Sunday, October 9, 2011

Blogger vs. vs.

Please Note: This post is about customization of design templates in each blogging platform and this is just my opinion.  If you don't like to play with customizing your template, you may be looking for other things that one of these blogging platforms may be better at than another.  But I like to be able to really manipulate and alter the template.

One of the aspects of blogging that I find that I enjoy is playing with the design of my blog.  I have become comfortable with hitting the "Proceed" button on editing the Html.  Over the last several months I have made quite a bit of modifications to my template html and added some css as well.

Last week, I should totally have known better but I thought the Dynamic View was like the Mobile View and I clicked it without thinking and faster than you can say "Blogger" I lost all the work in my template.

Like many people there are things that frustrate me about blogger.  I had always heard that most bloggers end up hosting themselves when they find that they are serious about blogging.  My main thought on this had been that if I stop paying for webhosting, my blog may disappear.  I like that with blogger my free blog would just always be there to look back on.  But, after losing everything so fast last week, I was really upset and signed up with  Another free blog would be there for as long as it would be here even if I stopped blogging because it was free!  I have to say that I found Wordpress slooooow and at times the page wouldn't even load.  It could very well have been an update or something was going on and this is completely not indicative of at all.  Once I finally got on, I realized that you can not edit a template AT ALL. gives you no access to the html.  You pick a template and that is about how it is.

Jason convinced me to look into webhosting and backing up my blog and/or setting it up with blurb or Blog2Book for posterity.  Not quite the same as knowing any of my family members can look back on the blog at any time...but okay...I figured I love to play with the template and I found webhosting to not be very expensive at all.   I was eager to check out Wordpress plugins...there are so many cool things your can do with them...  I have to say that the people at the webhosting site were awesome!  And it was super easy to install

I was soooo excited to get started...only even with it is all themes.  Ok, I can deal with that.  I can upload my own header photo.  Only it wouldn't let me upload even JPEG files that I had edited in Photoshop or Lightroom for security reasons.  The woman at the hosting site thought this could be a size issue.  I changed the size of my files and was still unable to upload them.

I abandoned those particular images and found some "second best" images (thinking: I never had an issue uploading ANYTHING to Blogger!).  Again the images were the wrong size and needed to be cropped (AGAIN, a problem I never had with blogger).

I decided that I wanted to use a plugin to make a slideshow.  I was so excited to try using a plugin!  Since I had NO IDEA where to look for a plugin to do this, I did a Google search and this was what came up:

I could do that in blogger?

Ok, so much for doing my homework!

Then I remembered that Rachel at Finding Joy had had something similar to what I wanted and that her daughter Hannah had probably designed it.   These are the looks I am after, simple, not a lot to detract from the post but enough to give a reader some idea of who the writer is and what they are about.  (If I did not LOVE playing and learning about template design so much I would totally have Hannah design my blog!)

I wanted to call and get my money back on the webhosting.  The company I went with for webhosting allows that in the first thirty days, all but the domain is refundable.  I would HIGHLY recommend that anyone considering a change like this go with a company that offers a Money-Back Guarantee...self-hosting may be what you are looking for and then again, it may not be.

But Jason convinced me that I should play with Wordpress some more.  I was used to blogger and should give Wordpress a try.

I learned that in order to truly have complete design customization on a Wordpress blog I had to purchase a framework for Wordpress which would cost anywhere from $65 to hundreds of dollars...

I am not sure that is the right choice for me since I really like to play with the template and I personally prefer the more simple look of blogger blogs.

One of the things that I want to be able to do, but I don't think is possible on Blogger is to have each page of my blog have a different header, maybe a rotating header or a slideshow based on the topic of the page...but I have to ask myself if that is worth the money to me...since Blogger is free and there are a lot of fun customization options...

I totally should have done my homework...

I am leaning toward sticking with Blogger, but I am going to keep playing with for a few more weeks to really give it a chance.