WordPress vs. Blogger

After a whole year of writing here, I’d almost forgotten that when I started out with this challenge, I had a self-hosted WordPress blog over at wordpress.ORG.  I even wrote a post about it … the pros and cons of wp.COM vs. wp.ORG, back in February. Eventually I moved over to free WordPress, in order better to take advantage of the postaday2011-challenge.

Last night, I was reminded of the times I had a blog here at WordPress … long before this challenge came about … and it was a rather lonely experience. Never made any contacts or had any interaction with other bloggers. Same thing with Blogger — nothing! I do remember I used to check out other blogs in WP, but that was mainly the FreshlyPressed ones, that got hundreds, if not thousands, of comments, which must have been an overwhelming experience for the blogger in question.

In any event, hats off to the WordPress team that started the challenge to encourage bloggers! That’s really something that the Blogger.com-team should take after.

Now, some, very personal thoughts too … I’m writing this post also to sort out my own thoughts on this.

I wanted the domain name [colderweather].

Could have signed up for that here at WordPress for $12/year or possibly $17 [not sure]. Then I’d have my name and this blog … the regular, free WordPress blog as it is now.

Buying a domain name at Blogger [Google] costs $10. With that you get something called Google Apps. It’s a whole slough of features and functions, like for example, you can set up accounts with email addresses like whoever@colderweather.net. That’s not important … I already have email, it was just an example.

What’s important to me — it might sound silly to you — is that I have full freedom to customize the looks of my blog. I know, I know … it’s the content that counts, but I’m a visual person and I want also the looks of the blog to be appealing — both to me and to others. For example, a pitch black navigation bar can ruin, an otherwise nice, theme totally for me.

Here, in WordPress, it would cost me $30/year just for the pleasure of being able to change that colour or whatever font.  And on top of that; Were I able to make my own themes … which I’m NOT … I still wouldn’t be able to do that for those thirty bucks a year.

I guess they figure that if you’re that knowledgeable, you should go for the self-hosted version of WP, which is at least $50/year and then you’re already outside of the WP-community. There, you have total freedom to do whatever you want.

There were two aspects of WP.com that I really appreciated, and still do, of course: the global tagging system, and that I’m able to reply to comments by email. The latter is also a very personal thing; I do most things from my email … my inbox is my hub on the web! Now … I can do that just as smoothly from Blogger, thanks to a comment system called Disqus. Easy as a breeze.  All my pictures are either already stored in Picasa, or get stored there when I upload them in my blog. When I upload them via Google+, I also have unlimited storage in Picasa.

The choice might seem easy, so why am I writing all this, you might ask. Well, there have been some trouble with the email subscription in Blogger, and that irks me to no end. The interaction is such an important part of the whole blogging experience … the part that makes it really fun, so that has to work! I must say, they have a stupid system there, if people choose to subscribe by email, it gets posted via Feedburner, and it doesn’t fly right away as you publish — you have to set a time. It’s totally beyond me why they have it like that … if I write a post, I want it to fly right away, huh?!

There’s always the option to subscribe in an RSS-reader, but I doubt many people use that, if they even know what it is in the first place.

I’m writing all this because I feel a little doubtful … if I made the right choice … [if there even are any ‘right’ choices?!]. Now that I have my new blog all set up nicely there, I’m going to keep it, but if it doesn’t post properly … then I don’t know what to do. There’s always a way of  ‘cross-posting’ to a wordpress blog, but then it feels like I’ve lost the whole purpose of it.

I think I have, either too much time to think about all this stuff, or too many hang-ups, because I just wrote 790 words about it! LOL

customize your blog?

The other day, in the WordPress daily topic-blog, they asked what features people might like to see here in WordPress.com. I think that’s great, that they’re interested to hear from their users. They got lots of answers there — as it stands now, 101 comments  — many, many wanted the ability to make adjustments to the theme … i.e. changing colours, adjust width of columns et cetera.

This was five days ago.

Yesterday, they announced their new Custom Design feature! Something that makes it much easier for people who just want to make little adjustments to the looks of their blog … changing fonts for different headlines, for example. For those who know CSS, there’s a real handy little thing where you can preview all your changes before you apply them.

  • Example: I have chosen the theme Twenty Eleven here. The bar underneath the header image is black. I would like to make it another colour, which I could easily do with a few key strokes … with the help of CSS.

I tried it in this new editor and it worked like a breeze.

All this is fine and dandy, had it not been for the fact that it would cost you US$30 per year to use it.

Honestly, I think it would be really neat to be able to make a few changes here, but not neat enough for $30 a year. As much as I love WordPress.com …. I do think thirty bucks is a little pricey for that feature. Were I that eager to make design changes, I’d probably add twenty bucks and go back to self-hosted wordpress.org and get full freedom. But then again … I wouldn’t have been part of the wp.com environment and that was the reason I moved back here.

It’s not that I can’t afford $30 per year … it’s the principle of it all! I do think that many people are also on a limited budget. I just don’t like paying that amount for something small like that. Five bucks … and I think I’d signed up! With the Sandbox or Toolbox theme you’d get pretty much full freedom here too, and hence; the best of both worlds.

Guess there is no such thing as a free lunch.