I have tried and tested almost every website platform out there. Whether it's for a job or for my own personal blog, I've had the benefit to really dig deep into which website works best. Before we get into the comparison, I want to be up front with you: there is no wrong choice when it comes to picking a platform. One is NOT better than another. Get over the idea that Blogger is for newbies or that WordPress is too hard or Squarespace is too new. All of those things are false. Instead, you need to find the platform that works for you. And that's it!
I am going to compare all of these platforms because I think the three, Blogger, WordPress, and Sqaurespace, are best. I have used each of these for years. So I think I have a pretty good handle on what features I like and ones I don't.
I'm going to go into each one, and show you the pros and cons. Then talk about why I like each one. At this VERY moment I have 3 different blogs, all on three different sites: WordPress (this one), Squarespace (my membership site) and Blogger (my just for fun site.) I'd like to note that this website, Helene in Between, has been on blogger for almost 5 years now, before I switched to WordPress- and I'll tell you why I did that too.
Blogger is one of the most straightforward platforms out there. You can use Blogger with very very little blogging or website knowledge. While I do agree with the popular sentiment that it's good for beginning bloggers, I think it can work for any blogger in any stage. There are many bloggers who use this platform successfully and as part of their business.
- Free or very inexpensive – it's free if you have a blogspot.com address, or about $10-$20 to buy your domain on GoDaddy.
- The actual process of blogging is easy and fun to do. You can easily write and edit posts and add in SEO like headings and subheadings.
- Gadgets make it super easy to move stuff around. Just like a drag and drop feature, it makes it super easy to move around objects or follow buttons.
- Very easy to use, straightforward overall – everything is laid out in an easy to understand manner, the tabs on the left side just make sense.
- Google Adsense (advertising) is built in and ready to go. This is one of the best perks.
- Many find it hard to make your blog look “different” from others out there, I disagree. There are so many designers and templates out there that make it easy to stand out online.
- Very minimal support – there is not really someone you can call to fix, well, anything. There are forums to deal with problems.
- Limitations on pictures and space. Boo.
- Designing is not easy – if you don't understand HTML and/or CSS you're going to have a hard time manipulating it to get it the way you want.
- You need to have a designer to make changes – kind of an addition to my above point, if you don't know HTML or CSS designing on your own isn't that easy. P.S. Here is some HTML and Design stuff you might want to know.
- Comment system sucks – if you are on Blogger I suggest installing Disqus. Lots of people complain about the limitations on commenting.
- Run and owned by Google- essentially, this could go on a category on it's own. While I think this is sometimes good (for SEO and being discovered online) it basically means if something happens to your content you CAN be out of luck. Now 98% of the time, nothing will happen. But still… if it did, I'd be livid.
Here are 10 things every successful blog needs.
Let's just say this, Blogger and WordPress are entirely different from one another. WordPress is a CMS (Content Management System) so that means you have to pay for things individually (hosting, support, etc). If you don't think you're going to make money blogging I would not choose WordPress. It's expensive to maintain. However, it is a very very powerful tool.
- Your site is yours. You own all the content. Period.
- Easy manipulate your site by adding plugins. I love Plugins because I can simply think of something I need and find a plugin that will do the job.
- Fairly easy to design- you have the ability to change it up and move things around. Although I think Squarespace is the easiest to design.
- Tons of support – I don't know how many times I can tell you that WP Help is basically the best thing ever. I send them a question, they fix the problem and send me screenshots and video support of what they did. I do pay for this and this might be the best investment in my blog.
- You have a backup – I use SiteGround for website hosting and it's inexpensive and again full of support.
- Hard to learn- unlike Blogger, WordPress is not straightforward. You have to learn how to use it.
- Expensive – additional costs to keep the site updated and running. Things like hosting, support, security, storage, backup, domains… are all things I pay for individually. I really think that if you aren't going to make money from your blog, WordPress isn't for you.
- Things can go wrong – the other day I got a “403 error” when trying to access my own site. I freaked out. Again, thank God for WP Help.
- You have to keep it up – since it's a CMS, you have to check to make sure things are running smoothly.
Squarespace, to me, is more middle or the road between WordPress and Squarespace. You can manipulate your design, but you do have to pay for it. It's easy to use but there is a learning curve. So when I talk about pros and cons, remember some of these can go either way.
- Beautiful designs- Squarespace has the best design interface. You pick what you like and can customize it at your will. This is unbeatable to me. All designs are responsive and gorgeous.
- Very easy to design – drag and drop features.
- Mid range as far as price- this really could go in the middle of pros and cons. Some want totally free or very cost effective, but Squarespace isn't cheap but it's just so user friendly to design the site.
- Easy to implement SEO- the SEO provided by Squarespace is very easy to understand.
- Support is readily available – if you ask a question, you will get an answer in 24 hours.
- Everything included – hosting, domain, etc are all included. All support and management is also managed by Squarespace which is awesome.
- No main “blog” page – when you go to a website you can usually choose if you want to read the blog or not. With Squarespace you don't just get the blog. You can't just go to www.websitename.com expecting to read the blog. You have to click the blog to read the blog. Which can be annoying.
- Not easy to blog on- I like the interface of Squarespace a lot, except the blog interface. It's just not my favorite as compared to WordPress or Blogger.
- If you want a custom theme, you'll pay premium- custom designs are super expensive.
- Price can add up – many say that Squarespace is just as expensive as WordPress if you pay for all features.
I'll be honest with you, and my decision changes on this often, BUT, if I were to go back in time I would choose Squarespace. It's not my favorite to blog on, but it's so easy to use, design, and ultimately publish on. I physically couldn't move my site, Heleneinbetween.com from Blogger to Squarespace because all blog posts are formulated like this:
Where as all of my blog posts are:
You see the difference? Adding in that /blog really shakes things up and the THOUSANDS of posts I had would need to be changed. Something I just do not have time for. This is also a huge drawback for me. I'd like the option for my “blog” page to be my main page. So in reality, there are no bad choices.
Lastly: why I made the switch from Blogger to WordPress. I chose to switch because there were just some things that I wanted full control over. Those were: opt ins to my email list, a more responsive design, and a bit more control. Could I have gotten these with the other platforms? Probably. But WordPress was just a bit more advanced. I still stand by my statement that all platforms are great.
So there you have it, those are my two cents on the best platforms. What are you using? What are your thoughts on pros and cons?
Want to read more?!
Here's why I chose Squarespace.
And my love for Blogger.
And the Blogger VS WordPress Debate.
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