Why You Should Blog

#### Original Post from 2007 ####

I’ve lately been thinking a lot about how to get more people blogging. I’m really convinced about the benefits [gunthers.org] of blogging, as I’ve said before. But how do you get started, especially with no technical background? There are two great choices for people who don’t want to have to deal with hosting their own blog: WordPress and Blogger.

blogger.pngThis came to mind today because I realized just how much Blogger’s templating and hosting system has improved. Previously, you could have your blog hosted by them on BlogSpot, or host it yourself on your own server. Hosting it on your own server meant that their server has to use FTP to upload the static files. This means constant rebuilding and republishing, and it’s really slow and annoying.

But now they have new options, and they’re all totally free. (This is unlike WordPress.com, which charges some fee for domain hosting.) And I think only Google can truly afford this long-term, because they run the advertising network (AdSense) and they take a cut of everyone’s AdSense earnings to keep the company– including Blogger– running. The new option for hosting which totally changes everything is custom domain hosting. The really great part is that this works with any hosting service you’re using. It works with an unlimited number of blogs, and Google takes care of everything. Just add a CNAME record to your DNS settings (DreamHost supports this perfectly).

It’s a really tough choice. Each has pros and cons, so I’ll list a few here so you can make the right decision for yourself.


  • + Better-looking and more variety of templates
  • + Cool design and slick interface
  • + Excellent stats included
  • + Cutting-edge of blogging
  • – Domain hosting costs money
  • – Reliability of company (Matt Mullenweg / Automattic) is not quite as good as Google
  • No built-in AdSense support AdSense is not allowed, period.


  • + Easy template customization in the new Blogger template system
  • + Custom domain hosting for free
  • + Also offers FTP and BlogSpot hosting
  • + Supported by Google and integrates with AdSense, so you know you’re in good hands
  • – Limited template selection. And the ones they have don’t look good anymore
  • – No stats included, but try Google Analytics. But still no per-post traffic history
  • – Feels dated. Blogger has been around 5+ years

What’s your pick?

P.S. Take a look at Web Culture and Society and Computer Software and Robotics. They’re side-blogs of mine which I just moved to custom Blogger-hosted subdomains.

6 Responses to “Why You Should Blog”

  1. Jagadish says:

    If you can really host your own blog, I think wordpress is the best choice. There are customized adsense templates which are so much better than the ones you get on blogger. I’ve done enough experimentation with both and I feel that wordpress plugins completely win over blogger template customization by a huge margin. Of course, there is an inherent charm to the way wordpress works. Its so much better looking and has so many nice things embedded into it(like the “more” tag) which requires template editing in blogger. But ofcourse if you want to free blog with all the customizations, then blogger is the way to go.

  2. ArcaneCode says:

    While it’s true WordPress charges a fee, it’s a whopping 10 (US) dollars a year. For 15 (US) dollars they’ll also include domain name registration. So to me cost is a trivial issue. Indeed, I happily pay the few dollars to get the excellent statistics WordPress provides.

    You also make a point on corporate stability. I have to grant you that Google is more stable than wordpress, but look at scale, it’s like IBM is more stable than Dell. I don’t think any of them are going anywhere anytime soon.

    The core issue is more about the purpose of your blog. If you want your blog to be a revenue stream via AdSense, and you don’t want to host it, then you pretty much go eblogger. If on the other hand you are not looking to make money, then wordpress would seem to make more sense, considering the services they provide (templates, stats, etc.).


  3. Grey says:

    I’m currently sort of in between blog providers at the moment (long story), and the only think keeping me from making the switch to WordPress is the whole AdSense/custom-HTML/Java thing. I’ve checked the WordPress FAQ to figure out how to have my blog hosted on my own server, because I’m assuming that’s the way to get around it, but couldn’t find anything.

    So what’s the procedure for getting a WordPress blog hosted on my own server and then customizing it with extra widgets? Or have I misunderstood something? I mean, your blog says that it’s powered by WordPress and yet you have AdSense ads in it.

    Alternatively, I’d like to get a better looking 3-column template into Blogger, but I’ve made a couple of attempts at uploading templates without much luck (hence the “in between blog providers” thing because I need to rebuild my Blogger blog now…).


  4. Larissa says:

    Glad to hear that you approve of blogger. Random question about blogging – when linking to other people’s bogs, how do you personally determine what to list as the site’s name? I’m torn between either listing the person’s actual name (i.e. Larissa Marks, especially if I know them personally) and listing the person’s site title (i.e. The Larissa Monologues). I’m inclined to simply use whatever the title of the blog, since that seems like the best indication of how the blogger identifies his/her blog. It probably boils down to the individual blogger’s preference, but I wanted to get your thoughts.

  5. Elliot Lee says:

    Larissa: it depends on how I’m linking to them. If it’s in a blogroll or similar list, I would use the blog’s name. If it’s within a sentence where the person’s name fits more naturally, then I would just link his or her name. Personally, I hope people link to my site with my name so that search engines will find it more relevant when people search for me :)

  6. Dan Buell says:

    I’m in between blog hosts perpetually because they all have strengths and weaknesses. Typepad is dated and expensive. WordPress is cool but limited. Blogger has wide open functionality but the absolute ugliest templates in the blog-world. Vox is cool but their media libraries cannot be organized nicely (neither can Flickr) – it’s frustrating. Looking for one host that has it all. Why Blogger/Google is putting any money into functionality and not addressing their ugly templates escapes me…

Leave a Reply