WordPress comes in two versions, .com and .org ? so how do you use WordPress efficiently?
WordPress.com provides free hosted blogs that take about 20 minutes to set up. Everything is virtually done for you: the hosting, template, applications available, SEO, social sharing ? even the URL. The CMS (content management system) is designed to be extremely easy to use, and applications to add in images, video, audio, other media and polls are fully integrated. In fact, WordPress are improving their free hosting service so much, there are frequently new features available to play with whenever I go in.
However, there are restrictions, you don’t get something for nothing. You don’t get an independent URL, it has to end in wordpress.com; even though there are about 100 templates (themes) to choose from, and some can have their headers and link colours changed, you are still stifled as to design; extra HTML is not accepted, unless it is for RSS subscription sign-ups and social media feeds; and selling or advertising results in having your knuckles rapped by the blog police (and sometimes your blog taken down), unless it’s automatically generated Google Adwords from your keywords.
The upside is that this version is brilliant if you are a blogging beginner and want to start with an easy version, or you want to quickly set up a blog ?on the side? that links both ways from your website and feeds to your social media.
But if you want to create a blogsite (a website with an incorporated blog, or a website created using WordPress), then you need to use WordPress.org, the self-hosted version. This requires your own web-host and some technical knowledge to set up. You can either add on WordPress as an extension to your website (eg URL/blog or blog.URL), or create it as an independent blogsite.
You will need a host that is compatible with WordPress. There are two kinds: those that are semi-compatible, and you have to undergo a lengthy procedure to set up the right conditions, create databases and configure WordPress; and those that are totally compatible using Fantastico, which does virtually everything for you and your blog can be created within minutes.
The beauty of a blogsite is that you have total control of what it does, what it looks like (there are literally thousands of themes to choose from, and they can be easily adapted to suit your corporate style by changing the CSS and image files within them), and you can add as much extra HTML and selling mechanisms you like, as well as check your stats on Google Analytics. You won’t be bothered by the blog police, but you will have to remember to upgrade and back it up regularly. You will need to research into which plug-ins are suitable for you, and be aware of the latest additions to WordPress so you can install them.
Your blogsite could be an identity by itself, or a fancy blog that?s attached to your existing website, and can easily be incorporated so you can?t tell the difference. It is as easy to use as the WordPress.com blogs, plus extra features to help with SEO and other benefits.
So which one should you use? If you budget is restricted, you don’t have much time and aren’t technically minded, you just want to write some posts to promote your brand and educate your audience, then a blog is the answer. If you want your corporate identity to be seamless, use extra pages to sell your products or services, or even incorporate it into your new website that can easily be updated by you and your colleagues, then a blogsite is the answer.