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Comparing Self-Hosted WordPress To Hosted WordPress And Blogger

July 7, 2013

So I wrote a blog post today comparing WordPress.com to Self-Hosted WordPress websites. In it I made reference to Blogger (really wasn’t my entire focus) by slightly comparing Blogger to WordPress.com.

Only about half an hour later, I end up creating a “Better Hosting Then GoDaddy” landing page type deal. I’ve done this before, it’s a tactic for trying to get something ranking for long-tails, mainly due to the name of the subdomain. (Add some good <h1>. <h2> and of course content and hopefully it works)

After writing the article, just to create a hosted blog moments later, I had to laugh at myself for being somewhat hypocritical. Not really, I guess, as I would always opt for Blogger over WordPress.com for a couple reasons. With that being said, I feel like revisiting the idea, this time comparing the two hosted solutions to WordPress.org, and throwing around a couple more practical uses for hosted blogging.

Blog Monetization

Okay, so it is possible to monetize all three of the various blogging solutions…..With some catches. WordPress.com hates affiliate marketing, and only allows for display ads to be shown on WordPress blogs with custom domain names. Even with a domain name, WordPress will only let bloggers use their display ad solution provider….Those video ads you see in some “whitelabeled” WordPress blogs.

Blogger, being a Google product, plays well with AdSense. However, Google isn’t that fond of display ad networks other than AdSense on their blogs. Makes sense, though it could be seen as a little bit selfish. Google does seem to hold a grudge against “obsessive” affiliate marketing.

Self-hosted WordPress blogs are basically free game to monetize however seen fit. Pop-unders, mobile redirects, display advertisements, exit ads, hell – you can even add an Adf.ly script to the website, though I wouldn’t recomend it…..Wouldn’t recomend exit ads or redirect scripts either. Seems as though Google hates them, and we (being SEOs) all know that Google = God [AKA “BIG G”].

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

For this comparison, I’m going to omit self-hosted WordPress blogs and only compare WordPress.com to Blogspot. Reason being, is there are too many variables to compare. Comparing self-hosted to hosted is apples to oranges. Comparing WordPress.com to Blogspot is more like comparing “Blue Apples” to “Orange Apples”.

[Cheap joke playing off the platforms’ logo colors. **** you guys, at least I crack myself up]

And as for the Blogger vs WordPress, I’d say; “It depends”. (Predictable)

I feel that content performs better on WordPress.com. That doesn’t necessarily mean that WordPress is better for SEO. It just means that I believe that if the same content was thrown up on a blank Blogspot and WordPress, both with the exact same subdomain name, I feel that WordPress would naturally rank higher. This is from my personal experience. I have had conversations with those that disagree.

So how come I’m using Blogspot for my hosted-blog SEO campaigns targeting longtails instead of WordPress, as mentioned at the beginning of this post? Well for one, WordPress hates affiliate marketing, which shoots them down from the start. Therefore, it’s not an SEO argument at all.

Just the same, there are SEO arguments in favor of Blogger. The biggest being Google Analytics and Webmaster integration, without even needing to verify the properties. Webmaster and Analytics give some great insight into organic search traffic, including the queries; both impressions and clicks. WordPress.com’s built in analytical feature gives insight into the organic traffics search queries, but not nearly as robust as either Analytics or Webmaster.

The HTML in blogger can be edited. This means the footer link can be removed. Footer links drain PageRank. As much as some people will claim that PageRank isn’t even relevant anymore, I will disagree. With over 300 algorithm signals, how is it that PageRank isn’t one of them? Ranking signals will be added (such as Google Pay metrics) before signals get removed. Face it; PageRank is still relevant. And with that being the case, why would you want footer links draining all the linkjuice? Especially if the hosted blogs are being used for linkbuilding? (like mine)

WordPress Footer Links

DoFollow links highlighted with the handy [SEO]Moz bar. Doesn’t really matter that they’re followed….NoFollow drains linkjuice just the same. Relevant part is that they’re draining the blogs SEO power. You bastards!

“Gadgets” (which translates into any HTML desired….Therefore anything desired) can be placed anywhere on the template. WordPress only allows for sidebar customization. (Some themes may support footer widgets. I don’t know of any so I’m not giving credit) Notice the GoDaddy / Hostgator site doesn’t even have a blog post up (may draft a couple). I did everything via HTML. I didn’t need the blogging capabilities of the platform.

It’s just nice (as an SEO as well as a web developer) to have as much control as possible. Blogger gives me more of that.

Metrics & Analytics

Blogger syncs with Google Webmaster and Analytics. Blogger wins, hands down. ‘Nuf said.

For those “non-advanced” bloggers who might not be rocking Webmaster or Analytics; I feel that WordPress’s “dashboard” analytics are better than bloggers. Still will never compete with Google Analytics though.

Community

I think that WordPress has the more robust community. Easily. WordPress wins. This is really important, actually. Don’t judge this point by the short length of this one paragraph.

Themes / Customization

I feel that WordPress has a more robust template selection when compared to Blogspot. Blogspot, however, allows for custom CSS, editable HTML on the templates and fully customizable text as far as fonts, color and all that goes. Blogger also has a tool to adjust the widths of sidebars and content areas.

Of course self-hosted WordPress websites take the cake on this argument, as the web admin has complete control over the PHP and CSS files, but this is more a WordPress.com / blogger arguement 😉

Conclusion

I deploy more “campaigns” over Blogger than I do WordPress, however, I have abandoned my Blogger “personal blog”  but still post via WordPress.com. (what you’re reading now) (I do most my web development leveraging self-hosted WordPress)

I feel WordPress.com sucks at life as far as monetization oppertunities go, thus I’m aiding my decision to “deploy campaigns” over Blogspot over WordPress.com.

As my coding knowledge increases, as does my respect for platforms that give users more control over the code. Blogspot definitely wins in that department.

Really, I’d say if I were to “tally up the points”, Blogger would win. I’d still say I like WordPress.com better. Maybe it’s because I’m used to the actual CMS system? (even though you can’t compare the .com to the .org CMS systems, .org is *WAYbetter) Maybe it’s because of the community. Don’t know, can’t call it.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to add tumblr to the argument? 😉

Comments, please. I’d love to hear them, especially coming from “WordPress.com users”

Cheers!

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