The purpose of this post is to make a comparison between using Blogger or WordPress as content management systems. I chose these two systems because outside of the geek world, they are well known tools for blogging and have the potential to make excellent tools for on the fly content management on the web. Before we get caught up with detail, for practical reasons I think I should explain what are content management systems? What are some of the benefits of a content management system?
What is a Content Management System
A content management system for the web, also known as CMS, or WCMS (web content management systems) amongst many other names, is a way to change, edit or archive content such as text, pictures, video, etc., on the web or your website. Most CMS are accessible through your browser and may require registration, user name or login information. According to Hammer Design, “Most modern websites now tend to have some form of a CMS.”
Benefits of a Content Management System
The benefits of CMS is that it gives the user that ability to post content on the fly (in just a little time), and most CMS can be taught to clientele and or to new site owners quicker than most programming languages. CMS is also equipped with a variety of templates that can also be manipulated to the user needs.
Using Blogger and or WordPress as CMS and a Brief Comparison of the Two
My first experience with using Blogger and or WordPress as a CMS came from being the project manager of a production team working with an Atlanta, Ga. dance company, Dance ATL. The customer wanted a site that will cover their basic wants and needs as a dance organization. In addition they wanted to be able to control specific content, i.e. promotions and events, as well as report on specific shows and related events associated with dance. Being a mid level student at the time, and not yet having the knowledge of building our own content management system, we had to meet the customer needs without disappointing them.
Discovering that Dance ATL had a Blogger account. We decided to incorporate blogger as a content management system and use the web site as their main source for static information (non-time sensitive information, i.e., About Us, Mission Statement, etc.) and link all time sensitive material and posting to the Blogger account. It’s also possible to use WordPress in the same manner. But before you set up your Blogger or WordPress account, I think it would be a great ideal to compare the two in order to get the best results out of the two – depending on your needs.
Blogger first came on the web scene August 23, 1999, created by Pyra Labs and was purchased by Google in 2003. In 2004 Blogger under went a major redesign adding web standard features and capabilities such as compliant templates, archives etc., with the ability to add comments & postings by email. It’s good to know that Blogger was ranked 16 out of the top 50 domains in 2007.
Blogger Features: (understand that Blogger is adding new media technologies regularly)
- Unlimited number of blogs per individual
- Individual pages (limited to 1 MB)
- 5000 unique labels per blog
- 20 unique labels per post
- 1 GB of free storage hyperlinked Picasa Web Album
- Mobile posting of pictures (250 KB per picture – scaled to 800px)
- Adding location via Geotagging
- Post time stamping
- Up to 100 team members (administrators posting to site)
You can access Blogger via blogger.com and open an account by clicking “Get started”.
After the initial set up (email address and password) you may choose from various templates that blogger have available by simply going to templates.
After choosing a template you’ll have the option to choose or change the background, adjust the widths and or the dimensions, and organize your layout, as far as side bars etc. Blogger also have an advance option where you may choose a specific font from their font library, color of tabs, and many more personalize features that you may want to style your template with to give it a personalized touch.
WordPress first came on the scene in 2003 as a joint effort by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. The name WordPress was suggested by a good friend of Mullenweg, Christine Selleck. In October 2009 WordPress was recognized for it’s superior brand strength as an open source content management system.
- Web template system
- Themes (and the ability to switch between themes)
- Search engine
- Link Management
- Tagging (Post & Articles)
- Standardize formatting (Web Standards)
- Automatic filters
- Trackback and Pingback standards (for displaying links to other sites that have themselves linked to a post or article.)
- Plugin Architecture (which allow users and developers to extend its functionality beyond the features that come as part of the base features
- Native applications exist for Android, iPhone/iPod Touch, Windows Phone 7 and BlackBerry
You may open a free WordPress account at wordpress.com.
Once logged in using your email and password, no different than Blogger WordPress offers the option of choosing a template based theme that may fit your wants and needs as a site. Below each theme are logistics that informs you about the layout and some basic compatibilities of the theme. Example:
Once choosing a theme, to the left of the screen – WordPress offers a variety of tools and and web gadgets (widgets) to personalize, maintain and style your site.
Observing the dashboard panel to the left, you’ll notice that some of the features listed above are apart of this panel.
Once choosing a theme in both systems, one can’t help but notice that the tools used to modify both sites are quite similar. In my opinion the only difference at this point is due to usability and simplification. Both sites have a dashboard that’s practically self explanatory to the average web user. Both sites you may create post at your will, create links to sites outside the system – on the web; as of current – both sites maintain the ability to have multiple pages. Both sites gives visitors the ability to leave comments and ratings, both sites have widgets; maybe WordPress a little more than Blogger, mixed with a bit more sophistication, but overall the ability is there.
WordPress Text Editor
Blogger Text Editor
Using Blogger or WordPress from a Developer’s Perspectives
Starting an account, and choosing a template, rearranging the layout, etc. is pretty basic for the more advance web user or developer. At times companies wish to maximize their uniqueness with custom designs and usability. This is where using Blogger or WordPress as a CMS really matters if your creating a client base site, or using Blogger or WordPress as an extension to a site for CMS purposes.
Remember that a CMS (Content Management System) is just that; a system that manages content contrary to most beliefs. Above we covered some basic ways in which you can utilize Blogger and WordPress to manage content. A more robust way would be to dab into the programming language and mark-up that styles the site (appearance), makes the site behave (functionality) is to learn and take advantage of the syntax that gives you total control.
The syntax for Blogger is a CSS Style / HTML mark up. You may download the template markup from the “Design” tab / section of Blogger, or you may simply copy the markup directly from the markup display and paste it into any text editor or program that you’re using to edit your code.
The syntax for Blogger sections:
The syntax for Blogger widgets:
The syntax for Blogger fonts and colors:
Wordpress offers its users the ability to edit CSS as well as HTML on the site. In the “New Post” section of your dashboard WordPress gives you the option to use the text editor, or the ability to code your post in HTML. It’s important to understand that coding your post here in HTML only modifies the post, not the template (but don’t get disappointed as of yet).
As far as CSS, for a one time slap in the face (fee) of $14.97, WordPress offers it’s users the ability to personally edit the CSS (styling) of the template. While this appears to be literally a slap in the face for someone looking to get something for nothing (no disrespect BLOGGER); make note that editing your text color and or font is easily achieved with WordPress with just a bit of HTML coding:
At this point some of you are saying, “Ok Anthony, sounds like you’re holding back on us – what’s the big wammie about WordPress that you’re leading us up to?”
The big wammie is this, WordPress offers it’s users it’s entire front porch to play with as a developers. What I mean by this is that WordPress is a PHP (open source) base system and it’s codex is free to download via WordPress.org.
After downloading WordPress, we can hyperlink over to their handy guide to layout all the details of this open source system as I did earlier with BLOGGER – let’s go! :::> (Take Me To The Handy Guide).
Brief Over and Comparison of Syntax
Remeber, Blogger is a CSS / HTML base system and WordPress is a PHP base system.
To get a good understanding of some of the basic syntax of both Blogger and WordPress we’ll focus on something essential to “almost” every website on the web.
Adding a Header to Blogger via HTML
Adding a Footer to Blogger via HTML
Adding a Header to WordPress via PHP
Adding a Footer to WordPress via PHP
Benefits of using a PHP systems like WordPress as a CMS are:
- Database Driven: allow user to create and maintain hundred or thousand pages in the database without need of update each one.
- Separate Design and content: The design of the site template is separate from the content of the web site. It allows to change content without changing the design of the site or change the design of the site without changing content of the site.
- Use cascading style sheet: It allow user to use css to design of the site.
- Multiple User: It allow multiple author to create content of the site. The author can login in admin panel and create its own content. Admin can set the different permission to different author.
- Access from anywhere: The site can be accessed anywhere with the internet connection.
- Website Management Panel: Administration panel is not only used to modify content but also used to add module to provide the functionality to the site.
- Save Time: It save time to allow multiple user to add content at the same time
Hands down if I had to create a CMS on the fly and or with low budget, and had to choose between WordPress or Blogger; I would choose WordPress. But before we jump to conclusion, I’m a firm believer that every tool has it’s purpose. If the content is not as crucial to the user or client, and will not need multiple changes on a regular basis, I probably would use Blogger as a CMS. Truly I believe Blogger is a more friendly system when it comes to users with little knowledge of web applications and or systems, or especially a server side language like PHP. To know more about using Blogger as a CMS check out BLOGGINPRO.COM.