Blogger has been a staple tool of the Internet since well before Google acquired it. However, the acquisition and introduction of new features continues to to attract bloggers, especially those who are brand-new to owning their own websites and want to try blogging for free. Blogger often exists as a springboard, temporarily hosting users on its Blogspot domain, for people who will go on to purchase their own hosting; however, many users stick to Blogger throughout their entire blogging careers because of its ease of use.
The Price of Free
One of the most alluring aspects of Blogger is that it’s free. Users can sign up and launch their own blogs within a matter of minutes, without paying a single dime. However, webmasters who want to use their own domain, instead of residing on the Blogspot domain, must purchase a domain for around $10 per year through Google or a third-party registrar such as NameCheap. Alternatively, people who opt to go the method of self-hosting must pay for their hosting, and fees can range from $5 to several hundred dollars per month. On top of that, users must purchase their own domain name.
While Blogger ultimately costs less, it also comes with fewer options. For example, Blogger users can create both posts and pages and use HTML in those posts and pages, but Blogger will always show the most recent posts on the index. A custom landing page becomes much more difficult without using gadgets to give the impression of a static landing page. With self-hosted websites, the owner can install any script or simply create a Web page with HTML, leaving them open to create any landing or index page desires.
Other blogger scripts use a combination of languages, like PHP, and HTML. Blogger also uses HTML but only with a single template file, which some users find difficult to navigate. Blogger is making progress, but users who need a fully-functioning website might feel as home elsewhere.
Extending with Plug-ins
People often compare Blogger with WordPress, another popular platform. WordPress is free itself; although, the user must pay for hosting and domains. However, one of the major advantages is being able to install any of the thousands of free plug-ins. These add-ons do everything from turning a blog into a community to aiding SEO by allowing the user to customize keywords and descriptions for every single post or page. Bloggers can even add plug-ins to WordPress that sends their updates to Facebook or Twitter.
In comparison, Blogger’s gadgets are far less useful, and they usually only exist as widgets that add specific content, such as advertising or a block of text, to places on the blog. Furthermore, users must often manually edit their templates to widgetize specific areas. Generally, WordPress plug-ins work out of the box, because the plug-in itself adds the necessary code. Many free WordPress themes are already widget ready.
Because of this, anyone who is concerned with search engine optimization might want to think twice about Blogger. Blogger offers customization that focuses on appearance rather than function, so bloggers who want to control every detail might feel frustrated at its limitations.
Other Considerations to self-hosting a website
Someone who is self-hosted can use hosting tools such as script installers, server-based analytics tools, page builders and email, whereas someone using Blogger doesn’t have any of these features. Even purchasing her own domain for use with Blogger doesn’t allow the webmaster to use an email address with that domain. She would be able to use third-party analytics tools like those from Google, like a self-hosted user, but owning her domain would come with none of the perks of owner a domain. Essentially, anyone who is self-hosted can create multiple subdomains, install various scripts and use her own domain for email.
Blogger tends to work for individuals who wish to discuss their lives, but businesses often find self-hosting better suited to their needs.
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