The Downsides of Switching to WordPress

 

In October, I made the switch from Blogger to WordPress.org (self-hosted, not WordPress.com). Since then, I’ve adjusted pretty well but it hasn’t been without its struggles or frustrations.

In so many ways I’ll always feel like a beginner blogger. I still believe that moving to WordPress was the right decision for my blog and has forced me to learn a ton about SEO, HTML, plugins, widgets, themes, and so much more. It’s been fun! It’s been challenging! And boy, do I like a challenge.

So while I whole-heartedly believe that WordPress was the right choice for me, in an effort to not sugarcoat WordPress too much (though it is truly awesome), I present:

switching to wordpress

1. The designs are more expensive. I knew this but didn’t fully think it through prior to my switch. WordPress designs are generally hundreds of dollars more than Blogger designs. And rightfully so! They are much more complicated. This means that new WordPress designs are a major investment and you have to either be making boat loads of money off your blog (I’m not) or you have to stick with the same design for a damn long time. Sure, you can buy a template (as I did recently) but then you get to wing it by installing it yourself. Which brings me to my next point…

2. If you do decide to make design edits yourself, there is no way to preview them. Blogger allows you to make changes and then preview before saving. With WordPress, you’ve got to either know what you’re doing or cross your fingers and click Save. In theory you can make a “sandbox” copy of your blog on a desktop server so that you can try edits out first but that is exactly as complicated as it sounds.

3. The post creation area just doesn’t tickle my fancy. No idea why I chose that quirky expression but it just worked. The area is small and I often stare at the screen and struggle to get into the right blogging mood. Maybe there isn’t enough white space? And then “full screen” is too much. I don’t know but it’s just not the same.

4. The updates are scary. I’ve read horror stories about updates to new versions of WordPress (and subsequent plugin updates) royally screwing things up. You have to back up your blog before doing any and all updates (something I did um never when I used Blogger…oops) and then click “update” and pray.

5. Some of my posts that were imported from Blogger look a little funky. My new design has a different post width than my old one did. This somehow led to picture sizing being off or spacing of posts changing. When you go to make adjustments to specific posts, the HTML from Blogger is way more complicated than posts are in WordPress and it’s a nightmare. Sure, I could pay someone to fix it, but now we’re back to #1. This issue could be fixed if I had started on WordPress.org from the get-go but how many people jump right in and pay for hosting and their url when they start a blog? Most of us “lifestyle bloggers” just didn’t do that and most of us started out on Blogger.

Even though these things have made the switch challenging, I 100% do not regret my decision to switch from Blogger to WordPress. I own my content. It’s mine! All mine! Google can’t up and delete me one day. My pageviews from search engine traffic have increased drastically, due to built in SEO. And don’t even get me started on how cool some of the plugins are. But for those of you out there considering a switch, these are the speed bumps I’ve hit so far.

If you are considering switching from Blogger to WordPress, what’s holding you back? If you did make the switch, what challenges did you encounter? 

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  • My thing is are there other options? I want my blog to look more professional. i would like to take sponsors, but that’s pretty much it. Can I do these two things with out spending so much money to switch to wordpress? Who knows. I am such I’ll eventually do it, but the concern is making the investment then having all these little things happen that you mentioned.

    • Nadine

      I see that you’re on WordPress.com right now. There are tons of blogs (many of the super big ones) that are on Blogger. With Blogger you do absolutely have the ability to make it look more professional and you are still able to take sponsors. Maybe consider switching to Blogger. I spent $10 a year on Blogger for my own domain name but that’s it.

  • I just received my contact for making the switch. I have a few weeks to read up before it’s finalized. Thank you so much for writing this, I am confident it’s the right choice for me, but I still wanted to know what some of the challenges are! :).

    • Nadine

      I really didn’t know what to expect when I made the switch. I think my biggest fear was what would the back end feel be like. I was very comfortable with the Blogger platform and it has taken longer to get comfortable with WordPress but I’m getting there.

  • I’m too little to even consider switching to WordPress. It just wouldn’t be beneficial or cost-effective to me. I do like the clean lines of WordPress blogs though. And I like the comment form better. I have this weird thing about aesthetics. And my eyeballs like your blog 🙂

    • Nadine

      I do really love how the commenting works. I can comment back right on the post or via email and even if I comment on the post, I have a plugin that sends an email to let people know. It’s awesome!

  • Nadine, I applaud you loud and proud, because there is no WAY I’d ever be on WordPress if I didn’t have my fiance – the software engineering genius – providing all of my back-end and general IT support free of charge and on call.

    It just boggles my mind with all of the widgets and plug ins. I have always said you need to be a pro or have a pro in house, so you GO with your bad self.

    • Nadine

      I’m impressed that you jumped right in with WordPress! Blogger is so easy to use that I think it’s what many people use at first. I wish I had my own IT guru but sadly mine is just as WordPress illiterate as I am.

  • I’ve thought about making the switch but am nervous for a few reasons. i hate change and know that the bumps and issues would bother me for awhile. and then i also know that i would need to hire someone to do the switch for me and/or the new design and i’m still hesitant to put that much money into my blog when i’m not really making any money. i know it makes sense in the long-run but just nervous to make the big leap!

    • Nadine

      I hired Lisette from High Note Designs to do my switch and I think it was completely worth it. I could never have switched everything over by myself. The thing is, once she switched everything it was mostly smooth sailing. I messed things up a bit recently by getting a new theme and installing it myself. Whoops!

  • Oh goodness. Switching to self-hosted was a debacle! I was so confused the entire time but luckily (THANK GOODNESS) it all came out okay. I did it because I eventually want to make money off my blog, and I know you should be self-hosted to do that. It took awhile to get used to but I’m finally figuring it out… and googling everything along the way! Ha. Your site looks great! 🙂

    • Nadine

      You can do some monetizing on Blogger but I just knew that it wasn’t right for me long term. I was really scared that one day google would flag me as spam or something and my blog would just up and disappear.

  • Over the break, I’m considering a switch to WP. I’ve been doing lots of research and am also consider square space. I’m not sure yet, but this was a really helpful post!

    • Nadine

      I considered square space also. It’s such a cool concept! I’d love to read about your experiences if that’s what you go with.

  • I’m thinking about switching. I just absolutely do not have the money for that kind of thing right now. And I like to fiddle with my own design, and Blogger HTML is already complicated enough! I don’t need it to be even worse! Maybe one day, but it probably won’t be soon.

    • Nadine

      It’s definitely not a “need” to do thing. I definitely could have stayed on blogger and I’m sure my blog wouldn’t be very different. It was something I wanted to do for the long term. Just wait it out until you have the moolah.

  • interesting! i feel like i never hear the downsides. i do love my blogger but i know there are MANY downsides to it.

    • Nadine

      I felt like all I read was WordPress people being like “it’s so great!” but really, there are some negatives and I think they needed to be shared. You have a big blog and you’re growing so it’s definitely something to consider.

  • This was really interesting and insightful to read! For a few years, I went back and forth between Blogger and WordPress(.com), but I think because I was so young and using the default in both, WordPress just seemed a lottttt trickier and the Blogspot community seemed more cohesive (what with GFC and everything more relevant back in the day). I do hope to make the switch over one day, so thanks for writing this!

    • Nadine

      The Blogger community was a really awesome thing to jump in to. I liked that as well. Now that GFC isn’t as relevant (or really relevant at all, in my opinion) I think it’s a great time to switch to WordPress.org.

  • You need to download Windows Live Writer ASAP. It’s basically Microsoft Word, but for blogging. It’s 1000x better than writing posts right in the WP dashboard AND you can preview posts! Not sure what type of computer you have but currently it’s only available on PCs. I think MarsEdit is a comparable version for Mac.

    • Nadine

      I’m on a Mac but I’ll definitely check out MarsEdit. Thanks!

  • I’ve had self hosted wordpress from the begining so I don’t have much to compare to but I was so sad that WordPress designs were so much more expensive from the begining. I want to make some changes on mine but it’s so hard and lots of money! Eek!

    • Nadine

      Way to go for jumping right in! I didn’t know enough about blogging when I first started to ever make that kind of jump. I recently bought a theme from a quality designer off Etsy. She also has one of her designs available through Studiopress so I knew she was legit. Maybe snoop around and see if you find a premade one you like. Mine was only like $25 I think.

  • I actually came from WordPress to Blogger. Back when I was using WP, I didn’t enjoy it whatsoever. I was told that it’s a simple process but I hated the admin page (especially the post an entry page) and the amount of updates were ridiculous (I didn’t back up either). I also noticed the templates for WP is extremely expensive and as I student that can’t fork out even $30 for a Blogger template right now, I wouldn’t be able to do $150 for a WP.

    I did enjoy the plug ins though. But all in all, I didn’t enjoy WP because it didn’t have that simplicity that WP promised and as a beginner blogger, I didn’t need the hassle (or have the time) to learn everything WordPress.

    • Nadine

      The admin page is definitely nauseating. I will say that though the custom designs are expensive, my design is a template that I purchased for $25 and installed myself. Someday I’ll get a custom design but for now, the template looks pretty good. I definitely still think that for people starting out blogging, Blogger is the better choice.

  • I am definitely researching the switch—-but it’s more nerves and “i don’t want to pay a ton of money” that is holding me back. Hopefully in the new year, I’ll be able to !!

    • Nadine

      It was a good chunk of money all at once but I think of it more as an investment.

  • I switched over about 3 years ago? I think? And I remember immediately wishing I hadn’t. But it wasn’t long before I really started to see how much more I could do and farther I could go with WP.

    I still find myself scratching my head sometimes. I’ll probably always have questions, but I am really glad I did.

    • Nadine

      I had those same thoughts but I’m already seeing the benefits as well. Good stuff.

  • I’m still getting used to blogger so I don’t see word press in my future yet. It’s good to know these things though!

  • Honestly, the only thing holding me back is the fact that I have to code the template and have absolutely no idea what I’m doing with it. I have a step by step guide waiting in my bookmarks folder for me to get through. Frankly, I’m pretty decent at HTML, but as soon as you get me in a completely new structure, I’m lost 🙁

    • Nadine

      I’m impressed that you know HTML! I just know the super super basic stuff. I had someone else (Lisette from High Note Designs) make the switch for me and I’m so glad I did. Now things are settled and I can try to do a few things on my own, though I usually text her first!

  • Coming from a first time blogger, I’ve been on WP since day one. I haven’t paid for a page design, mostly because mine is a personal (read: never going to make me money) blog. I have found a lot of the editing features confusing, but once you ‘get it’ I think WP has an incredibly reliable platform! Hope you post more about your switch, I’d love to learn something!

    • Nadine

      I’m on my way to “getting it”. I pondered making the switch for nearly 6 months before I did it and now I wish I’d done it sooner. I’m sure I’ll post more about this in the future!

  • The thought of switching scares the ever living bajesus out of me. I feel like it’s basically learning a whole new language, or something.

    • Nadine

      If someone else does your HTML stuff, it isn’t too bad. For most people I don’t think it’s completely necessary but it’s definitely something to consider since you have such a large, popular blog.

  • I actually know quite a bit about html code so that part has been pretty easy for me, so if you need some help, holler!

    The one thing that is bothering me is my bloglovin won’t feed from my site so now I have a whole new bloglovin and have completely lost the whole 4 followers I had haha. Not to mention there are 3 versions of my site out on bloglovin now. I also miss my GFC followers 🙁

    • OH, also, totally a pain to switch – the posts are all screwed up and I am still manually going through and having to reload my pictures and format the posts again…boo! Other than that, I love it!

    • Nadine

      Email Bloglovin! They are remarkably helpful! I was worried about the same thing but since I had my own url on my Blogger blog, when I switched to WordPress that wasn’t an issue at all. But email them, I bet they can fix it all and you can keep your followers 🙂

    • If you need help, let me know!

  • I’ve found that WordPress designers charge more mainly/mostly because they aren’t as familiar with using it themselves, not because it is actually any more difficult. Overall, WordPress is user-friendly, SEO-friendly and has a ton of benefits for professional websites/bloggers (in my opinion, of course!) As far as some old posts looking funny, it’s probably the theme/framework you are running ON WordPress (I use Genesis as well).

    I’m happy to hear you mostly like the switch though! And your design looks very fresh and clean 🙂

    • Nadine

      It worries me that people offer WordPress designs if they aren’t super familiar with the platform. I think it’s easier to fake it as a designer for Blogger. I will say that for someone who has zero experience with anything design related, installing this theme was surprisingly easy. Sure, it gave me a scare but things were so logical that I was able to fix it pretty quickly. I’m so glad I switched.

    • As a WordPress designer, and on behalf of other WordPress designers, I have to politely disagree with your statement.

      The reason a WordPress design costs more is because you can do a whole lot more. It’s the reason many people switch. It is more complex to code special requests, and so the pricing reflect the skills of the designer. Sure, you can buy a pre-made theme and personalize it with a header and a few plugins and call it a day (that’s really easy!), but to code other items (such as the categories’ images on my sidebar) it requires elbow grease and LOTS and LOTS of time.

      That being said, I much prefer designing for WordPress because the software is amazing to work with. Blogger has many many limitations.

      • I design for WordPress as well, but I find it just as easy as Blogger (and a better choice in terms of design, IMO). But you’re so right- WordPress has so many more options, so I can see that it would take longer, hence a higher price

  • I’ve long been considering the switch, if only because I want my blog design to look cleaner, which it seems WordPress just magically does somehow. I’ve been trying to learn more about design recently, & it mainly just frustrates me.

    I also want to take the plunge & finally get my own domain name, which I know I could also just do on Blogger.

    I’ve looked at other options, too, like Squarespace. Honestly, I have no idea what I want to do, or where I want to go, or if I want to go anywhere. As you mentioned in your post, I’ve grown comfortable with Blogger over the past few years. I guess I’ll just stay put until I can make up my mind…

    • Nadine

      I considered Squarespace as well but on thing I will say about why I chose WordPress instead is that ANY problem you are having, someone else has had too. WordPress forums are chock full of information about how to fix problems and people willing to help you. I don’t know that Squarespace has that yet. Getting your own domain name is a great first step though!

  • Girl, I’m confused: What exactly did you mean by “you can’t preview things” on WP? Unless I’ve been imagining it and using it to preview stuff :), there IS a Preview button! You can preview posts, pages, etc. Maybe you meant something else Preview-related that I totally misunderstood? Let me know if you don’t have it or something.

    (PS: Like you, I don’t regret making the switch as I LOVE WP. If you ever need plugin or SEO help, just holler.)

    • Nadine

      I meant design changes, not posts or pages. I definitely know how to preview those and always do. I’m saying if I want to change the code to my design, I can’t see those changes before I make them. I googled it pretty extensively and mostly found that you have to make a sandbox. If there is a way to preview design changes, please let me know.

  • I was on wordpress for about a week and couldn’t handle it. I was upset that my readers kept saying they weren’t getting comment replies in their email and that GFC didn’t transfer over. Maybe there is a way to work those out. Let me know if you figured it out! I admire you for sticking it out and learning all the computer things you have to know on wordpress!

    • Nadine

      Your blog would still be available on the blogger dashboard but no, GFC goes buh-bye when you make the switch. I think GFC in general is dying anyways so I didn’t mind giving it up.

  • I am considering it!

    xx
    Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  • I’ve played around with the idea of switching to WordPress several times, but there is just no way I can afford it. I couldn’t get over how EXPENSIVE it is to switch over! I’ve been blogging for more than five years now and I would love to actually “own” my content, but I can’t justify the expense yet.

    • Nadine

      The initial expense of switching is a little pricey but long term it costs like $5 a month. I paid for all of my hosting for the year up front and that was a big hit all at once but now I haven’t had any expenses. To me it is worth it but I definitely wouldn’t have been ready to make the switch a year ago.

  • Arghhh I know wordpress has so many pros and like you said, because you own it, it won’t ever randomly disappear but…. I suck at computer, coding, html stuff and I’d need to sit down with someone for hours to learn all of it and then like you said the big $$$$ issue. I’m really not making much money on my blog yet. Yes, the free stuff is wonderful and all, but it isn’t money and I really shouldn’t be investing more money into my blog when I already invent with photography often, etc….

  • I had the same problem with the posts when transferring posts from my old blogger website to wordpress.

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