when to take it live and then focus on other activities with the assurance that my articles will appear at the precise time specified.
4. Comment Relish
Visitors who comment for the first time receive a personal e-mail from me thanking them for visiting Colloquium and participating in the dialog. This is accomplished via the Comment Relish plugin. Again, I do not have to be sitting in front of the computer to accomplish this. The e-mail is generated automatically when the database detects that the comment author’s identity is unique.
5. Top Commentators
Folks who leave comments are rewarded in the sidebar via the Top Commentator plugin. This is another way in which the number of links among sites is increased. There is a great deal of other information that can be collected and displayed for visitors such as the list of most popular articles generated using Alex King’s plugin.
6. Trackbacks / Pings
There is no trackback / pinging system built into Blogger, so if you want to utilize those functions, you must implement Haloscan. Yet again, installation is time-consuming and not foolproof, and you are required to invest time modifying your blog to attain a function that is already built into WordPress.
Haloscan trackbacking requires that you visit the site you wish to trackback to, obtain the trackback address and then go to the Haloscan site, enter that address plus additional information and manually ping the site.
Using WordPress allows a ping to be sent as soon as a post is published. For instance, the embedded links to the sites of the plugin developers mentioned above assures that those sites will be pinged when this article is pubished because WordPress trackback addresses are identical to the post URL. WordPress also includes a form immediately under the text editor where additional addresses can be added and provides confirmation of the trackback. After publishing, reopen the post in “edit” mode and you will see a list of sites to which trackbacks were sent.
The text and graphics formatting options available in WordPress are literally infinite.
7. Comment Retention
If you use Blogger, you can settle for its limited commenting system or implement Haloscan. But you cannot enjoy the benefits of both. When I began using Haloscan on my old Blogger site, I could no longer access all of the comments entered up to that point. Also, there is no way to import comments gathered on the Haloscan system into WordPress other than copying and pasting them manually.
When I imported my old Blogger posts into WordPress, I retrieved the pre-Haloscan comments, though. Unfortunately, they are dated and no longer calculated by Technorati, according to the explanation I received from Darren Rouse.
Endless varieties are available. Far more than Blogger templates.
9. Formatting Text and Graphics
Using plugins, the possibilities are endless. Here are just two examples:
Among my favorite options? The ability to quickly add pullquotes to an article. I implemented them using Blogger, but only after manually modifying the template.
To add the pullquote you see in this article, I simply added “</blockquote class=”right”>” before the text and closed it with “</blockquote>”.
Among my favorite writing tools are footnotes. To my knowledge, there is no way to add them to an article using Blogger.
Forget the little drop-down sidebar box listing articles by month. Check out the expandable archives by month page made possible by the SRG Clean Archives plugin. And note that the archive is located on a static page! 😉
11. Sitemap and “Author’s Favorites”
Aside from the sitemap you need to generate so that all of the search engines can find your content, a sitemap situated on a static page like this one allows readers to scan the contests of your site in its entirety by page, month and topic, as well as find all available feeds.
I prefer the page generated using Alex King’s popularity plugin which I have labeled “Author’s Favorites.” Articles are listed there by category. Unlike a sitemap which automatically lists all content, custom fields dictate what appears on this page. 1
12. Data Backup
Fear a complete loss of data? You should. It can happen and be devastating. For that reason, you can and should back up your entire blog at regular intervals. Fortunately, there are plugins available that allow you to complete a full backup with just a couple of clicks. I use WordPress Database Backup which offers a number of options: You can save the download file to a directory on your server, your hard drive or e-mail it to yourself in a .zip file. You can also schedule regular backups and they will be performed automatically.
13. SEO Optimization and Tagging