I Recommend WordPress:
If you have decided to start a blog or become intentional about your blogging endeavors, I recommend investing in a self-hosted WordPress site.
Your initial entry into the WordPress world can be a bit confusing because there are two different sides to the blogging and website world – hosted and self-hosted. Even those two words are a bit confusing.
Compare a hosted site to renting an apartment. Living in an apartment and writing posts on a WordPress.com site offer the opportunity to express your views and your personality. But your choices are limited because someone else owns the building and your site. You can decide move on and take your posts with you, just as you can move out of an apartment.
Then compare a self-hosted site to buying a home. You must make several decisions as you start the process. To launch a self-hosted site, you need to purchase (register) a domain name. You next choose the lot (hosting service) where your domain name will reside. That is where the term ‘self-hosted’ comes in. You (self) choose where your site will be hosted.
Michael Hyatt purchased his domain in 1998. He reiterates the importance of owning your domain and your site in the midst of the ever-changing online environment:
I encourage everyone interested in growing a platform to begin with a home base that you control.
You control your home base with a self-hosted blog choosing the software available from WordPress.org.
Reasons to Choose WordPress:
- A self-hosted WordPress blog provides the ability to capture email addresses from everyone who subscribes to your blog. When your site is on WordPress.com, readers can choose to follow or subscribe. While those who follow you do receive your blog posts, you do not have access to those email addresses. Being able to email not only blog posts but newsletters and other offers to your readers can be very important.
- WordPress is Search Engine Optimized or SEO-friendly right out of the box. You want your site to be easily indexed by Google and other search engines, so prospective readers can easily find your site when they type a phrase into a search engine.
- WordPress sites are mobile-responsive meaning the layout or content of the site will respond or adapt based upon the size of the screen on which it is viewed. As of May 2013, over 60% of US adults were viewing the internet using a mobile device and that number continues to grow.
- WordPress offer customization options far beyond fonts, images, and colors. If you have a business or hobby you wish to pursue, you can probably find a theme or plugin that will allow you to pursue that endeavor on WordPress. The amazing writers at WPBeginner.com have culled a list of 19 types of websites you can create.
- The WordPress community welcomes newbies, advanced users, and everyone in between. Because the software is open source and available to anyone, thousands of plugins and themes (both free and paid) have been developed for the platform.
- The WordPress platform is reliable and secure. The developers regularly provide updates to make sure the software is secure.
- With a few tutorials, a beginner can easily begin creating blog posts. Free training and advice are readily available including from yours truly.
- Flexibility for each user continues to be a favorite feature for WordPress users. Whether you want tell stories, share recipes, teach craft techniques, or inspire others, you can find a way to do that with WordPress. Stephanie Eckles’ SlideShare deck highlights many of the ways users can adapt WordPress to share their content.
Of all these reasons, the friendliness and helpfulness of the WordPress community is such a blessing. Every designer and developer I have met both in person and online have responded with information and guidance to each question posed. Lessons learned and tips of the trade are readily shared to shorten the learning curve for the next person.
Do you have a question I haven’t answered? Just ask.