I want to preface this post by saying that by no means am I an expert on blogging. I’m just trying to share some of the information I’ve found helpful in the almost three years I’ve been blogging. Feel free to leave tips with anything you’ve learned or found helpful about WordPress in the comments.
Before I decided to start this blog I did some research about what blogging platform I wanted to use. There were lots of choices (Tumblr, Blogger, WordPress to name a few). I decided to go with WordPress because I’d heard so many good things about it. In the beginning I started with wordpress.com, and once I decided I wanted to self-host I used wordpress.org. Click here for the differences between the two.
It’s free (unless you upgrade certain features), and pretty easy to use. Within a week or two of using it I had the basic functions down. While learning something can sometimes be frustrating, I found with WordPress things were pretty straight forward and intuitive. It didn’t take long to figure out how to insert a photo into a post or how to add a link.
You don’t have to worry about any of the technical aspects of your blog. You can basically just create content (posts) and it’s done. You don’t have to have any specialized knowledge about blogs or websites to use wordpress.com.
The downside to using wordpress.com is that there’s a limited amount of customization you can do. You can only make minor tweaks to the theme you’ve chosen, so there’s not a lot of individuality in terms of looks.
There's also a limited amount of money you can make from a wordpress.com blog from ads. You don’t have much choice about the little advertising you can do on your blog.
Plug-ins are wonderful things. They can do everything from analytics to contact forms. Even if you don’t know anything about coding or the behind the scenes mechanics of how your blog works, plus-ins make it really easy to do things I would otherwise have no idea how to do. Unfortunately with wordpress.com, you can’t use them.
First off I have to say that I’m not a computer person. As much as I try to figure things out on my own, I usually get stuck and end up asking people more techy than I am. When I decided to go the self-hosting route over a year ago, I knew I’d have to set things up, and that was slightly terrifying. If I had known how easy it was going to be I definitely would have switched over sooner.
Luckily there are lots of tutorials (both text based and on youtube) to help with the seemingly daunting task of switching from wordpress.com to wordpress.org. Once I hada host I exported my wordpress.com blog to my new wordpress.org blog. It was surprisingly easy to do with a little guidance from tutorials, and before I knew it, my new wordpress.org blog was up and running.
Before using plug-ins I had no idea how useful they were. I now use them on my blog and find they really do make a difference in the functionality of it, that I wouldn’t have otherwise because I don’t have the coding knowledge. I think it’s really taken my blog up a notch from when it was on wordpress.com.
You have to pay to have s self-hosted blog on wordpress.org. You can find relatively cheap hosting companies, as well as quite expensive ones, depending on what you’re looking for. It was important to me that my hosting company have great customer service, so I also took that into account when I was picking one.
There are so many choices when it comes to deciding what you want your blog to look like. I found it pretty overwhelming for a long time. In fact, there were so many choices it took me quite awhile to figure out what I wanted my blog to look like. I ended up getting stuck, not knowing where to begin making my blog what I wanted it to be.
Another con is that you’re responsible for your blog. Didn’t back up? That’s on you. Lots of spam comments? You have to go through and delete them. Luckily there’s lots of easy ways do deal with that kind of stuff if you’re willing to take the time to learn.
What kind of blogging platform do you use? What made you choose it?