Maybe you already knew this, but just in case….did you know that there are two versions of WordPress?
I’ve been merrily blogging on WordPress for quite a number of years. I’ve blogged, mainly on a personal level as a way to keep my wide network of friends, that are not on Facebook, updated on what’s happening in my life.
I love using WordPress, it’s easy to use and pretty intuitive. I never realised there was another side to this great platform.
I’ve recently started to blog as a way to share information,tips and ideas that are more connected to my business. As a result, I started to interact with business blogging communities and hear mentioned a bunch of fancy little features. Plugins that can be used for tracking, measuring, making online sales and more.
It all sounded fascinating. I was worried it would be complex, but was assured it was really simple. Of course, I wanted in on this!
I look and I look. Nope, no little button thingy there.
Yes, there is comes the response from several quarters.
I must be blind or stupid!
I slink back to my dashboard and look again. Still, I cannot see the elusive button!
Finally, someone pipes up and says you need to be using WordPress.org. “Ooooh,” says me “I never knew there were two!”
So what’s the difference?
That’s the best question you can ever ask if you’re new to or considering using WordPress!
Choosing one or the other really does depend on what your needs are, your skill level, and what you aim to accomplish.
No one told me this at the beginning, and I’m not alone in the dilemma as many folk report similar confusion and I still see others make the same mistakes I did. It’s a really easy mistake to make.
So which WordPress should you choose?
There’s loads of literature on this, but here’s my take of the two options and this link will take you to the official WordPress comparative chart
This is the perfect choice for small-to-medium business owners and DIY’ers, as it is cost-efficient, fully customizable, and there are loads of options.
The myriad of customization options is limited only by your skill level and imagination. The software itself is free, including thousands of plugins you can use for your website. There is also a raft of additional plugins that you can buy separately to suit your needs/wants and budget!
The WordPress site itself will provide you with lots of advice, including handy walk-throughs on how to install the WordPress software and guide you through your initial posts. Considering it is a free service, the guide is very helpful and the instructions are really easy to understand.
You will need a web hosting service and a few other essentials. I love and always recommend this easy guide from Michael Hyatt on “How to launch a self-hosted WordPress blog in 20 minutes.”
Support forums abound all over the net, and you’ll easily find answers to “how to” questions about customizing your site. There are no restrictions to what you can do with the site, especially if you have coding experience in PHP or HTML, just to name a few. I’ve got no experience but the site works well for me – so I’m pretty convinced anyone can make this work!
One of my VA’s came up with what I consider a great analogy to define WordPress.com. He referred me to this article – they describe it as being like when you rent a flat. You pay a certain amount to be able to occupy the space. There’s no need for you to maintain the flat because the landlord has that covered. You’re usually unable to make any significant structural changes to your flat or even bang a few nails into the wall – after all it’s rented. It does not belong to you.
That’s how WordPress.com essentially works. Web hosting is free and WordPress.com takes care of everything for you including fantastic spam protection, automatic backups and updates.
WordPress.com’s security is also dependable. Plugins are available, but you don’t get to upload your own. There are heaps of themes to choose from (around 200) and some can be tweaked and customised in terms of colour choices, but you can’t really make significant changes. Kind of like in a flat where you choose your own furniture, but the basic layout remains the same in the whole complex.
As far as adverts go, your hands are tied because WordPress decides who gets to advertise.
In terms of a domain name you can only go as far as adding your preferred name to the WordPress domain – e.g. yourpreferredname.wordpress.com
You can unlock some further options if you are willing to pay a small fee e.g
● Remove ads to use your own (WordPress adverts not included)
● Make basic changes to the themes
● Extra storage space
● Upload your videos (VideoPress)
● Premium themes
If you want a full blown site sporting your own domain name, unlimited file storage, and no adverts, WordPress.com can work out to be expensive.
My personal choices
For my personal blog, I choose to pay to upgrade my WordPress.com to michellehanton.com and for everything else I use there is the free version.
I use WordPress.org for my business blog – Dragon Sisters
I have grappled with the idea of combining the two blogs, and the jury is still out on that one. I’m torn between separating my personal and professional life, but then, on the other hand, they are so closely intertwined, many of the people I’ve met professionally have become friends and similarly, those who I have been friends with have become clients.
These days business is a lot less formal than when I first started my career and as I always tells everyone, it’s all about people connecting with people. I guess I just might combine the two into one blog, but on the other hand, maybe my friends don’t want to read about the business stuff.
I’m in a bit of a dilemma!
Love to have your feedback in helping me make this decision. Leave me a comment below or send me an email with your thoughts.
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