Google Blogger vs. WordPress, Blog Wars Part 3: The Others


This is the final post in this series. In Part One I created blogs in each of the various blog engines. Part Two then reviewed the 3 major blog engines, Google Blogger, WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

I’ve decided to make my primary blog my own hosted WordPress from WordPress.org on my own domain Clear.Bluedei.com. You will notice however, that it is not as full-featured yet and my WordPress.com blog Allthingsweb20.wordpress.com or my Google Blogger blog, alongthepathto20.blogspot.com. That is because when you host your own WordPress blog, you have to set up everything yourself, it comes very vanilla. This allows you add all kinds of plugins and really customize it, but it takes time and is not as quick to get up and running with all the bells and whistles. Blogger really shines at being quick to get up and running with lots of add-ons that are easy to setup. Even WordPress.com, while limited in what it can do compared to the others, will let you create a very nice and full-featured blog quickly. But for me, the ability to host and completely control my own blog and to customize it however I want, makes it worth the extra time it takes to get it looking as good and as full-featured as the others.

(NOTE: We went with Inmotion Hosting for our web host and you can read my post about choosing this host service here. In retrospect, I would have chosen Blue Host instead. I did not find them until too late. I may still switch although it will cost me and will be a hassle to lose everything. But twice so far I have lost some or all of a post I was was trying to create because I could not temporarily connect to my site (or to inmotionhosting.com either). Just now this happened again. It doesn’t go down for long, say 5-10 minutes. But I also haven’t done a blog post for at least a week and it happened just as I was trying to write this post so I really don’t know the extent of the problem. But I have concerns with its reliability when I am trying to write a post and I work hard enough to write my posts, I don’t need to be afraid of losing them and/or having to wait and worry about it until my site comes back.)

In this post, I will review the other, less well-known blog engines. While I recommend using either Google Blogger or WordPress, I think it is useful to have an idea about each of these others. You can see an example of each in Part One of this series.

One of the other players in the blog engine wars is Six Apart. They have a number of different blog engines available: Vox, LiveJournal, TypePad and MovableType. These are listed in order from their lowest to highest end blogs. I looked only at the 2 free blogs which were Vox and LiveJournal.

Both TypePad and MovableType have monthly charges and although they say they have a 14 day free trial you have to actually choose a plan as if you were signing up for it and give your credit card information and then cancel it within the 14 days. I wasn’t about to do that so I will just give you an idea of what they have and you can go to the sixapart site if you want to know more. Personally, I would never pay the prices they are asking for a blog engine with so many good, free ones available. As an example, Typepad, which they call The choice for professional bloggers, costs anywhere between $.95 and $89.95 per month (4.95, 8.95, 14.95, 29.95, 89.95 / mo with 15% off annual subscription). The lowest cost blog has no domain mapping, full html , custom css. This is less than you would get with Google Blogger for free. I did not even look at MovableType which they call the The best choice for business blogging.

So that left me with Vox (Personal blogging taken to the next level) and LiveJournal (A diverse community of independent bloggers). Here are my impressions of these. Again, you can see my working blogs by following the links in my Part One post.

Vox:

  • can import posts from other blogs (but only 1 month it appears)
  • looks childish
  • has neighborhoods and groups
  • can easily add video and book lists
  • can add widgets
  • can add friends
  • Seems more like a mix of MySpace and a blog

LiveJournal:

  • has ads for plus free version
  • can add friends
  • no import of posts?
  • wants to use photobucket for pics
  • slow processing
  • can set ‘mood’ of post
  • very MySpace-ish
  • WAY too many advertisements and you can’t control them

My view of SixApart blog engines are that they are just trying to make money from them and I would not be interested in their blogs, although I do know a few people who use LiveJournal and TypePad.

InstantSpot is a blog engine that almost didn’t make it into my testing because I had not heard of it and only found out about it right at the end. But I was impressed enough by it that I wanted to include it. Here is my instant spot blog. I didn’t do much to it but from looking around at other instant spot blogs, they look to be highly customizable, almost to the point of looking like a CMS (content management system). And it clearly seems to be geared toward tracking, marketing and promoting your site.

Instant Spot:

  • can edit .css
  • allows google adsense (just click in ad manager)
  • tracking script manager works with trackers like g analy, feedburner, etc
  • host header mgmt allows redirecting to a host domain name
  • definitely looks geared towards tracking, marketing and promoting
  • has large set of social networking icons (like digg, etc) at bottom of each post (many of which I have never heard)
  • tag line is “Get spotted now!
  • seems to be highly customizable judging by looking at other instant spot blogs. Not sure how though.
  • has ads on page

Instant Spot was the only other blog engine that looked intriguing to me. I could see it being useful for people who are selling or promoting something and who want a very nice looking site (not sure of the effort involved though) and who want to be able to market, track and promote their site. If you had a club or small business, this seems like a good site. We teach Aikido and I could see easily setting up a website for our Aikido club on this. Here is an instant spot site that is for a fitness class that is not fancy and was probably easy to set up, but is a decent site for their classes. (I don’t know or endorse these people, just thought it was a good example of a not-too-fancy, easy to set up, useful site). And here is a really nice looking blog. Instant Spot seems to have some definite possibilities.

Well, that is it for my review of blog engines. Google Blogger for balance between being easy and having functionality, WordPress.org (self-hosted wordpress) for total control and flexibility and Instant Spot for an easy (I think) website for a club, class, non-profit or small business.

~Susan Mellott

Becky Carleton, a librarian at the Johnson County Library in Kansas challenged me to name ten pieces

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