I need to talk about the history of WordPress for this one (okay, I guess I don’t have to, but I find it useful to do so). In the Great Blog Wars, two giants rose to the field, Blogger and WordPress. And in this titanic struggle, WordPress won.
Okay, that’s not enough. WordPress soundly trounced Blogger. I mean, it was a massacre. WordPress offered unlimited customizability and features that Blogger just couldn’t keep up with. Toss in the fact that users could own and transfer their sites to their own servers with relative ease, and it was a wondrous thing to behold.
Having won the Great Blog Wars, enthusiasts spread the gospel of WordPress’s superiority, converting thousands of followers. Though Blogger remained, it was a shadow of its former self, and many other services disappeared completely. Lonely are those clinging to LiveJournal.
And then, the Schism. WordPress, slowly, decided to start offering more premium content. Over time, this grew and grew, with more and more templates and features had to be bought. That wasn’t bad as they were one-time fees, and optional. However, soon options such as domain transfers and hosting services became a premium subscription service. Oh, sure, the free stuff was still there, hence the schism, but the free WordPress blogs were pitiful in comparison to the richness of WordPress websites. The difference was clear.
The Free WordPress experience is just that, free. Exactly as it began; however, many of the features that used to exist for the free WordPress user are locked away, and must be paid for. So, to the perks and drawbacks of Free WordPress (paid WordPress will get its own).
- Free. Of course, otherwise, it wouldn’t be worth it.
- Themes. It has some free themes, still, but are very basic.
- Upgradeable. The transition from free WordPress to paid is very seamless. Purchase of themes or other services are immediate, with no real migration.
- It’s yours. The content belongs completely to you. WordPress won’t delete your site.
- Limited. The customization of a free WordPress blog is very limited. Any real customization has to be done by templates, most of which must be bought. Even widgets must be bought.
- Basic. Everything, and I mean everything, that made WordPress great has been migrated to the premium section. On the free side, you get something that is very bare bones. It can work, but it’s never going to be that functional or pretty. This is by design to encourage you to migrate the premium stuff.
I used to have a WordPress site, myself. It was my very first blog, and it worked for what I used it for, but it was nothing more than a personal journal. I had no need to do any kind of customization, and at no point did I ever think about doing any kind of promotional work with it. I really didn’t care about extra features and whatnot. And this was back before the schism. It’s lost features since then.
So while I am not impressed with WordPress, it’s not because I haven’t given them a chance. And, honestly, if I had the money to afford all of the bells and whistles I want off WordPress, I’d migrate there in a heartbeat. It’s always a possibility, too, but the free version just isn’t worth it. Even for a quick landing page, I think you’ll get more mileage out of a Blogger site, but it’s your call.