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Blogger FTP shutting down

Following Google-Blogger's 22 January announcement that blogger will be pulling the plug for websites/blogs published via FTP through blogger, there has been a furore on the internet.

Without getting into criticism myself, I am trying to analyze the repercussions on sites using this service. For more details on who's impacted and blogger team's efforts to ease the load, go here.

Impacted Websites i.e. those using the FTP publishing feature like www.arbitmba.com, now have two options:
  • Move their Site to Blogger's hosting via the custom domain functionality or
  • Start using a different blog management software like Wordpress.org
In both cases you will have to perform a migration activity, but as far I have studied, neither migration is going be any more or any less painful than the other. In both cases some functionalities will have to be recoded.

Moving to Blogger Custom Domain
  • Pros
  1. Hosting on Google's servers - no hassles of hosting provider
  2. Blogger platform for eternity
  3. New XML template, ability to add blogger / iGoogle widgets
  • Cons
  1. Old functionalities coded for HTML version of blogger pages will definitely not work in new blogger. Bloggers may be able to recode few simple JScripts and find inbuilt blogger widgets for some others - but there will definitely be some loss of functionality to sites which were heavily customized.
  2. By moving New Blogger XML based template bloggers will be limited by blogger supported widgets only. From future perspective if they have to add any functionality, they have to search an existing widget for that purpose. It will not be possible to simply code it in Javascript and add to the site unless you are well versed with the new XML based blogger template.
  3. New Blogger does not support images - instead it provides a Picasa account for uploading all images. This means that all images will have to be stored on a Picasa account and will get embedded in pages from the Picasa album.
  4. Loss of site URL hierarchy - As above, since images will be on Picasa and not the site, you will loose our site URL hierarchy also.
  5. No PHP support - this is not a very important thing because most blogger based sites usually do not used much PHP on the site. If you were using PHP script to generate the Tag Clouds (because classic template did not support tags) - then don't worry as tag clouds anyway be available in the new blogger as a widget.
Check this link: http://buzz.blogger.com/2009/05/ftp-vs-custom-domains.html and search for "@eccentriclee" - and read after that for details on the "real" cons.

Move to other FTP/Blogging Software
Wordpress.org is a software which can be "installed" on our site to continue to host our site as you were doing using blogger.
  • Pros
  1. Continued FTP support
  2. Retention of site URL hierarchy as before
  3. PHP support available
  4. Old and new Javascripts etc and custom widgets can be used without need to recode
  5. Content from any site can be linked (like a twitter box etc) as widgets using simple HTML inserts - you are not limited to any widgets made especially for blogger or any other platform
  6. One Big pro is that wordpress supports static pages (link) a feature not provided by blogger FTP or custom domains
  • Cons
  1. Continued dependence of your hosting service
  2. Need to "install" wordpress.org on your website.
  3. One has to take complete ownership of the site
  4. Some existing functionalities and widgets like Tag Cloud will have to be recoded to be able to run on wordpress engine
Read some more here.

Conclusion
All other considerations apart, the most important aspect here is the URL hierarchy and ability to store images on your domain (to retain Google Juice) - if you move to custom domain, your images will be stored on a Picasa Album while in case of WordPress.org, they will continue to be stored on your URL. This means that if your images were appearing in Google searches directly, you loose that referral traffic on moving to Custom Domains.

Its clearly an IT Strategy decision for bloggers / amateur site managers, something like whether to stick to MS Office or move to OpenOffice:
  • blogger is like MS Office i.e. lock-in: It will provide full support and guarantee for its performance provided you stay within what it offers. You can't ask for too many customizations
  • Wordpress.org is like OpenOffice - you can customize it whichever way you want but you must do it all yourself. The product comes with no support service.
We at www.arbitmba.com have decided to move to Wordpress.org hosting. I am still researching on effective and simple ways to do this - this link looks good for starters. You can Google for more.

If you happen to find anything useful, or publish on similar lines, do leave your URL in comments.

Update:
Check this link on how to migrate to wordpress:

and this one too! (don't forget to browse through the comments apart from the main post):

Comments

  1. I wrote a program that efficiently syncs a blogspot domain with any domain or subdirectory you want.

    http://www.documentroot.com/2010/03/how-to-fix-bloggers-ftp-bug.html

    So you can use blogger, use blogspot and use your own domain... the same way it used to work.

    ReplyDelete

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