WordPress vs. Blogger

Since blog traffic depends on whether an audience can find them, bloggers put a lot of work into search-engine optimization (SEO).  SEO is a set of strategies to get noticed in search-engine results.  There are numerous businesses where you can buy SEO services to get traffic.  Google has an incentive to prioritize their own blog service, Blogger, over WordPress as a hidden cross-subsidy from the corporate search engine division to the blogging division that hurts Google’s competitors like WordPress (and Google’s users).

I unintentionally did an experiment on whether Google prioritizes its own Blogger service over WordPress.  I have several blogs and I had been using Google’s Blogger service to host them.  In 2012 I started a blog called the Medianist, but I never had time to do much with it.  I only wrote two short posts total over the course of six months.  When I resurrected the Medianist project a year later, I decided to start over using WordPress and I renamed it Medianism.org.  Even though I was much more serious about posting and promoting Medianism.org, it took months before it showed up in the Google search index.  I had written fifty posts by the time Google noticed my blog in mid August.  I had produced the equivalent of a 142 page book using the standard publishing measure of 250 words/page.

Once Google finally bothered to index my blog, my comment spam traffic suddenly spiked. It still took a few more months before reader traffic increased, perhaps because my blog was buried in search results for a while, because I didn’t start getting many referrals from Google searches until December, seven months after I started the blog.

The bottom line is that my Medianist blog on Google’s Blogger got a lot more page views per month, particularly in the beginning, than my Medianism blog got on WordPress despite having less than 2% of the content of the new blog:

Medianist.blogspot.com

(on Google Host)

Medianism.org

(on WordPress Host)

first 3.5 months of blog

1 Page

142 pages

1 Post

50 posts

45 views/month

40 views/month

first 9 months of blog

2 Pages

234 pages

2 Posts

81 posts

30 views/month

71 views/month

This experience indicates to me that Google did not play fair.  Google gave its own Blogger service (a.k.a. Blogspot) an advantage in its page-rank algorithm.  Having experience with both Blogger and WordPress, I agree with the general consensus that WordPress offers a superior product in most respects, but my one* caveat from my experience is that it was MUCH easier to generate traffic in the beginning using Blogger.

As a continuation of my experiment, I will re-post the two old posts from my Blogger site here on Medianism.org and see if they continue to generate more traffic on Blogger than here using WordPress hosting.

*Actually I have two caveats, but the other is well known.  Spider-man’s uncle said that “With great power comes great responsibility”.  Greater power also usually brings greater complexity.  WordPress is a bit more complex and beginners might get distracted by all the options.  Even for an experienced blogger like myself, it took a lot more hours to work my way through the more powerful feature set of WordPress.

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