So you decided that you want to start a blog but don’t know which blogging platform is right for you. Check out my comparison of Blogger, a hosted WordPress blog and a self-hosted WordPress blog in a platform showdown to help you decide.
We will cover cost, domain name, ownership, free design options, customization abilities, space/storage, e-commerce, updates/back up/security, whether or not you can display advertisements, and finally support. Let’s get started.
Hosted WordPress – You have three plan choices with a hosted WordPress blog. The Basic plan is free for life, Premium plan is $99 per year and the Business plan is $299 per year as the date of this post.
Self-Hosted WordPress – There is no charge to use the WordPress software, so your cost depends on your hosting. I personally use and recommend Bluehost (affiliate link). You can get hosting for a year for as little as $3.95 per month.
Blogger – Free for life!
Cost can be a big issue. But if you are planning on having your blog or website for more than just a hobby, I recommend spending the money.
Hosted WordPress – With the Basic plan your URL will end in .wordpress.com unless you pay $18 to buy and map a new domain or $13 to map an existing domain. Both the Premium and Business plans include a custom domain name.
Self-Hosted WordPress – You have to purchase a custom domain name, they start as low as $11.99 at Bluehost (affiliate link) and you can purchase with your hosting plan.
Blogger – You can purchase a domain name for as low as $12.
Hosted WordPress – Ultimately WordPress owns your site. You have to conform to their Terms of Service and they can take down your site if they choose.
Self-Hosted WordPress – You have complete ownership of your site.
Blogger – Ultimately Blogger owns your site. You have to conform to their Terms of Service and they can take down your site if they choose.
Hosted WordPress – There are over 300 free and premium themes for WordPress.com. If you have the Basic or Premium plan, you can pay between $18-$175 for a premium theme. With the Business plan, 50+ premium themes are included.
Self-Hosted WordPress – You have access to hundreds of free and premium themes. Plus you can buy premium or custom themes and install them on your site.
Blogger – There are only seven templates but you have the ability to easily add/remove/change the sidebars and footers.
Design can make or break a site. You want to be memorable, you don’t want to look like everyone else’s blog. But you would be surprised at the affordable options out there, especially if you aren’t afraid of a little DIY.
Hosted WordPress – The Basic plan comes with basic customization. The Premium and Business plans come with advanced customization, but even that is limited to only full font and CSS customization. None of the plans support custom plugins.
Self-Hosted WordPress – You have complete control over your site. You can install a custom theme or design your own using HTML, CSS and PHP. You can also install any free or custom plugin.
Blogger – You have full access to the HTML and CSS code. There are no plugins, however Blogger does have a wide range of widgets for added functionality.
Space / Storage
Hosted WordPress – The Basic plan comes with 3 GB of storage but no video storage. The Premium plan comes with 13 GB of storage and supports dozens of videos. The Business plan gives you unlimited storage.
Self-Hosted WordPress – Your amount of storage will depend on your hosting plan. I chose a plan with unlimited storage.
Blogger – 1 GB of storage if you use Picasa or 15 GB if you use Google+ (which is my recommendation).
Hosted WordPress – Any form of ecommerce is not allowed on the Basic and Premium plans. However, the Business plan does allow it.
Self-Hosted WordPress – Since you have complete control over all aspects of your site, you can create an ecommerce site if you choose.
Blogger – Ecommerce is allowed.
This might not be as big of an issue up front, many bloggers don’t start out thinking they will sell a product or service. However, if you plan on selling something (including ad space) this is something to consider.
Updates / Backup / Security
Hosted WordPress – All of this is taken care of by WordPress.
Self-Hosted WordPress – All of this is your responsibility. However, if you purchase hosting through Bluehost (affiliate link) I would recommend adding the automatic backups for $1.99 per month.
Blogger – Updates and security are taken care of by Google. However, backing up your site is your responsibility.
Hosted WordPress – The Basic plan may show ads. The Premium and Business accounts have absolutely no ads, unless you put them up yourself.
Self-Hosted WordPress – No ads, unless you put them up yourself.
Blogger – No ads, unless you put them up yourself.
Hosted WordPress – There is community support for all plans, direct email support for Premium plans and then live chat support for Business plans.
Self-Hosted WordPress – There is community support and the WordPress Codex. Plus any support offered by your hosting company.
Blogger – You have access to community support.
It really depends on what you want to get out of blogging. If you are blogging for business, I would consider having a self-hosted WordPress blog. That way you own everything and have complete control and customization over your site.
Which blogging platform do you think works the best for you? Let me know in the comments below!