From Blogger to WordPress A Web 2.0 Odyssey


I’ve been active on the Internet since 1990 and have been working with content on the web since 1994 (history permanently archived here and here ) so I consider myself something of a veteran (not wiser or smarter just older). So, when in the course of my latest gig I decided to put my random thoughts, arcane readings and strange encounters online as an opportunity to teach myself about the new tools and services for content creation I was sure it would be a breeze. Instead, what I found was that an old dog can get really frustrated by all the new tricks. My odyssey from the world of mute silence to global blogging on the web’s bleeding edge is cautionary tale of exploration and discovery.As a die hard Google enthusiast, I started my journey with a Google owned blog creation tool. I expectied a “killer app” that took the best bits from Gmail, Google Pages , Google Maps and Picasa. Instead what I got was Blogger.

I didnt know what I was looking for exactly but I know that Blogger wasnt it. The interface for creating a blog was clunkly and a bit to “dumbed down” for my tastes. The deal breaker for me was the tiny text box, which couldnt be expanded or adjusted, that Blogger provides for creating and editing blog posts. After only a few minutes exploring the sites other features I knew it wasnt the right place for writing the “world changing” prose I had in mind for my blog. Even though Blogger would serve as my blog host it was clear that I needed a totally different place to actually create the text that would go on my blog. Simplicity is about doing more with less, not more with more. Strike one for Web 2.0.

Faced with the need for a tool to edit my blog posts, I momentarily considered using MS Word but quickly rejected that idea as too 1999. Using the “mobb intellegence” harnessed by Listible, I found a list of web applications that provide online text editing tools. I checked out Writeboard and Wideword but both had such minimalist interfaces, with little functionality, that I did little more then open fake accounts, create test documents and leave. In the end I decided to use Writely, because the interface was clean, but feature rich and included tabs with the titles Collaborate, Publish, Blog and Revisions. All of the things I thought I would need to do.
Having finally found the right tool to create and edit my blog post, I began to write my first blog entry. Which, ironically, was about how great Google was in releasing the potential of its audience. I used Writely’s internal spellchecker, formatting and linking tools to create my first post. I was amazed at how smooth the learning curve was. In that same session I set-up, two other blogs (for later use) and linked them to my Blogger account for automatic publishing. When I was done, 3 hours later, I clicked the “publish post to my blog” menu option and went to changesgood.blogspot.com to see my masterpiece. That moment can is best summed up by Homer Simpson’s immortal addition to the english lexicon, D’oh! This was strike two for Web 2.0. Poor
Blogger obviously took Guy Kawasaki’s saying “dont worry be crappy” to heart, because the blog generated by Blogger looked decidedly crappy. I tried changing the look of the site by switching the default template, in an effort to “personalize” my blog. Unfortunately, they all had the same, cookie-cutter pseudo high-art asthetic, no matter what coloring/layout/font combination you chose. In a flash of inspiration, I convinced myself that my somewhat eclectic and esoteric web finds would serve as a point of differentiation that would enhance both the content and visual appeal of my site. I logged into an old account at the reigning leader of social bookmarking sites, Del.icio.us, with the hope that I could simply import my RSS feeds and bookmarks from to their site and then export it to Blogger. Of course it wasnt that simple. Del.icio.us has ongoing problems with its import feature and has had to disabled it. So, if you want your current bookmarks to appear on your Del.icio.us page you have to type and tag each one manually. Rather then enter 130 or so different websites into Del.icio.us, opted to look for an alternative.

  Word Press Blogger
Functionality 4 2
Ease of Use 3 3
Look and Feel 4 2
Hype 4 3

Once again I used Listible as my guide and found that Ma.gnolia.com and Blinklist, were the two most popular alternatives to Del.icious.com and both were feature rich and easy to use. I developed a slight preference for Ma.gnolia.com for one reason, its bookmarlet doesn’t require you to log-in to their site every time a bookmark was added to your list. With all my RSS feeds and bookmarks online, neatly tagged and ready to by posted to my Blogger site I was further dismayed by Blogger when I discovered that it didnt offer any tools to edit the side bar. In order to make changes to the sidebar a user has to modify the HTML of the blog. It was at this exact point that my loyalty to Google ended and I signed up to WordPress. I expected it to be essentially the same, if not a little bit worse and was shocked to find it markedly better.

WordPress allows for alot more control over the look-and-feel of the site as well as better tools for creating post and connecting with other sites and services. In fact, it even anticipated my need to port my previous posts and comments (thanks Kailash) from Blogger and had a handy blog import tool ready as soon as I signed up.

There is one other feature that WordPress offered, and Blogger didnt, that was extremely significant in helping me understand how blogs and Web 2.0 were impacting communication and users. It was the blog stats. WordPress, displays a graphic with the number of visits on the vertical axis and a 30 day stretch of days on the horizontal axis. My stats for the 30 days I’ve been blogging are telling… its a flatline. Not one visitor until I, using a clean session of Mozilla, visited it a few times “to make sure it was working”. I was so excited to see the needle move that I sent the URL to everyone in my family. Only my mother took a look, once. Thanks Mom.
The lesson? We all want to be heard. The web, though increasingly sophisticated and elegant tools and services, is enhancing, supporting and expanding that desire. Every tool in the Web 2.0 meme is about connecting people, allowing everyone to add to the cacaphony on the web, what they cant offer is anyone to listen.

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4 Responses to From Blogger to WordPress A Web 2.0 Odyssey

  1. bklash says:

    Siddiq, you are taking this really seriously. Good luck with your efforts. For ordinary mortals like me, Blogger is good enough.

  2. Stasigrii says:

    Hello, very nice site, keep up good job!
    Admin good, very good.

  3. oneftKele
    Сайт с каталогом автомобилей растусованый по регионам.
    автомобили б/у

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