Monday, March 14, 2016

5 Reasons Blogger Could be Right for Your Blog

Blogger right for your blog
The first time I looked at the Blogger interface I had never seen a blog from the inside before. It seemed so confusing and difficult to navigate and I was so turned off by the experience that I went and got a WordPress account. However, what I found was that it was just the same and possibly even more confusing. The only thing I liked about WordPress was what seemed to be the immense customization that they offered. Something that, I thought, Blogger had nothing to compare to.

I think it was probably through WordPress that I figured out the inner workings of a blog and blog design, though I never actually used that account for anything. So, when I decided to give Blogger another try, it made much more sense and is actually pretty easy to navigate when you know what your looking for. 

Why I decided on Blogger

  1. Free. I'll be the first to admit that I am super cheap. So anytime I can find something at a low price - or free, even better - then I will at least try it and see if you get anything of value for it.
  2. Convenient. Everything I use is google. Using Blogger puts everything in once place and it is quite nice to only have to sign into one account for everything.
  3. Easy. Google really knows how to make a great user experience and make things easy for you to accomplish. If you don't know how to do something, they probably have a how-to page to walk you through it. Try a google search, and it's usually a google help page that pops up first.
  4. Custom Templates. So I thought that one of the downsides to Blogger was the very limited template options that you had. Not true at all. The amount of templates that are available is just unbelievable. And lots of them look like they could rival those provided by WordPress.
  5. Custom Domain Name. The fact that Blogger is free and they let you use a custom domain for free really is the best part. WordPress wanted to charge me $18 just to use my domain name that I already purchased. And purchasing a name through them was just way too much.

Custom Templates 

After spending several days attempting to customize one of the standard Blogger templates into something a bit more elegant (and less obviously Blogger), I discovered that there are loads more options available.

A google search for "blogger templates" brings up tons of free options and Gooyaabi Templates has a wide variety of free designs for your blogger blog. The site might not be quite the easiest to navigate, but the content makes up for it. It's also super easy to install one of these templates, and there is no coding knowledge necessary. You can, of course, customize these templates the same as the basic ones, through the html file, if you would like.

     Instructions: How to install Blogger Template

Pretty simple. Browse their templates and when you find one you like, hit the download button below it and it will download a zip file. Go to your downloads file on your computer and unzip the file. Then on your blogger account go to the template page and in the top right corner it says "Backup/Restore." Click that and then in the box that pops up click "Choose a file to upload" and navigate to the extracted .xml file and upload it. Now view your blog with the new custom theme. Done!

You can customize the file the same way you would a standard template, if you want to get into the css side of things. Some templates don't end up looking quite right when you upload them, but there's lots to choose from so you can always try another.

Using a Custom Domain 

I purchased my domain name through Google Domains for $12. After lots of research I decided this was the best option. Check out my post on Web Hosting for more on this.

When you buy a domain through Google Domains there is the option right away to connect it to your Blogger account. I don't remember the exact specifics, but I remember it was a relatively easy walk through. I remember being amazed that it could be so simple.

The Trade-Offs

While I do really love the features and the customization options that Blogger has going for it, I'm still not entirely sure that it is the best platform to host a blog. I was pretty much against using WordPress when I started out because everybody uses that, but then, everybody uses it. And that means that the potential for connecting with other bloggers and growing your own blog seems like it would be a lot better than the potential that Blogger has. The Blogger community doesn't seem to be quite as involved as the WordPress community does.

I did a little experiment and I started a new blog on WordPress, and I posted most of the posts that I have done on my Blogger account (it's only been up for a few months anyway, so there isn't very much) and I changed the dates so that they all matched and all that. Almost instantly I had a comment on one of my posts on my WordPress account because I linked to another blog that was also a WordPress blog. WordPress lets you know when other blogs on their site link to your posts. Blogger does not do that. 

So it's the little things like that that have the potential to increase your exposure just by choosing WordPress. And that makes me think that when I eventually decide that I want to pay for a hosting account, I will probably end up hosting my domain with eHost and setting up a WordPress account as my main blog. It is something that is really easy to do, and my eHost Review discusses how that works and also why I think eHost is a great option for hosting a domain.

If you are looking to start a website, or trying to find a good hosting site, I highly recommend eHost.

Useful links:


 Anyone have thoughts on why WordPress is better than Blogger, or vice versa?

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