Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Should I switch from Blogger to a different blogging service?

Blogger seems to be very buggy lately, in a lot of different ways. I don't even feel like starting to list them here. It's gotten to the point where I'm considering switching to a different service.

I'd be interested to hear anyone's opinions on this. My impression is that it's easy to import a Blogger blog into any of the other major platforms. But I wonder if this would also import the comments. I wouldn't want to lose those.

There are no major features I can think of that I'd like to add. Blogger can already do most of what I want, but it does those things too clunkily.


Guillermo Moreno said...

It depends. Are you going to a hosted or self-hosted service?

If it's hosted (Wordpress.com, Tumblr, etc) you'll encounter the same clunkyness but expressed in different ways. For example, Wordpress.com allows no theme customization unless you've paid an extra fee and then only CSS is editable; and Tumblr's commenting system is somewhat limited.

If it's self-hosted, WordPress plugin system allows you to do almost anything you may want without any problem and the template system is easier to understand than Blogger's but you need to deal with upgrades, system administration, etc.

Both WordPress and Wordpress.com can import Blogger comments. Disqus also seems to be able to import comments from blogger.

John Althouse Cohen said...

I'm pretty much only interested in something that's hosted for free. It's not that I wouldn't be willing to pay to blog. On the contrary, having a better platform would be worth good money to me. The reason I feel the need to stick with a free, self-contained service is that I have one concern I've never heard anyone address in a serious way. My concern is this: what if I stop being able to pay? This will have to happen sometime. But I want my blog to be permanent. I want it to stay in existence (including at the same URLs) for as long as possible. (I realize one response would be, "You can't count on any website to stay around forever" -- true, but I want to maximize the odds.)

Thanks for the info about importing comments -- very good to know. I would be nervous about relying on Disqus, since I've found it pretty buggy in the past (maybe it's improved more recently).

Guillermo Moreno said...

Personally, I would never trust a (free) hosted platform with anything I wanted to be permanent.

Geocities was the coolest thing in 1996, it got bought by Yahoo so it was supposed to be reliable, fast-forward 10 years and it's gone. Vox was seen as a great alternative to Livejournal in 2006, it got closed a couple of weeks ago. Who knows what will happen with blogspot in the future?

The thing with self-hosted platforms is that, as long you maintain the domain, the platform doesn't really matter. WordPress, Movable Type, TextPattern, among others; all of them have import/export scripts to move data between them. Chances are even the posts' URLs will be the same after the change, if you even need to change platforms.

A domain can easily be registered for ten years (or even 100 years in some registrars). The hosting is a stickier issue but as long you own the domain (and have data backups) you can change hosting companies as many times you need without losing your URLs or data.

Jason (the commenter) said...

I wonder how many people were trying to respond to this post but couldn't because of blogger problems!

John Althouse Cohen said...

I wonder how many people were trying to respond to this post but couldn't because of blogger problems!


There seems to be about a 50% success rate of posting, for both comments and posts.

Now, I've gotten into the habit of selecting all my text and copying it (sometimes to another application) so I have a backup. But I'm sure most people who've commented on this blog haven't done that. Who knows how many times someone wrote out a long, insightful comment on this blog, only to lose it and not have the patience to recreate it?