The move of this blog to my own domain is nigh. At the same time I am moving over to Wordpress. Although blogspot Blogger has served me well, there are a few aspects that that frustrate me. I enjoyed the challenge of finding ways round problems but because of the time involved the novelty of this has worn off. Some of these issues have been solved with the new Blogger but it is not possible to use this version on your own server.
Please keep in mind that these are my reasons for moving to Wordpress on my own domain, based on my own requirements. I would not consider moving to the online Wordpress as Blogger allows much more flexibility and the new version offers an easy to use interface for many customizations and add ins.. Before considering a move of this kind it is a good idea to think about why you need to. Consider:
- What features are not supported by your current blogging platform that you really need?
- Can these features be added to your current blog with plug-ins, workarounds or 3rd party sites. (e.g. Feedburner)?
- Your level of skill - Wordpress is not quite as easy to operate as Blogger and there is a learning process involved in setting up and managing your own domain. Do you have the time or inclination to go through this?
- If you are currently using Blogger classic - would a move over to the new and very much improved version satisfy your requirements?
What bugs me about Blogger
The comments page
- The theme cannot be edited and I want the ability to style it to match my blog template.
- There is no "follow this thread by email" feature or add in.
- It is not possible to remove nofollow. I have been compensating for this by manually creating a list of those who have commented, which I publish to the blog page, but this is time consuming. I want to continue giving recognition on my front page to those who contribute comments but this can be achieved automatically with Wordpress.
The Main Blog Page
- The Blogger navigation bar that runs at the very top of the page is unattractive. Although it can be removed with a hack, I always felt this unfair on those who are using the browse 'next blog' feature; to land on my blog and not be able to continue further.
- There is no 'previous post' link at the end of the page. I find this frustrating when reading other class Blogger blogs. You have to search for the archive section and browse from there. I have lost count how many times I have clicked on the previous month name in the archive list to discover I have navigated to the prior year. ( A previous posts feature has been added to the new Blogger ).
- Classic blogger does not have a built in post categorization. I add the tags to the bottom of my posts manually which is a nuisance and the results not satisfactory. The workaround I operate uses Google Blog Search to hunt for my tags.
At first I thought all relevant posts were showing up. I have now discovered that older pages are being dropped. For example a search for posts tagged "SSS", which I number sequentially, only show up SSS 10 onwards. The current 6 weeks are being shown but the prior 9 weeks have disappeared. A general Google search shows that the pages are still being indexed but Blog Search is just not showing them.
Leaving Comments on Other Blogs
- When leaving a comment on another blog, using your Blogger name, the link that appears on the comment is that of your Blogger profile page and not your blog page; even though the url you have entered is your blog address. I want to have the choice of which blog I am leaving a link to.
- Having the extra step involved, of having to navigate to the profile page first, means that readers may not continue on to your actual blog.
- The user profile page is a default Blogger page which lists all blogs operated by a user.
- There is no control over the styling or the content.
- Wordpress has a static page feature which can be used for an About page. This can include whatever content you wish and follows the style of your blog.
Features and PluginsAlthough the new Blogger has many easy to implement add ins, classic Blogger lacks these.
Features that I would like which are available for Wordpress:
- Static Pages
- Site map creator
- Recent Comments
- Top Commenters
- Sticky Posts
- Read More feature
- Write post feature with more formatting options.
- Subscribe to comments feature
- Automatic tag creation.
- Ability to use PHP coding
- An archive list
- A contact form by plugin rather than 3rd party sites
- Social networking plugins rather than having to manually code/use 3rd party widgets
- Related posts list at bottom of posts.
- Spamming protection plugins
- Pagination for long posts
- Lots of other plugins and utilities for administrator and blog pages
- I do not have as much control over my site as I would like. I enjoy tinkering with the coding and am a plugin junkie.
- Wordpress is a complete program, which you install on your server. With blogger hosted on your own domain, only your own data is stored on the server, the rest is still held by Blogger. This allows less customization and tweaking and more running backwards and forwards to fetch code.
- Although I will be creating my own theme, as I did with this blog, for those with no knowledge of html/CSS the available blogger templates tend to lack sparkle. Wordpress themes are plentiful.
- When I compose my posts using an editor and html tags and past into the html post window I have to hunt through and delete extra line breaks which are automatically put in.
- If I have to retype in the captcha code because the page has timed out many more times, I may well scream.
- Blogger is doing very strange things to my image dimensions at the moment. e.g. I pasted in width:"423" but blogger changed this number to 230.4526?
This is part one in a series of posts about using your own domain for hosting blogs and moving over to Wordpress. More to come very soon.