WordPress is a great content management system. It’s been around for a few years and it greatly evolved from the limited blogging system all the way to a tool that allows you to manage a full blown website. I myself use it to run all my clients’ websites as well as websites of my own.
The one thing I get often asked about is what’s the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org.
In short: WordPress.com is a ready-made service where you register and start blogging. WordPress.org is mostly referred to as the content management system itself. You will need to get a web hosting first, then install WordPress, and only then start creating your content.
Both have their pros and cons. Let’s have a look at the most important ones.
WordPress.com is a very convenient and very fast way to start blogging, and in its most restricive version it is also free of charge. Registration is simple if you follow the instructions to the letter. It is a solid, powerful platform with some great features and very well designed user interface.
Now, free account is fine if you don’t need to use your own domain name. Sooner or later though, every blogger comes to a point when he/she decides to make it a bit more personal and so they upgrade to one of the paid subscriptions just to get that option.
And if you need to add Google Analytics tracking code, you have to upgrade to a package that comes at €299 a year! Don’t get me wrong, the built in web stats are fine but will give you only as much as basic numbers.
In any case, you’re not allowed to add your own plugins (unless you upgrade to the €299 a year plan). This can be very frustrating if you want to add features that don’t come with the theme supplied by WordPress.com.
Annual price if you want custom domain, plugins, and Google Analytics: €299
I’ll start with the cons because there’s really just one: you need to find your web host and install WordPress before you can add content. The good news is that there’s many good web hosts who will provide you with something called 1-click WordPress Installation script, which makes it as easy as filling in your new website’s name, selecting admin user name and clicking the Install button. Or, if you host with me, I’ll install it for you and send you the details.
Now the pros. And there’s a lot of them…
First and the biggest pro is you have complete control over your website. You want to install plugins? No problem. You need to add Google Analytics or other tracking, or social media, code? No problem. You want to run an ecommerce site? That’s cool too because there are many great e-shop related plugins and themes you can use to start your new online business! The possibilities are endless.
Another great thing about going self-hosted (this is how it’s called, a self-hosted WordPress site), you can still use some of the features of WordPress.com via a plugin called WordPress JetPack. Using this plugin you can enable social sharing, incredibly looking tiled galleries, secure your website against spam comments and malicious login attempts, improve commenting engine, use WordPress.com’s image content delivery network (Photon), and much more.
And there’s the cost, which is a lot lower than the €299 a year WordPress.com subscription. You can create your fully featured website for under €50 a year if you spend the time to design it yourself. There are plenty of free themes that make it so much easier. If you need to add more features than your theme provides, you can avail of the sheer number of free plugins too. And if you’re not happy with the free stuff, there are plenty of paid themes and plugins on Themeforest, Yithemes and others too, which can take your website to a new level.
Annual price for a fully customisable WordPress website: under €50 (can go even lower or way higher depending on your hosting and domain name fees)