Friday, January 08, 2010

Blogger v. WordPress: Case Study

Smitty on the travails of moving The Other McCain from Blogger to self-hosted WordPress:

I think the plan was:

1. Go self-hosted.
2. ???
3. Profit!

Every blogging platform and CMS has its advocates, and I'm not going to argue that Blogger is "better than" WordPress or vice versa (I use both of them, and Drupal too).

I'm going to argue, however (again and at length) that Blogger is better than WordPress for The Other McCain. Here's why:

- Location, location, location. The site has racked up more than 3 million hits at Blogger. There are a lot of incoming links. A no-frills move to a new URL and platform means that those links lead to a moribund site, and readers may not click through to, and bookmark, the new site.

Morey Straus commented the last time I mentioned this, outlining a procedure for for automatic redirect and so forth. That comment is trapped in Haloscan-to-Disqus conversion hell at the moment, but hopefully it will be back. If it does come back, I'll link it. Or maybe Morey will re-post it here.

BUT! If there's nothing wrong with where you're at, why go to the trouble of moving, even if you can redirect your traffic? Which leads right to my other two points.

- There aren't any bells and whistles on the new site that weren't doable on the old site. If Stacy and Smitty were moving because WordPress offered some killer app that just wouldn't work on Blogger, that would be one thing ... but I'm not seeing anything of the sort at the new digs. It's the same blog.

The only major formatting difference is that its two sidebar columns are on the right instead of split left and right ... and as you can see here at KN@PPSTER, that can be done on Blogger. As a matter of fact, I just did it yesterday with the same theme used at the Blogger version of The Other McCain before deciding to come back to the equally modifiable Rounders theme.

If The Other McCain's business plan, to which I am not privy, involves adding a bunch of authors, spawning a bunch of sub-blogs, etc., then WordPress might make sense. Otherwise, changing platforms is fixing something what ain't broke.

Profit? Profit?!? Blogger has more monetization options than you can shake a stick at. It's already set up to make it easy to plug in Google AdSense. It will accommodate Blogads (I've used them here before, and so have the Other McCain guys). It will accommodate AdBrite. It now has built-in Amazon monetization. There may be some advertising platforms that support WordPress and not Blogger, but there's no shortage of options at Blogger.

Self-hosted WordPress means paying for hosting, storage and bandwidth. It also means either accommodating host service demands (which may be perfectly reasonable demands, but can still be a pain in the ass) for the use of caching, etc. to reduce CPU use on a "shared" server, or ponying up for a dedicated server. Based on The Other McCain's traffic, I don't see them being able to NOT do the latter. They get a lot of hits. A shared hosting account ain't gonna cut it.

Blogger, though ... well, Blogger is Google. Even a site with the kind of traffic Stacy and Smitty attract isn't going to put Google's CPUs into grand mal seizures or strain Google's bandwidth capacity. It's all you can eat, and the prime rib and crab legs are on the way out from the kitchen right now.

Oh, and Blogger is, um, free. And backed by the largest tech support team in the known universe.

Right now, moving The Other McCain back from WordPress to Blogger would be a simple matter of cutting, pasting and re-dating a few posts. The longer they wait, the more of a chore it will become ... and I think they'll ultimately realize that Blogger is where they'd rather be.

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