Monday, 2 May 2011

Blogger vs WordPress Ramble

This is a bit off topic I realise but I thought writing about my quandary might help me to make a decision. This way I can get some input from all of you too.

I've been trying to overhaul my blog template to make it look 'nicer', for want of a better word. What I'm after isn't anything fancy, just something simple and elegant without looking stark. So far, I've been unable to customize a template to my satisfaction. I haven't spotted anything on btemplates that looks suitable either. Normally I can find tutorials to help me modify the template in 'Edit HTML' but all the ones I've looked at so far are way beyond my level of understanding. In a lot of cases, I can't actually find the elements or containers they're referring to in the HTML code (if anyone wants to educate me where you're supposed to put a CSS style file, I'm all ears).

Lots of people have recommended moving to WordPress. Certainly they have a huge selection of templates and in terms of design, it appears to be the better choice. There are also a few features in WordPress that I really like. However, I've heard that moving from Blogger to WordPress can be fraught with technical problems, such as followers no longer getting post updates.

I seem to have got myself in a pickle trying to decide what to do. I either stay with Blogger and try to decipher how to design a template I like or I move to WordPress and face the technical difficulties of moving the images and re-directing without mucking up the feed. It seems an awful lot of stress considering I don't want to do anything too fancy with the design. I spotted these blogs in my search for inspiration and this is the kind if look I'm after..

Screen shot from

Screenshot of

Funnily enough both of these are actually published with Blogger, so at least I know what I would like to achieve is possible.

So, I wondered if you had any thoughts? Do you prefer Blogger or WordPress as either a blog author or reader? Have any of you moved successfully? If anyone has any ideas on how to get the sort of design I want whilst staying put let me know!

Thanks for reading x


  1. I honestly don't see the point in moving, at the end of the day people want to read text and look at pictures, and most people read via blogloving or google reader anyway! Think of every single link, the pagerank etc. you will be losing!

  2. I can offer no direct help (technophobe) but Casee Marie has lots of relevant info on her blog

    Good luck xxx

  3. Have you tried Their templates are really easy to edit. The blogs you've linked to are quite simple HTML wise, if you find a layout you like I might be able to tweak it for you :) I don't think it's worth moving at this stage.

  4. Because of what other people say about wordpress I wish I'd started there but having looked I really can't be bothered to move. I think it won't make enough difference to be worth the stress!

  5. Platform I prefer as a reader: I don't care. I follow with my desktop RSS reader anyway, which means I don't show up in GFC or those other various services.

    Platform I prefer as a blog author: ExpressionEngine. I've played with Blogger, but I can't easily edit the templates myself, the feature set is pretty specific, and not being self-hosted always makes me feel a bit flail-y. WordPress is a pain in the left earlobe to edit the templates, there's so much PHP to dig down through if you want to build your own from the ground up (which is what I prefer) rather than modify an existing template and use numerous plugins.

    Of course, being self-hosted holds lots of other advantages, like being able to change back-end platforms (WP, EE, Drupal, whatever) whenever you need/want and still not lose subscribers, page rank, et cetera.

  6. Thanks for your comments, it's really helpful to know what you think.

    @Sarah: Do you actually lose all of the ranking? I thought I might not do because of it being my own domain but I don’t want to lose my ‘Google juice’! I know that styling matters most in terms of people finding the page from a google search. I think the ideal will be to find a way to tweak the design in blogger.

    @loveaudrey: Thanks for the link, I shall go and have a look x

    @BBH: Thank you, I do think the designs I like should be easy enough. The main problem I’ve had is that all the tutorials ask you to find the “main-wrapper” but there isn’t one for the Simple template I was trying to modify. I think many of the tuts are actually for Minima template and not relevant. I’m normally quite game for fiddling but this is foxing me! I’ll take a look at yummylolly J

    @Charlie: I think you’re right Charlie, if I was starting from scratch I would go for WP but I fear I might lose more than I gain now. I need to get my head round doing the design I want in Blogger!

    Jane x

  7. @LiAnn: Self-hosting is something else that makes me nervous! I don't really understand it so you would have to explain it. I know it has it's benefits. It's interesting that you say that WP is hard work to modify. I do like to tinker and with the exception of this particular problem, I normally manage to crack it in the end.

    I won't give up though. I have a feeling I'm going to have to quietly crack on with it on my test blog in the background whilst I get to grips where I need to add in the CSS styling and html code that I need. Can I ask, do you deal with html coding professionally? I think that must make things so much easier.

    Jane x

  8. I self-host on Network Solutions--I don't actually have a server, they do and I pay for space on it. I think Google will find your new blog, wherever you are, and if your readers follow then your page rank comes back to normal in a bit. But customizing a WP template to resemble your examples would take some coding too! You'd have to know some basics about code to get through a self-hosted WP set-up. As I said on twitter, has great support, but it does take hours (and hours and hours). I've shed many tears, sorry to say doing it myself.

  9. Hi Amy, I think that might just blow my mind! I can find themes already in WP that I like so I could probably go with a pre-made rather than coding up tweaks myself. It's the self-hosting that puts me off. If I'm going to have to learn more about html, I may as well have a go at getting the design I want in Blogger. If I had my time over I think I'd go with WP but I suspect I'm too set in my ways for it now! x

  10. To add CSS go to your Dashboard > Design Tab > Template Designer > Advanced, then scroll down to find: Add CSS

    I can help you with designing graphics, buttons or any other design modifications. If you have any questions just let me know and hopefully I can help. x

  11. Hi Miss Kei Kei, I tried adding the CSS in the Add CSS box yesterday but apart from one script, nothing worked. I suspect it was only part of the styling and I was missing a vital instruction that would have been obvious to someone with experience.

    I looked at the Page Source for one of the pages I liked and I can see that there was a whole section devoted to CSS styling before the html. I wasn't sure if I needed to write it in there rather than the Add CSS box too? I know what I want is possible but it will involved a lot of learning on my part! I may email you with questions if that's ok?

    Jane x

  12. I think in the long run moving to Wordpress would be good. However it really would be a headache with sorting out if all the feeds work any if everyone is still getting updates!

    To be honest I made the same mistake and should of gone with Wordpress right from the get go...but know I just can't make the move now.
    Would really try to find a good site with templates or even pay someone who's quite good at it to do exactly what you want.

    Fee x

  13. Hi Fee! I wish I'd taken more time to investigate the pros and cons of the different blogging platforms. I feel like it's too far down the line to do it now.

    I have considered paying someone to do it for me, I had a brief look this morning and was put off by the £200-300 prices I was seeing. I'm not sure if that was just for a 'proper' web page though. I'd happily pass on this headache!

    Thanks for you input lovely, I really appreciate it x

  14. I had a wordpress blog and closed it down. I am just to dumb for it, well, not really but it is more of a thinking person's blogsite I guess. I don't want to think when I blog.

    Also, with many people going mobile, you can decorate your blog all you want, but people who read via Ipad and tablets will want to see your latest posts and not to mention a fast download web connection to your blog. Sometimes, my Ipad gets glitchy with some blogs and I just go through other means to read just the post and not look at the entire blog.

  15. I've faced the same dilemma but am too fearful of losing what I've built. I know it can be done though.

    I think the next step for me is to self-host.

  16. Hi there! I noticed LA mentioned me (thanks to her, what a sweetheart) and wanted to pop in my two cents. I did write a rather lengthy piece - My Journey to WordPress - that chronicles the reasons I chose to move, how I did it and my opinions on WordPress overall. Beautifully Invisible wrote a fabulous three-part series that guides you through moving to WordPress in the best possible way; how to keep your followers, comments, redirect your Blogger blog, etc. But that's of course for a paid self-hosted account with And on the paid WordPress you can also purchase themes that will give you ultimate user-friendly customization. The free is, to my knowledge, not worth moving from Blogger for as they have the same basic features.

    As far as Blogger templates I really just fiddled with the basic theme editor and customized with my own graphics.

    Hopefully that helps! (:

  17. @Olivia: What you’ve said is really interesting. I have been given good advice before about keeping things simple with blog design as many people read at work and something that takes too long to load can be a nuisance in that case. When I have been doing my searching around for help, I have encountered a lot blogs that take ages to fully load. They look beautiful once all the elements are there but I’ve read half a post before that happens. In terms of Google traffic, where the first impressions count, it doesn’t matter how beautiful the design is, if it all out of alignment as it loads no one will stay long enough to see your hard work!

    I’ve so many other things to do at the moment, I think I’m going to have to admit to defeat for now and go with a compromise. Something that I don’t love but that looks ok and allows me to publish bigger images. Otherwise I’m going to eat into the time I have for posting.

    @Michelle: I think it’s hard not to worry about losing what you’ve built up. Especially when you have such a successfully blog like yours. Someone mentioned that you don’t lose any Google ranking if you’re self-hosted and move platform, so self-hosting probably is a good step for you. It’s interesting that a few of us have had this same wrangle.

    @Casee Marie: I had a look at your blog yesterday following LA’s link (it’s a lovely blog). You’ve actually solved a puzzle for me as I’d looked at both and without realising they were different and got myself even more confused! I think what I would need is to really feel the benefit of moving but I’m not sure I’m ready for self-hosting.

    After all this puzzling and failing to get Blogger to do what I want, I’ve used up all the spare time I had! I think this is going to have to be a thought for the back burner and I’m going to have to make a compromise with my template. I will definitely have a read through your journey and Beautifully Invisible's series and try to decide if it’s a step I want to take in the future. Thank you so much for the links and taking the time to comment. Much appreciated.

    Jane x

  18. i hope you can find the template of your dreams soon xx

  19. Thanks liloo, I really am Captain fussy pants I think! xx

  20. Blogger is very easy to use and it’s free! If you don’t mind your domain name being then you’re fine. I think you can actually get a different domain name with Blogger now for $10 a year.


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