Blogging via the internet is the easiest way to share your ideas & experiences with the world. Many bloggers often dread the thought of starting a blog because they are not sure where to begin or are overwhelmed with the number of resources and platforms available to them.
In 2018, creating a website or blog is much easier than it used to be, giving the vast amounts of blogging services available to users. There are tons of facilities that will host your blog but, our primary recommendations for a blogging platform is WordPress (org).
What is WordPress
WordPress is one of the most popular and robust content management systems (CMS) on the web. It is an open source platform designed and created as a system for managing the content of your blog or website. WordPress acts as an orchestrator for all of your website content, allowing you to choose how content is displayed, formatted and presented to your audience.
> open source: A model where software is created and made free of charge
WordPress gained popularity around 2006+ not only amongst bloggers but, also amongst small to large website owners. For the first time, web users were able to create content seamlessly without editing raw HTML code. Giving users the ability to write content dynamically was a huge productivity booster, giving writers, website owners the ability to update their website content with ease.
WordPress is continually evolving due to the open source model. Many WP enthusiasts around the world help make WordPress grow by collaborating and fixing issues within the WP blogging ecosystem.
More than a blogging engine
WordPress is not just a platform for creating blogs. You can create a variety of websites using the CMS. Such sites include:
– company websites
– business card websites
– portfolio websites,
– informational websites
– e-commerce stores
and even saas web applications.
WordPress has an extremely easy-to-use interface once you are familiar with the WP dashboard. For the experienced users, WordPress functionality can be extended by downloading and installing various plugins, eliminating the need to hire a developer to make changes.
Making your blog look and feel great can be challenging if you are not a designer. WordPress comes with hundreds of free themes out-of-the-box.
Blogging creators can quickly change their website appearance and instantly add new content with the click of a button. Most WordPress themes come with customization options which allow bloggers to change the look and feel of their website without writing any code. Using the built-in WP customizer, you can quickly add or remove elements on your site with ease.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
If you are a newcomer to the WordPress ecosystem then, you may be unaware of the two versions of WordPress: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Keep in mind that they are not the same!
WordPress.org is the most popular blogging software in the world. It’s an open source blogging platform that will allow you to create your future website or blog *free of charge. Choosing this platform, you will need to get a hosting provider and a domain name.
Hosting provider: Someone who will host your website and serve it to the world
WordPress.org gives you the ability to fine-tune, monitor and control everything on your website. You have access to more than 20,000+ free plugins and themes available via the wordpres.org website.
Additionally, WordPress is an SEO friendly platform for many search engines. The cost of using the platform, WordPress.org is free but, you will need to purchase a domain name (about 14.99 USD per year) and hosting account (usually starting at about 5-7 USD per month).
WordPress.com is a hosted blogging service offered by Automattic Inc. WordPress.org founder Matt Mullenweg created it. WordPress.com provides a WordPress blog to users who would not like to host their blogging platform. You can also extend your blog via the WordPress.com platform by purchasing additional upgrades. Such upgrades include a custom domain name, extra storage, and other related services.
Pros of using WordPress.com:
- Very easy to use and manage.
- Complex installation and specific knowledge are not required;
- 24/7 support for your website (All non-free plans).
Cons of using WordPress.com:
- Limited opportunities to expand your site;
- Can not install plugins from third-party (org)
- No control over the platform
One thing to keep in mind that if you host your blog on paid platforms, it often comes down to who owns the content published via the platform.
The cost of using WordPress.com
The basic WordPress.com account is free, but it will contain WordPress.com ads and branding. You can upgrade to a personal plan that costs $4 per month ($48 paid annually) to remove the WordPress.com logo and advertisements from your blog and get your own domain name (for example, www.yoursite.com). For $ 8.25 per month (paid annually), you can get additional design tools, as well as extra storage. Because of very similar names, beginners often start with WordPress.com, thinking they are getting powerful WordPress.org software. Having seen the limitations, users often switch from WordPress.com to WordPress.org to have more control over their website with the enhanced functionality.
What kinds of sites you can make with WordPress?
As stated earlier in this post, blogs are not the only kind of websites you can create using WordPress. There are a collection of templates and plugins that allow you to create other types of sites. So what else can be created using the WordPress (org) platform?
Although WordPress was initially created for blogging, now you can even make an online store with ease. To build it, you need to install several individual plugins. Without a doubt, the most famous plugin for the online shop functionality is WooCommerce.
WooCommerce: Plugin that turns your blog into an eCommerce store
It also supports a lot of compatible themes, both free and paid. The WooCommerce functionality provides excellent opportunities for creating full-fledged online stores. It is worth noting that online stores built on WordPress, as a rule, heavily load the servers. Therefore, it is better to install them on reliable hosting.
Static websites are websites where the content does not change very often. These sites include portfolios, personal home pages, company websites, and others. You can create such sites using WordPress with minimal overhead. If blogs usually display the latest posts on the homepage, you will have to configure what to display on the static page sites (and you can make as many pages as you need).
Social Network website
You can quickly create a social networking website on WordPress using the BuddyPress plugin. Having installed one of these modules, you can create a full-fledged website similar to facebook, twitter or Instagram.
WordPress allows you to extend your site by adding a forum. Plugins such as bbPress Forum plugin provides all the main features for user registration, discussion topics, search within the website, etc.
Why you should use WordPress
WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) in 2018, powering over 25% of the entire world websites. According to Web Technology Surveys, 23.8% of all existing websites work on this platform, as well as 60.4% of all sites that use any CMS. Let’s review the most obvious reasons why WordPress is so popular.
WordPress.org (Forever free)
WordPress CMS is distributed under an open license agreement (GNU GPL). You can freely use this product for personal or commercial reasonings. WordPress is a free system that is freely available for download on the Internet for anyone.
Almost unlimited possibilities
As we’ve seen above, you can essentially create various types of websites using the WordPress platform.
WordPress is used by large companies such as the New Yorker, Reuters, TechCrunch, the US Republican Party, Fortune, The New York Times and many other major media, corporations and organizations.
Flexible appearance and functionality customization
There are a lot of premium and free WordPress templates available for WordPress websites owners. You can easily customize the website or blog with the help of them. It is also possible to customize internal portions of your site using free plugins.
A vast number of templates
WordPress offers a large selection of themes. All themes are easily customizable, and most of them allow you to change the individual elements such as:
- colors of individual blocks
- sliders and so on.
Ability to use multiple plugins
As mentioned earlier in this post, the WordPress dashboard allows users to download almost 20,000+ plugins. This enables you to extend your blog in many ways by installing and activating multiple plugins. If you feel good with the standard blog functionality, then it is possible not to use any plugins at all.
Simple to manage and work with
You do not need any specialized knowledge to work with WordPress. The underlying principles of WordPress are easy to understand and are very intuitive.
WordPress comes equipped with a built-in support for creating menus. This allows bloggers to change their website navigation with the click of a few buttons. Thanks to this feature, it is easy to customize the blog and improve its usability.
Having the ability to quickly create a blog post and publish it within 5 minutes is a huge productivity boost. You will spend much more time fine-tuning your template, transforming it into something unique and exciting.
Easy to learn
Those who start using the WP platform, quickly master it. Since WordPress is a popular platform, a lot of books and articles have been written about it. If you are puzzled, there are thousands of resources available to show you how to configure and work with WordPress.
Control over SEO
WordPress website owner always has an opportunity to keep an eye on the ball regarding SEO. WordPress was originally created with SEO in mind. You can use special plugins, for example, SEO WordPress by Yoast, All in one SEO Pack, etc.
WordPress is a system that continually offers a lot of updates for templates, plugins, and the core platform itself. This allows you to expand the site functionality, increase the design attractiveness. Besides, there are also WordPress communities, and a large number of forums where you can chat with other users, ask for advice or learn from someone else’s experience.
As you see, WordPress is very user-friendly and is perfect for new or experience website creators.
WordPress is not the platform for everyone but, it is almost an ideal choice for most blogs or small website. Despite some of its disadvantages, it can easily be used even for various types of sites.
What are your initial thoughts on using WordPress for a personal blog or website? Let us know in the comments.