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Friday, June 20, 2008

Six Features Blogger should Copy from WordPress

I have a few blogger friends who used to blog on Blogger's platform. But one by one, everyone is gradually switching to WordPress. I was perplexed, was Blogger not one of the most popular, and most feature-complete blog hosting platforms available? Why did they switch?

After some thinking I found out that there are a few features Blogger are missing, and their absence drove my friends to change their blog hosting platform. Since it happens that these features are available from WordPress, so no wonder they chose WordPress. These missing features are really cool; they make a good blog hosting platform better. As Blogger is coming up with its latest release I am not sure any of them can make it to next iteration, but nevertheless I would like to spell them out so that if any Blogger developer saw this he might care to implement them. Hua ha!

Here's the list:
  1. Possibly related post feature
  2. Top post list
  3. Recent Comments list
  4. Private Hosting
  5. Open Source
  6. Default widget support!

Possibly related posts feature
You love a post, want for more? Then you can visit the "possibly related post" section. Wordpress can automatically generate a list of relevant posts to satisfy your browsing appetite.

This is what you will get when you visit my friend's latest post, whose blog is hosted on WordPress.

Blogger can definitely do the same feature easily, given that it is Google who owned it. Google has the largest datasets on earth, and it has put tremendous effort into making sense of how one piece of information is related to another. Generating a list of related posts shouldn't sound too difficult, should it?

Top post list
I, and other readers are not really interested in the most recent posts. What we are interested, when we stumble across a blog, is the gist of the blog, the posts that are most read by other readers.

WordPress knows about this, and has implemented this feature. So whenever one stumbles on a WordPress blog, he can determine whether the blog is worthy of being added to his RSS reader by just going to the top post session and read all that is most popular there and make the decision.

Recent Comments list
Want to know who leaved a comment on your post? Sorry, you can't if you are on blogger and you don't turn on the email notification. But for blog owners, comments are indicators that other people have read your blog. The joy of knowing someone have read your post and cared to pen down a response, despite have to endure your crappy English is simply indescribable. You can't imagine how greatly encouraged I was when I read a well-thought comment, on my blog.

Not only that, comments are something that you, as a blogger, should be interested in and may wish to respond upon. Comments can be more interesting and more intelligent than the blog posts themselves. Or maybe other readers didn't understand your points fully so they asked you for clarification in the comments. Or maybe spammers tried to exploit your blog by posting spammy links in their comments. In any of the above situations, you will want to know what is the latest comment and who wrote it.

Private Hosting
All Blogger's blogs are now hosted on Google server. Well, it's not that I think Google will kaput one day and discontinue the hosting service. It's rather that, well, private hosting gives you extra freedom. Just this, extra freedom.

Open Source
This, couples with private hosting, allows one to customize the blog indefinitely. Want to run Javascript on your blog? Kind of hard on Blogger. What about Silverlight application? Don't think so. I don't know why embedded application is not support on Blogger, maybe it has to do with security reasons, maybe because of other reasons. I just don't know.

But if one can download the whole Blogger source code on his hard drive and make modification to it, then the blogs we see would be a lot more richer than now, richer in terms of templates, in terms of contents-- not just textual contents, but any kind of contents, such as multimedia, embedded applications etc.

Default social bookmarking widget support!
Won't it be great if Blogger supports popular social bookmarking site's widget? The default template you choose already contains Digg, dzone, Reddit, widget and you don't have to install them on your own! Installing social bookmarking widget is helpful to draw in traffic, to a certain extent. But why can't we have them out of box instead of having to install them on our own?

Oh wait, WordPress doesn't support this also. But the open source BlogEngine does. It would be a nice feature to have.

So here you are, 6 extra features for the Blogger team to work on. You have any? Write them in the comments section!

1 comment:

protected static said...

Most of the features you mention are features, not WordPress features per se. They are clearly supported by the WordPress API, but you'll need to modify your theme or write a plugin to do it if you host your own WordPress site.

Also, you've always been able to host a Blogger-based blog on your own server but Google hasn't made that process easy or transparent.

I moved from to my own WordPress-based site because at the time Blogger didn't support categories or tags of any kind, and because was down so often. They may have improved things, but my uptime has been much better, even with a shared hosting account.