I have a bias towards WordPress as a blogging platform!
I started blogging on Blogger but I soon moved over to WordPress.com which is the free WordPress blogging platform.
Reasons to move to WordPress.com
WordPress has a fabulous security tool call Akismet. Akismet does a mighty job of filtering out the spam comments so you don’t have to spend your time double checking all your post comments.
It’s a relief to know that I don’t need to worry about a comment sneaking through containing post links.
Because of Akismet there’s no need to ask commenters to complete those extremely irritating text capture boxes. You know, the ones with the semi-disguised text that you have to type in the box before your comment can be accepted.
With WordPress, once you have filled out your initial comment details (name, email, blog address if you have one) and it is approved, then all subsequent comments are easy peasy. And you don’t need to go through that again.
Especially if you tick the box for your details to be remembered. If you have a preference for moderating each comment than you can set your preferences for this, but with the security blanket of Akismet, you don’t need to do this.
Did I mention Security?
WordPress.com has duplicate hardware. This is known as full redundancy. What this means is that your blog is stored on seperate servers in two seperate locations.
So if anything happens to the main server, they can easily flip over to the secondary server and you’re back up and running.
Also you can do a simple back up of your data to your desktop by creating an export file, which takes approximately 3 minutes. So you can always have comfort that you are in control of your precious words and pictures.
WordPress comes with a nifty statistics dashboard which I love. You get a graph tracking your visitors, pretty much as they hit, which is a whole lot better than the day’s delay that you get with most free tracking packages. You also get the source where your visitors came in from, and the links that were clicked on from your blog.
And you can see what your most popular posts have been and what search engine terms were used by traffic that came to your site via Google.
The WordPress dashboard also lets you know which blogs have linked to you in their posts.
I wrote an article a few months ago which explained about trackbacks.This process is fairly fiddly and most bloggers don’t do it. But with WordPress (and I think Typepad also does it) you don’t need to worry about it. You can see who’s linking to you.
Note: this does not apply to blogroll links or to most links when you leave comments on other blogs.
Lots of themes to choose from.
WordPress is probably the most popular blogging platform on the planet. And there are libraries of thousands of themes to choose from.
Not all of these are available for the WordPress.com platform but they certainly number in the hundreds. Many of them have the option of customising the header banner so you can design your own. Just make sure that you pick one with this option.
How do I get this WordPress goodness?
Moving to the WordPress platform is as easy as opening a WordPress.com account and selecting the Import function from the Dashboard. WordPress will then copy all your data from your Blogger or other platform and you’ll be ready to go.
Your original blog will still exist and I would suggest you make a ‘farewell’ post on it to direct your readers to your new address. Also ask them to update their blogroll links and bookmarks.
WordPress.org – total control
Last year, after I had been running on WordPress.com for almost a year, I decided to go for total control and set up my own Scraps of Mind domain. So I made the jump to WordPress.org.
WordPress.org is also free. However you will need to arrange your own hosting (around $8-12 per month) and a low annual registration fee for your domain name.
You get your technical person or arrange with your host provider to install the WordPress software and then choose your theme from the thousands that are available. Once again, you bring your blog content in by the simple Import command.
Reasons to move to WordPress.org
This is the biggie. Your blog is your own.
You may not realise it but when you are hosted on one of the free platforms, you don’t actually own your blog. It is the property of the blog software platform.
So if they wish to shut you down for any reason you have no say. There are many horror stories in the blogosphere, especially from the Blogger world, of people who have lost all their data and blog history because the platform owners decided to wipe them out for whatever reason. And once the issue or mistake was all sorted out, it was too late.
Everything was gone. So sorry.
A sale able asset.
As time goes on, many people build up an archive of great material on their blogs. They have built up a strong and loyal readership base. Some may even be earning money through advertising etc. on their blog.
Believe it or not, this is an asset which has a market value. Many people will buy a blog that has already got a good track record. And there are web sites such as Sitepoint which specialise in trading in blogs.
Now unless you actually own your domain name you don’t own your asset. If your domain name includes the name of your blog platform provider (eg. www.karooch.wordpress.com) then they own your asset, not you. So you do not have the option of ever being able to sell it.
And it’s no use moving to your own domain name just before you sell, because you will lose a lot of your track record, until you build up your links and visitor count again.
So you can see why, as a long term blogger, I believe that moving to WordPress.com at the very least is a worthwhile move.
And since you never know what the future might hold or how your blog might develop, I believe it’s a good move to get onto your own domain and get full use of all the WordPress.org goodness out there.
So how about yourself? What blog platform do you use, and does it suit your needs? Are you thinking of making a move to your own domain?