If you’re a blogger and thinking about expanding your online presence or you want to start making money out of your blogging, then the decisions around WordPress and Blogspot are important.
Today I thought I’d give you my tips on why I think WordPress.org wins hands down.
WordPress.org is a self-hosted platform. This means you buy a domain name and a hosting package (there is a small cost involved in setting this up). You own the content and are in full control.
WordPress.com and Blogspot are free sites. You can just sign up and start blogging. This will mean you technically don’t own the content (as in, if the site crashes or gets a bug, you can lose it forever because you have not paid for any services). Customisation is difficult (particularly on WordPress.com).
PRO’s for self-hosted WordPress.org sites
- Can build an entire website, plus can use eCommerce sites and integrate a blog all in one.
- You can use plugins to make your site do just about anything you like.
- You can fully customise your theme or choose from thousands of themes available.
- Use Custom Analytics and Tracking.
- You can have lots of navigation menus and drop down lists.
- Easy slideshows wherever you want them. You want it on this page, but not that? Done!
- Each page can have it’s own layout – full width, 2 columns, 3 columns, different headers, magazine layouts…
- Your footer is just as good as your header.
- Share buttons, date, post title etc can easily be moved to wherever you like it. You can turn these on and off according to whether you want it on a certain post or not.
- Add more key words to the SEO for a particular post whilst drafting it up.
- Host your own images.
CON’s for WordPress.com and Blogspot sites
- Customization is limited. There are not many designers around anymore who can customise a Blogspot blog for you. It requires a lot of code tweaking.
- You cannot use plugins.
- You don’t host your own images. If the site goes down, you lose everything.
As you can see I recommend you use WordPress.org. The interface for WordPress.org and WordPress.com are very similar though so you can easily get confused. If you’re a new blogger starting out and just want to get the hang of writing online and don’t want to outlay money then I recommend you start with Blogspot. This would be the only real PRO for using the free sites. I did use Blogspot for 5 years when I started out in 2006 and it is good for early bloggers. But I soon realised that image online is everything so it was time to step it up a notch.
What do I need for a self-hosted WordPress.org blog?
- You need a domain – buy one here – and you need to have the login details to that account. If you bought your domain some time ago elsewhere, then you need to track that down. Domains can cost about $12 per year. You get a FREE domain in the link where I recommend to buy.
- You need hosting. This is a place where your site will sit. You’ll have full access to support and customisation. If anything goes wrong with your site your hosting provider can grab a backup. I recommend you buy from here if you’re a new to intermediate blogger. Save those login details too. It can cost about $5 per month.
- You can’t just download or sign up for WordPress.org. You need to make sure your domain and hosting are married up and that you’ve added WordPress to them inside your hosting account. Most people ask a blog designer or website creator to help them do this as they are more experienced as it’s a little too technical. If you need me to do it for you, then you just need to bring your domain login and hosting login details.
What if I need to move over?
- If you’re already using WordPress.com you can purchase a Guided Transfer here via WordPress. But you will need that domain and hosting all married up first.
- Alternatively you may need someone (ME here!) to move your WordPress.com or Blogspot blog to your new self-hosted site and create a design for you.
- It pays to make sure someone can help you do this successfully! Most of the time it only takes a couple of hours to make sure it’s up and running again for you.
Hopefully I’ve clarified a few basic definitions for you today so you’ll be able to make some choices if you’re starting out or looking to take your blogging to the next level.
Here’s a popular post I wrote which guides you through the complete setup of a LIFESTYLE BLOG.