What do you like about your blogging platform?

Posted July 5, 2015 by Lory in discussions / 37 Comments

DiscussionSo, after a month of using self-hosted WordPress instead of Blogger, what is my verdict? I love it! There are so many great features that make keeping an organized and connected blog faster and easier. I was a bit nervous of the more complicated back end, but now that I’m used to it it’s not difficult to navigate. And I’m glad that I now have total ownership of my content, not Google.

Here are just some of the reasons I’m glad to have made the switch. Those marked “UBB” are available through the Ultimate Book Blogger, a paid plugin from NoseGraze that I highly recommend. (I like it so much that I’m a NoseGraze affiliate, which means I receive a small commission for purchases made through links on this site. Just so you know.) I can’t see ever going back and losing these, although in the beginning I really liked how easy Blogger was to use.

1. Automatically updating review indexes (UBB)
An up-to-date, properly organized index is a joy to behold, especially if I don’t have to create it myself.

2. Automatic posting to GoodReads (UBB add-on)
I was too lazy to post my reviews to GoodReads before, but now it happens effortlessly.

3. Editorial Calendar (plugin)
Seeing my scheduled posts in calendar format makes it easier for me to keep track of them. And I love being able to change dates by just dragging and dropping, as well as making quick edits directly from the calendar.

4. Searchable and editable media
When I need to find an image I’ve already uploaded it’s handy to be able to search for a title. And sometimes I want to change the dimensions of an image after I’ve uploaded it, so it’s great to be able to do that directly from the media panel.

5. Automatic book info and disclosure statement formatting (UBB)
With the Ultimate Book Blogger, you can enter all kinds of information in various fields and have it appear in each review post in the same format. You can even customize that format (I’ve made mine appear at the end of the review rather than the beginning).

6. Dropdown page menus
In Blogger it took extra coding to create a drop-down page menu. In WordPress it’s an easy matter of dragging and dropping.

7. Spam prevention with Akismet
I don’t have to moderate comments any more, hooray.

8. Automatic posting to Facebook and Twitter
No more having to go in and manually post to Facebook! And I might actually start using Twitter now.

9. Comment reply notification (plugin)
I always liked getting comment reply notification from other blogs, so I was happy to be able to offer this myself.

10. Related Content (UBB)
On Blogger I was using LinkWithin, but the relationships generated were a bit random. Now the related posts are based on tags and make much more sense.

What do you love about your blogging platform? Or if you’re thinking of making a switch, what are you looking for?

Posted for the 2015 Book Blog Discussion Challenge, hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction and It Starts at Midnight.  



37 responses to “What do you like about your blogging platform?

  1. Great post! I think I mentioned to you I’m thinking of finally moving to self-hosting. I’m glad everything is working out for you.

    • I remember, and I’m interested to know what you decide. For me, self-hosting (actually shared hosting) is great so far.

    • Making the switch is not as hard as I had feared at first. If these features sound tempting, and you can handle the expense (which doesn’t have to be much), it might be worth it for you.

      One thing I did not know was that my feed would change and I would lose some followers that way. I wish I had been aware of that, and then I would have warned blog readers before switching.

  2. I started out with self hosted WordPress, and I’m so glad I did! It’s pretty simple to navigate once you get used to it, and I like owning and being in total control of my own content, having a custom domain and having so many customisation options. Plus Akismet is definitely a massive pro. I didn’t install it for the first month or so, and dealing with spam comments even then was pretty time consuming.
    Great post! 🙂

    • I’m actually not sorry I started out with Blogger, because I think all the options might have been TOO overwhelming for me at first. But as I think I said over on your post, I do wish that I had gone with a custom domain name to begin with.

  3. Yes, having your blog directly in WordPress is the way to go! I had already decided to get UBB for my birthday and after reading your post I’m so happy with my decision! Cant wait! Thanks for this great post Lory!

    • True, some of these are universal WordPress features. I tried out WordPress.com once but I didn’t like that you had to pay to have ads removed. But I know many people are happy with it.

  4. I have looked at WordPress, but have been reluctant to make the move. One difference in my approach is that I write my reviews and post them on GoodReads and move them from there to Blogspot. Your list of advantages is impressive so I may look into a move in the future.

    • Depending on your needs and wishes, Blogger can work just fine. Copying things from one medium to another (in either direction) was too much work for me so I love the automation.

  5. This is a great post. When I thought about starting a blog, I read a bit about WordPress, and it seemed a bit overwhelming. Now that I’ve been on Blogger for awhile, I’ve been in a mood for a change. Lately, I’ve been wondering if WordPress might be better. I’d like an easy way to create a dropdown list, and all of the other features you mention sound so tempting . . .

    • I think if you are a coder you can wrestle Blogger into submission with some things (like the dropdown menus). But I’m not, so I appreciate the DIY features of WordPress.

      • And that exactly WHY I left Blogger and moved to a WP self-hosted. I was sick of wrestling with my code. I’m no expert, but I know enough to manipulate my site and do what I want. It seemed to take hours to get it right on Blogger even for a simple nav bar change.

        I’m sure I’m not leveraging WP completely, but I do use UBB and love it. It makes life so easy. Now if I could get something that would automatically post my reviews to Amazon…

        • Hm, that would be a great addition. Maybe Ashley is working on it — she keeps coming up with improvements.

  6. You make some really good arguments. OTOH, I hate the ‘new’ WP platform (still using the old one, in the WP blog I run with a group), and I am super-cheap. I don’t like paying for things. I mean, I’m the world’s teeniest blogger and I’m not sure I want (or am able) to devote the time and resources I’d need to in order to grow.

    • That is an important point. I really appreciated about Blogger that it was free AND ad-free, and could still do a lot of cool things. I can’t compare the old and new WP platforms but I generally hate it when things get “improved” so it’s probably best that I don’t know the difference!

  7. Terrific post, Lory! And I’ve been impressed with how smoothly your conversion went.

    I like all the same things about WordPress (self-hosted on GoDaddy) and UBB, too. (Unfortunately, neither Ashley nor I can get the automatic post-to-Goodreads add-on working. It’s absolutely not Ashley’s fault; it seems to be some setting on GoDaddy that Goodreads doesn’t like, but Goodreads isn’t being very helpful in pinning down what, so I’ve given up and gone back to cross-posting reviews manually.)

    Some other things I like:

    1) Being able to mess around in the html to get things the way I want them (I’m still learning how.)
    2) UBB’s Reading Challenges add-on, to keep track of challenges.
    3) automatic posting to social media like Twitter (Jetpack plugin: Publicize)

    I’m really looking forward to upgrading to UBB3!

    • That’s too bad about the Goodreads problem. It’s absolutely one of my favorite things. Incidentally, I’m thinking of switching from GoDaddy as well (to NameCheap)…we’ll see how that goes.

      • I’d love to hear your thoughts on why you are considering switching. You could respond privately to my email if you like. I like GoDaddy’s tech support – very friendly, usually helpful – but it’s a bit expensive now that I’m past the introductory year.

          • Thank you, Lianne! I bought my domains (plural, one for my business as well) and my hosting both from GoDaddy originally, and like you, without checking out anything else very thoroughly. I’ve heard that it’s better to buy the domain name and the hosting from different places, and if I ever move, I may do that.

          • Aargh, I meant Lory, of course! Sorry – I was just on Lianne’s site and my silly brain “heard” the L sound and stuck her name onto it. I’ve done that occasionally when speaking but not usually with writing. How embarrassing!

  8. I love self-hosted WordPress too. And you are selling the UBB plug-in very well. This talk of automatic review indexing and automatic Goodreads postings sounds so great. I’m going to add the UBB plug-in to my list of things to buy when I have some extra cash!

    • It is really cool! I wish the Goodreads feature were included in the regular UBB plugin, but it’s an extra (and an extra cost).

  9. I’m still pretty happy with blogger and do like the simpler interface – but these are some great features of wordpress. Being able to automatically post to Goodreads, and also automatically add disclosure text to reviews is especially appealing to me! I feel like I’m just not prepared to make the move yet, but if blogger does anything to make me upset – I’m sure that will give me the push to switch. 🙂 *crosses fingers nothing too bad happens* It’s so wonderful that the move went well with you, and that wordpress is a good fit!

    • I was never upset with Blogger (I never even had posts eaten as I hear others did). Just wanted more. But less is also good if you are happy with it!

    • Stephanie of These Paper Hearts, who did my design originally on Blogger, did the design transfer. Ashley did the content transfer first to WP and then the “look” was updated using the Tweak Me theme. If you have any other questions please let me know, I’m happy to talk about the process.

  10. Some of those things you mentioned you could do in blogger, but I made the switch anyway back in April and I’ll never go back. I had NoseGraze do my whole migration and she is also my host now. The support is great. I also find the WP forums more helpful than blogger, and that new blogger thing about adult pages is crazy. For some reason I think WP pages look more professional than blogger, although that is really up to the individual blogger, so who knows why I think that. Best blog decision I’ve made so far. Now I want to get a cute header and make it more personalized in looks.

    • I hear that it’s possible to do cool things with Blogger too but the Tweak Me theme just makes it so easy without having to be a coder.