Michael 84

Blogging Tips – The Benefits Of WordPress Over Blogger

Blogging Tips
Tuesday, 16th September, 2014

Wordpress advantages over Blogger

Last time out we looked at why Blogger is better than WordPress. We concluded that WordPress was an amazing platform, but it’s not for everyone, especially those just starting out or don’t have the confidence or budget which a WordPress blog may require. However I love WordPress, it’s an amazing, powerful piece of blogging software I have used on and off for 10 years, including using it on my blog right here for around 4 years.

What is WordPress?

WordPress has gone from a solid piece of blogging software to an all singing, all dancing CMS (Content Management System). Blogging is still at it’s core, but now with so many developers and a huge community, there’s endless possibilities, from running a shop to forum and even your very own social network using the BuddyPress extension. Here I’ll be talking about the self hosted WordPress software, and not the WordPress.com platform similar to Blogger. WordPress software differs from 3rd party platforms because you have to install the software on your own server, which means buying some web hosting.

How Do I Get Started?

Getting started on WordPress is relatively easy. All you need to do is buy a domain name, find some webhosting, and buy it. If you’ve never done it before don’t worry. It’s a service you’ll usually pay for monthly, possibly yearly, and the price varies a lot. My best tip would be to google ‘Web Hosting Reviews’, and check out the forum Web Hosting Talk to get a little inside knowledge, and check out their hosting offers and deals forum. How much does it cost? Well this varies a lot, because there’s a few different types of hosting, as well as different quality, and many offer different services or features. I will briefly go into the different types, and write a tutorial on them at a later date.

Web Hosting – This is also called shared hosting. It’s the most basic type of hosting, you don’t need much knowledge, most hosts come with an easy to use control panel, many with a “1 click install” for WordPress making life easy. This is the cheapest, you can pay something along the lines of £2 – £10 / month. It’s shared hosting, which means there will be other people on the server. The advantage is that costs are low, the disadvantage being you have less resources, and if another site takes the server down, your blog is likely to go down too.
Semi Dedicated – This is shared hosting as above, but you get more resources. Not many hosts provide this, but if you come across it you can assume it’s better than standard web hosting. You’ll get more resources but it will cost more. Expect to pay £15-£30
VPS – This is a Virtual Private Server. It acts like a dedicated server, you can install things server side and it acts like your own server. You get dedicated resources, it’s more secure and stable. An advantage is that you can usually grow your blog with the server resources; For example pay for a low package and if your blog becomes more popular, you may be able to move up to a higher package without the need of moving servers or companies. The downside is that it costs more money. You can pay anything from £15 and up, keep going past £100 depending on your provider. You may also need a bit of server knowledge, although your host may have a management option where you pay them a few quid per month to manage it for you. You can get cloud hosting, which works in a similar way, pay as you go hosting.
Dedicated Server – This is the big boy, your own dedicate server. You’re responsible for everything server side, although you can usually pay a management fee if you’re not so confident with Linux. The cost can be anything from £50 – £300+ and the rest, most bloggers will not need to go for a dedicated server. To require a dedicated server, you would need some serious traffic going to your blog.

Side note: Unlimited Is Never Unlimited – You will come across some web hosting which will claim unlimited bandwidth or unlimited transfer. This is sort of a false claim, because you may think that this could mean you can have unlimited traffic and you’ll be fine; If that were the case Google or Facebook could get one of those packages with their billions of visitors! :mrgreen: If you use up a lot of resources, or have traffic spikes (lots of bursts of visitors) you may be told to move to a more expensive plan, depending on the host. Always remember that in the end you usually get what you pay for.

The Advantages Of Using WordPress

The Ultimate Flexibility

Having your own WordPress blog hosted on your own web hosting gives you the ultimate flexibility. You can be as creative as you want, change exactly what you want to change, the possibilities are endless. You have complete control over the look, content, every little detail of your blog can be changed.

Plugins/Features And Support

There is a huge community for WordPress, and you can add a whole host of features within a few clicks, these are called Plugins. There’s everything you could imagine and a whole lot more, far to much to even consider writing about. If you get stuck or need help, there’s a huge friendly community too, not to mention so many people running WordPress you can ask almost anyone for a handy tip or two.

Themes aka The Look & Layout

Changing the look of your WordPress blog can be as easy as clicking a few buttons. There’s a huge number of designs which are available for free, and some others which you can pay for. Since it’s your own software, you can also design yourself and change everything, or pay a designer to give your blog a truly unique look.

Great SEO

SEO is important, and there’s ongoing discussions on what is the best blogging software or platform with regards to SEO. First of all SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and it’s really important. Having a WordPress blog on it’s own will not guarantee you number 1 spot in Google, but because it’s so customisable there are a lot more options, and a lot more control over your SEO efforts. WordPress is SEO friendly straight out of the box, but there’s also a lot of plugins available to make it even more SEO friendly.

Your Own Hosting Comes With Benefits

Having your own hosting does not just mean you can host a WordPress blog, but you can host other things too. Check out what kinds of software you can run from your web hosting, there’s a lot out there! 😀 Not only that, most come with plenty of web space so you can upload photos to share, as well as coming with email, so you can use your own domain with emails, so have you@yourblog.com which looks more professional.

You Run The Show

You have so much control with your own web space and blog, you are in complete control. You can block people from your blog easily, you can set up redirects, have comments on or off and more. The control options are pretty much endless.

Speed & Optimisations

There’s plenty of ways to increase the speed of your blog and make it more efficient, including caching and optimising your code. This will keep your blog running as quick as possible, and use the least number of resources as possible so you can get everything out of your hosting plan.

The few disadvantages

I have to speak on the few disadvantages of using WordPress, the only one being the host your on. Your blog will only be as good as the host you’re on, and there are some bad ones out there, so picking a quick, reliable and stable one is crucial. As mentioned before, read reviews on hosts. You’ll also need to realise if you have real aspirations for your blog then as it grows you’ll probably need to pay more and more for your hosting. The busier your blog gets the more resources you’ll need, which means moving up the web host ranks, going from shared web hosting to a small VPS and then on to a medium and large VPS and who knows from there. If you want your blog to become huge, you should be prepared to pay what you may consider a lot of money.

Final Word

I hold WordPress in high regard and think it’s amazing, I highly recommend using it. In my opinion it’s the best software out there, and better than using Blogger because of the sheer control, flexibility and amount of features you have in front of you. It’s easy to get up and running and once you are it’s simple enough to use if you just want the basic fundamentals of blogging. If you want your blog to go far you can learn how to get the most out of WordPress as you go, if you’re prepared to learn, watch videos and do a whole lot of reading you can make a hell of a WordPress blog.


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Michael Adams

About Michael

Michael Adams is the founder and editor of Michael 84, blogger and T-shirt designer from Newcastle, UK. Sharing men's fashion tips, style advice and lifestyle information for all guys.

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