WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: Which is best for your blog?

blog-49006_640WordPress comes in two different varieties: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. But what’s the difference and which is best for your blog?

Let’s start by comparing the two. WordPress.com is a hosted service, which means that you create a blog on WordPress’s servers. It’s fast and easy to set up a new blog and WordPress.com offers attractive templates plus much more including backups, stats and security. You can even get a custom domain, which means you can change the URL of your WordPress blog from, say ‘blogname.wordpress.com’ to ‘blogname.com’. This gives you a more memorable URL to share as you promote your blog as well as helping you to brand your site. WordPress.com is free unless you buy any of the optional additional services they offer.

The alternative is WordPress.org. With WordPress.org you’ll need to buy your own web hosting and install the WordPress software on your web host’s server. This is more difficult than setting up WordPress.com, but there are plenty of online WordPress tutorials to help you or you can pay a web designer or freelancer to do it for you if you prefer. WordPress.org itself is free of charge as it’s open source software, although you may choose to buy some premium (ie paid) plugins.

So why would you choose the extra work of WordPress.org when you can set up a blog in seconds with WordPress.com? Well, with WordPress.org it’s your site so you can make your own rules. With WordPress.com you need to stick to WordPress.com’s terms of service. If you break these then you could lose your blog.

If you’re blogging to promote your business then having a WordPress.com blog could give the wrong impression, too. If your clients know that it’s cheap and quick to set up a self-hosted blog then it could look unprofessional to use a hosted blog such as WordPress.com, especially if you haven’t set up a custom domain. If you already have a business website then it’s usually easy to add a blog to it, so it’s worth discussing this with your web designer before you create a blog at WordPress.com.

On the other hand, if you’re just starting out in the wonderful world of blogging, then a WordPress.com blog could be a great choice. You can export your blog’s content from a hosted WordPress site to a self-hosted WordPress site later on if you need to, so this doesn’t need to be a one-off decision.

There are many other advantages to having a self-hosted blog, too. There’s a huge choice of themes and plugins which means you can choose almost any feature you want for your site from design features such as fonts, colors and layouts to functional features such as shopping carts and email sign-up boxes. So there’s plenty of room for your blog to grow, for example if you’d like to sell advertising or information products in future.

New bloggers often get confused about the difference between the two types of WordPress, so I hope that’s helped clear up any confusion!

Take your blog to the next level with these top ideas

Is your blog starting to stagnate? It’s something that many bloggers have to face up to. You either let it stagnate, or you take a step in a new direction in order to improve the blog.

Get More Social

One great way to create more interest in your blog and its content is to make it more social. If you don’t already have a dedicated account on Twitter (and maybe one on Facebook too) for your blog, then make one. This will help to spread your content across social media, catching the eye of more people. If you create the kind of content that is very shareable, then making sure that you post links to this content on social media is even more important. If you get it right, you might even be able to create a small community around the content you publish. Encourage discussions and conversations if you want to do this.

Keep Updating Your Posts

If you are struggling to keep people interested in your website, better linking could be the answer to all your troubles. Your posts need to have the right kind links in them. Of course, linking to reputable external sites is very important for SEO reasons. Search engine algorithms love the kind of content that links to and receive links from top websites. But internal linking is even more important if you want people to stick around on your blog for a little longer. You should even go back over your old posts and add new links to your more recent posts in them. This encourages people to read more of your content.

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The images you use on your website matter a lot more than you might currently realise. People like to see great images that liven up a website when they visit it. They don’t want to see a dull and boring page that is full of nothing but words. We all prefer text to be broken up by images and other kinds of visually engaging content. If we don’t see something that stimulates our minds, then we instantly start to switch off, and that’s when people leave your website. It’s easy enough to find free stock photos on the internet, so make the most of them. They will instantly lend more visual appeal to your blog.

Add Keywords to Your Titles

You might think that it’s best to be unique and creative when it comes to writing titles for your blog posts. And it is. But it is also important to remember the basics. One of the most important of those basic rules is making sure that your titles are filled with the kinds of keywords that people search for. Think about what you would type into Google if you were looking for the kind of blog post that you are writing. And then transfer the keywords from what you entered and put them in your titles. This will make all your posts and content much easier to find for people who know nothing about your blog.

 

The blogger’s guide to web hosting

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With blogs being rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate online information, more and more people are choosing to access this kind of content before visiting traditional media outlets.

Not only is this good news for bloggers writing about their interests and passions in life, but also brands that want to connect with customers through a different online platform. However, before jumping on the blogging bandwagon with your own daily musings, you must know where and how it will be hosted. Continue reading “The blogger’s guide to web hosting”

Business blogging: What’s the point of your post?

The big difference between writing for business and writing for fun is that business writing needs to have a clear purpose. That’s why you need more than just a topic for each post, you need a point, too. Each post on your blog should have just the one point.

Whether it’s to encourage readers to sign up for your email list, urge them to leave a comment or encourage visitors to buy something, each post should have a specific point and a call to action.

Here are some ideas for points:

  • To encourage readers to subscribe to your mailing list

The aim is to write a post that’s so useful or engaging that your readers want more. (Blogging gurus call these ‘pillar posts’). At the bottom of these posts, include a sign-up box for your email list so you can capture the reader the second they finish your post.

  • To sell something

Whether it’s your own products or someone else’s, blog posts can make people more receptive to buying. Product reviews, case studies, and new product announcements can help you sell a product or service. Make the post a conversation rather than a sales pitch, though.

  • To engage your readers.

Sometimes, you may want to get feedback or create a feeling of community. To get your readers to respond, you could ask questions, invite discussion or even suggest that readers respond in the comments section or on their own blogs.

  • To encourage viral marketing

If you want your posts to go viral, you need to create valuable content that others will want to save and pass on to friends, or even tweet to their followers on Twitter. These types of posts make up the backbone of your blog. While they may not directly bring in sales, they encourage readers to return again and again and to recommend your site to their colleagues and friends.

You may have another reason that isn’t mentioned above and that’s perfectly OK. The key is to have a reason, and to know that reason before you even start writing.

If you’d like to know more about business blogging, I recommend WordPress for Business Bloggers by Paul Thewlis

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