Hi guys, in my previous post Aliens, Espresso, WordPress and Rain blogs I mentioned that I'll be starting a new series of tutorials this month... WordPress in Plain English
Since there seems to be a lot of confusion about even the most basic aspects of WordPress, these tutorials will be based on the questions/problems I hear about most often. Also, if you have ideas or suggestions for future tutorials, let me know and if there is enough interest, I'll try to cover those as well. Let's get started...
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of WordPress like installation, settings, tweaking the design, etc... I thought we should take look at 2 basic points that seem to cause most of the confusion for people who've never used WordPress before. Those 2 questions are usually something along the lines of...
- Why do I need or why should I use WordPress for my blog or website?
- Should I use WordPress.com or WordPress.org
OK, nobody "needs" WordPress. You need food, water, air, love and espresso (maybe espresso is just me) but... if you want to build a rock solid, flexible, easy to maintain web presence, WordPress is the platform of choice for some of the biggest names, blogs and websites on the net like...
Before we go on, to get the most out of WordPress I'm going to ask you to stop thinking of it as a blog.
Yes, WordPress is definitely the most popular blogging platform but it can be used in so many other ways including as a standard website, a newsletter, a book, a photography portfolio, a one page property site, a restaurant menu that updates daily and so on and so on.
A good example is the front page of my art website. I'm taking time this month to redesign all of my sites so I'm including a screen shot here in case you read this after I make the changes.
If you go to http://garaughty.com you'll notice that there is no header, sidebar or footer but this was actually designed in WordPress, that's how flexible it is. It doesn't even have to include a blog or look anything like a blog.
From an end user's point of view, here are the 3 main reasons WordPress is probably the best platform to launch your blog or website on...
- you can easily install and set up WordPress on any quality web host for free
- you can put a decent looking blog together for $100 or less (upcoming tutorial)
- you can add new pages and content to your WP site content without waiting for your "web guy" to do it
This next part causes most of the confusion but is really easy to answer and understand...
Should I use WordPress.com or WordPress.org?
The answer is NEITHER! I'm not sure how this became such a point of confusion but the simple fact is that you can't set up a blog on WordPress.org
The only blog on WordPress.org is the WordPress News blog, nothing else, no other blogs. Take a look and you'll see for yourself. What people who say they're going to "set up a blog on WordPress.org" probably mean is that they are downloading the WordPress software from WordPress.org to set up on their web host but... there is a much easier, faster and better way to do that (upcoming tutorial).
Now that we're (hopefully) clear on that, the next point about .org or .com is more of a business decision than anything to do with technology. WordPress.com is where a lot of bloggers begin, sort of like a bicycle with training wheels. There is nothing wrong with setting up your blog on WordPress.com if you're using it for fun, as a hobby or whatever.
But if you're going to do that, you have to think long term and what would be best for your business. A blog on WordPress.com, Blogger.com, Posterous, etc... means you're a guest on their site just like you're a guest on Facebook when you set up a fan page or business page. If for some reason they change the rules, the technology, want to place ads on your page/blog or boot your off because you accidentally violated their terms of service...
Your blog and all those wonderful backlinks and Google rankings that you've built up could be gone overnight. And if you think this could never happen or need some real life examples, check out...
There's a lesson in Friendfeed's sale for all of us who spend time with social media... We are playing in somebody else's yard. And we can be told to go home at any time.
Just a few years ago Facebook erased me from the web for 24 hours. I can’t forget that... Let’s say Facebook wanted to kick you off the system, it could, and that could have deep implications for your business, career, etc.
Facebook blocks Social Media Today, but We Have to Guess Why
A stern warning (or lack thereof) - Flickr is watching you
On the Web, forever has a due date
Coraline is a new theme at WordPress.com, where it has replaced Cutline. I think that this is the first time that WordPress.com has removed a theme and switched all sites from that theme to another without prior warning.
Where's your content when the lights go out? Protecting yourself from an online service's shutdown
Thousands of blogs shut down over 'terrorist material'
The point isn't to scare you but to make you aware that if you're aren't in total control of your own website or blog, then someone else is.
If you have additional topics you'd like to see covered or would like more information about custom graphics, themes or to book a 1 on 1 consultation to create or customize your WordPress or ActiveRain blogs, you can reach me here Later...
For more info about how we can help you stand out from the crowd, contact GiselleStCyr@garaughty.com