There’s a constant debate out there on what is the best blogging platform for content creators. Every time I log onto any one of my blogging Facebook groups, there’s someone asking about which blogging platform to chose and why. It’s an important question, but there isn’t one right answer (which is the good news!). Today I’m going to share why I picked the blogging platforms that I did (I’ve used multiple) and I’ll explain the pros and cons of each! Hopefully this post will help you make the best decision for your blog and squash any false rumors of blogging platforms out there.
First off, I want to share my personal blog journey. I’ve had Dressing Dallas on 3 different blogging platforms; Blogger, Squarespace, and WordPress. I started this blog back in 2014 on Blogger, but I had been using Blogger ever since I began blogging way back in 2008. After about a year on Blogger, I was feeling like I needed a change because I wanted my blog to go to the next level, so I explored other platforms. After about a month of researching, I decided to switch over to Squarespace, which seemed like a sleek, beautiful place to build and maintain a website. At first I loved it, but after awhile I noticed I wasn’t able to code and accomplish things that I wanted to, so I looked to switch yet again (I had only been with Squarespace for about 5 months). After about another month of research, I decided to make the switch to a self-hosted WordPress website, and I’ve been there ever since. I don’t recommend making so many switches (it can really hurt your traffic!), but that’s what I did and now I’ve found my home ;).
Now I’d like to break down each platform for you so you all know the pros and cons of each! This list will help you make the ultimate decision on where to write your blog, so you can avoid doing what I did and switching it around WAY too much!
Let’s start out with…
Like I said above, I started out on blogger and I loved it for a solid year. Well, I actually still love it! It’s a great platform for beginners and experts because it’s easily codeable and customizable. You can do anything you want coding wise on Blogger, and I’ve seen some very intricate, beautiful websites on this platform!
Pros of Blogger:
- It’s completely free to start out on! If you want to try out blogging, but aren’t quite ready to invest in it, this is the platform for you. Of course, if you’d like your blog design to be customized and coded for you, you can always pay someone to do that. Because Blogger is simple to use, custom graphic designs don’t cost nearly as much as other platforms.
- You can literally code anything and everything you want without having to deal with a lot of complication. When you are coding, and something isn’t right, you don’t have to worry about crashing your site like some other platforms. On Blogger, if you code wrong, it just won’t show up..and you can continue to tweak it until you get it right. It’s a really worry-free platform. This is very appealing to anyone that doesn’t want to deal with coding within an FTP.
- There are TONS of free online tutorials on how to set up and code your Blogger blog! Blogger has been around for so long that you can find any tutorial out there for anything you’d like to do! Check out Youtube for easy step-by-step tutorials on how to set up your blog the way you’d like!
- You don’t have to worry as much about security breaches on your Blogger blog, because Google takes care of that for you.
- You don’t ever have to worry about a slow website or running out of storage space because Google Cloud take care of that!
- You can easily map a custom URL to your blog to get rid of your .blogspot.com domain (the one that is automatically given to you when you create your blog)
- The easy drag and drop format in Blogger makes it super customizable!
- Creating a blog post is extremely simple in Blogger, and you can easily code through the HTML option…making each post ultra customizable!
- You don’t have to worry about a surge of traffic crashing your site. Google is super flexible when it comes to traffic, and your website will always stay up if you ever experience a post going viral and sending hundreds of thousands of views at one time to your blog.
Cons of Blogger:
- Extreme lack of technical support. Since Blogger is owned by Google, there is literally no support of a Blogger blog. You have to look up everything yourself (through Google) and try and fix it. This is a big problem if you accidentally lose content or you delete your blog. If something major happens…you are on your own.
- Moving your blogger site around can get complicated, and you will definitely lose important things like SEO, followers, and traffic. Since Google is such a big corporation, they don’t have a system in place to easily transfer things around for you. It’s all up to you to do it.
- Blogger hasn’t come out with an update to their platform in a really long time, and many worry Google will do without Blogger in the future because it’s been around for a long time. Of course this is all speculation, but it’s something to think about.
Rumors about Blogger debunked:
- Rumor #1: You can’t monetize a Blogger blog. This is SO FAR from true. Monetizing a blogger blog is just as easy as monetizing any other site. You are able to put ads on your site, you are able to do sponsored posts, join affiliate networks, etc. In fact, some of the most successful bloggers are on Blogger.
- Rumor #2: Google can shut down your website at any time. No, Google can not, and they don’t. Google also doesn’t “own” your content, just like they don’t own your emails (if you use gmail), photos, drive documents, etc. By using Google services, you are agreeing to their terms (which basically means you can’t do anything sketchy or illegal…the same policy all other companies have), so if for some reason your blog is breaking some major laws…they can do something about it. Other than those extreme instances, nothing will ever happen to your website.
Where I originally switched to:
I spent about 5 months or so on Squarespace, and while I liked it at first, it turned out to be a huge pain! I could NOT for the life of me code and design the website to my specific wants and needs. Squarespace does have a plethora or awesome templates, but they are not customizable which makes it hard if you’re like me and you like to have everything the way you want it vs how Squarespace designed it. All in all, it’s a really nice platform with great support, but the extreme lack of customization as far as back-end designing was a huge reason why I switched.
- There are many beautiful features of Squarespace, including pre-made templates (that are beautiful!) as well as the ability to have a cover page (which is one of the reasons why I originally chose them) and the ability to have a super swanky store attached to your blog.
- Squarespace has a super easy drag and drop format to their platform, including within the posts. This makes it so you can literally drop anything you want into your blog posts including videos, email forms, and even HTML code (but it’s limited).
- The whole interface is very easy to use. Everything is pre-made for you, so you are able to do many things including hooking up many custom domains, adding pages and menu bars, designing a really cool front page with scrolling pictures, etc.
- The support for Squarespace is great! You have 24/7 support and chat available whenever you need it, plus they have some amazing articles to read when you’re learning about the platform. I give their support an A++!
- Squarespace blogs are hosted through the Squarespace server, so you don’t have to worry about finding your own host. Squarespace did experience more downtime than Blogger though, which was a bummer.
- They give you a very long free trial period so you’re able to really play with the platform before deciding to buy. This was really nice when I was just learning how to use it!
- Like I mentioned above, it’s impossible to design the site exactly how you’d like. This was a very big deal to me because I consider myself in the more advanced blogger field. I wanted to be able to add bits of code to my website to add cool features, but it wasn’t very possible. For instance, I really wanted to start earning money through ad sales, but on Squarespace, the only places I was able to add the codes were on the sidebar and in the posts (which I didn’t want to do). I really wanted to implement an ad in the prime ad earring spot, aka the top of my blog, but that wasn’t possible since I couldn’t add custom coding to my header. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make it work.
- Squarespace is one of the more expensive options as far as monthly fees go. When I did the price comparison of Squarespace vs WordPress, I found that I would’ve been paying a couple hundred dollars more for Squarespace.
- SEO was very difficult on Squarespace. When I went to try and implement good SEO practices on my blog, I found it was nearly impossible to add what I wanted to. You have very limited options when adding descriptions to your pictures and site, which was one of the main reasons why I needed to make the switch (I actually saw my page views go WAY down when I was on Squarespace because of this…it was not fun!)
- Because Squarespace is really new, there aren’t a TON of tutorials on how to work with the platform (aside from what Squarespace provides). I found it very frustrating that there was an extreme lack of articles and videos on how to do certain things on my website.
Where I ended up:
After the frustration of Squarespace, I eventually decided to switch everything over to a self-hosted WordPress website. Why didn’t I just do this in the first place you might ask? Well to be honest, I was intimidated by it! I heard horror stories of people’s websites crashing, people not being able to find a reliable host, people’s websites going down because of traffic surges. It all sounded scary…until I tried it out myself that is! I knew that the industry standard had become to host professional sites on WordPress, and the more I read about WordPress, the better it sounded. I really loved the idea of being able to have all the advanced options available, but also have a TON of tutorials out there on how to code and customize.
- Having a self-hosted WordPress blog gives you total control over everything! You get to chose your host, design, and code everything they way you want it. Period. There’s no end to what you can design with WordPress!
- Plugins. Having hundreds of thousands of plugins available to help optimize your site is a dream come true! They have anything from simple plugins to catch spam comments, to complex performance enhancers. You can literally find a plugin for anything!
- You are able to create a fully functioning shop along with your blog with just plugins and some coding. Everything can be managed from one place, which is super convenient. You can also customize your shop how ever you’d like, which isn’t true for other platforms (like Squarespace).
- There are a ton of blog designers out there that can help you design what you need. There are also a ton of pre-made beautiful templates already made for you, which makes it extremely easy to start out your blog!
- There are MILLIONS of tutorials on how to design and run your blog out there for WordPress. There are some true experts that know how to do everything…so if you can’t figure it out and don’t want to pay someone, it’s super easy to find a tutorial or class for it!
- Achieving flawless SEO is a breeze on WordPress. You have a ton of options on how to create the right keywords within your blog for your page to rank high on Google.
- You have a huge array of blog hosts to choose from, and if you chose one you don’t like, it’s SUPER easy to switch without losing any data at all. I recently decided to switch hosts because I noticed that my website was loading slower than I’d like, and I didn’t lose any data at all!
- Speaking of hosts, all the hosts have excellent customer service and can help you achieve anything! I’ve never had a problem with fixing my website with those guys around!
- You are able to add much cooler features to a WordPress blog than other platforms. I personally love that I can have scrolling pictures on my home page, multiple menu bars, multiple places to optimize ads, etc. You just have so many options!
- If you really aren’t into the world of coding, designing or creating a site from basically scratch, you might feel a little overwhelmed by WordPress (at first). There are so many options, sometimes those options can overwhelm those starting out.
- Self-hosted WordPress blogs are much more susceptible to crashes, depending on which host you use. If you have a surge or traffic and you aren’t paying for a host that can handle that, you’re website will crash.
- You can also crash your website by screwing up your coding on the back end of your site (aka on the FTP). Get an expert to help you if you aren’t 100% sure of what you’re doing!
- On WordPress, you are also a lot more prone to spammers and hackers. Simple things can help prevent this (like plugins!) and protect your site though.
- If you are not backing up your website, you can lose information if your website crashes. Always back up your website!!
- WordPress takes some time to get used to, no matter how advanced you are. Take your time and be patient…you’ll be fine!
All in all, there are some great blogging platforms out there that you can chose from, and it’s all up to personal preference! Just remember that you’ll never be asked what platform you use to blog on by companies and brands because all they care about is your views and stats. Choosing a platform is all up to what’s best for the needs of you and your website. I hope by sharing my knowledge of these three main platforms, it will help you in making your decision of which platform to use.
What other blogging topics do you have questions about? Leave your questions in the comments below!