Friday, 16 January 2015

Making the Move to WordPress (and leaving Blogger)

Welcome WordPress, Goodbye Google Blogger



It's a new year, a perfect time to make a fresh start. For me, I'd like to make that fresh start by making the move that will forever change the (short) history of my blogging career: switching to WordPress.


For those who are reading this from my WordPress site for the first time, allow me to give a bit of explanation. Before starting up this site here, I had this exact same blog hosted in Blogger. The blog has the same name "Аку Ўартаўан Рәмажа - I Am A Teenage Reporter" with a slightly different address: http://iamateenagereporter.blogspot.com. This blog has been running for over a year now. When I transferred from Blogger to WordPress, I migrated almost all of my blog content without any changes. All posts, images and comments I have made previously on the Blogger site are retained in this one. As a result, it may seem like this WordPress blog is over a year old, but it's not.

For those who are reading this from Blogger site, I have written and posted this simultaneously on both sites. I am still posting here because a lot of traffic still come here anyway and that my WordPress blog is relatively new. FYI my new WordPress blog is at this address: http://iamateenagereprter.wordpress.com. It is the same blog with the same content, just with a different design theme and address. Why am I making the move? I will explain down below...

The question you'll probably ask is, why am I moving in the first place? I'll try to clarify my decision through these numbered points.


1. I feel lonely L - Lack of followers and community support


Look here, only one 'official' follower on Blogger.
The rest are just friends from Google Plus.

I tried and tried and tried. I posted posts and articles every month in hope for someone to follow me or at least like my page but to no avail. I know it might seem self-centred of me saying this, but I was hoping for at least some words of encouragement from one or two readers who happen to pass by. Not getting any support from the global Internet community can really get you down, especially if you think that your writing is good. If it's not, how would you know without any criticisms? This problem is partly the reason why I did not blog anything for several months. In my mind, I already thought that nobody is going to care much about it and it would be ignored and sink into oblivion.

WordPress was actually my first source of comments. A WordPress user named ASpaceWithin was my friend from my old school and had started up her own web blog in WordPress. Ever since then she encouraged me over and over to switch to WordPress because the community there is more receptive. I looked in to see it for myself and she was absolutely correct. Her posts have at least one or two comments, while her most visited ones have over twenty. And she started blogging even later than I did. From then on I felt compelled to make the switch, but I kept delaying it.



2. Greater control over site design



Although I do like my site design on Blogger, there isn't really much choice to pick from anyway. Many Blogger blogs end up looking too similar to each other or too plain because of this. With WordPress, I could choose from a greater range of themes and styles. They are very unique and most are free to use. For now, I'm not sure if I'll stay with the design that you see here if you're reading on my WordPress. It's possible I may change it if I find a better theme, but I'll keep it here for now. The name of my WordPress theme is Misty Lakes.

3. Better reputation


I've read somewhere on the net that WordPress is better suited for professional bloggers and people who need websites for their businesses. I am not one of those people though: I blog as a hobby. However, I do like presenting whatever I have in a professional manner, so I need to choose a site with a higher 'prestige value' to it. No offence, but Blogger seems to only attract hobbyists because of simplicity of design. Due to the variety of aesthetically pleasing web themes and the more complex way to handle things, I think of WordPress much highly than I do for Blogger as a blog hosting site.

4. Better integration with social networking sites that are not Google Plus



One of the reasons why my blog in Blogger isn't as successful as I'd like it to be is because it really sucks at social media integration. I use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on a regular basis ever since I owned a Samsung Galaxy S3. Not that I am addicted to them, but I find them as a convenient way of communication and spreading news to other people. I have a Facebook page dedicated for my blog. Many of my regular readers follow the page on Facebook and I post links and notifications for new posts and updates.

Note the actual difference in size and text between the top one from Blogger and the bottom from WordPress.


With Blogger there are very tiny, almost unnoticable buttons where you can click to share a post to a social media platform. Nor are there any suitable widgets that synchronise well with Facebook. On the other hand, WordPress offers tabs for sharing which are clear and visible to all readers.


This is a WordPress widget
that shows all my followers to
my FB page of my blog, which shows quite
a number of people. I could not put this
widget in my Blogger, which really irks me.
It gives the impression that no
one reads my blog at all.
Since Blogger is part of Google, it touts Google Plus over everything else. Now, I don't use Google Plus often just because it's not my cup of tea. However, ever since I started this blog and use my YouTube account in tandem, it automatically posts my activities there on my Google Plus page. I have very few followers on Google Plus, but Blogger can only show people who follow me on Google Plus as my blog followers.I can't display my followers of my FB page in my Blogger - only my WordPress can. WordPress wins all the way in syncing with social media.

5. Ability to get followers from platforms that are not your own


The sad thing about Blogger is the fact that my blog followers have to either be: one, a native Blogger blogger with a Blogger account, or two, someone with a Google (and therefore Google Plus) account. This limits the scope of my audience to a trickle. If someone tries to follow me on my Blogger blog from other platforms, it is possible using a roundabout method using RSS feeds. However, I would not know at all if you actually followed me, because the Blogger system does not include unofficial followers into their statistics. It's all very confusing and depressing.

WordPress users have a much larger scope of inter-blog interactions on the Internet. First, they are able to follow WordPress blogs, Blogger blogs and any other blogs from their blog dashboard (the same way as Blogger blogs). In addition to this is something Blogger does not have. Anyone can wander into a WordPress blog and follow him/her, regardless whether you are a WordPress user or not. How?

Courtesy of http://en.support.wordpress.com/

WordPress allows regular people without blogs to follow via email. When a person signs up for it, WordPress records the person who signs up as a follower on the blog's statistics for the blogger. In short, you would get to know that you have followers even if they themselves don't have blogs. Does Blogger have this function? Nope!

6. Support and encouragement from other people


I've seen how WordPress had helped my friend to gain lots of followers and readers. She received lots of encouragements and comments from bloggers who are, I suppose, complete strangers to her at first. However, they were able to connect and get to know each other as online friends - even on a first name basis! This kind of community life is what I am missing out on. In Blogger, no such things exist because social interactions are mostly reliant on Google Plus. There isn't much of a bond between Blogger bloggers compared to WordPress bloggers, but that's just my opinion.

7. (Hopefully) Better for getting blog traffic once fully operational


Yes, hopefully that will happen. The thing about blogs that it takes time for traffic to pick up anyway. Just as Rome was not built in a day, blogs don't become famous overnight. It will take time for traffic to pick up in the WordPress version and I will be patient. I still have a lot of tweaking and fiddling around to do with getting used to the more complicated WordPress system so I will take my time and not rush.

Conclusion...


These are not to say that I hate Blogger in any way. In fact, I cherish my time in Blogger so much that I felt reluctant to change or move to WordPress. For example, I prefer editing my posts in Blogger than WordPress because there I could just state which font I wish to use. WordPress requires me to have some knowledge the complex language of CSS and HTML. I love it that every time I type something, it automatically saves without me having to save it myself.

Despite my eventual settlement to the realm of WordPress, I will not abandon Blogger outright. In fact, what I will do is to keep the Blogger blog running indefinitely. However, it would do me a great favour if all my readers would start getting used to my WordPress blog because I will, at one point, stop updating the Blogger blog. I am not sure myself when this will be, but one thing is for sure - WordPress is the way forward.

3 comments:

  1. One last comment here : )

    Congrats on making the switch!! Your wordpress site looks nice. I agree with a lot of the things you mentioned above about blogger vs wordpress. I've also been tempted / trying to make the switch. Wordpress is intimidating because, like you said, it's more of a serious platform + requires more from the author in terms of knowledge and decision-making. I decided to keep my personal blog on blogger but start a new site about learning Russian on wordpress. So far it's been smooth to create and share content but the themes and design... not so easy. So far I haven't made any progress in that department.

    Have followed you already on the new site, looking forward to your posts!

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    Replies
    1. Здравствуйте! Thank you for following my blog on WordPress! I will have a look on your WordPress blog because I really want to learn Russian myself. Thank you for commenting! Спасибо! Дякую!

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    2. Hi Ahmad! Just saw that you're sticking around on Blogger... cool! : ) I hope it becomes a good platform for you.

      I'll leave you a link here with my wordpress blog when I have the theme done!

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