So you want to start a blog (Spoiler alert. Here’s how). Join the blog brigadiers? Share your stories, recipes, and photos with the world? Awesome!
But where, oh where to start?
Choose a platform.
Without getting too nerdy, a platform is just “The software which is used to create the blog and manage your blog content.” Platforms differ in their structure, capabilities, and customization options for your blog.
There has been a lot of great software that has come and gone, but two open source (Free!) software platforms have really risen to the top: Blogger and WordPress.
Here are some key differences between the two:
- Blogger is a more strictly a blogging platform that doesn’t offer many multimedia capabilities. WordPress offers a full-blown content management for your website whether it includes a blog or not. The sky is the limit with slideshows, galleries, and other multimedia content on WordPress. Not to mention the 1,000s of great plugins available to add even more functionality to your blog.
- Blogger is easy to set up. Anyone in the world can visit blogger.com and have a blog at a www.yourdomain.blogspot.com address set up in not time. Perhaps this is why it is so popular. WordPress takes a bit more work. Sure, you can sign up for a www.yourdomain.wordpress.com blog at wordpress.com but then you are not able to have as many customization options as you may like. Differences between wordpress.com and self-hosted wordpress are outlined here. Setting up a self-hosted wordpress blog (our recommendation) requires a bit more work upfront including purchasing hosting and a domain.
- Blogger is ruled by Google. When Google makes a code or style change to the blogger platform, your site will automatically update to feature these changes, whether you want them or not. WordPress is a free little bird. It allows you to update your version of wordpress as coders roll out changes if you like, but it is not forced, meaning no surprise changes to your blog.
- The learning curve. This is where a lot of people will say that blogger is easier to learn. Perhaps… but again, that is because it does not offer as many options as WordPress. In the end, anytime you learn anything new, there will be a learning curve.
All that information, but now what?
Here are our common recommendations. Your platform choice all depends on what you want your site to do.
If you are a beginner blogger, and want to use your site primarily for blogging, subscribing your followers, etc. Blogger is the route for you.
If you are a small business owner, photographer, or person who will be using your blog as a blog/website (blogsite) that you will want to build over time, incorporate added features, galleries, sliders, contact forms, recipe plugins, SEO plugins, and everything under the sun, WordPress is your jam.
(Disclaimer: We’re a bit biased on this one as you can probably tell. Many great designers have debated this issue. As folks who appreciate the code that makes everything come together, however, there really is no debate. WordPress has only gotten better over time, has a fabulous support team, and is, of course the platform we prefer to work on. That is not to say blogger does not have its place, it just isn’t our first love.)