Being an entrepreneur, it is worth it to have a blog. Even if it’s not a part of a larger content marketing operation, it’s always good to stay connected to our customers, be it clients or audience, and having a blog enables us to establish such connection on both the professional and personal level.
Having a blog is one thing, though, having a successful one being another. When it comes to our blog’s success, two factors are worth taking into consideration that can bring it this little important bit closer to us: the quality of our content and our choice of blogging platform – also known as CMS (short for Content Management System). And when it comes to the latter, the most popular CMS, powering, as it’s advertised, more than 24% of the Internet, is WordPress.
Two Different Kinds of WordPress? Which is Better? Which to Choose?
It’s not like there are two different kinds of WordPress. It’s more like there are two different versions of one and the same solution.
The basic difference is simple enough. Should we choose WordPress.com, we won’t have to worry about hosting our blog. The team behind WordPress, Automattic, will provide us with the server and all the tools we need to start blogging immediately. Should we choose WordPress.org, however, we will have to find a server to host our blog ourselves. We will also need to configure our CMS manually. Which can sound like it’s a daunting task, but – in fact – it’s the better of two options. And it’s also the cheaper one.
Just to make it clear: WordPress.org is not a blogging platform per se. It’s a place we can download our CMS from. WordPress.com – on the other hand – is such a platform. It provides us with the server to host our CMS – and the CMS itself is already installed there.
WordPress.org’s Pros and Cons
- It’s 100% free.
- It’s 100% configurable: we can use each & every WordPress Theme or change each & every line of code we want to. We can also install plugins.
- We have a choice when it comes to hosting. There’s plenty of options to choose from (some of them are actually better than WordPress.com itself!).
- It makes us a part of wonderful WordPress.org community (should we wish to participate). Which is full of v. interesting people willing to encourage us to explore WordPress further and become better at using it (in case we need a motivational boost).
- We have to do everything manually. From installing and setting our CMS up to saving backups, installing updates, and protecting our blog from being attacked, it’s all on our shoulders.
- We have to make sure that the server hosting our blog will be able to withstand all the traffic. Should it fail to, the blog will probably go offline, and we’ll have to bring it back online again. The real problem here is not that it can damage our blog – in most cases, it shouldn’t – but that it’s never good if one’s site is offline when his audience wants to browse it.
- It’s time really consuming. In fact, it’s a full-time job. If we are an entrepreneur, we will probably have to hire someone to manage our blog for us (which is a common practice nowadays).
- It requires constant learning and keeping up-to-date with WordPress news.
Who Should Choose It?
People with a lower budget. Businesspeople (and busy people). Entrepreneurs. Full-time bloggers. Part-time bloggers.
WordPress.com’s Pros and Cons
- We don’t have to worry about installing nor setting up our CMS (not to mention doing backups). WordPress.com is ready to use (almost) from the get-go.
- We don’t have to worry about hosting. No matter if it’s hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands of visiting users, Automattic’s servers are powerful enough to withstand any traffic.
- We don’t have to worry about being hacked or attacked. The safety measures are state of the art: WordPress.com-based blogs and websites are virtually attack-proof.
- Customer service is top-notch. The problems (should we encounter any) are solved (again: almost) instantly.
- Most of its functions are not free. As a matter of fact, it can be expensive, sometimes, depending on the option we have decided to choose, even v. expensive.
- It’s not 100% configurable. We can choose only from WordPress-provided Themes (and though there’s certainly enough of them, it’s still not that many compared to WordPress.org). Furthermore, we won’t be able to install plugins nor other additions. Also, accessing some original WordPress.com additions require additional payment.
- We have no choice over hosting: our site will always be hosted on Automattic’s servers.
- If we want to have our own domain, we will have to pay $30 (a year) more. Also, extended fonts, access to Google Analytics, etc. are paid, too.
Who Should Choose It?
People with a higher budget. Full-time bloggers with a higher budget. Content marketers. Professional journalists & news portals.
Additional Notes & Summary
Despite all of the above, it’s worth to mention that WordPress.com can also be used for free. We won’t have access to full spectrum of its features, but we can use it nonetheless. Using it means comfort and lots of worries off one’s head, but is it all that bad to have to worry about all these management-related aspects of blogging? The truth is that it’s often better to learn how to do things ourselves than to rely on the knowledge of others; after all, that’s what’s made us entrepreneurs, isn’t it? The lack of time might be a problem, but then – who says that we need to be blogging full-time? And should we need to, it probably means that we’re in this stage of our company’s development that we’re also able to afford the employment of someone to do it for us.
Thus, if I was to answer “who should choose what,” I’d say that WordPress.org is much more, let me use that expression, “entrepreneurial” than much more comfortable WordPress.com; still, if we’re able to pay for this comfort – there’s nothing to stop us. And it’s worth the money.