Saturday, January 29, 2011

Goodbye, WordPress!

{In which I explain why I switched to Blogger}

Don't worry, I'm not giving up on blogging already — it hasn't even been a month yet. I'm just moving my blog to Blogger. (I'll explain why at the end of the post for those of you who are curious.)

Without further ado, the most important part of this entire post (aka SHINY NEW URL):

Yeah, exactly the same except for "blogspot" instead of "wordpress." All comments and posts have been transferred to Blogger via the Wordpress2Blogger conversion utility. Comments are closed on the Wordpress blog - go to my Blogger site if you'd like to comment. (Note: some of your comments got lost in the transfer and I had to put them in manually — thus some wonky timestamps.)

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If you're reading this through a reader, here is my new RSS feed:

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(Side note: if you'd like a more convenient way of keeping updated on blogs you read than visiting each site individually, I highly recommend subscribing to feeds using Google Reader, which allows you to read posts from all your favorite blogs in just one place so you'll never miss an update. Consider trying it out!)

If you prefer to have new posts sent to your email address, click the link below:

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So this is the end of the official announcement. All the rest of this post is about why I decided that Blogger suits me better than WordPress, so if that sounds really boring to you, just skip it. Oh, and I have a dedicated food post coming up next week, so be sure to tune in then!

Why I'm Switching from WordPress* to Blogger (aka vs.

(*Note: All references to WordPress are to, the free blogging software, unless otherwise noted)

I imagine that some of you might want to know why I'm moving my blog. Isn't it a lot of work? Why bother? What's so great about Blogger anyway? And why didn't you choose it in the first place?

Uh, good questions. First off, I actually did research blogging platforms before I began blogging. After reading countless vs Blogger articles on various blogs, I went with WordPress because my impressions were that it was more feature-rich, hip, and professional (I think it was partially because I heard so many raves about that I subconsciously associated with its awesomeness). I blogged happily on WordPress two weeks, but then ran into some limitations. So I wandered over to Blogger to see if it was a better fit for me. And these were the features I loved about Blogger:

1) Customization for free. On WordPress, you have to pay to upgrade for CSS editing. But on Blogger, you can edit the template using HTML/CSS completely for free. I love having more control over the look of my site instead of having to stick with one of the free themes available for I'm not a coder by any means, but that's what Google is for. I search for stuff I want, copy and paste, then play around with it a bit until I'm satisfied. The limitations on customization in probably accounts for the reputation of WordPress being more professional-looking, which is a good thing when it stops people from choosing garish backgrounds and neon text colors (think Myspace vs. Facebook), but not so great when I can't find a theme that has everything I'm looking for. This is the main reason I switched (yes, I do have a tiny bit of control-freak/perfectionist tendencies that occasionally wins out over my laziness). So if you don't really care to tweak every little thing about the appearance of your blog and have no interest in playing around with HTML or CSS, WordPress themes would probably be just fine.

2) Analytics and feed redirect. These two are kind of related. I chose WordPress because I read good things about its stats function (I knew I'd become a stats junkie even before I started blogging. Do I know myself or what?!). However, the feed stats function was canceled a few years back and hasn't yet managed to make its return. Which makes me sad, because I wanted to know if people subscribed to my blog and which posts they like so I can do more of the same (insert subtle hint to encourage feedback/comments here). One way to get those stats is to use Feedburner, but on WordPress there is no way to make sure that all subscribers went through Feedburner instead of WordPress's native feed. This is not a problem on Blogger — setting up a feed redirect was really easy. Plus I can install Google Analytics on my blog, which I can't do on WordPress. Which means I can now stalk my stalkers! Kind of. But yeah, this feature would be more relevant to you if you like analytics (it can be a bit depressing if the stats are dismal, but even so, I actually enjoy having data and being able to analyze it — which is why I adore Excel).

3) Google Friend Connect. I guess this can also be called "sheep mentality," because when I was going through my subscriptions on Google Reader, I realized that most of the blogs I subscribe to are hosted on Blogger. I wish I had exact numbers (data geek! but not enough of one to go back and count, sorry) but my general impression was that, of the blogs I subscribe to, the ranking is as follows: Blogger>self-hosted>>>LiveJournal/Tumblr/TypePad. Since I'd like to start participating more on blogs I read (I started using Google reader almost two years ago and I can't remember commenting on the blog of anyone I didn't know in real life until this year), it makes sense for me to use the platform more popular among the type of blogs I like to read (your mileage may vary). This isn't really a big motivation for making the switch — more like a bonus.

As much as I now enjoy Blogger, there certainly are features I'll miss about WordPress:

1) Categories and tags. I really like how the two are separate — Blogger has labels, but it's not the same (can you tell that I like organization, too?). I wished Blogger also allowed for hierarchical categories and tags as separate categories, so it's easier to find posts around a general topic without having to look through an entire string of random specifics (I'm getting around that in my own way but it's not as convenient). Also, the interface for editing tags and categories is way better in WordPress. Blogger doesn't even have a way to edit labels, you'd just have to delete the old one and create a new one. Another interesting thing about tags in WordPress is the tag stream, so you can see which other people used the same tag on their posts. People have stumbled onto my blog that way, which is really cool. I think it's harder for new blogs on Blogger to get exposure, but that's ok with me. Despite my obsession with numbers, right now my goal isn't to make my blog huge (which is why I told people about my blog individually, rather than making a Facebook announcement). Plus, if I follow through on my plan to participate more in the blogging community, I think people will still get the chance to discover my blog.

2) Post-writing interface. Since I started blogging on WordPress first, I've gotten used to the layout and features of the post editor. The Blogger interface in default view is much simpler. I can still change the options I need, but I'm annoyed by the extra clicks it takes (I'm lazy!). Plus, the Blogger interface is kind of ugly, whereas the WordPress editor is all smooth and pretty. And I really like the Quick Edit feature of WordPress — the post manager in Blogger is not as convenient (and yes, not as pretty either).

3) Comments. This one was a biggie and I almost decided not to switch to Blogger due to its lack of threaded comments and comment editing features. But I got around it by installing Disqus, which gives me more options for how comments work (I also considered IntenseDebate. I'd learned my lesson though, and after reading lots of comparisons of the two, tried both out for myself. I leaned toward IntenseDebate after reading reviews but found Disqus more to my liking). It'd be better if Blogger offered those options for its native commenting feature, but we'll see how Disqus works out. Test it for me a bit, will ya? ;P

What I learned from this experience is that, while reading a ton of reviews and comparisons is a good starting point for narrowing down options, it's not enough to tell you what's a good fit for your needs. Hands-on experimentation is the best way to find out what works for you, and I'd encourage you to make the extra effort if you're trying to choose between different options. (Assuming trying those options out is possible. And I should probably take my own advice before getting more gear for my camera, right?)

So now that I know Blogger's the better choice for my personal preferences, future posts will be at until further notice. And the goodbye to WordPress is not final - if I ever decide to spring for my own domain and hosting, I'll most likely choose Well, after I try out all the best options myself, of course. :)


  1. Cool cool! Because... I was wondering if I should move my blogger stuff to wordpress, but I suppose this answers that question! :D

  2. haha well it really depends on what you care about more when it comes to blogging - i mean, my whole point was kind of that you shouldn't just take other people's advice XD some people find that wordpress works better for their blogging style, but i just happen to find that blogger suits me more. you can go play around with wordpress anyway, just to check it out. also, why don't i know about your blogger?? i think i only have your tumblr link...

  3. I forgot how nerdy you are until I read this post. Nice work!

  4. i can't decide if that's a good thing or not XD but thank you! :)

  5. that's absolutely a compliment.

  6. haha i suppose that makes sense since it's coming from you. in that case, i accept with gratitude :D