Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Use Blogger to create blogs quickly and automate the content easily

Using Google's blogger.com over wordpress.com

Whereas blogger used to be pretty basic since the new format of blogger arrived on the free blog scene it has been much easier and quicker to set up a blog than other free CMS systems and I would recommend using the new blogger.com system over the free hosted wordpress.com site any day.

Obviously having your own server and your own code running on it is the best way to go but if you are trying to get a blog up quickly or want to automate it by sending posts by emails then I would say blogger.com is better than wordpress.com because of its new simplistic design and ease of use and for a number of other reasons.

Whereas in Wordpress you have to use a plugin (which you cannot use on their free version) to post articles by email to the site e.g Postie in blogger it is built in.

As blogger only uses tags and not categories it is a shame they cannot either have an Automatic Tagging widget like my own or allow you to post tags in the subject line as you can when you send the email.

This is possible in the Wordpress plugin Postie (available for the non hosted version)  which needs a fix to get it working properly: Fixing Postie to use Categories

But as we are talking about the free blogging versions they both have downsides on the the automated posting front.

I have a number of horse racing sites that are on my own server and also use blogger e.g:

http://ukhorseracingstar.blogspot.co.uk/
http://ukhorseracingautobot.blogspot.co.uk/


However before I created UK Horse Racing Star I tried to create a Wordpress free blog on their wordpess.com setup page to use their free domain e.g something like: ukhorseracingstar.wordpress.com.

The registration process went through okay including double email confirmation but when I tried to login it either allowed me to login but not post any articles or change settings OR it just wouldn't let me login in the first place.

During sign up it didn't say "This user name or URL is unacceptable" or that "this goes against our Terms of Service" (for whatever reason), and it really should have done if certain words are unacceptable to their Terms. If they know a word is banned from their URL's then why not say so at registration time?


On one day I tried creating 4 sites all with different names and they were all blocked with no reason given either by email (when I tried complaining) or by their system. Not good service at all.

If you go to https://signup.wordpress.com/signup/ now and try and create a blog with the name ukhorseracingstar it will say "Sorry that site already exists" and it does - by me along with 3 other variations - although I cannot use any of them!

Therefore I tried the new blogger system.

I know this strictly-software.com blog is using the old layout but I haven't got round to changing the styling -  I'm a developer not a designer or CSS guru!

However with the new blogger template and layout tools it was so easy to create a new site I had UK Horse Racing Star up in minutes with widgets down the side for links, RSS Feeds of racing results, banners, text and scripts.

It really was a very simple process to re-size uploaded images, change the background colour, add custom CSS and script.

Therefore I don't know if it's against Wordpress rules to have sites related to horse racing but if you have your own copy of the software you can do what you want with it (GPL and all that) so I have a Wordpress site hosted on my own server www.ukhorseracingtipster.com which is almost ready to rumble.

Also as wordpress.com won't even let you show Google AdSense on their free blog system OR it seems let you create sites with certain words in it like "horse" or "racing" (and whatever else is in their ban list) then I would recommend blogger for free blog hosting because you can show adverts (on non adult themed sites - e.g not gambling or porn sites - I know from my warning by Google over this so be warned)

Their new system is so simple and easy to use you can get a good looking site up in minutes and it took me less than 20 minutes to create both of these blogs:

http://ukhorseracingstar.blogspot.co.uk/
http://ukhorseracingautobot.blogspot.co.uk/ 

Whereas on wordpress.com's free blogging system it really is a very cut down version of their downloadable software and you cannot add your own images, css, scripts, widgets or plugins etc on blogger.com you can do all of this and more. Hopefully they will be extending their widget selections in the future to add more features and drag n drop functionality to their system.

So there is my two pence on the wordpress.com versus blogger.com debate.

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