Should I Switch from Blogger to WordPress?

http://adamyamada.com/files/2013/11/switch-from-blogger-to-wordpres

I recently got asked, “Should I switch from Blogger to WordPress?”  The short answer to this often asked question I get is, “Yes” you definitely should.  WordPress is a superior and much better blogging platform and content management system than Blogger.  There are a lot more features and 3rd party supported plugins which make the functionality of WordPress 1000 times better than Blogger probably ever will be.  Honestly I could go on for a long time listing reasons why you should switch from Blogger to WordPress.

Even if WordPress is a better blog software to use I don't' necessarily see a reason for everyone to make the migration over to WordPress.  It sort of depends on your needs and goals with your blog.

Most people use Blogger for their blogs since they just wanted something quick and easy.  Since Blogger integrates with Google and all of their products it definitely is simple to use.  A lot of Blogger blogs are mainly for sharing family photos, updates, and happenings privately with a family and friends.  Or it was something that was just needed for a short time period of time and it wasn't worth it to register a domain name to use and buy web hosting.  Other examples would be classes, soccer teams, school projects community bulletins, etc.  In my opinion if this is what you are using Blogger for you may not want to hassle with switching from Blogger to WordPress.

Blogger also runs in a cloud environment which makes it a stable software and secure blog platform.  (WordPress.com does as but self hosted WordPress blogs depend on what host you are using.)  While it definitely doesn't have as much functionality and there are not as much 3rd party development going on with Blogger it is still a great platform for those that want something simple.

If you've landed on this article I am going to assume you are considering switching from Blogger to WordPress and you've probably read about Google's changed Terms of Service.  Google's changed ToS basically states you may not own the content you make, which some people don't really like.  Even Matt Cutts, Google's head of WebSpam, uses WordPress over Blogger.  I wouldn't be surprised if Google's ToS was one of the reasons.

Also if keeping up a blog and your website is taking up more of your time and you looking for ways to monetize it, than you definitely are going to have to switch.  WordPress has a lot of plugin options and greater flexibility for you to try different ways to make money blogging.  Blogger has Google AdSense for monetizing a blog and that's about it except for getting private banner ads.  Keep in mind your theme would need to be able to handle placing them.

If you do want to switch from Blogger to WordPress Automattic, the company that developed and maintains WordPress, makes the process pretty straightforward and easy.  There is a Blogger Importer plugin which should work without a hitch (most of the time.)  There are a few issues I've had when helping clients switch over to WordPress to be aware of though.  For instance high quality images can be a bit of a pain especially if the person is picked a bad web host.  (Most of the time HostGator or an EIG company.)  Usually even with a lot of images and posts there are a few plugins for grabbing images and pulling them which make the process easier.

If you are happy with Blogger and it fits your needs for a personal or family blog and you are happy with it I don't see a reason to spend time switching to WordPress.  If you want greater functionality and flexibility a switch from Blogger to WordPress is probably in the cards for you.

I'd love to hear from my audience. Have any of my readers made the switch?  Was it hard or easy for you?  Have you switched a blog or website over from other CMS platforms?  Let me know in the comments below.

2013 State of the Word with Matt Mullenweg

state of the word
Matt Mullenweg giving the 2013 State of the Word

The 2013 State of the Word was recently presented at WordCamp San Fransisco.  State of the Word is an annual presentation given by Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress.  He talks about the developments and progress WordPress has made in the past year and the future plans and hopes for the platform.

Even if you don't personally use WordPress and use another content management system (Joomla, Drupal, etc) it is still good to watch the State of the Word's to know what is going on with WordPress. Keep in mind WordPress is the largest content management system (CMS) out there and is getting more popular and more powerful everyday.  I don't see this trend changing anytime soon and I don't think any other CMS can catch-up with it's rapid development.

So what is new with WordPress?  Apparently the Automattic team has reworked the plugin review system.  “Now all ratings are attached to reviews.” commented Mullenweg.  Essentially this means nobody can give you 1-star without saying why they think it deserves that rating.  Also the plugin author can now respond in a thread to a negative review.  If the plugin improves a reviewer can change it.  Matt Mullenweg did many 1-star reviews have been changed to 5-star reviews.

Another interesting development is that there will be a WordPress book coming out soon.  According to Matt Mullenweg it will the first book to be written on Github, which is for sharing coding databases.

There was also talk about the fact that WordPress will start to become not just a blog/CMS platform but an application platform.  Automattic will be focusing more on becoming a developer resource (developer.wordpress.org). Mullenweg thinks of WordPress as a platform that with different building blocks such as a CMS, blog, or e-commerce blocks you can build in or take out as you need.

Matt also talked about the MP6 plugin project within Automattic.  I have never heard of this but apparently it changes the user interface administration in the backend of WordPress.   You can change colors, it is responsive, and it looks pretty slick from what I could tell.

WordPress 3.8 apparently will feature Luke Skywalker and Automattic hopes to release it sometime in December this year (I think).  Mullenweg also said he would like to start releasing the default WordPress theme like automakers.  (Automakers release the new model before the year even starts often.)

At the time WordCamp San Francisco took place WordPress 3.6 was not released but was on August 1st, 2013.  WordPress 3.6 “Oscar” was named after Oscar Peterson, the great Jazz pianist.  In State of the Word 2013 Matt Mulleweg highlighted some of the rising “WordPress rockstars” as he called it that have helped with it's continued development.  They did show the video for WordPress 3.6 (which I am running now) and it is sweet!

“Be the change with WordPress.” said Mullwenweg at the end of the presentation.  He really encourages people to get involved with helping out in the WordPress community.

You can watch the State of the Word right here or by visiting WordPress.TV.  There was also a Q&A session after the State of the Word presentation.

Some of the most interesting parts of Matt's State of the Word presentations is when he mentions the growth of WordPress along with some WordPress Stats and numbers. I've tried to organize them here;

WordPress Stats

  • 18.9% of the web now runs on the WordPress platform.  This is a 2.2% increase from last year.  (Matt mention it should be as popular as Justin Bieber.)
  • 46 million WordPress downloads from (46,355,774) in the last year.  175,000 everyday.  (That number does not include automatic scripts installations only downloads from WordPress.org.)
  • In a WPEngine survey they asked US adults, “Have you heard of WordPress?” 29.7% of survey respondents said “Yes.”
  • 336 WordPress Themes were added to the directory this year.  That is 2.3 as many as last year. Impressive considering each theme goes through a theme review process.
  • 1,500 people were active in WordPress Core development over the past year.
  • 30,000 respondents from 178 different countries took part in the WordPress survey.  “Community” and “ease-of-use” are what people like the best about WordPress.  The least?  “Plugins” are the least favorite along with “updates” and “security.”
  • 15 updates for the WordPress mobile apps were released.  There were 3 updates for iOS, 6 for Android, and 6 for Windows phones.  (Who wants a Windows phone?)
  • Make.wordpress.org blogs have received 10,945 posts and comments in 2012, which is double the amount since last year.
  • 50,000 blogs that were created 7 days ago on WordPress.com will be active today.  That is only a 96% rate of attrition rate of bloggers.  They believe this number is higher for WordPress.org users because of the extra steps.  Since you have to buy a domain, hosting, and setup a few things yourself.

WordPress Plugin States

  • Over 40,000 plugins have been relaunched.
  • 9,334 plugins requested to be reviewed in the past year and 6,758 were approved for the WordPress plugin directory by Automattic.
  • There are now 26,000 WordPress plugins in the directory.

WordPress Usage

  • 98% of people use WordPress on web.
  • 31% use WordPress on an iPad or iPhone
  • 30% use Android mobile phones
  • 18% Android tablets
  • 13% Desktop Apps

What do you use WordPress for?

  • 69% use WordPress as a Content Management System (CMS)
  • 20% Blog/CMS
  • 6% as a Blog
  • 7% as an App platform (new entry this year)

WordCamp Stats

  • 314 WordCamps have been held to date
  • 72 WordCamps have taken place in the past year.
  • 1,026 people have given talks at WordCamp over the past year.
  • Videos of WordCamp presentations on WordPress.TV have been viewed 1.4 million times.  So you better prepare a good talk at WordCamp! 🙂

WordPress 10th Anniversary

WordPress makes it easy to Embed Vine Videos

embed vine videosWordPress, the largest blog and content mangement platform around, has now made it hella easy to embed Vine Videos.  Now you can just take Vine.co URLs and paste them into WordPress and the videos will display in posts.  (The Vine video app is a Twitter backed start-up that allow users to shoot short 6-second videos and share on the web.  Vine has been quite popular among celebrities and social media junkies.)  The announcement was made about a week ago via an email WordPress sent out and on the WordPress.com blog.

To embed Vine videos it is a simple process.  Just take a Vine.co video URL and make sure to include “https” in front of the Vine URL and it will embed into a WordPress post.  Wordpress also allows you to specifcy width and height when embedding Vine videos.  Here is an example using one of my Vine video URLs;

If you don't feel like adding or specifying the width and height of a Vine video it will deafult to what is allowed by your theme.  In addition WordPress allows you to add a postcard parameter to the shortcode.

WordPress already has the functionality to embed videos from other video websites such as Youtube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, etc. by just pasting in the URL when you are writing posts.  (Of course sometimes WordPress doesn't like to cooperate and you need to embed the video code manually or it just won't work.)  Now with the ability to embed Vine videos WordPress is continuing to make the platform easier and more on the cutting edge with the changing tides of social media.

Recently Instagram, the widely popular photo sharing app, launched a video service to compete with the Vine app.  What would use Instagram video over Vine though?  They allow videos to be up to 15 seconds instead of only 6 seconds on Vine.

The news of Automattic adding this functionality to WordPress seems to have turned the tables in Vine app's favor, at least for now.  Of course I assume the Instagram video team is working right now on adding video functionality and maybe even with the Automattic.  For now though you can embed Vine videos in WordPress only.

The annoying thing thing about the Vine app is you can't login the video service on a desktop browser.  This makes it a bit difficult if all you want to do is go grab a Vine video URL to embed into WordPress.  You have to share the video on another social network, then grab the Vine URL to post it.  Probably not a huge issue for some people but it is something that I think could be improved.

 

What do you think of this news about Vine?  Are you going to be embedding Vine videos on your WordPress blog?

[Source – WordPress.com Blog]

Automattic buys Lean Domain Search and acquihires Matt Mazur

matt mazurAutomattic, the company behind WordPress, recently bought Lean Domain Search to add to the WordPress.com blogging platform.  The news was announced via the Lean Domain Search blog a couple days ago by Matt Mazur, who started and built the domain name generator.

You might remember that last month I wrote that Lean Domain Search shuttered the Brandable Domain Generator and Domain Name Trends offerings.  In addition Matt Mazur moved the website from a freemium model to being completely free.

This news makes sense as I assume Automattic mainly wants Matt to focus on integrating Lean Domain Search with their products and helping improve the WordPress blog platform.  The acquisition is being pegged as an “acquihire” which refers to when tech firms buy companies not necessarily for the products but the team that built it.  Typically in an acquihire the larger tech company will shutdown the original product and integrate it with whatever offering they want or need.

While a few of Lean Domain Search's useful offeings have been shutdown as far as I can tell Automattic has no plans to shutter Lean Domain Search and the plan is to integrate the platform with WordPress.com.  Currently users of WordPress.com can buy a domain name for $13 a and can map to their subdomain blog on WordPress to their domain.  There is no domain generating tool on the free blogging platform but that will obviously change in the next few months.

It's not clear whether Automattic bought Lightstone Software along with Preceden, a timeline maker that is another one of Matt's offerings. As far as I can tell there are no plans to shutter Preceden.  There is no word on whether Precden will be integrated with Worpdress or what Matt has planned for the timeline maker.  (I sent Matt an email to clarify but have not heard back.)

In my opinion this was a smart move for Automattic and Worpress as finding a good domain name can prevent a lot of people from starting a blog or website.  (I know since I get emails about it all the time.)  Automattic can get the benefit of people using Lean Domain Search on Worpdress.com and collect affiliate revenue when people use the site.  Since WordPress is 10 years old now they seem to be making more decisions like a tech giant.  It will be interesting to see what other acquisitions Automattic will make in the future.

While the news is impressive for a service that was built by a single guy, unfortunately impressing Matt Mazur's family with news that you are making news proved to be challenging.

Congrats to Matt and I am sure he will be a valuable asset to Automattic and the WordPress team.