This Wednesday — and every Aug. 5 — is Blogger Day. And by ‘Blogger,’ I don’t mean a person who blogs. I mean that famous blogging platform Google now owns.
When I first saw that this week’s calendar featured Blogger Day, I assumed it was about blogging in general. But I quickly realized when I read the write-up that it was literally about Blogger, the platform; not “blogger,” one who blogs.
I spent about two years on that platform in the early years of this blog.
If you’ve read this site for a while — it’s been running for quite a while now — you probably know I began on AOL. Back in 2004, American Online offered users a blogging alternative called AOL Journals. I launched Patrick’s Place on AOL.
But in 2005, I decided the time had come to make a major move.
Blogger seemed to be a more “user-friendly” choice than WordPress. I wish now I knew why I actually believed that. I still don’t. It just struck me that WordPress felt more intimidating somehow.
So I jumped ship from AOL to Blogger in late 2005.
Maybe that qualifies me to speak about Blogger Day…at least for a few moments.
The first thing I noticed after making the switch was that there was blogging rivalry. Some childish bloggers who stayed on AOL vowed never to visit any blog that made the move. I found this laughable; they either liked the blogs or they didn’t. If they enjoyed a blog but stopped reading because of something so petty, they were punishing themselves. After all, a site on Blogger certainly had more eyes on it than it received when it was on the relatively gated community of AOL Journals.
But I didn’t stay with Blogger.
Don’t get me wrong: I didn’t dislike Blogger at all. Everything pretty much worked just as it was supposed to. I didn’t experience any problems learning how it worked.
But I hated having a blog URL that had “blogger” in the middle of it. (For the record, I hated having a blog URL that had “AOLJournals” in it, too.)
One of the key reasons I left AOL concerned their editors’ decision to delete an entire folder of one blogger’s content over a complaint. They said the decision was final and couldn’t be undone. But they didn’t give that blogger any notice about any alleged complaint. And they didn’t remove the one offending file. They deleted everything.
It served as an important lesson. When you’re on someone else’s platform, you’re just playing in their sandbox.
Blogger’s sandbox always felt a lot more pleasant than AOL’s.
But it was still someone else’s sandbox.
In 2007, I purchased this domain. I bit the bullet and switched to WordPress, having somehow decided it wasn’t so intimidating after all.
I’ve never looked back. I never regretted moving to WordPress. I still believe it’s the best place to be.
But Blogger is not a bad place to begin!
Ideally, you’ll want your own domain for your blog. It looks more professional when you have your own domain.
When I was on Blogger, I don’t believe there was an option to buy a domain and have your Blogger site “redirect” to the new domain. But even if it had been, I would still have been in Blogger’s proverbial sandbox while it appeared that I wasn’t.
Blogger, however, does provide valuable learning space for newbie bloggers. And since you don’t have to pay for a domain or hosting there, you can jump in to blogging and see if you have the willingness to stick to it before investing much money.
If you’re not sure about this crazy thing called blogging, a place like Blogger is fantastic for gaining your bearings.
I do believe you should always have a plan to eventually make the switch to WordPress because you have so much more flexibility there.
But I celebrate Blogger Day because I believe that platform has helped allow some of us to figure out what we’re doing and whether we think we might have staying power.
Happy Day, Blogger, and happy Blogger Day to everyone who uses or got their start on that platform!