I’m going to make this hopefully short. So the two most popular free blog platforms out there are http://www.blogger.com (Google intends to re-brand Blogger and Picasa Web) and http://www.wordpress.com. To learn both platforms, I purposely created two blogs: one on Blogger and the other is actually this blog, on WordPress. Remember, I’m not a pro yet so my opinions here will reflect the comfort zone of a beginner or intermediate blogger.
Both are FREE – That’s the obvious fact. However, your blog will be a sub-domain of the free blog providers. For instance, I want my domain name to be simplykl. If I created this blog using Blogger, I would be given the domain name: www.simplykl.blogspot.com (not sure why Blogger’s domain name is blogspot not blogger). Likewise with WordPress.com, this blog’s domain name is www.simplykl.wordpress.com. Later on, if you want to customize your domain name, e.g. www.simplykl.com, you can customize your domain name with a small cost (US$10/year for Blogger, US$17/year for WordPress).
User interface – Blogs have an admin page, called dashboard. This is where you modify everything for your blog. Both Blogger and WordPress have quite intuitive dashboards, but I found Blogger’s dashboard to be friendlier for beginners. Blogger’s dashboard is simpler and some of their features are integrated with other Google’s goodies, such as Picasa Web Albums (free online photo sharing). However, the reason WordPress has a more complex dashboard is because it has more features, which means when you become more comfortable with its features, WordPress can do more things for you (Note: When you have a WordPress blog, WordPress will periodically email you updates, e.g. new themes, new plugins, etc).
Blog design – Both provide themes for you to choose from. These themes serve as the main layout of your blog. Blogger gives you more flexibility to modify this layout and even adjust the way your blog will be displayed, meanwhile WordPress.com has countless themes to offer (although you don’t have that much freedom to give it a new look different from the original theme that you will be using). Please note also, if you’re into visual media, WordPress.com has a more limited customization in comparison to Blogger. You’ll understand me later but overall, design-wise, I’d still say Blogger and Wordpress.com are at par because they have comparable pros and cons.
Search engine optimization or the visibility of a website in search engines – People talk about increasing traffic to their blogs to make them more popular, but actually a big part of increasing traffic is search engine optimization. Search engines these days mimic human behavior. They’re continually “crawling” the worldwide web to match relevant content with people’s searches on the search engines. The visibility of your blog to people’s online searches depend on many factors, such as your blog provider, your content, who link to your blog, etc. We all know that Google search is the search engine giant out there. However, I’d like to emphasize the fact that although Blogger is owned by Google, please don’t assume that blogs hosted by Blogger are more likely to appear on Google’s search results. Such phenomenon will actually be deemed illegal or unethical in the web industry. Nevertheless, it’s safe to say that Google search engine has an algorithm that preserves variety on its search results. I’ve seen blogs’ search-ranking overtook websites’ or vice versa, and I’ve also seen varied search-rankings with WordPress blogs and Blogger blogs. Your best bet is your content. We can talk about that some other time.
That’s all from me now. Check out the comparison matrix between Blogger and WordPress if you want to read more details.