I talk to a lot of people who are ready for a custom design for their new blog or business, but since custom design takes time, they need something they can do in the meantime to get their name out there. So I’ve decided to address this by taking Blogkeeping back to the basics, and hopefully those of you who already have established blogs and businesses will pick up some helpful hints as well.
Today I’m sharing why I chose and love WordPress (self-hosted) and why I recommend it to clients.
The number one thing I love about WordPress is its ability to grow as you do. When I first set up my blog on self-hosted WordPress, I had no idea where it was going, but I knew I wanted to learn to design for WordPress, and I also knew I would be able to change up my site as needed.
Eventually, I started doing freelance graphic design work and set up my studio site on a separate domain and WordPress installation. After a while, I realized that there really was no need to keep my blog and studio site separate — my brand is me, so they’re really just two parts of the same thing. With WordPress, I was able to add portfolio functionality to my existing blog, and even share my latest projects in my sidebar.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know that I’ve made small adjustments to the design and functionality pretty regularly. This is another thing I love about WordPress — there are a wide variety of functionalities you can use to make your site special. While a lot of these functionalities are available on other platforms, with WordPress, it’s just a matter of finding the right plugin and customizing it to your needs.
Note: ALWAYS back up your site before installing a plugin, and keep in mind that not every plugin will work with your site.
This is a personal preference, but I like knowing that I have access to everything on my site, and if I’m not happy with the service I’m receiving, I can move all my files to a different host. I don’t have to worry about my site disappearing for no reason (but if it does happen, there is something I can do about it). Granted, with this control also comes responsibility — it’s so much more important on WordPress to make sure you back up your site regularly and keep up with your hosting information.
Why I Recommend WordPress
Obviously, you can do a lot of amazing things with Blogger (see proof), and it’s a great solution for a lot of people. In fact, if you have no idea where you want to go with your blog, it’s probably the best place to start! It is definitely more user-friendly in terms of working on the design yourself.
However, for business owners, and bloggers who have a clear vision of the direction of their site and need a platform that is truly flexible for their needs, I recommend WordPress — the possibilites are pretty much unlimited, and there are so many resources out there for you to use.
A Note on WordPress.com
This is where things can get confusing for people who don’t have any experience with WordPress. There are TWO types of WordPress you can use — WordPress.com and self-hosted. WordPress.com is hosted by Automattic (the creator of WordPress) and is free but very limited in its options. For self-hosted WordPress, you must purchase hosting, and many hosts offer easy installation (I recommend Bluehost). If you want to use WordPress, I do not recommend WordPress.com — customization is very limited (and is charged at a yearly fee), there is an additional fee to use your own domain, and you can’t use plugins, ads, or analytics.
Do you use WordPress? Why did you choose it?