When you decide to start a blog to generate income, going for cheap (aka FREE) is usually what most will quickly go for. Many upon many newbie bloggers will immediately choose Blogspot, because it's free, easy to use and customizable. And making money with no real investment besides time and effort is always nice. However most of the pro's will tell you that Blogspot is the last place to be if you want to get SERIOUS about making money with a blog. They almost all have the commonality of using Wordpress self-hosted blogs which basically develop into nice looking websites.
The Monetizer has seen decent income from a Blogspot hosted blog, just based on building a good social network to bring traffic in, as well as some other strategies. However, once you build something decent and you see the RSS subscriber count going up, and the Alexa and Page ranks increase, you start to think maybe it wasn't such a good idea to start there. Many advertising programs won't accept you if you're on the free blogspot sites. You can't add a forum or other add-ons for your blogsite. Also you find you spent a lot of work to promote a blog and get indexed, as well as an audience, just to move out on your own. And the biggest problem, Blogspot owns your blog, not you. Since they are hosting it, they could really decide to charge people for their blog service and storage space, or even delete all your hard work, at their discretion. However, you never can really gauge where you'll be in terms of success with a blog. It's always a guessing game and alot of risk taking. If you're a risk taker and a gambler, go for Wordpress.
Wordpress on its free hosting platform, doesn't allow Adsense and even says they will delete you for promoting products, affiliate links, etc (Monetizer managed to stick a few Amazon affiliate links in here or there). However, if you can afford it, then self-hosting Wordpress is what Monetizer recommends. It allows you an enormous amount of flexibility as you continue to grow your blog into a site and start branding it. Also once you own the blog/site you can put whatever you want on it (as long as you're not violating the TOS of various ad programs). Be prepared it will involve research and planning to use Wordpress self hosted. You want to make sure you get the installation done properly, your theme looking how you'd like and your overall organizational structure set up.
The pro's for Blogspot:
- For free it's the easier of the two blogging platforms to learn, setup and customize. It offers classic layouts or Widget based layouts which are quite easy for the not so tech-savvy blogger.
- In keeping with the above point, editing HTML and CSS tends to be just a tad bit easier using a Classic Blogger/Blogspot blog.
- Blogger blog entries may be indexed better and faster by Google search engine since Blogspot is now owned by Google. This isn't proven but makes good sense.
- Blogger allows for integration of Adsense and other affiliate links/programs, whereas Wordpress frowns upon that for its free blogging.
The cons for Free Blogspot:
- Blogspot can start charging you or eliminate your blog at their discretion. This isn't to say they just erase blogs, but they do have that power if they choose. Wordpress has these options too, but self-hosted blogs don't need to worry about it.
- The template designs you can use for Wordpress tend to be much more enticing and usually look more like websites than Blogspot templates.
- The plug-ins you can use for Wordpress are very, very nice.
- Some people argue that in terms of overall flexibility, Wordpress will always trump Blogspot blogs (free or not free).
Here's a couple (2006) articles comparing to the two blogging platforms as well:
Blogger vs. Wordpress 10 Features for Beginners
Battle of the Blogs: Blogger vs Wordpress
Monetizer Cliff Notes on the above articles: Wordpress wins over Blogger!
It's not impossible to move Blogspot blogs to Wordpress, in fact it's all layed out right here at "Ten Steps to Wordpress Nirvana". It appears from the ten steps given, that Blogspot will redirect traffic to your blog, which is quite helpful. You can also make sure RSS subscribers stay on point and that your feed stays connected to your new blog, so your blog doesn't lose current readers. However, keep in mind that when you move, Wordpress offers you the ability to have Posts and Pages, and you may need to really put in work to re-design your current theme and organizational structure. Once you're there on your own though, you can let your self-hosted blog soar to new heights! You may even consider doing the above steps and transferring your Blogspot blog to a free Wordpress blog first, so you can tweak your design and site organization behind the scenes before really going live on self-hosted.
If you're still using the free Blogspot service like the Monetizer you may want to change up your design a bit. There's some cool free templates available at these sites below. The Monetizer personally liked the selections at Mashable, including a snazzy iPhone blog template. Check it out:
50 More Beautiful Blogger Templates
Also, if you come up with any other pros or cons for either Wordpress or Blogspot blogs based on personal experience, feel free to share...