Saturday, June 1, 2013

June 2013: To move, or not to move, that is the question

Blogger or Wordpress? Blogger or Wordpress? Ah, the difficult choices we face in life! If you follow this blog you might already know that I'm feeling quite tempted to move to WP and if not, basically, the situation is that I'm quite annoyed with Google's recent decisions to push all its users to have active profiles on its social network G+. It was not coindence that I decided to give WP a try the same day that Google Developers annual get-together was scheduled to start. There was a sense of anticipation in the air and indeed expectations were met: many new cool products were presented during those three days but the entrance door to these new extensions of the Google world would inevitably be G+ - could they be any more pushy?! I was doing some research and I found out that I was not the only concerned be the possiblity of G+ taking over the internet world (and all the data it contains). Some people were already a step further, fearing the day that Blogger will be shut down and become a poor and powerless feature of G+. But until that day, Blogger is the best free blogging platform and I would like to share with you some of the things I've learnt during this trial and research period.

First of all, I want to thank all you comments and reply mails answering my questions and sharing your opinions and knowledge on this topic. It was a first and very valuable source of information. After gathering some basic information I created a WP account and started playing around. WP has some fine features which make it a really interesting option. However, their free version - the one I intended to use - have some serious pitfalls, as well. But let's start with the good points:

  • WP allows you to import your reading list from your previous blogging/reader service. You simply have to introduce the email address or link containing your reading list and in a couple of minutes all your favourite reads are there for you to enjoy daily. As easy as that! And the reader service looks more polished with bigger photos. WP also allows you to browse blog content by topic, which is a great way to find new blogs.
  • WP has a very complete statistics page. While it may not beat Google Analytics, it is better than the statistics Blogger provides. It accounts for unique visitors as well as the total number of pageviews, the total number of clicks, and besides displaying the most popular post and pages, it also informs you about your most popular labels and categories. 
  • WP has hundreds of beautiful and sleek themes to choose as a template. Pure eye-candy! However, and this is already a prelude of the bad points, customization options are really poor and usually restricted to just adding a header image. You won't even be able to change the font unless you upgrade to a premium account (i.e. unless you pay).

Now it's time for the minus points. As I already hinted, you cannot make your blog look the way you want unless you're willing to pay. There are many template options to choose from and you can customize them a bit. I even managed to change the font size and colour, but I didn't like the was it looked - maybe I should have spent more time on it. Another terribly weak point, is that HTML is kind of a foreign word to free WP and according to what I've read, upgrading to a premium account will not change that. The only way to have total control over the design of your blog is to self-host (i.e. to pay a bit more). Finally, the last main minus point is that you only get 3Gb of storage space for a free account. I don't really know what that means - maybe that's a year of blogging or maybe a lifetime. But I know that I don't want to be afraid of hitting the publish button everytime I write a post in case this might be the post that surpasses the 3Gb storage limit. I should also say that the options to monetarize your blog on free WP are almost inexistent, but I didn't pay enough attention to that point, as I'm not planning to monetarize my blog (at least for now). Also, I read way to often that WP is quite prone to security breaches and the thought of having my blog hijacked is a major turnoff.

So, I've made up my mind and I'm staying in my known and beloved Blogger and hope that Google will not spoil this wonderful service it offers for free. As I said, I was doing research, reading and learning A LOT. If you are interested, this article gives a very complete overview of both free blogging services. The author has always been a user and advocate of WP and much to his surprise, by the end of the article he had to acknowledge that Blogger is actually the place to be if you want to blog for free. If you want some more basic reading, this other article offers another comprehensive comparison of both platforms. And this is exactly my point, as well. If you don't want to jump into paid-blogging - and I don't - Blogger offers the best and easiest options. So, Google, you have a great thing going on with Blogger. Please, let it stay the way it is.

After all this profound talk of such serious matters, time to switch to more light-hearted issues. It's already June and that means that I'm almost done with studying. Yay! I had my very last lecture past Wednesday and I'm taking my last exam next Tuesday. After that, all I have to do is to spend one some more weeks working on my thesis and hopefully by the end of June I'll be rewarded with my MSc degree. Can't believe it! I really don't know where time went. It seems like yesterday to me when I was wandering along the corridors of my new school looking for that C-1.05 classroom, scanning all those faces I was seeing for the first time, learning all those names and meeting some nice people. Oh, the long evenings spent studying (and crying!) thinking I would never make it and now the end is here. Just one more month of hard work to go and I can already see Freedom awaiting me at the end of June. Can't wait to greet her!

All this studying has also taken its toll on my 365 project. May has been a terrible, terrible month with very bad photos. But still, I'm happy I'm holding on and taking a photo a day. You can view the whole month of May here.


And I'm not sure that this is my favourite photo of the month but I like the story behind. I first spotted these sandals in the summer catalogue of Mango and after a month hesitating I finally decided that I wanted them. I needed them, actually, as my last pair of sandals is totally worn off. So, when I went buy them in Maastricht they were sold off. No more size 3 for my tiny feet. Same thing in Heerlen, and in Aachen, and in Hasselt! Despair, despair. I finally gave up my search and it was then when I found them in Eindhoven in all colours and sizes. Lucky me! Besides, you can see that I've found a new favourite magazine, the German edition of In Style. And It's quite a illustrative photo for this post, because if you're going to be in the move, better be it in a stylish pair of shoes!

Wow, this has turned out to be a very long post, so thumbs up for those of you who've stuck with me till the end! 
Have a calm and stylish June!

18 comments:

  1. Glad you're staying put... I think I'm going to too... for now!

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  2. Irene, this was a superb post. I read it from beginning to end. No one has really explained the differences. So I commend you for taking the time to figure out and SHARING it with your readers. I was sooooo mad at Google when they started making changes. I really don't like Google +! I felt forced to add it as so many others. The only time I use it is when I put up a new post (it automatically goes to google + and everyone in your circles). People are constantly adding me and I just put them in the "I don't know you" circle. HaHa There are many bloggers that now have it. So I put them in my friends circle. I only use it for blogging. With that said, I'm glad you weighed all of your options and I know you made the right choice. It feels horrible to be at the mercy of Google, but I love the easiness of blogger. When I went through a blog design change she wanted me to switch to WP, but I didn't feel comfortable. I would've then been at the mercy of her and WP! HaHaHa Congratulations with school! You are almost done girl! That is the best feeling. I was truly happy when I finished my masters degree. It was a relief. Good luck to you as you finish up everything. Ahhhh, your sandals are so cute! They were MEANT for you! What's meant, will always be.
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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    1. Thank you, Kim! And sorry I am replying so late to the comments!
      I can totally relate to your frustration with G+. When I've read about it I've been totally unable to understand how it works, I get so confused with that circles thing and its weird that now that G+ is being integrated to Blogger manye people wil add you to their circles even though you might not know them at all ... weird thing what those Google guys have in mind!
      I also think you made a good decision by staying in Blogger. As they say, better the devil you know than the one you don´t! And as I wrote, I think Blogger has many a good thing. Fingers crossed it'll stay this way!

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  3. Thank you for sharing very helpful information and important points on the upside and downside of WP. I think I'll continue to use Blogger despite the integration of Google + All the best to your exams on Tuesday and it's so funny when you were talking about breaking your sandals. I was walking the other day and my favorite sandals just gave up outside the municipal building. :) I'm already congratulating you on a job well done on your studies. Warm hugs:)

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    1. Thanks for your nice wishes - a bit too late, but I'm glad to inform that they were very useful :)
      I'll also try to stick to Blogger as much as I can because I really like it. I only hope that there won't come the moment when it'll be impossible to blog without being on G+.

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  4. uff...a mí me da mucha pereza pero tmb debería cambiarlo. Cuando leí los cambios que pensaba hacer google no me gustó nada de nada pero empecé a usar Bloglovin y ahora que me he adaptado me gusta bastante. Ya nos contarás si al final te cambias a WP.
    Me alegro de que encontraras las sandalias en tu talla porque son muy bonitas. Bsinss,wpa:)

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    1. Yo tb me alegro de haber encontrado las sandalias, la verdad que por su precio están genial :)
      A mí tb me da pereza cambiar y además me gusta mucho más Blogger, así que a ver como siguen las cosas. Yo tb he empezado a usar Bloglovin' y la verdad que me gusta bastante, además ahora puedes importar directamente tu lista del google reader - aunque ellos tb están siendo un poco pesados con conectar con fb ...

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  5. Guapa, estoy super liada y perdida, llevo días queriendo escribirte para darte las gracias por el links q me dejaste del video de la psicóloga, me gustó mucho y voy a usarlo en clase, :D.
    Respecto al post, solo de pensar en cambiar a wp me muero de pereza, con la faena que me ha llevado dejar el blog como quería ya pueden fastidiar los de g+ q me quedo en bloggee, igual que tu, aunque es genial q te hayas tomado la molestia de investigar.
    Muchísima suerte con el último mes de curso y me encantan las sandalias, la verdad q yo tb las fiche en el catalogo de Mango de verano y no las descarto.
    Besazo guapa

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    1. Muchas gracias! Pues no sé como estarán las ventas por España, pero en Maastricht al menos ya no hay ni rastro de las sandalias. Quizás ahí aguanten hasta las rebajas :)

      A mí tb me da mucha pereza cambiar y finalmente valorando pros y contras, mientras pueda seguir en Blogger, aquí me quedo!

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  6. Wow, thank you for sharing all of your extensive research! I've already switched to G+, so I hadn't really thought too much about it. I think I fear the change a bit too much to make the jump away from blogger just yet!

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    1. You're welcome, Ashley!
      I also fear the change a bit and that's why I proabably held back in the last minute. I really like Blogger and they're improving their services a lot - with exception of the G+ integration.

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  7. ugh I hate that Google is being so pushy with Google+ too! I personally don't like Google+ (it's just another social platform to worry about!) and I really don't appreciate that they're taking things away from us just so we join it. Like if they shut down blogger eventually, what will happen to everyone's hard work!? So terrible.

    But saying that, I like the community that Blogger creates. I just wish they left it alone!

    xo Marlen
    Messages on a Napkin

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    1. I so agree with you, Marlen! Another social platform to worry about, especially after the recent revelations about security programmes ... scary!
      But just like you, I appreciate Blogger community - which may similar in WP - and how easy Blogger is.

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  8. I am staying put with googles blogger, but I agree the Google+ is super annoying, not a fan of it.

    xoxo Bree
    The Urban Umbrella
    http://www.theurbanumbrella.com

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    1. Glad to know that I'm not the only one annoyed by G+ :)

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  9. I hate Google+ with passion but Blogger all the way, I am way too attached to it to move x

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    1. I'm also a Blogger girl since the beginning and the thought of changing was daunting. So I'll try to stick around as long as possible, while it is possible to avoid that G+.

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