12 July 2011

Bloggy Bloggerson

There is a crucial question that everyone asks before becoming a blogger – Which blogging platform should I use... Blogger, WordPress or something else? My very first blog was called "Chrissie's Film Project Blog" and was written in 2005/2006 when I was working on "What Girls Are Made Of?" my Master's thesis project. I was quite surprised to see that it is still available after all these years! With some broken links and missing images of course... I used Diaryland.com because my project was about girls in their early teens and I wanted to have a diary vibe. I also had very little knowledge of blogging at the time and had not taken the time to check out other more feature-rich options.

That experience gave me the blogging bug so I began this very blog but it was through BlogSpot (before Google swooped in and changed it to Blogger). I am pretty sure I chose BlogSpot because when I googled "blog" that was the top hit. 

My very first post here on the PinkPom Blog in Dec 2005 was literally a copy of an article about electric cars that I liked. My second post was almost a year later and was very exciting, you should read it. In between these two posts I contributed to a blog called "The Escape Hatch" started by Greg about our cross-Canada adventure... moving from Newfoundland to Vancouver in Oct 2006. That blog mostly features Greg's writing (which I wish he would do more of cuz I LOVE IT).

So after a few years blogging with Blogger I signed up for a WordPress account as well so that I could test its features. Here are some of the things that I have found throughout my experiences...

One Account to Rule Them All
My google account is the master of my online universe (much to google's advantage). It seems one login will give me access to my email, my YouTube, my blog, my online documents and spreadsheets, my online calendar, my analytics... the list goes on. Having one login is a huge feature in favour of Blogger which benefits me by being super convenient and easy-to-use.

Usability and Features
When I first started looking at WordPress as a blogging platform I thought that I might find more features and customizations than with Blogger – but several years ago those customizations cost extra money. At that time I found that Blogger allowed me to edit the CSS for free in ways that WordPress would not – I am not sure if this has changed much. I also just found the user interface of Blogger so much easier to figure out than WordPress... but WordPress has improved its interface since then.

In 2008 I was experimenting with Podcasting and at the time WordPress was better at including rich media like podcast streams. My first incarnation of Stella Undone was a podcast series about relationships and was hosted through both Podbean and WordPress. I wasn't happy with Podbean so I never renewed my account and therefore the blog became redundant as well. (I plan to repost the podcasts soon, wait for it...)

Today I would be hard-pressed to choose one blogging platform over the other and would probably only choose Blogger due to my experience and familiarity with it and the convenience of the master login.

Overall Blogging Tips
  • It takes time to craft a good blog so if you have little time brevity is your friend. It is better to write a great tid-bit than a rushed long post.
  • Try to turn it into a story that can draw on human connections.
  • Take a deep breath before responding to trolls/negative feedback... sometimes just ignoring their comments is the best approach, just like in face-to-face bullying. Sometimes a witty retort feels good but be careful not to become embroiled in something that takes away from the original post.
  • Be sure to track and measure using the "Stats" button in Blogger's dashboard. Take note of which posts got more hits and consider why one may be more popular than others... take into account timing, where and when you promoted your post (for eg. did you share on facebook?), topic and tags.
Whether you choose Blogger, WordPress or some other blogging platform be sure to understand your reason for posting – knowing is half the battle :)


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