I often get questions about WordPress, especially via social media. Many wonder if WordPress is good and if it’s, in fact, the best blog platform. You might also wonder if WordPress is right blog platform for you?
To answer that question, I have been helped by Jon Jens, who runs his blog for over 10 years now. Jon is, in fact, also my partner, so I think it’s really fun to be able to get him to contribute a blog post on loreleiweb.com!
Jon is a very experienced programmer, and after we gave up our jobs and moved to Thailand, he started running his own business. He focuses on the technical, the part I personally do not like to keep up with, so it’s just perfect!
Here Jon will give you an in-depth and easy explanation, which can help you to determine if WordPress is right blog platform for you, so:
This is the WordPress.
Most people start to blog on a free platform like blogger.com, or wordpress.com. It works out fine at the start because it’s easy to get started, it costs nothing, and you don’t have to think about maintenance and technical details.
But as you invest more time in the blog, it may be that the lack of control will push you to get moving over to a professional hosting service. When that time comes, WordPress basically the only option for you that not even require any knowledge of coding and web design?
When we talk about WordPress in daily speech, so we believe the platform which can be downloaded from WordPress.org. To make the confusion complete, is there another site called WordPress.com.
WordPress.org vs WordPress.com. The two are not the same.
WordPress.com is a free blog platform, just like blogger.com. It is possible to pay for additional services such as own domain name, but it’s still wordpress.com which is responsible for the operation of your blog.
WordPress.org, or just WordPress, which I want to call it from now on, is not a web service. It is free, open source software. WordPress is a program, but you do not install it on your own computer. You have to install it on a server or hosting, as it’s called in English.
Benefits of WordPress
On your own WordPress installation, you can do whatever you want. It’s your code, and basically, you can change it into anything. But for most, it will probably be out of the question to dive into the PHP and CSS code and start programming.
Thousands of themes and plugins
Fortunately, there is a large ecosystem of themes (themes) and extensions (plugins) that you can install so that one does not need to be able to code at all for using WordPress.
A theme is a template for how the website should look like. There are thousands of themes for blogs and online stores. Some are free, while others cost money.
You can also customize the themes that you want with your own colors and fonts. I use the same theme as lean on my blog. It appears to be quite different from the blog better, but when you set them side by side such as in the picture below, you will see that they are actually using the same theme.
A plugin is something to install in on WordPress that provide additional functionality.
Most are available for free on WordPress ‘s database. No matter what you need, whether it is a contact form, Facebook-like-button, or the online store, there is an extension for it.
WordPress is free
The code of WordPress comes with a license that says you can use it and change it as you want, without having to pay anything at all to those who create WordPress. If you buy a theme or an extension, it is almost always a one-time payment. The beauty of open source software!
Thus you pay little or nothing for the software. What costs money is the hosting fees. Usually, it costs from $3 to $30 a month. In addition, the annual fee for owning domain names, about 12 dollars for a TLD.
Many users recommend to host with NameCheap, as it’s super cheap, super high quality and you get a domain for free.
You don’t have to display advertising
On free platforms like blogger.com, you have to display advertising (that should cover the costs of hosting your website). That’s how they make money on you. If you remove the promo – it is the violation of their guidelines, and your blog will be shut down.
On your own WordPress hosted blog only your rules apply, and the European Union law. You can choose to display advertising and take all the sponsored offers, or display none whatsoever. You can have sponsored posts if you want. You and you only are responsible for what you publish.
You can have an online store
There are several good options for the online store on WordPress, WooCommerce is being the most popular one. WooCommerce is free to use just like WordPress. This option outshines the expensive rival Shopify that cost 300 dollars a month.
All WordPress blogs can be extended with the WooCommerce e-shop platform, regardless of its topic, but if your theme has support for WooCommerce online store will get the same style as the rest of the blog.
With WordPress, you can concentrate on blogging (only), until you have something to sell. Then you can install WooCommerce, or you can get someone to set it up for you. You can basically add the e-shop functionality just when you have something to offer your readers, but other than that you don’t need to use a e-shop platform.
It’s easy to move your blog
With WordPress powered blog, you are not locked to a service and server, the way you are with blogger.com blogging platform. You can easily export all content and upload it somewhere else. For example, if you have your blog hosted with any company, moving to any other web host is just a matter of a few clicks. You can either use the inbuilt WordPress functionality of backing up the database or, if you have any plugins and images, use the All In One WP Migration plugin for moving the entire blog. And of course it is all absolute free.
Cons of WordPress
There is really just one downside when it comes to WordPress compared to other free blogging platforms, and that is that you are responsible for installing and operating your blog. There is basically no one who you can complain to when things don’t work as they should (apart from the hosting service).
The required technical skill to install and set up WordPress. It is not always easy to know which extensions you need, and how to get them to work with the rest of the website. Often, you want to make customization to the template (WordPress theme), for example, to change the colors or font sizes. Or maybe you want to hide the items that are not used.
When the blog is set up, it’s time to learn how to use WordPress.
By this I mean, you must be able to:
As an administrator, log on WordPress Dashboard, a page that only you have access to. In there is quite a lot of menus you can go into to change on most of what’s on your page. It may seem a little daunting the first time you log into there, but luckily, there are only a few of the menus you need to rely upon to add content.
How to make a new blog post:
Built-in in WordPress is a text editor that looks like a little on Microsoft Word, but with fewer options for formatting. It is perhaps easier to get a sense of how easy or difficult it is to see a demo.
How to post photos and videos:
If you are going to have a blog that people can bear to read, so you must have pictures. You might also want to add videos or content from Instagram. Fortunately, there is built-in support for it in WordPress.
Maintenance of the page
As an administrator, you should install the updates to the theme and extensions when they come. The fixes and seals the security holes, so that your site will not be infected with malicious software. In addition, one should learn how to make a backup so that you can restore if something gets broken. It is not very complicated, but it is something that should be done.
An online store is more difficult
It should be noted that it is more demanding to maintain an online store than a blog or Web site. WooCommerce is the easiest and most popular online store solution. It has many possibilities, and can therefore also is perceived as complicated.
How hard it is to add a product depends on what it is you are selling. If it is something that should be sent in the mail, you have to deal with shipping classes. If there are products with variations such as color, it becomes more complicated. If you want to manage the inventory status through the online store, you have to know how it works.
I can help you with setting up these things, read more on my homepage. But ultimately, you have to be able to add content to your Web page. The option is that you pay someone to do it through a maintenance agreement.
In the end of the day, it’s your decision to choose what platform you will be using for your blog. I personally believe that self hosted WordPress blog is the best option for everyone, even if you believe you are not very tech savvy.