Want to start blogging but don’t know where to set up your blog?
With so many blogging platforms out there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But it’s important to make the right decision to give your blog the best chance of success.
Two popular blogging platforms beginners usually consider are Blogger and WordPress. On the surface, these platforms might seem equal, but there are some massive differences that can make one company superior to the other.
Which platform is best depends on your goals. If you just want to write for yourself then Blogger will work for you. If you want to build significant traffic and make money then you'll need WordPress.
In my Blogger vs WordPress breakdown, I’m covering everything you need to know about these two leading platforms so you can make the right choice for launching your blog.
Blogger is a content management system (CMS) that began in 1999. In 2003, Google acquired Blogger, and since then, the platform has grown into one of the more popular ways to start blogging. In fact, this is exactly how I started back in 2008.
Using Blogger is free, and you can blog with a free BlogSpot domain or use your own custom domain name.
The big thing to know is that when you build your blog on a free platform you don't own that platform. Blogger can decide to remove your site from its platform and there isn't anything you can do about it. Yes, the words you write are yours, but the actual website is not.
WordPress launched in 2003 and has since grown to power over 40% of all websites according to W3Techs.
But, WordPress is a little more complicated than Blogger because there are two branches: WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
Here’s the difference between the two types of WordPress:
- WordPress.com: A freemium blogging platform that’s managed by WordPress.
- WordPress.org: Open-source software where you can use your own domain name and hosting for a self-hosted blog.
For this WordPress vs Blogger comparison, I’m going to compare Blogger to WordPress.org.
This is because WordPress.org is ultimately where everyone ends up moving their blog to when they get serious about blogging. With WordPress.com, there are too many restrictions, and if you ever want to make money blogging, you need WordPress.org.
With a self-hosted WordPress site, you own the whole thing (unlike with Blogger). No one can shut you down or put rules or restrictions on you. It's YOURS.
Blogger vs WordPress – The Features
When deciding between Blogger or WordPress, it’s important to compare the main features of each platform so you have the level of control over your blog that you need.
Setup & Ease Of Use
As a new blogger, you’re going to face a learning curve. But there are some major differences in ease of use between Blogger and WordPress.
Blogger is a popular CMS choice because it’s beginner-friendly. If you’re a hobby blogger and just want to set up a simple blog without any technical pains, this is Blogger’s main selling point.
You create your Blogger blog by signing in with a Gmail account. From there, you pick your blog’s title and domain name. You can use a free BlogSpot domain or buy a custom domain.
That’s all there is to it, and your Blogger blog goes live after you pick your domain name.
As for Blogger’s backend, it’s basically a simplified version of the WordPress backend. You can start writing new posts, check your blog traffic, create new blog pages, and tweak your design.
Overall, Blogger is one of the easiest ways to start a blog, and you can get your first blog post live without any technical knowledge.
Learning to use WordPress is more complicated than Blogger because WordPress has way more options.
This is the nature of an open-source CMS where you self-host your own blog; more control equals more things to learn!
Setting up your WordPress.org blog also takes more steps. In a nutshell, you:
- Buy a WordPress hosting plan from a provider like Bluehost or SiteGround
- Buy a domain name from your hosting provider or a third-party company like Namecheap
- Install WordPress and connect it to your hosting plan (You'll do this directly with your host)
- Pick a free WordPress theme or purchase a premium one
- Begin publishing content and designing your blog
This sounds complicated, but most leading hosts have one-click WordPress install, so you can launch your blog within a few minutes.
Hosting plans are also affordable. For example, you can get started with Siteground hosting for just $3.99 per month with the basic plan.
In terms of your CMS backend, WordPress looks more intimidating than Blogger because you have more options.
But, learning how to use WordPress isn’t rocket science. There are plenty of online tutorials and other bloggers who can help you learn how the CMS works rather quickly.
The bottom line is Blogger is faster to set up and easier to use than WordPress. But, as I’ll explain, this leads to several pros and cons for each platform.
Related: What to do When You Hate Tech
How much control you have over your blog’s design is another important factor to consider when picking between Blogger and WordPress. Your blog is your business, so it’s important to get your branding and design to match your vision.
Blogger has several dozen free themes you can use. However, many themes are identical in layout and just use different color palettes.
Blogger still has a variety of themes and you can likely find themes that work well for you.
As for editing your design, Blogger uses a “gadget” system that’s a drag-and-drop editor for different parts of your blog.
Editing your blog is straightforward. However, Blogger doesn’t have much theme variety, so your blog looks fairly generic and like other Blogger blogs.
If you want theme variety and more design control, WordPress is superior to Blogger.
It isn’t even a competition; Blogger doesn’t come close to WordPress in terms of design control.
For starters, WordPress has thousands of free and paid themes you can download right from the WordPress backend. Many of these themes have built-in editing tools as well so you can easily customize your blog’s layout.
Furthermore, you can shop for blog themes on a marketplace like ThemeForest to find the perfect theme.
Installing a theme requires uploading a .zip file of your theme. From there, WordPress has a widget-based system that’s similar to Blogger gadgets where you can tweak the layout of your blog.
WordPress also lets you use third-party page builder tools like Elementor or Beaver Builder. In fact, many themes have tools like Elementor build in.
When you get into things like custom-coded sites or editing your CSS, there’s no denying that WordPress has way more design options than Blogger.
Related: 9 Best WordPress Themes for Bloggers
Plugins are third-party software you can add to your blog to help with a specific task. For example, people add plugins for security, website speed, or connecting an email marketing provider like ConvertKit to their blogs.
As for the Blogger vs WordPress debate, plugins is one area where Blogger is at a massive disadvantage.
Blogger doesn’t have a plugin directory you can browse and install on your blog. Rather, you can find some third-party plugins and then add the HTML code as a gadget to your blog.
However, this is very rudimentary. You have to shop around on websites like Elfsight and even then, you only have a few dozen plugins that work with Blogger.
With over 50,000 WordPress plugins, there’s no comparison between what you can add to your WordPress blog versus Blogger blog.
WordPress has plugins for a variety of categories as well, including:
- Email marketing
- Social media
- Site speed
- Website security
To add plugins to your blog, you search WordPress’ plugin directory, install a plugin, and activate it. The entire process takes under a minute.
Plugins have reviews and star ratings. Plus, plugins show if they’re compatible with your version of WordPress.
Overall, WordPress is better than Blogger in terms of third-party software you can add to your blog.
Related: 10 Best Free WordPress Plugins
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is how you optimize your content and blog to rank higher on search engines.
SEO is a complex, ever-changing field. But the platform you blog on actually has massive implications for your SEO efforts. Getting ranked in Google is about more than just the words on the page. It also has a lot to do with the technical aspects and setup of your site.
With Blogger, nothing stops you from following proper on-page SEO. This includes practices like targeting specific keywords with your content, adding alt-tags to images, and making your blog posts more readable by breaking content up with headers.
But Blogger doesn’t have native SEO plugins like WordPress does. This means you get no hand-holding to learn SEO. Furthermore, you can’t add plugins to improve site speed or optimize your images.
Furthermore, you really need to buy a domain name if you want your blog to look more professional and also have a chance of ranking. This isn’t a clear-cut rule, but I never see Blogspot blogs on the front page of Google.
WordPress is superior to Blogger when it comes to SEO. Again, this is because you have more control over your blog and can improve overall user experience and site speed, which Google loves.
Plus, WordPress has useful SEO plugins like Yoast SEO that help you follow proper on-page SEO when writing posts.
For example, Yoast SEO highlights things like:
- Your primary keyword density
- How easy your post is to read
- If your title and meta descriptions are long enough
- If you have enough internal links
- If you have enough images
If you’re brand new to SEO, this makes WordPress the clear winner over Blogger.
Technical difficulties are something every blogger faces. Therefore, having responsive customer support and in-depth documentation for how to manage your blogging platform is important.
Blogger offers the bare minimum when it comes to customer support. There’s a Blogger Help page where you can find answers to common questions bloggers have, but that’s about it.
You can submit feedback to Google about your experience with the platform, but don’t expect 24/7 customer support or live chat help.
WordPress.org is open-source, meaning developers and bloggers from around the world contribute to making WordPress better. Ultimately, this means there’s a growing catalog of resources and guides for how to manage your WordPress blog.
Between WordPress’ Support page, the WordPress community itself, and the wealth of blogging tutorials that are out there, getting technical support for your blog is easier for WordPress than Blogger.
Blogging doesn’t have to be expensive. But if you’re on a tight budget, there are significant differences in cost between Blogger and WordPress worth noting.
Blogger is free to use and doesn’t lock features behind paid plans. You have to buy your own domain name if you don’t want a .blogspot domain, but the platform itself is completely free.
WordPress.org is technically free, but you need to spend money to get your blog up and running. For starters, a basic hosting plan with Bluehost is around $100 to $150 depending on plan length. If you want a premium theme, that’s around $50 to $75. Finally, you should buy your own domain name.
All in, starting a WordPress blog usually costs $100 to $200, making WordPress more expensive than Blogger.
Pros and Cons
If you’re struggling to pick between Blogger and WordPress, consider the following pros and cons of each platform and what matters most for your blog.
- Completely free
- Start your own blog in minutes
- Design selection
- Lack of gadgets and third-party integrations
- Weak support documentation
- You don’t have much control
- Complete control over your blog
- More monetization options
- More scalable than Blogger
- Thousands of themes
- 50,000+ plugins
- Costs money to start your blog
- Higher learning curve than using Blogger
- You’re largely responsible for security and blog maintenance
Which Should You Choose?
Which platform you should pick depends on the goals you have for your blog. Blogger is for you if you just want a place to write and share your personal thoughts. If you don't care about building a high-traffic site or earning money then a free blogging platform like Blogger will work just fine for you.
However, if you are starting a blog to make money and build an audience then you'll want something you actually own and have full control over. Not only is a self-hosted WordPress site better for SEO, but it is also better for customization so you can build a unique brand and user experience.
Personally, I recommend WordPress over Blogger. With WordPress, you have full control over your website, which is important if you want to make money blogging and turn your blog into a business. However, if you want to start a simple hobby blog and don’t care (and won't ever care) about monetization, there’s nothing wrong with Blogger.
Just know your blogging goals and pick a platform that lets you accomplish them. With consistent content and effort, you’d be amazed at how your blog can grow and what you learn along the way.