Moving to WordPress…


Finally I’m here on WordPress. I thought that I should write the first post here, on the travails of an irregular blogger. Last week when I decided that I wanted to finally exit out of tblog and move into a blogging site that allows me a little more features, little did I know that deciding on what I wanted and getting it in a particular site was difficult.

Before you’re wondering what I’m talking about, let me say that I have already been in the blogosphere for sometime, and have my previous posts at http://shikha.tblog.com.

Why did I exit out of tblog and why have I finally decided to unload my baggage at wordpress? In between these two sites, there was also another choice: blogspot. When I decided to shift to a better blogging site, I first chose blogspot, mainly cos I was more familar with it (courtesy some people’s blogs I used to read ;)) and I thought it would have everything I wanted. After spending a week exploring the blog features and customizing it to suit my tastes (which was difficult since I had to go back to refreshing my brains on css and html, and use them to tweak the template to my satisfaction), I realized that blogspot didn’t have two features that I really wanted on my blog site. Yikes. So I moved out, bag and baggage into wordpress. Been exploring the features from today morning, and so far things are good. Let me put up a few points to contrast tblog, blogspot and wordpress so that its easier for people like me out there, who aren’t sure what to use:

Feature HTML Editing in Posts Categories Tags Bkmarks HTML Links in comment Images in Posts
Blog Site
Tblog.com YES YES NO YES NO YES
Blogspot YES NO NO NO YES YES
WordPress YES YES YES YES YES YES

Feature Site Feed Custom  Template Comment Moderation Additional Pages Site Statistics
Blog Site
Tblog.com YES MODERATELY FLEXIBLE (colors/images can be edited. Html can be added in predefined sections) NO NO YES
Blogspot YES VERY FLEXIBLE (Html/Css editing permitted) YES NO NO
WordPress YES NOT MUCH (have to pick from known templates) YES YES YES

There were some more points I wanted to list out, but I realized that fitting the table into my template is a headache considering the limited editing capability wordpress provides for each template. For some of the templates, you can edit the image on the top, but some allow editing of only the sidebar contents. What I found irritating was that I couldn’t edit the size of the post/sidebar, and had to stick to downsizing my table, so that the side bar wouldn’t end up on the bottom of the page.

Other things that I noticed: Both blogspot and wordpress allow multiple members on the blog. Tblog and wordpress have a similar interface for editing the post. All allow images within the posts. Flickr is well integrated into wordpress, so you can automatically add it in the sidebar without creating a flickr badge and adding as html. WordPress has a lot of cool features in fact, so if you put aside the lack of flexibility in customizing the template, its a very good site for blogging.

I should also add a disclaimer on this post 🙂 – This is by no means an exhaustive list, and have been compiled in a hurry, so in case I’ve put NO in places where it should be YES (because I may not have succeeded in finding the relevant feature) or vice-versa, do correct me. I’ve been at wordpress for about 2 and 1/2 hours now, and so far everything is fine (except my gripe about the template). So I guess this is home for now!!

Addendum: Courtesy Balaji, Akash, Umesh and UmeshUnni, I’ve discovered (or rather been told) something additional about WordPress: WordPress.com allows minimal template customization, however WordPress.org provides a free publishing platform for blogging that provides highly customizable templates for the blog, and another interesting add-ons. The only catch is that with the software, you need to have some place where you can host the blog (whereas WordPress.com provides hosting). So the gist is: if you want a simple yet powerful solution for blogging and cannot be worried about where it is hosted, then WordPress.com is ideal. Alternatively, if the blog customization is really one of your demands, then you’d better work out a place for hosting the blog, cos WordPress.org is the solution for you!

Yet another addendum: I have a couple of rants about WordPress.com. Although the experience with WordPress.com has been by far the best as compared to the other two blogging sites, it has a really crappy html-editing feature for posts and pages. Many times when I save the posts with tables, it automatically substitutes <br/> for <p>, or removes some of the line breaks within the columns, causing havoc with the formatting of my post.

Another irritating problem is with the comments. Sometimes, the comments don’t appear even after submitting them a couple of times, and sometimes, comments do appear, but the count of comments near the post doesn’t get updated. Its as if the comments were never added…

Update: WordPress.com does not allow embedding scripts/flash/videos/most of other media (except Youtube videos and Google videos which can be linked to) for security reasons. Javascript is also not allowed, so if you have code to add from some site (such as Twitter.com), or even the flickr badge (WordPress has an additional (not-so-customizable) widget available in its template customization, so that is the only option available), forget being able to add it to your blog. Plain vanilla HTML is all that is allowed in the Sidebar customization, in the form of Text Widgets. Again, this is all possible via WordPress.org.

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13 thoughts on “Moving to WordPress…

  1. Hoorraay you r in wordpress. Congrats

    Could you please make your site feed link (both posts and comments) make live so that i can add it to my reader?

    Also

    you said there was no site feed for tblog but you have published one there which i use.

    Also upto my knowledge there is no categorising the posts in blogspot. If you found it, please lemme know how…

  2. WordPress is the most flexible software when it comes to customising the templates. Also, the variety of templates that you want to choose from are enormous — search google.

    I host my own WordPress and you are being hosted. May be, I dont know if that is the reason why you are not able to customise the themes.

    Anyway, welcome to WP. I hope you feel comfortable here…

  3. Umesh: Thank you :). I’ve added the feed links to the site now – hope you got them. Yup, I forgot that tblog has the xml link for the site feed. Hv updated the table now. Also, when I had created the blog on blogspot, I thought I’d seen something for categorization. I can’t check now because I’ve deleted the blogspot blog now :(… if you say categories aren’t there, well, you may be right then. Table is updated accordingly.

  4. Balaji:
    Thanks a lot 🙂
    When I was looking at moving out of tblog, Umesh had recommended WordPress based on your experience & allegiance with it. I can see you are a devout fan.. and I think I’m becoming one too! Yes, probably the fact that I’m being hosted could have something to do with the minimum level of customization I’m able to do to the site template. Anyway, I think I’m learning to live with it, and am pretty satisfied with the current status anyway…

  5. Umesh Unni:
    I haven’t tried out MSN Spaces, but I’ve read somewhere that wordpress surpasses MSN Spaces in terms of features. Of course, since this is not first hand info, I cannot confirm whether its true.

  6. There is a difference between wordpress the software and wordpress.com. WordPress when self hosted is totally customisable and offers a lot more than what is provided at wordpress.com

    For people with a lot more time and dedication wordpress hosted on own makes sense but for others wordpress provides a simple, secure hosted solution.

    The reason I am saying all this is because your post doesn’t make this distinction clearly, which IMHO it should

    regards

  7. Akash:
    Yes, Balaji’s comment (see previous comments for the same post) made me aware that wordpress allows more customization when self-hosted – guess this is part of their strategy.

    I agree that there are many bloggers who may not really want to bother about customization, in which case wordpress.com is ideal. However, I fall into the category of someone who doesn’t hv too much time/resources on hand to host the software and fumble around with it, but would like to customize some basic functionality of my blog – for eg. width, colors etc – which wordpress.com doesn’t allow. And so this is still a gripe AFAIAC.

    But, yes, you’re right. I should mention the wordpress s/w and that its more customizable in the post too. Will add it too 🙂

  8. Anon: Thanks :). I’m glad you liked it. I haven’t tried out livejournal yet, and so have no clue about it. Hopefull some reader of my blog will lets me know his/her opinion on livejournal, so that I can add it to the post. Or else, maybe if you find anything similar anywhere, give me a link and I’ll add the link with due credits 🙂

  9. So, I just moved my blog over to community server (hosted at blog.umeshunni.com) and have been extremely impressed with the amount of customization possible in the product.

  10. I am happy that some of the persons on my blogroll have appealed to you also.
    Another lovely blog that I would like you to see, if you haven’t already, is Madura‘s blog. One might not agree with all that she says, but it is well worth having a look.

  11. Visitor: Yup, you have definitely opened up a whole new dimension of bloggers to me :). Thanks! And yes, I read a bit of Madura’s blog too, and will be adding it to my blogroll.

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