Why I am a die-hard WordPress fan

Okay, my blogging readers – Let’s talk shop. The (friendly) battle between Blogger and WordPress has been raging for years, and writers have been choosing sides for just as long. As a disclaimer, I can only speak from experience with WordPress since I have yet to play around with Blogger. I don’t know that I could ever pinpoint the initial reason for deciding to go with WordPress over Blogger – I think it had something to do with the fact that it was the most used platform of my favorite sites.

But I got to thinking more intentionally about the reason after getting a message from my friend Megan, of The Mego Blog, who is looking to make the switch to WordPress and wanted some advice. Before shooting her a HUGELY wordy reply with numbered screen shots attached, I thought I’d go ahead and share my thoughts with everyone here. I know when I’m considering taking the plunge with something new, the more reviews I get beforehand the better. I like to actually SEE how someone if using the product and the results they are getting. Well, if you are a regular follower, you’ve seen the results I’ve gotten from working with WordPress, but I’m going to share today have I USE the product to get the look and feel of Dream Green DIY.

As I said, I’m a WordPress blogger through and through, but that in NO WAY means that I devalue Blogger as a platform. I welcome your Blogger thoughts in the comments of this post – Maybe you have some tips for Megan to make the most of her blog there before she makes a final decision on the switch.

But let’s get to it…

Since I’m not sure of your general familiarity with WordPress, I’m going to pretend that you are like Megan and have never used it before. So, to start let me explain the general makeup.

Annnnnnd since you can’t see that AT ALL, here’s a close-up of the interesting part on the left:

The dashboard is essentially your “home page,” where you get a very broad overview of your blog (P.S. You’re going to get a TON of inside info on the stats of DG-DIY in this post!!). You’ll see a variety of numbers, like your number of posts, number of comments, number of categories/tags/spam, etc. P.S. Thank God for Akismet, which has saved me from dealing with over 6,000 spam comments…You’ll also see a smattering of your most recent comments, both yours and your readers’.

While we have that close-up above, take a look at the list on the left – These are all of the different “departments” in the management of your blog. We’ve got posts, pages, comments, links (where you manage your Blogroll), appearance, settings, etc. So let’s say we click on one…Let’s check out the Site Stats (which is actually a small subset on the list beneath your “Dashboard” header).

And once again, since you can’t see that…here’s a detail screen shot:

This is where I park my internet explorer everyday. It’s where I keep track of referrals (you’ll see that search engines and Pinterest were my top referrers for the day), views for the day (looks like I got up to 428 as of the time I took this screen shot – mid-afternoon on Wednesday), and my all-time views. I know a lot of blogs get 265,600 views in one day, but I still jump for joy seeing all of those digits after only a year and a half of blogging. That handy graph you see is AWESOME for watching the trends in view stats. You can even switch it to show the graph by week or by month just by clicking on those tabs in the upper left corner under “At A Glance.”

Moving on, let’s check out the “Posts” tab:

Here’s a close-up of the left side of that screen shot:

And now the right:

So this is where all of your posts are organized. On the first close-up screen shot, you’ll see the titles of all your posts, whether they are pending or published (we’ll get to that in a minute) and who the author is. You’ll see up at the top that you can toggle between your published posts, scheduled posts, drafts and trash if you want to filter them in a specific way.

Now in that right hand close-up screen shot, you can see that the main “Posts” page will also show you the different categories and tags each post is marked with, how many comments have been made, the number of “likes” and also when a post was published, modified or scheduled.

Moving on to another important section in WordPress, we have the “Pages” section. I’m not going to get too into it because (1) it’s pretty self explanatory and (2) it’s very similar to how you manage posts. Here are a couple details though just to give you a glimpse:

Next up, let’s talk about comments. I love the way that I am able to manage comments in WordPress. Before taking these screen shots, I went ahead and unapproved one of my own comments so you can see what it would look like if you were to receive a new comment.

When you get a new comment, you’ll see a little round number pop up beside the “Comments” tab on the left hand list (you’ll see this no matter what part of WordPress you’re on – “Posts,” “Pages,” “Appearance,” etc.). Click over to “Comments” and you’ll see the new comment highlighted in yellow. You can then choose to “Approve” it, “Reply,” “Trash” it, etc. as seen below the comment text. My heart always does somersaults of joy when I see a new thought pop up from one of you guys…Keep ’em coming!

Moving on, let’s take a look at the “Appearance” tab, specifically the “Widgets.”

This is where I go to edit and work on my sidebar widgets. When you click over to “Appearance,” you can then click on the subsection for “Widgets” where you will automatically see a big list of things to add to your sidebars (as seen in the detail above).

Say you want to add text, for instance. All you do is click and hold over the “Text” item in the master list (again, as seen above in the lower right hand corner) and then literally drag it over to to the right into your sidebar, as seen below:

When you drag that “Text” item over, a dashed box will appear showing you where the new widget will show up (in this hypothetical case, it’s going between my “Follow Blog” and another “Text” widget. Once it’s placed, you can customize it with titles, words, images, etc. I use text widgets a lot in order to incorporate some of my custom linkable graphics, but that’s an entirely separate story/post…

Moving on to the last piece of the puzzle, let’s check out another subsection beneath “Appearance” – That is, your “Header.”

This is where you upload a custom header, which in my opinion is one of the most important pieces to a blog. It’s where you are able to get really creative graphically and set your blog apart from the crowd. My current header is seen in the big “Preview” at the top of the page, but if you look down you’ll see that my past headers are also still available. If I wanted to reserect an old one, all I need to do is click on the circle beside the image and then click “Save Changes.” Or I can upload a brand NEW one by clicking “Choose File” and “Upload.” The great thing is that this page will show you the dimensions to work with if you are making a custom header. As you can see in the close-up below, mine is 960 × 240 pixels:

So there you have it! The most concise introduction to WordPress that I could manage in less than 1,500 words! Oh, speaking of word count, here’s a screen shot of what it looks like to actually DRAFT a post (again, that overview would require an entirely separate post). The word count shows up conveniently at the end of your post.

I hope that isn’t TOO confusing for any newbies! It’s always a little daunting to learn a new software or system, but trust me when I say that WordPress is just about as user-friendly as they come. I for one have no intentions of switching away any time soon.

If you have any questions or are interested in more detailed WordPress tutorials (although I am no way an expert), leave a comment on this post or shoot me an email at DreamGreenDIY@gmail.com. And again, any Blogger users out there, please feel free to tell us why you love Blogger! I don’t think that there is a right or wrong answer in this debate…

Enjoy the weekend and the OFFICIAL start to fall!

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22 thoughts on “Why I am a die-hard WordPress fan

  1. Megan @ The Mego Blog

    Thanks Carrie! I REALLY appreciate you posting all about your experience with WordPress. It is very helpful. I am definitely thinking I am going to take the plunge and import my blog into WordPress. Wish me luck with that! Although WordPress does offer an “import” function which should help things along. Thanks again!

    Reply
    1. Carrie Post author

      Of course!! If you need any hands-on help once you get down to it, just let me know and I can come over and sit down with you. You’ll get the hang of it in no time. Good luck! (P.S. I haven’t used their over-the-phone tech support, but my dad has and he said they are VERY helpful – Just in case you run into any issues with transfer)

      Reply
  2. Tin Roof Press

    I’d say Pros for wordpress is that everything is user friendly. Big fonts, easy to use, widgets for everything. Neatly done stats section.

    Blogger leaves everything to the user: e.g. subscription by default is through the Google reader feed (Pet peeve!)

    Pros for blogger – and this is a big one. Unlimited customisation. Wp : You pay a big fee per year just to change a stupid font or a colour.

    Reply
    1. Carrie Post author

      Thanks for all of the info! I actually haven’t come across the big fees though…Maybe if you REALLY want to customize it? With my template, I’m able to switch fonts for nada!

      Reply
  3. NiinaMaria

    Had to make a second comment. I’m totally getting inspired by your sidebar! Mine is a mess right now but thanks to you, I might be able to make it somewhat appealing.

    Reply
  4. Nicole

    I love using wordpress, even though I am still putting things together to get it to look pretty. Thanks to your screenshots I may made it pretty quicker!

    Reply
  5. Alex Landar

    I started with blogger, used it for years, and then I started looking around for more options. I did a few posts on WordPress, continued blogger without killing my wordpress blog, and then, I killed my blogger after a year or two and then went to wordpress full time. It’s not that blogger is not good. I dare say Blogger is good. But I simply love wordpress.

    Ok, the great points of blogger: Customisation for free – you can’t beat blogger at this. Just go to blogskin and get a skin you like and then you can play around with codes to customise it further. I even get my friend to do a few skins for me according to my likes. She does great skins and is still using blogger.

    Bad points: (before and after google takeover) It doesn’t work sometimes. I can’t post, buttons missing, etc. I get frustrated when I keep being stopped from blogging. I even started blogging from email, but that is terrible too because they will show signature lines at the bottom. They did not have as much information about viewership as wordpress…. in the past, they dun have at all. I signed up at google analytics to get information of those. I was surprised that wordpress provide those information automatically when i first started. But of course, now they do have these information, but well, I am already out of it.

    WordPress now… they have a REAL community…. and you feel SOOO MUCH CLOSER to everyone. And I love how they keep working hard to make the site more interesting and convenient.

    Reply
  6. twyf

    Great post! I think I’m going to leave this open for my boyfriend to take a look at. He has recently decided to start a blog to showcase his artwork, and went with Blogger, but he isn’t too happy with it. Seeing this, he should be able to get a better understanding of how this works. I told him about all the themes that WordPress has to offer and how comfortable I am using it. Maybe he’ll convert. We’ll see. 🙂

    Reply
  7. Vidya @ Whats Ur Home Story

    That is such a great post! I use WordPress and love everything you mentioned about it too. Don’t know anything about blogger. But my pet peeve with WordPress is how they update the theme that you are using so often. And when you update to the latest version I lose any custom changes that I’ve made.
    Love you header. Did you make it in photoshop? Also so that you get some traffic from Stumbleupon. Is it consistent? I’ve never gotten much so I quit posting the link on Stumble upon. Do you do it manually or do you have an automatic link to post it on Stumbleupon everyday? Thanks again.

    Reply
    1. Carrie Post author

      Glad you liked it! I’ve actually never had any problems with my theme updates… ::knock on wood:: Thanks for your kind words on the header! I put it together with InDesign and Photoshop. I don’t think I get much traffic from Stumbleupon…

      Reply
  8. Martina (@BuildingBeauty_)

    A lot of the dashboard, posts, and comments features are the same (near identical!) on Blogger as they are on WordPress, mostly just slightly different orientations (top tabs or side tabs/ drop downs colours etc). I do love that wp has built in analytics, something Blogger has updated to (somewhat) but not in as detailed a fashion.

    I’ve been using Blogger for about three years now and the #1 reason I chose Blogger over WordPress was that it was Free. I could customize my header, widgets, CSS, create my own theme from the html up etc and store my images for free. Customization is somewhat limited, but flexible enough to make ‘beginners’ and those not monetizing comfortable & happy with minimal work.

    That being said, I have been considering moving to WordPress ever since I started blogging because most of the blogs whose layouts & designs I adore are WordPress based. However, the draw back of using WordPress (imo/in my understanding) is that you are 100% responsible for the security and software updates, which can be a little daunting to someone who is not a webmaster (whereas with blogger if you buy a google domain everything pretty well stays the same in regards to built in security + updates). The cost of customizing is also a draw back. However if I were ever going to make the leap to purchase my own URL (domain name) and monetize, I would likely move to WordPress and pay a pretty penny for a slick new site design as the variability in CSS is more flexible than that of the Blogger platform from what I’ve heard + read.

    Thanks for the user review of WordPress! I’m sure several people will find it a handy insight when making the decision between platforms. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Carrie Post author

      Thank you SO much for the insight and information!! I appreciate it. In terms of money spent, I’m sure I paid some fee for the domain (can’t remember what it was now) and then $75 for a premium theme. I had to upgrade my storage space at one time for I think $30, and I ended up purchasing Photoshop, which set me back quite a bit but it was WORTH IT. It’s definitely taken money to get my own blog to where it is today, but it’s not enough to deter me from quitting. Thanks again for your awesome comment!!

      Reply

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