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Blogger or Wordpress?

I have worked with Blogger for nearly five years and Wordpress for nearly two and can share a few observations for any potential bloggers out there who don't have much experience of this sort of thing. By the way, I am not an IT expert, but have taught myself enough to get by on over the years. Youtube videos can be brilliant.

This is my main blog, using Blogger of course. I also run a Blogger blog for one of my choral groups, The White Rose Chorus. You'll see that it looks a tad primitive, with a bit of time and effort it could be made better! The frenchteacher.net site was designed by a former student using Wordpress. He taught me the basics of using Wordpress. I have since put together two other Wordpress sites, one for our village, Follifoot, and one for my other barbershop chorus Spirit of Harmony. I designed these two sites by slavishly following this excellent video on Youtube.

So, why use Blogger and why use Wordpress? Blogger is entirely free. It is owned by Google, it is dead easy to use and it integrates with a Google account. You can use your own URL if you want. If you don't you request one which will end with "blogspot.co.uk/com". They will tell you if the URL is obtainable. You can customise the appearance of Blogger to a reasonable extent, but it has its limitations. There are quite a few templates to choose from including some called "dynamic views" (which have not caught on that much). You can have a banner, backgrounds, choose different colour schemes and fonts. It is easy to embed pictures and video.

If you want to get more picky about layout you can edit the html language directly, but I imagine most people don't do that so much. You can copy and paste in text from pdfs and Word docs, but you need to keep an eye out for layout when you do this. In addition you can make your blog into a basic web site with several pages and a menu bar.

You can also add "widgets" or "gadgets" to add a bit more interest - you often find tese down the right hand column of peoples' blogs. They can be useful e.g. blog rolls, favourite sites, bio, calendar etc. Many others are gimmicky and come with small ads attached.

All in all, Blogger is great for basic blogging and simple web sites. Almost anyone can use it with little fuss. If you were skilled with html you could make it look very professional too, I'm sure. Here is where you start.

Wordpress is more stylish and powerful than Blogger, harder to use for the uninitiated, but looks more professional with its vast range of templates and "plugins" which allow you to do more exciting things, for example make slideshow galleries. Many individuals, groups and companies use Wordpress for their websites now. The web space does not come free, but for well under £100 a year you can get your own URL and server space.

In addition, with Wordpress, unlike Blogger, you upload files, create complex menus of pages. Membership plugins allow you to run pay sites pretty much automatically. Some plugins are free, but smarter ones have to be paid for. To start a Wordpress site/blog just go to their site and follow the instructions.

In short, for a basic blog I would go with Blogger, for something smarter and more powerful Wordpress is better. Both platforms are "responsive" i.e. work well on phones and tablets.

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