WordPress.com is a simple yet powerful software platform for managing a website. What you can do with WordPress.com ranges from a simple blog of your thoughts to a full website for your small business. But before you jump into WordPress.com, let’s consider some of the Pros, Cons, and different ways a WordPress Professional can help you with your website. (These articles were originally published at WordPress.com as a mini story arc.)
5 Reasons to Use WordPress.com
1. You Just Want a Simple Website
You don’t need anything fancy like audio/video players, customizable image sliders, e-commerce, etc. You just wanna post to a blog or have a simple website with a few pages of information.
2. Super Fast Sounds Good
WordPress.com is optimized to be incredibly, amazingly fast! Most likely your site will load in a second, two seconds tops.
3. Instant New Features Several Times a Year
Updates to the latest features comes standard. You can expect great things about every 6 months.
4. No Worries (Security, Updates, and Backups come standard)
WordPress.com worries about security and updates your site in the background. You never have to update a thing or worry about security.
5. No Cost or Low Cost
Start your site for free as www.mywebsite.wordpress.com. Upgrade to mywebsite.com later when you choose for less than a trip to the movies.
6. What are your reasons?
Let me know if the comments your reasons for using WordPress.com
3 Reasons Not To Choose WordPress.com
#1- Very Limited Functionality
Want to run a podcast from your site? You can’t. WordPress.com is great for bloggers and very simple informational websites. But once your needs go beyond that or if you are trying to generate income through your website, you will be limited.
Here are some of the awesome functions I’ve built into client websites in 2012:
- Event Registration
- Event calendar
- Simple e-Commerce
- Staff Directory
- Sponsors Listing
- Video Gallery
- Customizable photo slideshow
- Radio Podcast
- Email Marketing
- Multi-Author blogging
- Membership Website
- Custom Page Templates
- Custom Landing Pages
- Specialized Fonts
Those are all things which can be done only with a self-hosted version of WordPress. (Some things like video and fonts can be done for an additional fee on WordPress.com)
#2- Lack of Control
It’s nice that WordPress.com takes care of everything for you. But what you give up in the process is control over your own content. Yes, you can always access your content, but what happens if the WordPress.com server fails? I believe there are backup systems in place, but you may still lose content.
Want to places ADs on your WP.com site? You can’t. Want to add a plugin so you can sell stuff? You can’t. Making money is something that isnt’ allowed on the free WordPress.com service. But what if you want to make some money so you can upgrade your system? You’re stuck.
#3- Limited Design Choices
If you’re looking for a simple blog or business website, these downsides aren’t all that bad. But they do tie your hands and restrict what you can and can’t do on the site. Are you feeling claustrophobic or are you at ease with what WordPress.com is offering? Let me know in the comments.
3 Ways a WordPress Professional Can Help You with WordPress.com
When most of us think about WordPress Professionals, we wouldn’t think they can help us with our “FREE” WordPress.com websites. After all, isn’t WordPress.com supposed to be an easy platform to start a blog or website? Well, yes, that’s true. WordPress.com is an easy to use online publishing platform. But being easy to use doesn’t eliminate the need for professionals. Professionals can help you with these issues:
1. Poor Color or Design Choices:
I shudder to think about the poor color choices I used to make when I started out in design. I didn’t start out seeking to work on design, but as often happens, designing flyers, newsletters or other promotional literature for a small business can sometimes fall to the lowers person on the totem pole. It shouldn’t happen, but it does.
Until I received some training in the basic principles of design, I had no clue. I put all kinds of clashing colors together because I “liked that color.” I used to use photos as is without cropping them to the proper size and focus. I made all kinds of mistakes.
A Professional who works with web design can help you choose the best images, optimize them for the web, and much more. You can always tell a professional web design from an amateur one. So hire a professional to help you choose and customize your WordPress.com theme.
2. Search Engine Optimization:
You can’t add any SEO plugins to a WordPress.com website, so it may seem a little odd to be talking about SEO when it comes to a WordPress.com website. But SEO is still crucial for your business and website.
Some things a Professional Web guru can help you with your site are:
- Choosing a Theme which has built in SEO tools.
- Linking your site to Google & Bing Webmaster Tools
- Double checking your Privacy Settings
- Setting up SEO friendly permalinks
- Helping you create and optimize your content for Search Engines
3. Resolve Amateur Mistakes:
You know from my recent post about the benefits of using WordPress.com for your business website that one of the greatest benefits to using WordPress.com is speed. You site SHOULD load really fast. But I found some popular websites on WordPress.com that were slow loading because of too many items, ads, etc in their widgets.
Don’t make similar mistakes, consult with a Professional web designer/developer and make sure you stay away from amateur mistakes.