Monday, August 1

What Australian Bloggers think: Blogging platforms - What, why, pros and cons

Us bloggers have these thoughts and sometimes we'll even externalise them into a blog post, a forum post or (even!) a 'real life' discussion.  I decided to bring together a group of bloggers of different genres and experience together to understand what Australian Bloggers think as a community, of themselves and of others, their relationships with brands, PR's, blogger platforms and few other things... stay tuned each fortnight..!

Now for those who attended Blogopolis on the weekend this was a little bit of a hot topic - I'm sure I wasn't the only blogger-using-blogger in the room who felt a little 'snubbed' (I'm a big girl, don't worry I'm over it!) Seriously though, there does seem to be a little bit of elite-ism over the WordPress platform, and whilst I have not used it enough to form an informed view I'm not sure if it's warranted. I do know it gets under a lot of non-wordpress users' skin.

With the commenting and outage issues in blogger of late I am unsurprised by the massive migration over to WordPress.  I was considering a move, but am told Blogger will be releasing some fabulous and much improved functionality with the upcoming release of 'Google Blogs'.   Blogger, please redeem yourself soon!

Today I have a dozen bloggers who tell me what blogging platforms they are on, and why and the Pros and cons of their platform:

Platform: Wordpress
Why? I was originally on Blogger, but when I bought my domain name I moved to Wordpress because it seemed to be the easier option for self hosting.
Pros: I love that it is so customisable and that almost anything you want to do you can achieve by plugin. I also love that it can be utilised as a content management system, not just as blogging software. I much prefer the commenting system on Wordpress.
Cons: It does take awhile to wrap your head around and I have spent hours trying to tweak some small thing and playing around with the css to do something that would probably take a designer or coder all of about 5 seconds. It lacks the community that Blogger has and that's a real shame.
Zoey, Good Goog [personal, parenting] [2 years blogging]

Platform: Blogger
Why? Google search funnily enough! Then I discovered the bloggers I loved used Blogger so I knew I was onto something OK
Pros: Easy to use, using blogpress I can blog anywhere
Cons: Can't reply to comments individually
Amelia, Wedding, babies Everything [family] [9 months blogging]

Platform: Wordpress
Why? Started OHB on Blogger because it is free and it grew and grew. Swapped over to WP and our own domain about 2 -3 years ago.  It is much more flexible, easy to use, regular updates, great interface, fast and easy to use AND, not clunky! Cradle - WP
Pros: Everything - flexible, light,  easy to use, reliable, great developer community
Cons: None really

Frank - Our Hiking Blog,[outdoors/hiking] and Cradle Mountain [tourism] [8 years blogging]                                                                                                           

Platform: Blogger
Why? It was easy to use and I set up a blog in under an hour when I was a week overdue with keira. 
Pros:  It's easy to use and I tried self hosted wordpress but found it trickier. I'm not good at the IT stuff. 
Cons: I'd probably like more gadgets that I could add to my blog and change my layout a bit more so it looked less 'bloggy' and more 'websitey'. They are real words btw.
Corrie - Retro Mummy [craft, family] [5 years blogging]

Platform: Typepad
Why? Pure luck, most blogs I visited were Typepad or blogger - I just decided to go potluck with Typepad
Pros: Simple to navigate and straight forward for posting and loading photos onto. Typepad is just that.
Cons: Actually I'm very happy with Typepad!
 Melissa, One Crafty Mumma  [craft,family] [5 years blogging] 

Platform: Blogger
Why? I choose Blogger simply because it is very user friendly. You don’t need to know any coding etc to be able to use it.
Pros: As above I love that it is so user friendly.
Cons: I dislike that there have been problems some user being unable to comment of late. Other than that I have no real critisms, but I would like a reply feature in the comments section but I am under the impression that they are working on that.
Amy, MahliMoo  [craft, parenting] [6 months blogging]

Platform: WordPress
Why? I did a blog training course in 2007 with a very successful blogging entrepreneur. He suggested if I wanted to take blogging seriously…there was not a choice. Wordpress is the industry standard according to him.
Pros: Ease of use, customisable, ample plugins for extra features.
Cons: To be honest I can’t really think about anything. Only possible issue is most web designers/tech guys I know think the code is awful and all the extra plugins can easily cause coding issues.
James - Aussie Green Thumb  [gardening] [9 months blogging]

Platform: Blogger
Why? It's easy to follow and connect with via google - whether it be fellow Blogspot bloggers, or those with a gmail account
Pros: I originally started on Tumblr, but realised I couldn't participate in the Aussie blogging community as easily as Blogger allows.
Cons: I've not had any issues with it thus far.
Stacey, Veggie Mama [food, parenting] [18 months blogging]

Why? I had worked with wordpress doing some marketing for a small business and they were using it as a backend for their website. I also just knew it as a free blogging platform
 Pros: find it very easy to use, it's pretty intuitive and it lets you preview what your blog will look like when it is published
Cons: because it is and not .ORG there are a few different widgets that work on one and not the other. does not allow java script to be used either so this can be a problem if you are trying to add a badge or image that someone has provided for you.
Caitlin - Chasing Cait [Fashion, Beauty] [9 months blogging] 

Platform: Blogger
Why? Was familiar with it from a lot of other blogs I read, was ill informed of others
Pros:  Don't have to be an IT expert to start a blog, sure helps if you know a bit, but it can all be learn't as you go. 
Cons: Outages
Mandy, A little space like home [personal, parenting] [6 months blogging]

Platform: WordPress
Why? My first developer steered me in that direction - best accidental business decision I ever made!
Pros: The ease of adding and removing different apps or plugins that mean I can make changes and enhancements without the need to learn too much HTML or CSS editing.
Cons: Nothing - love WordPress
Nikki, Styling You [Fashion, beauty] [3 years blogging]

Platform: Blogger
Why?  am squarely in the technically challenged camp, and Blogger seemed to be the easiest one to get started on straight away.
Pros: It remains easy to use.
Cons: Ah, let me count the ways.  My chief dislikes would be:
Little choice in templates, Templates don’t have the same fresh, clean professional look as Wordpress, Fewer plug-ins than Wordpress
Jenny, Let the Children Play [Education] [21 months blogging]

What do you think about particular blogging platforms?  Are you passionate one or the other?  If you're a reader do you care?  Would you consider moving your blog to another platform?  What would make you choose to?

If you are interested in taking part in this series as a blogger in either the technology, travel or sports arenas or a PR please don't hesitate to email me!
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7 lovely comments:

BabyMac on August 2, 2011 at 6:45 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Thanks Liss - I'm interested in this one given that a lot of the feedback (well through twitter at least from someone reading from afar) was that we should move away from blogger and onto wordpress. How many people do you think will make the move - buy their own domain names etc given what was said? Or do you think there was initial panic and now that everyone is home things will stay the same?

Liss on August 2, 2011 at 6:54 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

@BabyMacHard to say Beth. I think some people will stay with Blogger because it's 'wha they know' and others will stay with Blogger in hope that it will change (like Eden said, like a bad boyfriend) I think until Blogger does get it's act together with SEO and comments there will be a steady trickle of 'defectors'.

Ms Styling You on August 2, 2011 at 8:03 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

You couldn't have timed this more perfectly, Liss!

Sorry for being bias - it's a case of what I know - but I've also worked in the backend of Blogger so I don't agree with the Blogger argument that it's easier to use - it's not really as things that are easy plugins in WordPress need to be added via the HTML code in Blogger which I takes more techie know-how than searching for and installing a plug-in.

What was made clear at #nnb2011 is that if you are on Blogger that you don't "own" your blog - Google does. A bit like a Facebook page. You're at the mercy at what the developers are doing or not doing.

Re the comment system - yes it's not that efficient - but as a WordPress blogger, as soon as I got a Google account and started logging into comment that way, it got a whole lot more user friendly. So, if you have a Blogger blog, perhaps encourage your non-Blogger readers to do this for commenting ease?

Tammy on August 2, 2011 at 10:35 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Hi Liss, I am with Blogger under my own domain name and I don't have issues with it ( most of the time ) I am under the impression that word press is just more than I could cope with to set up right now.

katepickle on August 2, 2011 at 2:38 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Great post... wow woman you always make me think!

Personally - I started out on blogger and then switched to self hosted wordpress. I switched because I wanted to do more and have more control.

I still work with a lot of blogger blogs when creating blog designs and helping various bloggers and I agree that bloggers and I think the debate between which is better really depends on why you are blogging and what you want to do with your blog.

I agree that bloggers is not easier to use than WP if you want to do things other than the standard stuff available on blogger, and the blogger commenting system is in desperate need of an overhaul. But if you don't need anything technically fancy and you are happy then I reckon blogger is fine! And there is a lot to be said for sticking with what you know and are happy with...

The biggest draw back with wordpress, in my opinion, is that you have to take responsibility for your blog. You have to make sure it is secure and up to date... perhaps that is not a negative to some, but I bet it certainly is for others.

I do think the elitist 'we're better' wordpress type feelings can make WP seem a lot scarier and harder than it really is.

this comment "What was made clear at #nnb2011 is that if you are on Blogger that you don't "own" your blog - Google does." really made me stop and think though....

sorry for the essay... again!

Anita on August 3, 2011 at 10:15 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Hey Liss - told you I wouldn't stay a lurker ;) - love this post. I am an accidental WordPresser. I was advised that it would be easier if I wanted to establish a website from my blog - can't remember who by now. To be honest I am technologically illiterate so I find it a bit hard sometimes but when I find the solutions it's like little lightbulb moments and from then on seems simple. Surely the debate - which def triggered heat at Blogoppolis is irrelevant. Bloggers should choose what works best for them? My only other thought was the one already mentioned about blog "ownership" I want to "own" my content and it seems Wordpress is a better choice in that sense. xx

Miss Cinti - my poppet on August 21, 2011 at 10:02 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Interesting topic, I totally agree with you that there is a whole blogging community that look down on blogger. There are some big bloggers in the states using blogger with really great customizations. I use blogger and am quite happy with it so far. I have done all my own customizing which has lead me to learn a bit of HTML and Css coding. It would take a lot of convincing to get me to swap over.
I'm concerned about the security of self hosted blogs, WP blogs seem to get hacked and spammed a lot.


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