You’re on a mission to make an impact and you’ve decided to start a blog. You action-taker, you.
But you didn’t just start a blog for kicks. No – you want to be as successful as all the stories you hear about bloggers who are making a full-time income from home.
But the sad truth is that most people who start a blog, fail.
They either try to figure everything out for themselves, or follow bad advice or get information overload and just give up.
Because of that, you know you don’t have a chance in heck if you’re not strategic and do things differently than 99% of all the other bloggers out there.
And it all starts at the beginning, with the very first choice you make when starting your blog: which blogging platform will you use?
BLOGGING PLATFORM SHOWDOWN: BLOGGER VS. WORDPRESS.COM VS. SELF-HOSTED WORDPRESS
At the time, it seemed harmless enough. It was easy to get started quickly and didn’t cost you a cent. You’d heard about self-hosted WordPress, but it sounded too complicated, and being the action-taker you are, you just wanted to get going so you discarded it.
And if that’s the route you took, you’re probably now experiencing some major roadblocks and frustrations.
Take a look at these 5 warning signs you chose the wrong blogging platform to see if you’re using the right one for your needs.
TIP: Read to the end for an easy fix to get on the right platform if you find you’ve chosen the wrong one.
Warning Sign #1: YOU HATE YOUR BLOG DESIGN
Spending countless hours on “perfecting” your blog design before you’ve grown your audience is a mistake, but you also don’t want it to look like a hot mess.
You’re going to need some control over the layout, style and placement of key features.
But if you’re using a free platform like Blogger or WordPress.com, your options are greatly limited. If you want to do things like add an opt-in form in your header or change the layout, you’ll be up against a wall.
With Blogger, the designs you have to choose from all look like they just walked in from 1990.
When I started my first blog many, many years ago, I made the newbie mistake of using Blogger because it was free and easy to start. Even then, I remember thinking the design templates were cheesy looking and outdated. But now, almost 10 years later, they still have the same templates!
There are now third-party theme developers that offer better-looking Blogger themes. But if you use Blogger, then you know how frustrating it is to get things to look just the way you want them to. Adjusting layouts and styles is a big hassle.
WordPress.com isn’t much better. While they have more modern designs to choose from, it is still extremely difficult to make style adjustments unless you upgrade to a premium (paid) plan. Even then, you’ll need to know HTML and CSS to make changes.
And if you’re anything like me, you already struggle with finding time to write posts, create images, promote your blog, feed the kids, walk the dog, do the laundry, love on hubby and clean the house. Who has time to add to the list by fighting with your design or learning CSS?
Using a free platform like WordPress.com or Blogger might seem like a good idea “just to get started”, but if you’re constantly bugged by how amateurish your blog looks and how impossible it is to make design changes, that’s a pretty clear sign that you’re using the wrong blogging platform for your needs.
Self-hosted WordPress, on the other hand, has thousands of stunning free and premium themes to choose from that look fantastic “straight out of the box”. Plus, making layout and style changes are easy (no CSS or coding knowledge needed).
Warning Sign # 2: YOU HAVE A HARD TIME GETTING EMAIL SIGN UPS
You’ve heard it a million times: You need to start building your email list from day 1.
When you start a new blog, it’s easy to get distracted by a million other things like design, social media, traffic, networking, etc. But building your email subscriber list should be your #1 priority in order to create a lasting audience (which is crucial to the sustainability of your blog).
So needless to say, you need to put an irresistible opt-in offer on your blog asap.
With Blogger and WordPress.com blogs, you can place an opt-in form in your sidebar. If you’re really clever you may be able to figure out how to add special code from your email marketing provider and place it at the bottom of your blog post.
And that’s about it.
But do you know what the problem with this is? Everyone and their mother places opt-in forms in their sidebar, so people largely ignore this area. It’s called “banner blindness” and it doesn’t just apply to blog ads.
If you’re not more creative with your opt-in form placement, your email signups (and your blog growth) will suffer.
With self-hosted WordPress, placing opt-in forms in surprising places can be accomplished easily by installing a plugin. Not so with WordPress.com or Blogger.
If you have slow or stagnant email list growth, it may be a sign that you’ve chosen the wrong blogging platform.
Warning Sign #3: YOU’RE ANNOYED AT ALL THE PLUGINS YOU CAN’T USE
Opt-in form plugins aren’t the only kind of plugin you can’t use with Blogger or WordPress.com. You can’t use any plugins.
So the super-popular Yoast SEO plugin you hear everyone talking about that supercharges your blog SEO? Not gonna happen if you’re on Blogger or WordPress.com.
Plugins for easy social media sharing, in-depth blog analytics, ecommerce integration, post scheduling? Only possible if you’re using self-hosted WordPress.
If there’s something – anything – you wish your blog could do or look like, there’s a plugin for that… on self-hosted WordPress.
And if you’re annoyed by all the cool plugins you keep hearing about that you can’t use, then you’re probably on the wrong blogging platform.
Warning Sign #4: YOU’RE WORRIED THAT YOUR BLOG COULD BE SHUT DOWN
You’ve probably heard the ominous stories that warn about how your blog can be shut down at any time if you use Blogger or WordPress.com. But does that ever actually happen?
I wondered that too, so I did a little digging.
It didn’t take long poking my way around Google to find the answer for Blogger. This screenshot says it all:
After researching a bit more into many of these cases, not only can it happen, it happens frequently and at no fault of the blogger.
It’s unnerving to know that after years of work and hundreds of posts, your blog could be shut down in an instant.
For WordPress.com, their terms of service makes it very clear:
“Automattic may terminate your access to all or any part of our Services at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice, effective immediately.”
Yeah – I’m not putting all my hard work and content up on a site that says that in their terms of service!
There’s also the fact that Google (owner of Blogger) has a reputation for shutting down products completely if they feel it doesn’t align with their current vision. When will Blogger no longer align with their vision? Nobody knows.
If there’s a nagging fear in the back of your mind that all your hard work could be lost at any moment, then you may have chosen the wrong blogging platform.
Warning Sign #5: YOU’RE TIRED OF HEARING ABOUT ALL THE THINGS YOUR BLOG CAN’T DO
If I listed every feature and capability that you can’t use when you start a blog on Blogger or WordPress.com, this article would be annoyingly long.
Instead, many of the remaining limitations fall into the category of “things your blog just can’t do”, so I’ll finish up with this point.
If you’re frustrated when you can’t implement detailed analytics, that awesome looking image slider, cool countdown timer, or the countless other features and functionality you keep seeing and hearing about on other blogs, you’re probably on the wrong blogging platform.
Now obviously, if you’re not planning to make any money from your blog or give off a professional appearance, then a free blogging platform like Blogger or WordPress.com is just fine.
And is it possible to make money on Blogger or WordPress.com? Yes, and some bloggers do. But getting there is a lot harder and you’ll have to spend a lot of your time finding workarounds to problems that just don’t exist on a self-hosted WordPress blog.
SO, if you want to make an impact and start earning an income from home with your blog, then you should consider these warning signs and take action to get your blog up and running on the right blogging platform: self-hosted WordPress.
Getting It Right
If you’ve read this far and realize that you’ve chosen the wrong blogging platform, don’t worry! You can fix it today.
By switching to self-hosted WordPress, you’ll alleviate 90% of your blogging headaches and save a ton of time. If you sign up with Siteground hosting, they’ll do the entire transfer for you, for free. Just sign up and contact their support to let them know you need their free transfer service and they’ll have it done within 24-48 hours. No hassle 🙂
Important note: When switching from free WordPress.com or Blogger, your site will transfer (all posts, pages, media and content), but your design will not.
But that actually a good thing! You’ll get to choose from the thousands of gorgeous free and premium themes that WordPress offers. You will also want to take a look at the “Top 5 WordPress Themes for Bloggers in 2016”.
If you’re still new to blogging and need help getting started on the right blogging platform, read this guide on how to start a profitable blog from scratch.
Ready to Switch? Here's What To Do Next.
If you’re ready to switch to self-hosted WordPress, then the easiest way to do it is by using SiteGround’s free blog transfer service (hosting is only $3.95/mo). Click the button below to get signed up, then let them know (via phone or live chat) that you’d like to use their free site transfer service to move your blog from Blogger or WordPress.com. Easy as that 🙂 Mine was set up in less than 24 hours with NO down time!