If you have been online for awhile now, you would probably have heard of the blog phenomenon OR came across many blogs by now in your daily surfing. Here, I won’t be talking about blogging, but rather about the excellent blogging tools that bloggers have come to love – WordPress and Blogger.
Now, I have been using WordPress for quite some time now, and consider it to be a very excellent blogging tool. But, it isn’t perfect. Blogger on the other hand, is probably the most popular blogging platform in use now (but maybe not for long). You just need to find some unique name to make as your Blogger subdomain, and you’re ready to go. Here, I’m not talking about the free service offered by WordPress at WordPress.com which is the WordPress equivalent to Blogger and totally free, but about using WordPress on your own hosting account and your own unique domain name by downloading from their support site, WordPress.org. Both WordPress and Blogger have some pretty cool features:
- Your own site and domain, yours to keep as long as you keep your domain renewed and pay for your own hosting with one of the numerous web hosts out there.
- Extremely flexible, with tons of customization options. You can even hack WordPress if you want, and make it behave like something else. Just remember, with hacks, you can’t easily upgrade your WordPress anymore without losing your hacked version.
- Easy to install and setup. Supposedly called a 5 minute installation, WordPress can either be installed with Fantastico (takes about 1-2 minutes) and the manual way (uploading via ftp, and creating a database), which is somewhat longer than 1-2 minutes, AFTER you have finished uploading the WordPress files. Please note that your hosting account needs to run mysql, Linux or Windows, and of course PHP, in order for WordPress to work.
- Huge number of themes and plugins are always available, since WordPress has been coded with hooks to make life easier for php based developers to easily create plugins for it. Most of the plugins are free. A good location to search for plugins is here and here. A good place to search for themes is here and here.
- Easy to run and manage. Just log into your WordPress account and start writing. No need for writing html pages with Dreamweaver or NVU, and then uploading page by page the old fashioned way. Fast publishing.
- A lot of updated support in the WordPress forum, and lots of other support from fellow users who number in the millions. The one drawback to this is that your questions may not get answered readily due to the huge number of support questions popping up everyday.
- Requires a learning curve which may be daunting enough for non technical folks. Rest assured, the developers are constantly trying to make WordPress more user friendly with every update. But still, it’s not uncommon for newbies to face a lot of frustration, but it does get better.
- Some plugins in WordPress are very resource intensive, thus eating up a lot of server resources which could lead to a slow website and at worse, account suspension by your webhost. A good rule of thumb is not to overdo your plugins. Just activate the ones you need.
- The wysiwyg editor aka Rich Text Editor that comes defaulted in WordPress is rather basic and slightly buggy. WordPress 2.1.2 had a small bug in which the rich text editor “disappeared” by self unchecking “select rich text editor” for seemingly no reason. I didn’t encounter this problem, but many people over at the WordPress forum did. I do find myself always switching over to “code” view instead of “visual” view, because the “visual” view doesn’t really generate proper html at times. So it’s not an unfair desire, considering the numerous complaints about the wysiwyg editor ever since WordPress introduced a pared down Tiny MCE starting from WordPress 2.0. Back then it was already considered a major change from the even more basic text editor that only had html tags.
- WordPress is not exactly the most secure PHP script in the world. There have been a number of security issues to date, although it probably is still safer than many other CMS scripts. Actually, all PHP scripts are vulnerable in some way, because they rely on a database which can be compromised. The most secure sites are plain old html sites, so you will need to evaluate whether the speed/ease of publishing with a CMS script is more important than security issues.