It was probably not the best decision to make at 10pm on a Monday night, but nevertheless I started a WordPress.com blog and migrated all my old blogs from Google Blogger across to it.

WordPress has some lovely looking themes but I was surprised by a few things:

  • Disqus comment plugins are not supported. One of the reasons I had not moved to one of the new Blogger Dynamic themes was that all the Disqus comments on my blog would be lost. But on WordPress.com these are not supported either so I have left them all back on Blogger. Sigh.
  • No support for Google Analytics. WordPress.com has its own analytics but they are pretty basic. There is no support for adding the Google Analytics tracking code into your blog which I found surprising.
  • Adding in other plugins or widgets is tricky or even limited as no third party scripts are allowed.
  • Embedding Storify tweets is not supported on WordPress.com (only WordPress.org)
  • Tags from Blogger posts were imported as Categories not tags in WordPress (but this is easily fixed with the Converter tool).
However, on the plus side:
  • The WordPress themes have a stylish design feel to them. The Blogger designs felt a bit… dated (although the new Dynamic themes are much better).
  • Adding in supported widgets and customising the theme is easyish (where supported)
  • The overall feel of the WordPress site is more professional and less amateur. Blogger feels like one of those many things that Google just forgot in its haste to own the world.
  • It was very easy to set up and I even took the step of securing my own dot com domain as it was sooooo easy.
  • Mobile and iPad formats are also supported. Cool.
  • Not sure how the native commenting and moderating compares until someone leaves a comment. Hint.

And then at 1am I went to bed.

Updated: Found another quite annoying feature. The Twitter Share buttons on the bottom of each post add the @wordpressdotcom Twitter account to the share tweet. And you don’t appear to be able to customise this to your own account (have sent a request to WordPress.com to ask about this).

Updated Again: The solution from WordPress support:

In order for the Twitter sharing buttons to display your Twitter username instead of @wordpressdotcom you will need to connect your Twitter account to your WordPress.com blog by setting up the Publicize feature. Once you get it set up this change will only apply to new posts, not posts that you already published.

For more information on setting up the Publicize feature check out this support doc:
http://en.support.wordpress.com/publicize/#twitter

I tried this and it works!

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Join the conversation! 15 Comments

  1. Hey Simone, if you are self hosting your WordPress blog you can definitely add Google Analytics, and there are zillions of WordPress plugins. I think you may be a little confused as to what can be done on the WordPress.com platform, vs what you can do with a self hosted WordPress blog, which gives you heaps more flexibility and is highly recommended.

    • Hi Karen, yes I appreciate that having a self hosted blog using WordPress.org offfers a lot more functionality and flexibility. As a stepping stone from Tumblr to Blogger to WordPress I thought a self hosted blog is probably a reasonably large step for most people, and that the WordPress.com option would be the next logical move (which comes with some limitations). No doubt that will be the next step for me!

  2. So far so good – looks excellent! Odd line spacing in your bullet list style?

    • I did have some strange things happen with the formatting, but put that down to me just being me. I am notorious at breaking things without even trying as you well know. Had to go into the HTML which is probably the root of my issues. Thanks for visiting my new blog!

  3. Hi Simone,

    As you will have worked out there are more restrictions on the WordPress.com version as opposed to the WordPress.org version which is mostly called the self hosted.

    For most people the gap between the 2 versions is not as big as it once was because the Jetpack set of plugins covers most needs. Adding your own domain is also much easier than it was and relatively cost effective.

    Discus is one of about 3 similar commenting systems. Automattic who are the commercial company behind WordPress.com have investments in a sevice called Intensedebate which would be the best way to migrate all of your comments across. http://intensedebate.com/ I used it a few years ago when they first started. It is much better now.

    A key reason behind many restrictions on .com version is security. While security of the core wp system is very good and constantly being improved sometimes it is better to avoid risk by staying away from plugins which use lots of executable code like JavaScript.

    We know that the security environment is getting more risky so that is a big plus with using the .com version. Being there also saves you having to think about updates of the core and plugins which is a background cost for self hosted users.

    There is increasing flexibility on the themes now at wp.com. However you have a much more content based traditional blog and so it is arguable that extr bells & whistles on the design side wouldn’t add much. On the plus side you get the benefit of better iPad usability and that is very much growing in the corporate market.

    BTW It would be easy to add the GA code to your theme but I’m guessing because it is JavaScript it gets stripped out. The wp stats in JetPack are enough for most bloggers however there is a strong argument for being able to run both as Google owns that space.

    Last but not least – keep in mind that you could migrate to a self hosted version and this can be done any time. I have dozens of WordPress based sites that I have setup and maintain on behalf of many projects. Hosting costs shouldn’t be any more than about $NZ10 per month & while there is some extra work to look after a “self-hosted” site if you really want to keep discus that would be the way to go.

    I’m easy to find if you have more questions

    • Thanks Jason, very helpful and makes it sounds a lot less scarier than I thought. I also like the sound of the Jetpack even if just for the name!

      Will definitely look into this, thanks for all the helpful suggestions.

  4. Hi Simone,
    I don’t know much (anything actually ) about blogs and am quite bewildered by the options. I wondered if you had evaluated Posterous against WordPress as I have heard positive things about it.

    • Hi Donna, thanks do much for commenting. I had a quick look at Posterous when I started with Blogger but wasn’t as taken with their themes. But I imagine they are on a par with Blogger and great for starting out.

  5. I like wordpress.org, I use it for sportreview and richardirvine. It was a little learning curve alright (I migrated direct from Blogger to own domain, wp.org and hosting), but once I was up and running, it was worth it. Recommend taking the extra step alright.

  6. @Donna – Posterous suits those who like blogging by email and it doesn’t really have much you can change at the backend which might be fine. What I didn’t like about it is the auto emailing of feeds that you subscribe to and overall it seems a bit too prescriptive and minimal. Obox design have a couple of themes that seem beter than the rest.

    @Simone – you already have access to the Jetpack set of plugins as part of wp.com

  7. Interesting post thanks Simone, I find myself in the same position but haven’t yet made the move. I will definitely be re-reading when I do eventually get up the courage!

  8. hi share this link and just cool sites

  9. Thanks for finally writing about >WordPress v Google Blogger.

    Which to use? | simonemccallum.com <Loved it!

  10. I really like what you guys are usually up too. Such clever work and exposure!
    Keep up the very good works guys I’ve included you guys to my blogroll.

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