By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Sticking with Blogger (or not)

Recently I made a promise: As soon as the semester was over, I’d start looking into switching Media Nation from Blogger to WordPress. Now I’m not so sure.

Being more interested in blogging than fiddling, I naturally signed up with rather than trying to install the full version of WordPress on a server somewhere. I experimented a little — you can see the very minimal results here.

But the documentation seemed practically non-existent, and, in poking around, I found this: “You cannot edit any template directly…. You cannot add or remove any html to any theme. This is for security reasons.”

Well, now. So much for making the type a little bigger, switching from justified to ragged-right or, for that matter, adding the code that makes Media Nation part of the Boston Blogs network.

Maybe I’m missing something. Right now, though, my inclination is to try to deal with what I don’t like about Blogger — especially the comments system — without switching. If anyone has some hand-holding advice, that would be appreciated as well.

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  1. Boy in the Bands

    The free blogs at are very restricted — until you start paying. But if you’re going to do that, I figure you might as well go whole hog and get a domain and proper hosting and use WordPress to the full.

  2. JonGarfunkel

    Well, regardless of platform, I prefer a higher headline-to-copy ratio, closer to what newspapers do (or even BoingBoing/TPM for that matter). I’ve never quite understand why it is such a common practice for whole article needs to spill out all over the front page.

  3. Jim Caralis

    Have you considered It’s not free but plans start at 4.95/month and it is pretty simple to set up.

  4. Dan Kennedy

    “It’s not free” really says it all, doesn’t it?

  5. todd

    For what it’s worth, installation of WordPress is easy peasy. Coming up with your own theme is straightforward, but less easy, but there are many, many canned ones you can pick from. It does, however, give you complete and unrestricted control over what and how things are presented. Still, if you’re not inclined to do it, your decision is made. You’d also have to have somewhere to host it, so the webhosting would be about $5.00 per month and up, depending on features and size.I do this for people a lot.

  6. Dan Kennedy

    Todd: Thanks for your advice. It comes down to cost/benefit. Are the things I don’t like about Blogger important enough to put in the hours I would apparently need to make the switch? I had mistakenly believed I could switch to in a couple of evenings and have some features I don’t have now.Frankly, perhaps what I like least about Blogger is that it’s kind of like having an AOL e-mail address in the ’90s. Yes, Media Nation is status-conscious! But that’s not really that big a deal. I suppose.

  7. Peter Porcupine

    Dan – I bought my name, and have a domain page with a blog link – ‘peterporcupine dot com’, and direct people to THAT address instead of the geeky Blogspot one.I still link with and use the Blogspot name, but use the dot com when referring. And Register has a free page with registration, as do most other domain registrations.Is this attempt at web coolness, while remaining free (except for domain purchase, which I wanted anyway) a little like a geek kid using Clearasil?

  8. Tony

    Peter, in non-legalese or tech terms, can you explain the process of getting a domain name which you can use with Blogger? Ideally, I would like to get to this point on my blog too. And, for the life of me, I can’t quite get to the process of buying a domain name and then linking it. I would think it would be easy at this point but it isn’t. 🙂

  9. Dan Kennedy

    Tony: You need more than a domain name — you need a site and a hosting service. There are many out there, and you can pay as little as $5 a month. Once you’ve done that, you simply change the settings on Blogger to publish to your site rather than to Blogspot. That’s actually how I produced Media Log when I was at the Phoenix. It’s actually pretty easy, and I’m thinking about doing it again.

  10. Tony

    Hmm, cool. I guess, for $60 a year, and a better looking template, it wouldn’t be such a big deal. Thanks!

  11. Peter Porcupine

    OR – I pay $30/yr, and have a link to the Blogger blog on their free front page, which I gussy up as an intro page. So, I still have the Blogger address as well, and don’t have to post to a web page, which allows me to belong to webrings and such.And I avoid the dreaded ‘blogspot’ address.

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