Blogging Help:: Out With Blogger, In With WordPress

Fair warning:  Very long and wordy post ahead!!

Over the last year, I’ve read so many posts and articles on the topic of WordPress vs. Blogger, trying to decide whether or not it was worth it for me to take the plunge.  I had so many questions and fears…

  1. Isn’t WordPress difficult to use? (No, it’s not difficult.  If you can use Blogger, you can use WordPress.)
  2. Won’t I lose all of my links?  (Nope, all traffic can be rerouted to the new links.)
  3. What about all those pictures on Pinterest?  Will I lose all that traffic?  (Nope, same as above.)
  4. Will I have to start over at “0″ on Feedburner?  (Nope, your feedburner info can be updated to the new address without losing any subscribers.)
  5. Doesn’t Blogger have better SEO (search engine optimization)?  After all, it’s owned by Google!  (That seems logical, but it’s actually not true at all.  WordPress gives bloggers much better SEO control.)

The list could go on and on.  For over a year, I convinced myself that it was too difficult, and too much was at risk to make the big move.  But now I’m here…and I could kick myself for not doing it sooner.

I’m not going to go over the pros and cons of Blogger and WordPress in general terms.  That topic has been written about at great lengths.  Just Google “Blogger vs. WordPress“, and you’ll get over 29 million results, with the first ten pages filled almost completely with articles and videos by that very name (or a very close variation).

Instead, I want to show you why WordPress was right for me, and in the process, perhaps answer the question of whether WordPress is right for you.

As I shared with you the other day, it took a while for me to get settled into this whole blogging thing.  Similarly, it took me a very long time (about3 1/2 years) to really, fully understand my own vision for blogging, what I personally wanted to share and get out of it, and exactly how I wanted my site to be arranged.  I wanted A2D to be part personal journey and journal (coming from the viewpoint of a homeowner who’s trying to get my own home decorated), part decorating handbook (written from the perspective of a person who has made interior decorating my profession for the last six years), and part DIY handbook (coming from the viewpoint of a person who has been using power tools since high school, and loves to build and make things), mixed in with lots of great DIY projects and inspiration from other bloggers.

That final clarity led me to do a complete site redesign about a year ago, with information accessible by category on the main menu.  The information itself was contained on three separate blogs, all hosted by Blogger, plus a separate website hosted by a different company.

I had DIY Projects all on one page, but you could go directly to a specific category on that page using the drop down menu…

I had information arranged by topic…

Or you could search for articles and posts by room…

Inspiration Files (projects from other bloggers) and Decorating Q & A were located on separate blogs, each accessible on the menu as well…

I tried to make this system work for about a year, but was never completely satisfied with it.  Besides the confusion of having three different blogs and a separate website, the whole thing became such an administrative hassle that I was wasting unimaginable amounts of time trying to keep everything organized, and failing miserably.  Here’s an example of the “behind-the-scenes” maintenance this required:

On November 15, I shared a DIY project with you that I did for my kitchen–a framed magnetic chalkboard spice rack.  That project took about three hours over two days to complete.  When it was finished, it took me about another three hours to sort through and select the pictures I wanted to use, edit the pictures, and write the post.

But even after all of that, I still wasn’t through.  Since it was a DIY project, I needed it to show up on the DIY Projects Page, which was a page on the website portion of the old A2D.  That required me taking one of the photos of the spice rack, and using my photo editing software to create a “button” that would go on the DIY Projects page…

Once the button was created, I had to go to my HTML editor (I used Frontpage), pull up my DIY Projects page, manually add the newly-created button, and make sure it was properly linked to the post I had written.

Then I had to re-upload this HTML page by going to my website hosts’ site, and going through a multi-step process to upload the newly-edited HTML file, along with the new picture (button) I had created.

That took care of the DIY gallery, but I still wasn’t finished!  Since this was a project that fit nicely under the “kitchen” category of the “Decorate By Room” menu item, I had to add it to that page as well.  I would head back to my HTML editor, pull up the page called “Decorate By Room”, find the correct subcategory, and add the new post name and link:

And then…back to my website’s host to re-upload this newly-edited HTML page:

Some projects even fit into a category under the “articles” heading, so that required the creation of another thumbnail in my photo editor, and then the editing of yet another HTML file…

And then…you guess it…back to the host’s website to upload yet another newly-edited page…

For some articles and projects, that might be all.  But for others, even more was required.  You see, when I do a final room reveal, I like to do a post that includes all of the before and after projects, all of the DIY projects that were included in that room, and a list of all of the posts about that room.  And as you would imagine, all of the DIY projects and post listings would have to be done manually, and then the HTML file would have to be uploaded separately.

Are you tired yet?  Ha!  Well, I sure was.  And after a year of that busy work, trying to keep up, but often falling so far behind that I didn’t know where to even start to get caught up, I finally decided that enough was enough.

Now, of course, I could have built these pages directly on Blogger, but that would have only eliminated the uploading step.  the actual design of the pages, as well as the linking between pages, still would have had to be done manually.  I’ve noticed that some bloggers are now using Inlinz for the DIY Projects gallery, but I never considered that because honestly, I don’t like the way they look.  But even with that, I still would have had to manually input the information into a third-party site.

The thought of moving to WordPress scared me (mostly because of the questions I posted at the beginning of this post), but I knew enough about WordPress to know that it could potentially greatly reduce or even eliminate all of this extra busy work I had been doing just to keep my site somewhat organized.

Well, WordPress not only met my expectations, but far exceeded them.  All of that busy work that I described above has been completely eliminated.  Now, when I write a post, all that’s required is that I check the appropriate categories, and the post automatically gets listed anywhere and everywhere it needs to be listed.

On this particular example (the magnetic spice rack), the “kitchen” category ensures that it will show up under the “Decorate By Room” menu option.  The “diy–accessories” and “diy–artwork and wall decor” ensure that a thumbnail of this project will automatically be placed in the DIY Projects Gallery, and will also show up on the category-specific DIY Project Gallery pages.

And what about those final room reveals where I like to include all related DIY projects and blog posts?  I’ve marked the DIY projects that went into my kitchen with the category “diy projects for kristi’s kitchen”.  So if…IF…I ever get my kitchen finished and do a final, proper reveal with all of the before and after pictures, all I have to do is add one tiny snippet of code into the blog post, and miraculously (and with no extra effort or busywork on my part) a thumbnail gallery will automatically be generated that includes every DIY project that went into that room.  Similarly, the category “Kristi’s kitchen” will allow me to include a complete list of all of the blog posts that were written about my kitchen transformation, and again, the only effort on my part is to add one tiny snippet of code into the blog post.

Needless to say, I think WordPress is the best thing since sliced bread.  No, it’s actually better.  I hate that I spent a year floundering around trying to make less efficient methods work, holding myself back just because of fear.

I will say, without a doubt, that designing my WordPress site and getting it programmed to work the way I wanted it to work is not something I could have done on my own, and paying a pro to help me was well worth the money.  It wasn’t cheap, but the peace of mind that I wouldn’t lose my links, my Google and Pinterest traffic, and my Feedburner followers was worth it.  Add to that the fact that I now have a site that is programmed exactly like I imagined (but wasn’t really sure was possible), and that has cut out all of that time-sucking busy work, and I can tell you without a doubt that the money I spent was easily worth every single penny.

Is WordPress right for you?  That’s a question that only you can answer, and it starts with really understanding how you blog, why you blog, what your blogging goals are, and exactly how you envision your site being set up.  Once you fully understand those things (and it’s okay if you don’t know these answers early in your blogging journey), then you will be able to know if you are okay with Blogger’s limited capabilities, or if you’d like the almost limitless versatility that WordPress offers.

If you’re considering the big move to WordPress, but have questions or fears of your own, feel free to leave a comment, and I’ll try my best to answer them.  By no means am I an expert on the topic, but having just made the big move, I’d love to help or answer any questions I can.

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Comments

  1. says

    Two of the reasons that I switched from wordpress back to blogger are:

    - I couldn’t post date my posts to publish in my absence (I believe that can be done now), and
    - I couldn’t edit the HTML code in my template. I don’t know whether that has changed, if you are using one of wordpress’ templates.

    • says

      Yes, you can post date posts on WordPress now.

      And you’re right…Blogger allows you complete access to your HTML template, so the design of your blog’s template is only limited by your knowledge of xhtml. I was always fiddling with my layout on Blogger, so the fact that I don’t have access to that anymore has definitely taken some getting used to.

      With WordPress, you can still do a tremendous amount of customization. You have complete access to your stylesheet, and with all of the widgets and plugins available, the customization is virtually endless. But you do have to start out by choosing a ready-made template (called a theme in WordPress) that has all of the basics arranged just like you want them–number of side columns, number of menus, etc.

      The good news is that there are thousands and thousands of themes available, many of which are completely free. And even then, certain themes allow for different layouts within that theme. For example, my blog uses the Genesis theme (Lifestyle child theme), and within that theme, I have five different layouts available…no side column, one side column on the left, two side columns on the left, one side column on the right, or two side columns on the right. In fact, I can even choose between those for each separate blog post. If I wanted one post to have the sidebar on the right, and another post to have the sidebar on the left, all I have to do is click the layout I want on that individual post. It’s pretty amazing!

      • says

        Hi Kristi
        I just made the move from Blogger to WordPress and I love it. I used the Genesis Framework too though I didn’t rely on finding a template I liked. I just used a very basic sample template then customised it completely using HTML and PHP. It is do-able.
        Thanks for all your posts. I have really enjoyed looking through them.

  2. says

    Great post. I also switched my blogger blog & entire website to a WP site this summer and it was the best thing I ever did! I also hired a pro to do the conversion and she was amazing and worth every penny. WP allows me to keep everything in o e easy-to-use place and I can make all edits myself. Congrats on your switch . I really enjoy your blog.

  3. christine kellogg says

    I can’t believe the amount of work you put in to ALL of this!!! I have always pondered the idea of blogging, so I’m glad you posted this :) I really love reading your posts, I like the way you “talk” in your posts ;) Thanks for ALL your efforts!

  4. Sue says

    Love the new site. One comment though is because your daily posts are after a lot of other categories, I log in (rather than get feeds) and don’t realize you’ve posted something that day, so I jump off the site. It was only after realizing you must be posting the Friday party some where, that I scrolled down and found your regular posts. Maybe they could be at the top with the archival categories below? Love your site andreciate all the info!

  5. says

    I haven’t really used Blogger much but I really have enjoyed WordPress. There’s just so many options with it I absolutely love it. They just made a new release and I like how the menu is a lot better. Everything in the back end uses a new menu which to me seems much more intuitive.

  6. says

    Hi Kristi,
    I have been on Blogger since 2008 and finally feel ready to make some changes. What about all of the stored photos? I have well over the 2500 limit that WordPress offers and although I do pay for extra storage in Picasa for Blogger, it isn’t nearly as pricey as what photo storage looks to be on WordPress. Am I misreading something? I so appreciate all this information you are providing. I have been researching and you have given precise, personal experience information.
    Thanks, Pam

    • says

      Hi Pam~
      I was a little confused by the “2500 limit that WordPress offers”, so I had to do a bit of searching for that. I realized that you are talking about WordPress.com.

      First, to answer your original question, all of my pictures stayed right where they were originally. I didn’t have to do any re-uploading of photos to WordPress or anything like that. From here on out, though, I will upload any new photos to WordPress.

      Now regarding the 2500 picture limit, that applies to WordPress.com only. My blog isn’t hosted by WordPress.com (which allows you to set up a free blog with limited storage and doesn’t allow advertising). Since blogging is a business for me, I had to go with a self-hosted WordPress blog. My blog is hosted through HostGator, and they offer many different levels of service, so you can choose which option is best based on your traffic and storage needs. I personally started out with a Level 3 Virtual Private Server (VPS). I have 30 GB of storage (10 times more than WordPress.com offers), and if I get close to filling that up, I can increase to the next level of VPS, which will give me even more storage. The Level 3 VPS through HostGator costs $50/month.

      Now keep in mind that VPS hosting is quite a bit more expensive than shared hosting. Only you can determine your own needs based on your traffic and storage needs, but HostGator offers hosting for a little as $4/month, and most big web hosting companies like HostGator offer some type of one-click installation of WordPress once your account and domain are set up.

      Hope that helps!!!

  7. says

    Hi Kristi, I found you via Pinterest. I too have contemplated moving to WP but one concern I had was a large blog I know moved and after a few years, she said her Google Page Rank had still never recovered back to where it was, even though she had greatly increased her traffic since the move.
    Another concern I’ve read about is apparently when you move, you lose all the “backlinks” to your blog…which I guess is where other bloggers have linked backed to you, since your address changes. There’s no way to move backlinks from other blogs is there?
    Also, would appreciate if you could share the designer/professional you used when you moved your blog to WP.
    Thanks,
    Susan

  8. says

    I’m trying to figure out how to attach a guest post pdf file, that has words and photos, into a blog post. Not sure if it matters that I’m using a Mac. Do I need a pdf converter? Just not sure how to do it easily. I get it done, but I probably go through a lot of unnecessary steps.
    Thanks for all your blogging tips!!

  9. says

    Hey Kristi! All of your blogger help posts have been so informative. How did you go about letting your google friends connect followers that they would no longer be able to follow you through GFC? I am moving to WordPress soon and want to make sure that I announce the move to them in a way that will make it easy for them to follow me to the next blog and not lose anyone. Also, how do you handle email subscribers that forget to activate the subscriptions? Thanks for you help! Looking forward to more post like these!

    • says

      Hi Tricia~
      I actually never used Google Friend Connect, so I didn’t have to worry about that. But I think it would be a good idea just to write a post explaining that you’re preparing to move to WordPress, and that people following you using GFC will no longer get your updates. Then you could actually add the code for the Feedburner email subscription right in the post to make it convenient for them to sign up.

      I never do anything about the email subscribers that forget to follow through. I’ve actually never given it a thought.

  10. says

    Hi Kristi! Thanks for this very informative artikel. I’ve been thinking of moving from Blogger to WordPress for awhile now too, but have been afraid to do so. In Blogger I’ve started to use “pages” to catagorize, but I imagine as time goes by and I do more and more projects it can be tedious and time-consuming. Luckily I don’t have too much on my blog yet so I should be able to make the switch without any major losses.
    Have you ever heard of anyone who regretted the move? I haven’t found anyone yet.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas and advice! Your blog is very informative and inspiring!

  11. says

    Kristi:
    Love your site. Thanks for the informative tutorials. They have been so helpful as I am making the switch over to WordPress. Are you available for hire? I would love to have you help me get my blog up and running right. Look forward to hearing from you.

    Marilyn

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