Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Blogger vs. WordPress: Duelling Blog Platforms

Last November I started a new blog on WordPress with the same title and tagline as this one.  I've been with Blogspot/Blogger for the last seven years or so, and I've done fine on it.  But for various reasons I wanted to publish my writer's blog under a separate nom de plume than I use for the ones where I post about house renovations and my adorable cats and air my opinions on Things in General.  At the very least, I needed to post under a name that would look decent on a book cover should I ever-- miracle of miracles-- get my fiction into print.

But I couldn't figure out how to obtain a separate account on Blogger-Google.  So I said phooey on it, and for that one blog only, went to WordPress.

A lot of people migrate from Blogger to WordPress.  I think they must be people with money.  You have to pay over there in order to get more than the most minimal of templates-- which you can't tart up with your own pictures or choice of widgets.  Or individualize with your choice of colors.  Nor will it let you vary the style and size of the post type.

And I found WeirdPretzel's format to be full of obscurities and difficult to learn.  After four months I still don't know how to start a new post without needing three or four clicks to get to the writing form.  I have to write out the same labels every time and they don't appear on the sidebar.  The Categories feature is nice, but I can't figure out how to edit or delete one once it's created.

So I never gave up my intention to punch through the brick wall of getting a second Blogger-Google account. Meanwhile I've slogged through on what I can figure out about WordPress to post a few articles on the joys and pains of amateur fiction writing and a lot of chapters of a novel I wrote a few years ago and am now revising.

But I haven't been urgent about it, for WordPress does have something Blogger does not.  It has this cute little orange icon up in the bar at the top.  At least, it's orange when somebody Likes your post, or decides to follow your blog, or leaves you a comment.  And damn, it's addictive.  I'm so pathetic, I'll check five times a day to see if that gray icon has gone orange.

I think I'm up to twenty-three followers, and a very select and interesting group they are.  Some of them just collect other blogs for commercial purposes-- they're selling a service they want you to buy.  But a lot of them are struggling writers from all over the world.  This range of readership may be one of the coolest things about WordPress.

But maybe I decide to follow somebody who's following me.   I have no idea how to get to my WP Reader; no, correction, I think I tripped over it yesterday, but it involves clicking on my account button then clicking on the Reader link after that.  But why?  On Blogger I can just stick a feed in the sidebar and see who's got a new post up without leaving the main page!  So these fellow bloggers probably think I don't care.

Moreover, I have no idea who's dropping by.  Or if anyone is at all.  I'll get a Like from a visitor in India and the map says all my readers that day were from the US.  I'll get Likes and the stat counter says nobody's been on the blog at all.  I mean, really?  I feel like I'm working blind.

So, I finally did it.  This past weekend I worked out how to create a second Blogger-Google account and I've created a separate writer's blog with the same name over here.  But I don't think I'll simply import the WordPretzel content to Blogger and have done with it.  No, I'm going to copy in the posts I put up on WP until I get caught up, and see which platform gets the most traffic.  Should take till the end of April, maybe, and after that I'll do simultaneous posts.  I read that it can be done.

And if I find I can expand my readership traffic through Google and people like what I write, there might be some hope for the second novel I'm working on, which I hope I won't have to offer online for free.

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