Blogger was one of the first and biggest services that helped build blogging into the huge thing it is today. Back when it started, most people who were savvy online would have a kind of static web page and not a diary or blog. Blogger allowed people the opportunity to post their thoughts, observations and experiences online in a way that didn’t require any real technical knowledge.
In the probably too social web we have today, practically everyone has a blog of some description. While blogging is technically a website of your own where you post reasonably long articles and other content such as photos and videos, anything from Facebook status updates to tweets are technically a form of blogging, and everyone’s doing it. I don’t think the traditional blog is under threat though by any means, but I’ve written about this topic before so I’ll move on to the main topic of this post.
I mentioned that Blogger helped to ignite the blogging revolution over 10 years ago now. However, I feel it has been partly stagnating for the last several years and I think the design templates were looking very dated when compared to WordPress who have been pushing the envelope of design and features for many years and have surpassed Blogger a long time ago in those areas.
Recently though, Google have been working hard to improve and now have a brand new design tool which allows you to fully customise the templates in a very simple and stylish way. The templates themselves are very stylish to begin with but you can customise every aspect, change the column layout, colour scheme, width and even apply custom CSS if you’re so inclined in that respect. You can also add custom gadgets and HTML which allows you to add almost anything you want including gadgets from social sites.
It’s a big and very much needed step forward for Blogger and I think it helps them to really close the gap to WordPress. Blogger also have support for advertising through adsense which isn’t offered on WordPress.com as they have a total ban on advertising unless you self-host WordPress. More importantly to me though, they have very affordable domain registrations through GoDaddy which seem to be priced cheaper than going through GoDaddy’s own website. Not only this, but the domain you buy is automatically configured to work with Google Apps such as Mail, Docs, Calendar and more. This is a very nice feature and even though WP do offer this, it takes some manual setting changes to set-up Google Apps using WP.com.
Overall I think the blogging industry is very strong as everyone naturally has things they want to share with friends and the rest of the world, or just document their lives. These updates will get me to recommend Blogger for new people looking to start their own blog now, or even people who have been for a while.
Personally I’m happy with WordPress and Tumblr for my two blogs but Blogger is definitely a more viable option than it has been for a very long time.