Thursday, March 23, 2006

Blogger vs. Wordpress

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I've been trying out Wordpress, comparing it with Blogger by keeping a mirror of STA at a Wordpress URL, and I'm ready to write about my impressions so far. I should preface this by saying that I'm using the Web-based version Wordpress, which has its limitations compared to the desktop version.

Let's start with the drawbacks of Wordpress. The biggie is that Wordpress, unlike Blogger, does not allow users to modify the template. You choose from among a bunch of pre-fab templates and if you don't like something, your only recourse is to change templates. With Blogger, of course, you can access the template code and muck around to your heart's desire, which can be both dangerous and a great learning experience. Not having access to the template also means you can't do things like add code to your blog from sites like Pandora or CoComment. On the other hand, customizing your blog is much less, well, dangerous, and the overall result is probably better for readers, especially if you are like me and are no wizard at HTML (let alone CSS or Javascript). Wordpress also seems much pickier about how HTML is displayed. I'm not sure why that is. And Wordpress doesn't appear to have a built-in spell checker, something I really miss.

On the other hand, Wordpress does support categories and trackbacks, which is nice. You can also create separate pages to organize the information on your blog a little more coherently. Thus, on the Blogger version of STA, I have things like my profile, computer gear and blogroll listed in the sidebar, while on the Wordpress version, this is all accessible via what look like tabs at the top of the blog. This appeals to my neat and tidy side. I could do something similar with Blogger, but I'd have to create separate blogs for my account and then link to them via the sidebar... I might get around to it one day too. (yeah right)

But perhaps the best, and most addictive feature of Wordpress that Blogger lacks is integrated stats. On a good day, it's gratifying (a little too gratifying in fact) to see how many people read your blog. On a bad day, it's depressing, but then you remember that you're blogging because you like to write, not because you care how many people read your words... right?

So for now, I'll keep up the mirror. Frankly, the individual blogging interfaces have become much less important since I've been using Ecto. I'm pretty sure I'll pony up the registration fee when my trial runs out in a few days.

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