I have long used WordPress for my blogs, both on wordpress.com and self-hosted. This year I gave up WordPress and moved some of my sites to blogger.com, Google’s free blogging platform. The motivation for doing this is cost-cutting, especially for blogs with low traffic, with up to 500 unique visitors per day.
How much does it cost to have a blog on WordPress?
There are three options for having a blog on WordPress, each with different advantages, disadvantages, and costs. I’m not considering online shops built on WordPress + WooCommerce here, just “standard” blogs.
First of all, a blog can be hosted on https://wordpress.com/, with two variants currently offered.
If you use the free version you will have a blog with an address like sitename.wordpress.com and will benefit from limited functionality, storage space, and traffic. In addition, WordPress will display advertisements on your blog.
The Pro version, with extended functionality, allows you to use your domain name and install custom themes and other modules. No ads are displayed by WordPress. You can choose to monetize your site by enrolling in WordAds. The Pro version costs $15+VAT per month, with an annual payment. In total $180+VAT per year for a single blog.
Last, you can use your hosting and install https://wordpress.org. The cheapest good hosting I’ve used so far is from Hosterion, 10Gb for 4 websites for 44 Euro + VAT per year. WordPress.org is free, and a decent theme costs around 70$ +VAT on ThemeForest. But there’s spam, and so without Akismet, you will manually delete tons of spam. Akismet may be free for personal sites, but you’ll have to pay for commercial blogs – this includes blogs you choose to monetize by displaying ads. In this case, the cost is $ 100+ VAT per year.
How much did I save by moving to blogger.com?
Blogger.com is the only blogging platform that allows you to use your domain name for free for blogs hosted on blogspot.com. In this case, the blog will have a name like blogname.co.uk or blogname.com.
As for the possibility of customizing the site, some free themes are offered by Blogger, but custom themes can also be purchased. I paid on average around $25 + VAT for a blogger theme, also on ThemeForest. The theme only needs to be purchased once for each blog.
Blogs hosted on blogger.com benefit from Google’s spam protection, both for comments and spam coming through the contact form. So I’ve saved some money by giving up Akismet.
I’m left with just the recurring domain name expense.
That saving comes with a multitude of downsides. I’ve tried below to highlight what I like and dislike about Blogger.com, all from the perspective of someone who moved from WordPress.
All you need is a Google account.
The ability to use your domain name.
Possibility to monetize sites through AdSense
Anti-spam facilities offered by Google
Possible GDPR issues. It depends on the GDPR implementation made by Google.
You don’t own your data. Google can delete everything you blog. This can also happen on other platforms if you don’t follow the rules. However, the policy on content creation is a bit more restrictive than WordPress. In particular, pay attention to content restrictions on selling, advertising, and facilitating the sale of regulated goods and services. These regulated goods and services include alcohol, gambling, pharmaceuticals, unapproved supplements, tobacco, fireworks, weapons, or medical/sanitary devices.
It is much more difficult to back up a blog hosted on the blogger.com platform.
Limited functionality. Knowledge of HTML and CSS is required to get more than blogger.com offers.
It is not possible to add extra modules.
Blog space counts towards the total space offered by Google. This is 15 GB in the free version and is shared between all Google services used. Additional space can be purchased for a small fee.
A limited number of themes compared to WordPress
Messages sent via the contact form and comments sent for moderation are sent to the Gmail address associated with the blog. No other email address can be used.
Some people consider it unprofessional to keep their sites on blogger.
Moving to and from WordPress is a pain.
Overall, blogger.com is either for those who want something simple or for those who know a bit of HTML.