WordPress.org versus WordPress.com: Which one is right for you?

So you’re looking to create a website? That is awesome!

Wordpress is such a great place to start. It’s free, it’s open source, it’s flexibility and it’s good friends with Google as far as SEO is concerned. In fact, more than 23% of websites are run on Wordpress.

I digress. You probably know how great Wordpress is and that’s why you’re here… maybe you went to set up your website and discovered there’s two versions of Wordpress.

What option do you choose?

Let me help you with that.

Wordpress.com vs. Wordpress.org

There are two ways to get started with Wordpress. You can set up a Wordpress.com or Wordpress.org. You only ever want to set up your site using Wordpress.org.

Here’s why.

Wordpress.com sites are hosted by Wordpress meaning they run on their own platform for free. You can still buy your own domain and customise the site through paid extras but it’s a lot more limited than Wordpress.org. There’s no fancy plugins or unlimited styles to choose from. It’s also difficult to adapt later on. In addition, there are also a number terms and conditions that you must meet otherwise posts or your enter site can be deleted.

It’s a bit like social media. You are renting land as opposed to owning it.

Wordpress.org offers complete flexibility. You have full access to features, functions and customisation options that you just don’t get with Wordpress.com. Namely, plugins which are like applications that integrate into your site and third party themes.

You also have full ownership over it and how it is used. You simply pay for your domain and hosting through a site like BlueHost or GoDaddy and you’re good to go. In fact, most hosting providers offer one click install which means you simply click a button and they’ll set up the basics for you in just a couple of minutes.

You don’t need to be a web developer or coder. Anyone can use it.

The bottom line

Wordpress.com is fine if you are a hobbyist just looking to blog. It’s not really a viable option if you are looking to get serious and build a proper website.

Wordpress.org enables you to create a professional, brand consistent website that works around your business model.

So now you know you are looking for Wordpress. org, you might be wondering what your next steps are in creating your new website?

Website Next Steps

Domain and Hosting

The best place to start is to find a hosting provider that can also provide your domain and offers one click Wordpress install. I recommend GoDaddy or BlueHost from personal experience but there are many others other there.

Follow through the steps in buying your domain, hosting package and click to install Wordpress. Don’t worry if this sounds daunting, these companies walk you through the process step by step.

Theme

Next up you need to pick a theme for your website. There are a crazy number of Wordpress themes available. For a huge selection of designs I recommend ThemeForest or WooThemes.

I’m also a huge fan of Studiopress which builds a child theme on top of a framework. There are many benefits to this. I don’t want to confuse you with my awful explanation of what that means. Instead, I recommend you check out their site. They do a super job of explaining it.

Plugins

When you get started there are some essential plugins you want to install. These help to optimise your site from the get go. Here’s just a couple that I recommend:

All in One SEO Pack

Purpose: Optimise for search engine optimisation.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/all-in-one-seo-pack/

Wordfence Security

Purpose: Protects your website.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/wordfence/

W3 Total Cache

Purpose: Helps optimise user experience through speed performance

https://en-gb.wordpress.org/plugins/w3-total-cache/

Akismet

Purpose: Filters comments that look like spam.

https://akismet.com/

Google Analytics

Purpose: Monitor, measure and understand performance.

https://en-gb.wordpress.org/plugins/google-analytics-dashboard-for-wp/

Google XML Sitemaps

Purpose: Generate an XML sitemap for your site.

https://en-gb.wordpress.org/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/

Broken Link Checker

Purpose: Monitors the links for those that are no longer working.

https://en-gb.wordpress.org/plugins/broken-link-checker/

UpdraftPlus

Purpose: Backs up your website

https://ithemes.com/purchase/backupbuddy/

Please do note, these are just the basic minimum you need to get started. 

Content

Start thinking about the content you are going to be putting on your website.Keep it really simple for your user and think about why they would land on your site and what they would be looking to see. As a minimum, start with this:

  • Home Page (Theme will give you options on what you can include)
  • About
  • Services
  • Blog
  • Contact Page

Remember to put the focus on the reader rather than yourself. All they care about it what’s in it for them.

Guide the visitor through your site guiding them to the action you want them to take. Often this will be an email sign up. If you haven’t got an email provider, Mailchimp is a great free option to start. It also comes with a plugin.

Simply go to plugins > search > Mailchimp and you’ll find it.

If you are going to include the Blog on your menu bar, also be sure to include a few posts in the beginning so that people aren’t landing on an empty site. After all, you only get one chance to make a first impression.

I hope that’s a good basic starting list for you. More importantly I hope it answered your initial question. Wordpress.org. Always.

If you have any questions, let me know below.

Much love from my heart to yours.

Chloë xx