Is blogger a good platform for beginners? As I’ve created tutorials using various website builders, shared webhosts and blogging platforms like blogger; I have a unique perspective as I’ve actually used blogger for years and have a very popular tutorial on how it’s done:
So in this blogger blog review, I’m going to break down the pros and cons of using blogger for a beginner. It’s a good platform and perfect for the right person. However, there is no denying that it has it’s limitations that you should be aware of before you start your blogging journey.
Blogger.com compared to other blogging platforms
I have an entire breakdown comparing blogger.com vs WordPress. As a blogging platform I would recommend it to anyone looking to create content for personal use, not with any commercial intent. Of course you can still monetize your blogger blog, but don’t expect to build a meaningful business on blogger. Expect at best to create a passive side income through Google AdSense and affiliate marketing.
Overall, Blogger is designed to allow users to share their thoughts, opinions, images and videos with ease. It comes with basic design customization via a variety of templates, the ability to set a custom domain, access on the backend to the HTML and CSS for greater customization and basic on-page SEO to help your site rank.
The Pros of Blogger.com
Totally free to use
Blogger is 100% free. There are no plans to upgrade to, nothing to pay to unlock. With just a free Gmail account you can right now create a blog and begin publishing content. Upload pictures, write detailed blog posts and embed videos and never pay for hosting.
Can set a custom domain at no additional cost
You do need to pay for your domain name from a domain name registrar (I recommend Namecheap) but to actually set it as a custom domain name within blogger is free.
I only bring this up because a lot of other blogging platforms like WordPress.com (not .org), Wix or Squarespace require you to upgrade to a paid plain in order to unlock the custom domain feature. Not so with Blogger as there is nothing to upgrade to.
Once you have registered your domain name you can now set it as a custom domain within your blogger dashboard and change your domain name from example.blogspot.com to example.com. Here is a tutorial on how it is done:
Decent on-page SEO for ranking content
Compared to Google Sites which has awful on-page SEO, the Blogger.com platform has what I would describe as “good enough” on-page SEO. With Blogger your titles are tagged as H1, you can craft blog posts with H2 and H3 sub header title tags and you can adjust the meta data and permalink.
All these small on-page features allows your blogger blog to actually be able to get organic search traffic and rank for keyword phrases that people are looking for. The benefits of this is that your blog will actually be able to make money through affiliate marketing and Google AdSense.
Integrates with Google AdSense
You can run display ads through Google AdSense and make passive income. It does take a while before your blog becomes eligible however. How long is not publicly known, but for my personal site it took two months before I was able to add AdSense.
Once you can run AdSense you’re then able to enable “auto ads” and Google will optimize ad placement on your blogger blog. Within the blogger platform, depending on your template there are “AdSense widgets” you can add in, but I’ve found auto ads to be easier, better and more effective.
Can leverage affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is where you get a unique link to promote a product or service. If you take a look at my best cameras for YouTube blog post you’ll see that I promote products on Amazon as an affiliate.
With a blogger.com blog you can do the same exact thing. Sign up to a few different platforms, become an affiliate for products and services relevant to what your blog is about and make commissions from the organic search traffic you get.
Easily embed images and video
Blogger allows you to upload and embed videos and images on your blog. You can upload images from your computer and the images stored on your site don’t count against your data storage quota on Google drive. In addition you can also upload images from Google drive too.
Last you can easily embed videos from YouTube or upload and store your own videos on blogger. However their is a size limitation so don’t expect to be uploading and storing large 1080P videos. In general create a YouTube account and embed your YouTube videos on your blogger blog.
Access to the HTML and CSS for more advanced users
I personally love that with blogger.com I can jump into the HTML and CSS and make direct changes as I see fit. Not everyone is a complete novice and quite a few of us want to make specific customizations.
For example, blogger does not allow you to easily adjust and edit the footer and the footer links. In fact the footer section is locked from editing and the only way to make changes is to change the code in the HTML.
If you know a little HTML and CSS and want to make specific changes to your blog, with Blogger.com you actually can because you’re not limited in any way with regards to the code that’s behind your website.
The Cons of Blogger.com
Template designs are quite dated
A blogger blog like JohhnyFD.com is not going to win any design awards. Literally all the templates you can choose from to design your website with are quite old and dated looking. If you don’t care too much about the design of your website then you’ll like Blogger.com.
If however you’re set on having a beautiful, impressive looking website then you’re going to be frustrated with all your options. While blogger.com does come with a set of templates to choose from, you can upload your own template from a 3rd party website like btemplates.com.
But again, even the selection on various template websites for blogger.com leave a lot to be desired from a design standpoint.
Your stuck with dates in your URL’s
Dates in the URL are one of the worst permalink structures unless you’re creating time sensitive, news oriented content. With a blogger blog all your content is organized into “labels” which are functionally categories and must contain the date when that content was published.
There is no way to change or remove this (trust me I tried). You can adjust the permalink structure for the post title in the URL, but dates must remain.
Blogger does not rank well
Compared to a self hosted website with a dedicated web host, a blogger blog under performs with organic search rankings overall. Blogger definitely ranks better than Google Sites, but if you’re looking to get serious and start a blog that can become a business then I would avoid blogger.
It’s great as a fun, casual side project that can make passive income but it’s really not ideal for serious commercial use.
Integrates with adsense but ads.txt verification is clunky
When you work with any ad network you’ll need to upload an ads.txt file for your website. This is a critical step because it helps establish trust for publishers that their ads will appear where they want to appear on verified websites.
With blogger.com I’ve never been able to verify an ads.txt file correctly which directly impacts overall earnings. You can still earn money from AdSense but this is still an annoying technical issue that hasn’t been fixed.
No way to natively cloak affiliate links
If I want to promote Bluehost on my website or YouTube channel I can use the link davidutke.com/bluehost and it redirects the end visitor to Bluehost. If they purchase I get a commission.
This URL is a cloaked affiliate link. It’s nothing bad or nefarious, it just means to take a long, ugly, weird looking affiliate URL and make it into something more logical and trustworthy.
With WordPress you have a wide variety of plugins to do this like Thirsty Affiliates of Pretty Links. You even get analytics so you know how many people have clicked on your link. With blogger you have no plugin or native option. You’re stuck using long, ugly affiliate links in your content.
No ecommerce features
Blogger.com has absolutely no ecommerce features unsurprisingly. If you want to engage in ecommerce go with an ecommerce website builder like Shopify or use a shared web host and install WordPress and WooCommerce so you can both blog and run an online store.
With Blogger you can always link to an online store you have in your menu, but in general if you’re going to be doing content marketing and running an online store it’s best to have that on one platform.
There is no real technical support for blogger. You have the official blogger.com forum and free tutorials on YouTube. Otherwise you’re on your own for figuring things out.
Google’s Blogger Platform Review – Conclusion
I love Blogger.com! It’s a great platform for what it is. Start a blog for free, set a custom domain, publish content with pictures and video, make a little money on the side from ad revenue and affiliate marketing, what’s not to like?
Don’t use this platform if your goal is to build a high traffic blog that is the foundation of a content marketing business. Instead stick to WordPress and Bluehost.