Are you looking to build a blog site? If you are, whether it is for personal or business reasons, then you may already have been looking around to see what platforms are available to you.
The truth is that you are spoilt for choice today because there are so many platforms and hosting services that it is impossible to know where to start.
Being so inundated with options can also be incredibly confusing because it is difficult to figure out which one is the best for you. However, there is one service that tends to suit everyone – the WordPress platform. Over 60 million people have chosen it after all.
You will probably already be aware that the WordPress platform is undoubtedly amongst the best out there, or at least you will if you have done even a little research, but even that provides a selection problem for you.
Should you choose the free WordPress version or the self hosting version of the platform to build a blog site? Well, each platform has its own pros and cons and would offer you distinct benefits so it is vital to look at those before making a decision. Everything you need to know is right here on bloggingtactics.com so read on to find out more!
All About WordPress.com
Introducing WordPress.com first, this is the free WordPress platform that is hosted and maintained by Automattic Inc., the corporation that created it. As an open source blogging platform, it is the more outwardly popular version because it allows anyone to build a blog site. It has numerous distinct benefits that stem directly from this, including the following:
The obvious benefit is that WordPress.com is a free platform. If you are unsure about blogging, are on a tight budget or want to try out the WordPress platform before making a commitment then the fact that it is free is a major plus.
You have no need to worry about security when you build a blog site because your dashboard is completely secure. As such, you are unlikely to be hacked and can login effectively from anywhere.
There is very little chance of your blog crashing on this WordPress platform because it is on hundreds of servers. No matter how heavy the traffic, you will therefore always be able to access it.
Speaking of traffic, you will be able to attract traffic just by using this WordPress platform because you are a part of the community. Although this is not an excuse to ignore SEO or promotion, it does help!
No knowledge of code is required so if your experience of using blogs is limited then you can relax safe in the knowledge that it will not affect your ability to build a blog site.
All of your content will be automatically backed up so you will never lose it. It also saves you time because you do not have to back it up yourself.
As you can see, there is a massive range of benefits associated with choosing to build a blog site on the free platform WordPress offers. However, WordPress.com does have its cons as well and you should know all about those so that you can make the right decision for you. The cons include the following points:
You cannot upload a custom theme to use. This means that your theme and blog design will not be unique to you and you cannot personalize it any other way than via the content. It can therefore have a rather generic look, even if there are more than 200 themes to choose from.
If you have experience working with code and decide to change the PHP code behind the blog then you can’t. It’s fixed and cannot be altered so you are literally stuck with it in its regular form.
There is no way to upload plugins. If you are a little behind on all things blogging, plugins are essentially elements of software that add abilities to an application. For example, you may choose to add a custom designed component to advertise your products and services. Unfortunately, you cannot do so even if you wanted to with this WordPress platform.
You cannot add Adsense, affiliated products or anything else that may constitute advertising in this vein. This is because there is an effective ban on making money from your blog.
Although there may seem to be fewer cons than pros if you choose to build a blog site on this particular platform then it can restrict you quite a lot. As such, you also need to see what WordPress.org can do for you.
All About WordPress.org
WordPress.org is essentially a sister service of WordPress.com. It is also a free WordPress platform in that it costs nothing to download and install WordPress itself. However, unlike the previous version discussed, this one does have extra costs for you to consider. First, here are the benefits that you need to know about:
You have complete control of your blog. You can customize it as you see fit. That includes adding Adsense, affiliated promotions and your own products to sell directly through the blog. If you intend to build a blog to make money then you can do exactly as you see fit with this one.
It is self hosting so you can upload custom themes and plugins. You can add all sorts of software components to make your blog your own on this WordPress platform. It can be as unique as you like and you can even design your own theme if you so wish. Plugins to compress images, create contact forms, improve the SEO and much more can also be added to suit you.
You can have complete control of the code. If you are technically minded or want to learn about it then you can alter the PHP code. You can also edit the database if you choose to.
You essentially have your own domain name. The previous WordPress platform gives you a yourname.wordpress.com website address for free but if you choose this one then you can get yourname.com. yourname.eu, yourname.co.uk or anything else you like.
The above benefits give you so much freedom, so much more than the previous WordPress platform, so it is important that you consider their relative value. This particularly applies to those who are looking to establish a business via the intention to build a blog. However, there are cons that you also need to consider, including the following:
You need to pay for a company to host our site. This cost varies but can cost as little as a few dollars for a smaller host or thousands for one of the bigger and better hosts that can sustain high traffic.
You are responsible for much more than on the other platform. For example, you have to stop spam, backup the content manually, update the software when a new version is released and ensure that bugs are fixed as and when they arrive. This may not seem much when listed but it can take considerable time, especially if you are not familiar with the WordPress platform and have little experience in the area.
You also need sufficient technical knowledge to run your own site. If you do not know about code then you should learn quickly or else you may well find yourself struggling to maintain the site.
As you can see, the cons are substantial if you are looking to keep costs down or just want an easy platform to use as and when you like. However, investing in self hosting can really be worth it if you want a more comprehensive WordPress platform to benefit you financially, enhance your business or promote yourself in whatever capacity you wish.
Choosing The Right WordPress Platform For You
It might be a bit difficult to take on board all of the above information at once because there is a lot to consider. However, the points made should have given you a good idea of whether WordPress.com or WordPress.org is the way forward for you.
If you just want to build a blog site for personal use or to see how you get on with it then the former is undoubtedly the better option. If you want to build a blog for business purposes, to make money or to establish yourself as credible in a specific industry, niche or area then investing that little bit of extra cash and time in the latter is perhaps a better idea.
Try making a list of your requirements and then compare them to the options here. That way, it is impossible not to choose the best WordPress platform for you.