Blogging Platform For Tech Teams: Blogger vs Wordpress vs Medium vs Squarespace vs rest

In 2018, it's important for every business to have a blog. This is especially true for online tech businesses such as eCommerce, SaaS, eLearning etc. The more you blog, the more visitors you'll get. And in the online world, more visitors usually translates to more revenue.

At Polydojo, our a tiny team of developers is taking on the slightly ambitious challenge of helping organizations set up workflows for reliably executing recurring business processes. While we've always meant to pay more attention to our blog, it hasn't quite worked out that way.

Don't Re-Invent The Wheel

So far, we were using a home-grown solution for publishing blog posts. As the blogging software wasn't our primary solution, we couldn't devote enough time to sprucing up the frontend CSS. The whole thing looked like something from the 1990s. We always meant to improve it, but get to it.

As engineers, we often tend to have the 'I can build anything' attitude. This isn't necessarily bad. Without it, a number of lucrative product-centric businesses wouldn't exist. But sometimes, actually, many many times, the 'I can build anything' attitude does more harm than good.

It's always been pretty obvious to me that we shouldn't have been writing blogging-related software. That was pointless. It was moronic. Instead, we should've chosen a simple, online blogging platform that just works. A platform that doesn't require us to write a single line of code; but yet allows us some code customization.

The Vicious Procrastination Cycle

Also, when your blog looks like something from the 90s, you don't feel like writing new blog posts. You feel that before writing a post, you should fix the blog's presentation. But you can't really dedicate developer resources to fix the blog's presentation, because you're busy improving your product. So, at the end of the day, your blog looks bad; and has no content.

Don't Use A Static Site Generator (Like Jekyll)

When you tell a developer that they can't build their own blogging platform, their next inclination is to use a static website generator like Jekyll, Hugo, Pelican etc. Unless you're the creator of one of these platforms, I'd sincerely discourage you from going with one of these for your blog.

Don't get me wrong. I'm don't mean to diss static site generators. They have their own place. But when it comes to setting up a multi-user blog for your business, static site generators are sub-optimal. You'll have to manually push blog posts to your server; something your non-tech employees can't do. And no matter which static site generator you use, you'll likely have to edit some HTML/CSS to make it look good.

Choices: Blogger vs Wordpress vs Medium vs the rest

There are a ton of blogging platforms to choose from. There might be as many blogging platforms as there are CRMs or Email Marketing providers. But you gotta pick one. And you better pick one fast.

Blogger needn't be the best fit for you. But it was the best fit for us.

Why We Chose Blogger

Back in 2011, when I was in Junior College (the Indian equivalent of American High School), I used to run a current-affairs blog called 'Current'. I ran it on Blogger and have since been very comfortable with the platform. My familiarity with Blogger played a big role, but here are the other reasons:
  1. Hosted Solution:
    Blogger is hosted for you, by Big G. It's highly unlikely to crash. Very reliable.
  2. No Coding Required:
    Your non-tech team members can be easily invited to author blog posts.
  3. Beautiful Themes:
    Blogger's built-in themes are pretty good. Plus, they've got WYSIWYG customizability.
  4. HTML/JavaScript Widgets:
    You can optionally add HTML/JavaScript snippets to customize your blog. Cool!
  5. HTTPS & Custom Domain:
    With Blogger, you can easily set up a custom domain, with full HTTPS security.
Why Not Wordpress?

Believe it or not, as a Python-centric team, none of us have dabbled with Wordpress or PHP before. Plus, there's the issue of finding a good hosting platform for Wordpress. (I've heard a lot of good things about Jason Cohen's WP Engine. If you're Wordpress-savvy, check it out!)

Why Not Medium?

Medium is very clean, neat and minimal. But it doesn't allow sufficient control over blog presentation. If you're very minimalist, this may be a selling point for you. But for us, it wasn't. Plus, with Medium, I don't think you can set up custom JavaScript, while with Blogger, you can!

Why Not Weebly or Squarespace?

If you're already using Weebly, Squarespace or a similar website-builder to host your primary customer-facing site, it may make sense to use their built-in blogging capabilities. In fact, it may be a good idea from an SEO standpoint. At Polydojo, we aren't using a site-builder. And using Squarespace just for a blog seemed a little like overkill.

Why Not That Awesome New Platform?

It's quite likely that there's an awesome new platform out there that's better than Blogger in most respects. But I haven't found it yet. And when picking a blogging platform, it's important to stay away from analysis-paralysis. If you find yourself evaluating the 10 or more platforms, it's time to stop looking.

Over To You!

Now now, it's going to be very tempting for you to read another comparison of blogging platforms. There are tonnes of them on the web. But if you've already read 3 or more comparisons, reading another one is likely not going to give you new information. It's time to make a decision.


Image credit: Jamie Spencer via Flickr, CC BY 2.0


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