A couple weeks ago, I covered the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Last week, I talked about the pros and cons of WordPress.com. Today I want to go over some pros and cons for WordPress.org. Most small businesses, professional bloggers, and entrepreneurs, run websites on self hosted WordPress (or WordPress.org.) At one time, it was the only option available except for hand coding your website from scratch. These days, there are several other platforms that you can use start a business, but WordPress is still the most commonly used, and I believe is the most powerful.
Here’s a rundown on WordPress.org
- You have complete control over what you do with the site. This is the biggest advantage of a self hosted website. Aside from legal issues and possible traffic limitations imposed by your host, you can pretty much do anything with a self hosted WordPress website.
- Lots more customization options.org offers a lot more theme choices that come standard with the platform. You can also buy a custom theme, and if you have enough knowledge of CSS, you can make your website look however you want at now for the cost.
- There’s a plug-in for that. Whatever you want to do with your WordPress site, there’s a plug-in that will do it. In fact, there are usually four or five different plug-ins that do the exact same thing.
- It’s easier to implement advice and tutorials that you find on the Internet. Most of the “”How to” guides and free information that you’ll find about how to set up websites and services for your business is geared to WordPress.org users. I spend a lot of time in entrepreneurial groups on Facebook, and every day I see comments from frustrated bloggers who have been trying to implement someone’s free guide on how to set up a pop-up on their site or how to use Google Analytics or something, and it won’t work for them. It always turns out that they’re on a eWordpress.com site and didn’t know the difference between the two.
- More robust SEO tools Google Analytics and several other commonly used tools for tracking and improving your blog stats don’t work on WordPress.com. While there are built-in alternatives, they may not give you the information and results you want.
- You can make money from your blog on a self-hosted site a lot more easily.
- Starting a self hosted WordPress site will run you between $60-$100 per year. It’s possible to get lower costs if you buy a long-term hosting package and find the right sale, buys the upfront cost is still pretty high. I paid $215 for a three-year hosting plan with Bluehost.
- Site maintenance and downtime Self-hosted sites always have some downtime, and you need to handle maintenance yourself. That means you either need to hire a web developer or learn to DIY and pray that you know enough not to fuck up your website.
- Learning Curve. WordPress is hard for beginners. There’s no nice way to say it. If technology scares you and feels overwhelming, you’re going to need help. There are courses out there if you want to DIY your site, and there are developers to hire, but either way you need to be committed to learning the platform.
So, to wrap up, WordPress.org is good if:
- You plan to make money through your blog. (Affiliate marketing or ad revenue.)
- You want an online store.
- You’re reasonably knowledgeable about how websites function and how to manage one, or you have the budget to pay someone for this.
It’s not so good if you’re afraid of technology, have little time to learn the platform, or just want to get at website going as quick as possible. It may not be necessary if your business plan doesn’t involve making money from the website directly.
In next Wednesday’s Blog Smarter post, I’ll be talking about copyright and who owns your blog content if you blog on WordPress.com. If you want to make sure you don’t miss the post, you can like my Facebook page when the post goes live.