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Why I switched from Blogger to WordPress

“I know why you did it,” says the intrepid WordPress fan. “Because Blogger sucks. You have finally joined the Dark Side! Here, have a cookie.”

Actually, no. I like Blogger and there’s nothing wrong with how it works. In certain ways, I prefer it. Templates, for instance, that’s a doddle on Blogger. I can easily customise it to my taste (although I kept poking about with it because I couldn’t get it exactly the way I wanted – not that I have ever been 100% sure of what I wanted). In WordPress, template tweaking is a lot more fiddly and there are PHP files involved, and I don’t do PHP.

As FanstRAvaganza was set up on WordPress and I got to use it a bit more, I realised there were certain features I rather liked and that Blogger doesn’t have. The “Format” option, for instance, but the biggie is that you can have Categories AND Tags. For a while, I had been thinking it would be nice to be able to put all film reviews in one category, for instance, but then I’d have to add another bunch of characters to the Labels box, and I have seen the message about how Blogger Labels “can only be 200 characters” far too many times for that to work.

Needless to say, WordPress doesn’t have a 200 character maximum to limit how many tags you can use. Nor does it (as far as I know) have a maximum number of tags you can use. Blogger has a limit of 5000, and while I was “only” on about 2600, it was still to the point where I felt I really ought to start being more discering with my label usage.

Then there’s the drop-down menu, so you can have more up there without cluttering up the navigation menu. That’s a biggie. (It doesn’t necessarily work very well on a tablet, I’ve come to realise, but still.) Being able to post to Twitter and Facebook (and Tumblr, for those inclined) without a third party service involved is also very nice.

The fact that Blogger can suspend blogs for any number of reasons and completely lock you out from it if they so much as detect a hint of spam makes you slightly nervous when you’ve published nearly 1100 posts. I don’t want to lose what I’ve written, simply because Blogger makes a mistake.

“But why should WordPress be any different? They can suspend blogs too!” fans of Blogger cry, and sure, yes, it would be strange if they couldn’t. But my blog isn’t hosted on WordPress.com, it’s self-hosted, so the only one who can do anything to it is my web host, and they’d only do it if I was doing something illegal – which isn’t the case, and I don’t exactly plan to branch out.

End of last year, I got a Kindle Fire HD tablet. It uses the Amazon app store, which isn’t the same as the Google app store, which I have on my phone. I still can’t get the GetGlue app, for instance, but I also can’t get any of Google’s apps on it – not even Google Maps – but that also means I can’t the Blogger app. However limited that app is, it does make typing on a mobile phone (or tablet) a lot easier! Typing in the web interface on a tablet isn’t ideal either, because it’s just awkward and they haven’t set it up to work on mobile devices. The WordPress app, on the other hand, is advanced yet easily workable on a small screen.

Regardless of anything else, it’s also nice to have a bit of a change. Like painting the walls a different colour, or rearrange your furniture.

Oh I didn’t even think about it – WordPress shows you your word count as you’re typing. Now that’s something I can definitely get used to. Word counts rock! 😀

So yes, there were many different reasons for switching to WordPress, and none of them were “Blogger sucks”, because I wouldn’t have made the switch if it was only going to be a WordPress.com blog, especially not since I would’ve had to pay them to keep using my .co.uk domain instead of thesqueee.wordpress.com.

On the plus side, switching was a LOT easier than I thought it would be. I thought I’d need to manually enter all posts – nope, there’s a Blogger import tool on the dashboard. And when I thought I’d have to sit and make all categories into tags (imported Blogger labels = WordPress categories), there was a tool in the dashboard for that as well. “But redirecting the old posts to here, now THAT is going to be tricky!” was the next concern, and nope, someone’s made a plugin for that too. And seeing how easy it was to switch and the options it could give me going forward … it was almost rude not to make the switch.

I was going to take a couple of weeks and work on it and then make the switch 1 April (it being a Monday and all), but because I’m an impatient sort of person, it uh, happened a bit sooner than planned, which is why I now have a load of posts to categorise and a new template to tweak (the dates, for instance, are so light they’re hardly visible).

Hope you’ll like the re-worked blog, and that it’s now easier to both read and comment. 🙂

Thank you for reading and sticking with me. 🙂

P.S. For feed subscribers, you should be subscribed to the Feedburner feed anyway, in which case you’re okay. Nothing will change for you. If you were on the very old Blogger feed, please change your subscription to http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheSqueee

Traxy Thornfield

A Swedish introvert in Robin Hood Country who adopts far too many books and watches far too many films, and insists on offering her opinions about them on the internet. Eager participant in tabletop and play-by-post roleplaying, wandmaking, photography and European travel. Will get a novel out one of these days. Certified fangirl since childhood and slightly obsessed with things like Jane Eyre, Thomas Anders, cats and Orson Welles.

8 thoughts on “Why I switched from Blogger to WordPress

  1. Oh it looks great! I’ve been a holdout on switching over since (for me, anyway) Blogger always seemed so much more intuitive and WordPress made my head want to explode. 😉 But…I do rather like the idea of “unplugging” a bit more from Google. Definitely something to consider. If you get a chance could you explain the whole self-hosting vs. WordPress hosting thing a bit more? And since you said you don’t do PHP, how hard was it to customize the look of your site? Thank you!

    1. Thanks! Yeah, WP has always made my head want to explode too. 😉 There are so many options and things that I just want to scream, but instead I tend to end up thinking “argh, Blogger is so much easier” and go back there and play instead.

      tl,dr: WP.com is free and saves a few headaches as everything is done automatically for you. Self-hosting means you’ll have to set up everything manually yourself, including buying a domain and the web space on which you install WP.)

      WordPress hosting means that WordPress host your blog, just like Blogger do. You’d go from myblog.blogspot.com to myblog.wordpress.com (if you want a custom address, like http://www.myblog.com, you’ll have to pay). All updates and new features happen automatically, and you won’t have to worry about a thing. You can only select from a number of preinstalled templates, but you can still tweak them if need be. How much, without getting into technicalities, varies from template to template. (The one I’m using here is pretty good.)

      Self-hosted means you need to get a web hosting account from somewhere and buy a domain name (some companies allow you to buy the domain and web hosting at the same time, so you won’t have to link the two together). Then you need to download the installation files for WP from wordpress.org, upload them and install. If your web hosting company is running cPanel with Softaculous (mine has this), you just go into Softaculous, select WordPress and press a button to install and voilà, it does everything for you.

      If any updates need doing, you get to press a button on the blog’s dashboard. For templates, you can install any you like. This was one of the “featured” ones, which I’ve changed the background image of and put in some custom CSS. I’ve had to go and look in some of the PHP files and things, but only because things weren’t working properly. Oh, which is another thing: if you self-host, you need to fix all the errors yourself.

      For different widgets/gadgets, it’s drag and drop. Not quite like Blogger (wish that it was!), but not too headache-inducing. Installing plugins is straightforward too: just search for them in the dashboard, pick the one you want and click “install”. WP.com has a bunch of features which doesn’t come as standard when you self-host. You have to add them yourself. (The “Publicize” function, which allows you to push new posts to Facebook & Twitter, is one of them. Feedback, Polls and Ratings are apparently others.)

      In the end, it really boils down to a) how much money you’re willing to spend (myblog.wordpress.com is free), b) how confident you are with using a web hosting company and all that it entails and c) how many headaches you’d like. 😉 I already had a web hosting account with plenty of space, and could re-point and use the domain there for free (I’d have to pay wp.com a certain amount every month to use “thesqueee.co.uk”), so for me, self-hosting was the obvious choice. Had I done it on WP.com, it would probably have been a bit quicker to update categories and such because they’re on a faster server, but on the other hand, I would have had to leave my .co.uk URL behind, which I wasn’t willing to do. If I was still using thesqueee.blogspot.com, it wouldn’t really have mattered, because it would just be thesqueee.wordpress.com instead. 🙂

      Sorry for writing a really long reply, but hopefully it answers some questions. If you’re considering switching, I can let you know more in detail how to transfer your posts. (Pages you’ll have to add manually.) 🙂

    2. Didn’t read the long response, but unplugging from Google seems like a great idea. After Google Reader being scheduled for sunset I’ve heard speculation that Blogger might be next.

      Totally unrelated to this advice: commenting on a wordpress style blogg seems much easier that doing it for a Blogger dito.

      1. Yeah, spam filtration works differently on the two. I tried switching off the CAPTCHA on Blogger and instantly got a bunch of spam comments, so I had to switch it back on again. Here, there is no CAPTCHA because it’s handled differently. Oh, and I’ve set it up so that a new commentator will always need their first post approved before they’re free to comment without the moderation queue.

        As for Blogger shutting down, I would have thought it highly unlikely. I mean … there are LOADS of people using it, and many have several blogs as well. (I know I do! :)) There’s also the fact that they’re sort of the market leader next to WordPress, and giving up on Blogger would mean handing the “victory” to WP on walkover.

  2. Very interesting to read your thoughts on switching over! It’s great to read a post that doesn’t put down Blogger because I’ve been pretty happy with it so far (although all the talk of Blogger just closing blogs does make me nervous!) Who knows if I’ll feel the need to switch one day though, so I’m keeping this post in mind for the future!

    1. Yeah, all my other Blogger blogs are very happy where they are. 🙂 One of them might move eventually, but that would be to be integrated with a planned website, so not moving to WP. 🙂

  3. That was a good switch! I definitely agree on not needing to compare Blogger to WordPress.com, but WordPress.org is a totally different beast. It’s like a difference between renting and buying a house.

    1. That’s a really good way of putting it! And it’s a simple explanation to what the difference is between wp.com and wp.org is, especially if you’re not very technical. 🙂

      I’ve gone from renting a house to buying it. Now I can’t go complaining to the landlord (Blogger) if the boiler’s broken down, because now I own the house, so I have to sort it out myself – or bring in a qualified tradesman (ask for help in the support forums). I guess that would make the web host the local council or something? “Someone needs to do something about that road out there! I can’t get out of the drive in the morning!”

      😀

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