Choosing WordPress as Your Blogging Platform

I have told you before that WordPress is the industry standard for bloggers. Certainly you have options (e.g., Blogger and Typepad), but if you want to put a more professional edge on your blog, add more functionality, and simply take it to the next level, you need to be looking at WordPress.

There are two versions of WordPress: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Both are free, but one is hosted and one is not.

WordPress.com is the free, hosted version of WordPress and is a great place to start your first blog. You won’t have to worry about finding and paying for a server, but you’ll still have the functionality of WordPress and can learn the ins and outs before you commit to WordPress.org. WordPress.com does not allow you to run your own ads, but does occasionally run their own text ads on your blog (that’s how they keep it free).

WordPress.org is the free version of WordPress that allows you to host your blog on a third-party server and gives you free reign over everything related to your blog. You can mess with the CSS and PHP, put up ads, etc. From their site: “WordPress is what you use when you want to work with your blogging software, not fight it.”

Lisa at Simply His big-red-puffy-heart-loves WordPress.org and explains why:

Easy to use: I think WordPress is very easy to use once you give it a try. I know many people who think that WordPress is difficult to use when in fact, they are having trouble with css or html in their theme. And really, if you had WordPress set up for you — theme and all, it would be a piece of cake to go in and just write.

Widgets, Plugins and Themes: Because WordPress.org is open source [which means that the code is freely available and can be modified by anyone with the skill and inclination], many programmers out there have shared widgets, plugins and themes with you for free. You can find a Plugin to do just about anything you would want to do on your blog. A widget is basically a block of code you can add to your sidebars to customize what’s shown there. Themes are plentiful and customization is easy if you know html/css. [And, sometimes, even if you don’t.]

Jendi, at Jendi’s Journal, writes about why she loves WordPress. She started out with WordPress.com (the free, hosted WordPress) and eventually moved to WordPress.org (free, non-hosted WordPress) with her own domain name. Jendi says there was a bit of a learning curve at WordPress.com, but it was worth it. Her main reasons for loving WordPress are

  • thousands of free themes
  • easy-to-follow tutorials and forums
  • hundreds of plug-ins work with WordPress
  • control of your design and content

If you’re just starting out with a blog, WordPress.com may be a good option for you. You can learn how to use the WordPress interface and learn the basics via the tutorials and videos. Then, as you’re more comfortable and would like more control over your blog’s look and feel and it’s code, you can move to WordPress.org. Because they are essentially the same software, the migration should be fairly seamless.

I have only recently started using WordPress.org and wish I had known about WordPress.com and WordPress.org when I started. It would have been much easier to start with WP.com and move to WP.org when I was ready. Even so, I’ve found that any questions I have can be answered with a quick search. WordPress is so prolific there is no shortage of tutorials.

Also in this series:

Further Reading & Tutorials:

16 Responses

  1. make money on the net February 4, 2009 / 2:14 pm

    Hi,

    Couldn’t agree more with what you have said. WordPress is an asolutely fanatastic tool. So easy to use so many highly professional templates. Having got into WordPress recently I’m kicking myself that I spent so long teaching myself how to use more tradtional web design software. WordPress is not just great for blogging – static sites, ecommerce you name it, WordPress can do it.

    Only thing that I don’t like about it is that it’s difficult to track your keyword conversions when you do PPC (although there is a way).

    Thanks,

    Andy

  2. kucaimas February 8, 2009 / 5:29 am

    Hi,
    Couldn’t agree more with what you have said. WordPress is an asolutely fanatastic tool. So easy to use so many highly professional templates. Having got into WordPress recently I’m kicking myself that I spent so long teaching myself how to use more tradtional web design software. WordPress is not just great for blogging – static sites, ecommerce you name it, WordPress can do it.

    Only thing that I don’t like about it is that it’s difficult to track your keyword conversions when you do PPC (although there is a way).

    Thanks,

    Kucaimas

  3. Gran February 13, 2009 / 4:09 am

    Hi there,

    Im totally new to blogging…
    I started at wordpress to try it out
    I setting up a travel information source blog for a niche market gran canaria

    what should i do to generate traffic and make some money???

    all help/advise is very much appreciated

    thanks for your kind help

    • admin February 13, 2009 / 8:09 am

      Blogging Basics 101 has several categories listed on the far right sidebar. Two of those are “Making Money” and “Traffic”. If you click on those links, you’ll see several articles related to those categories/topics. Thank you for visiting BB101!

  4. Google Cash Detective 2 February 21, 2009 / 4:38 pm

    I use wordpress also
    I believe it is much better than others like blogger since it gives you more options

  5. cakegirl February 25, 2009 / 9:15 pm

    Hi, I just found your site.. very helpful!! I have a question.. I just installed wordpress.org onto my server. And it loaded fine and I’m happy with everything. However I what is the benefit of hosting on your own server vs. domain mapping with WP? I’m very confused! Thanks in advance.

  6. admin February 26, 2009 / 10:13 am

    Cakegirl,

    I’m glad BB101 is useful to you!

    I think the choice between WP.org and WP.com depends on your blogging goals and needs.

    WP.com will not allow you to run advertising so it’s difficult to monetize your blog. If you’re just starting out, it may be worth it to use WP.com if you want to eventually move to WP.org. You can get used to the dashboard, etc. Then, when you’re more comfortable with how things work, you can move over to WP.org.

    WP.org is great for those people who really like to have control over all aspects of their blog. If you like playing with code and figuring out how things work (and, really, even if you don’t), then WP.org is a great tool for you.

    All that to say: The short answer is control. 😉

  7. CasTex March 25, 2009 / 1:32 pm

    Thanks for this post, I am interested in.

  8. Andrea March 25, 2009 / 7:26 pm

    Hi,
    great site! very interesting!
    Bye, Andrea from italy!

  9. Jody April 27, 2009 / 8:42 am

    OK… I’m ready to make my site “more” so I’m going to make the jump from Blogger to WP.org. Don’t be surprised if you get hysterical FB messages! (Feel free to ignore me!)

  10. Rebecca August 10, 2009 / 8:22 am

    I love wordpress because I use it for another site. But I use blogger for two others because of the adsense revenue. How does a person make money with wordpress and be a professional blogger.

  11. Trish Mullen September 9, 2009 / 12:40 pm

    Great helpful information and not too jargonised for newbies. I am considering moving to WP.org and was a bit confused but you’ve cleared the fog for me, so thanks very much AGAIN

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