Here is a quick rundown of the differences between the better known free blogging services. These are great for someone new to site building or blogging because these services take care of all the backend or admin work for you.
They have online help and if you don’t have the expertise or inclination to spend time with the technical issues of setting up a blog with regard to hosting and other tools involved such as FTP, they are an ideal solution to your blogging needs – initially.
Setup is simple although WordPress.com gives a wider range of options which can be confusing at first. Whereas Blogger guides you through the process with a step by step approach
Since Blogger is part of Google it has a very strict spamming program, which in itself is fitting, as I and I am sure you, are just sick to the back teeth of spammers, so just remember to keep your dealings on your blog squeaky clean. Don’t give Google any reason to doubt your blog or your intentions.
Differences between Blogger and WordPress.com
- Monetization with Adsense, Amazon etc: Yes with Blogger – No you are not allow to monetize on WP.com.
- Use Your Own Domain name: Yes you can with Blogger – also with WP.com at a $ cost – see below.
- Social networking features: It is built into Blogger – although WP.com is search engine friendly.
- Storage: 1GB with Blogger – 3GB with WP.com.
- Design Customization: Blogger – Yes – WP.com is Limited.
- Free of Advertising: Yes Blogger is 100% free of ads – Not so with WP.com (unless you purchase an ad-free upgrade).
- Ease of setup: Blogger is very easy to set up – It takes time to get to know the dashboard in WP.com.
- Edit Comments: Not with Blogger – Yes you can edit comments with WP.com.
There is also another option and that is WordPress.org which is also free and looks very much like WordPress.com but it allows you far more flexibility. However you have to install in on web hosting. If you decide to go this way then I would recommend HostGator, where you can get reliable hosting relatively cheaply.
The biggest plus in using WP.org is that you have full control over it. There is a plethora of themes to help you achieve any look that you desire as well as pluggins that will enable you to do just about anything you wish with your site.
A look inside Blogger….
Following is a quick guide on setting up Blogger.
Create a new blog
Go to www.blogger.com – Sign in with a Google email account and check ‘New Blog’.
Title: give it a title – usually to convey what your blog is about.
Give it an address: this will be in your address ‘yournewblog.blogspot.com’ if your choice is not available you might have to play around with the keywords for example if you want a blog on ‘dog training’ and this phrase is not available you might add a suffix such as the word ‘guide’ or ‘tips’ etc.
You can add a custom domain later.
Choose a template now, you can also browse many more templates and customize your blog later on if you wish.
Click create blog
Then you will be taken to the home page where you will see a list of the blogs you make, and from here you can edit or view your blog, start posting or go into More Options to tweak your blog.
In More Options you do a number of things including…..
- Overview: – pageviews and more stats – updates on comments, daily pageviews, posts and followers, as well as Blogger guide and news from Blogger.
- Posts & Pages: Check post pages that are published.
- Comments: Monitor the comments and delete spam.
- Google+ you can expand your audience and interact with your readers by sharing your blog posts on Google+
- Stats: Check your stats – posts traffic sources.
- Earnings: where you can sign up and create a new account to start earning from Adsense,
- Templates: here you can change your template to give your blog a new look
- Settings: where you can add basic settings such as title description is like a subtitle and you can add a custom domain if you did not do this at the beginning – you can add authors if more than one needs to write for the blog.
Underneath your blog name you will see No Posts Start blogging! – click on this to start blogging.
Here you can add content via HTML or WYSIWYG mode which include the features below…
- Text color and background colour
- Inserting images and video
- Spell checker
In the right hand sidebar you have these options…
Labels: where you add your tags.
Automatic posting: you might want to utilize this option or not.
Permalinks: Search engines use the permalinks to categorise a page usually using the headings of a post or page and this is shown in the browser status bar. You might want a fancy title to entice readers, but as far as the search engines are concerned it is better to keep your title short and to the point by editing the permalinks to read the way you want for the browser and the search engines which is good for SEO.
To do this go to Permalink and choose Custom URL and put in the keywords/phrases you want the search engines to use to categorize your post. Your post title will remain the same, contain your keyword phrase but you can write it in any way that you think appealing to the readers.
Thus your title might read something like ‘Ten Killer Dog Training Tips’ and your permalink might be something like ’dog-training-tips’… spelling out exactly what the post is about just for the search engines.
Options to concern yourself with – allow reader comments or not, and allow backlinks
A Look inside WordPress.com
Go to wordpress.com to get started.
Fill out the form with the requested details
Blog address: Yourdomainname which will have the .wordpress.com extension –you can change this later. Here also you can take advantage of purchasing a .com for $18 per year. So instead of your URL looking like every free blog owners URL for example yourdomainname.wordpress.com
Purchasing a .com will enable you to display a far more professional URL for example yourdomainame.com.
The rest of the information you have to supply is simply your username, password and email address.
Note: At the bottom you will see what you will get if you upgrade from the free blog and you might consider doing this. However it will cost you $99 (this is a 41% saving promoted at the time of writing – it might continue or not for a while) otherwise it will cost you $166 annually.
For this you will get a domain name, 10GB of Space, no ads, custom design and VideoPress.
Now to my way of thinking you would be better off hosting the site yourself rather than going along this route because if you could not get the 41% saving each year it would turn out to be more costly for you. Do the math, say you were to purchase hosting with HostGator at the Baby Plan monthly rate of $7.96, get a domain name from NameCheap which will cost you about of $10 a year, then your total payout will be in the vicinity of $105.50.
Also by hosting your site it allows you the flexibility to add more blogs in the future. For a further $10 each year you can purchase more domains and add them to your hosting plan. You can get more information about self hosting a website at this link if you wish to go this route.
Something to ponder on so now let’s continue with creating your new free WordPress blog…
Once you have signed up you will be dropped into the WordPress dashboard and it is here you will manage your blog. On the left hand side you will have all the means to add posts, pages, links, media and much more. Here you will also moderate your comments and change the appearance or your blog.
You should get in and get your hands dirty. Play within the dashboard and find just what you can do with this quite powerful platform. Below are a few examples…
Appearance: As you can see if you go into Appearance for example that there are many themes from which to choose and you can add widgets for more functionality.
Header: Choosing Header where you can change your header.
Settings: go into Setting to start tweaking your blog – general settings, change how readers communicate with you, add sharing buttons, ratings, polls and many more.
If you have any questions about this platform let me know and I will try to answer them for you. Also go to this link WordPress Tutorial for my guide on using WordPress – this guide was written for users of WorPress.org and although there are some additional differences between WP.com and WP.org they are very similar in that it will help you get started.
If you want to monetize your blog then you must choose blogger as this platform allows you to monetize via Adsense, Amazon. Blogger is owned by Google it is simple to use and good for someone learning about blogging… but it remains just a blog.
If you want a blog to support your business then wordpress is a good choice as it can be upgraded more readily in the future if you want it to look more like a website.
To go that bit further let me suggest that if you want complete control and flexibility head along the self hosted track with WordPress.org.