How to Decide Which WordPress Blogging Software Is Right for You
Why would you write a blog?
There are three reasons:
- Because a client is paying you to write one.
- Because you have your own, professional blog, which you write as a way to promote your copywriting skills and business.
- Because you have discovered that by writing a blog on a particular topic, you can make money either through affiliate links or advertising.
Whatever the reason, the first step to setting one up is deciding what software to use. So today, I’m going to help you get started with the most popular: WordPress.
Since you may already have your own website, let’s first take a look at the more complicated of the two …
WordPress.org – Blogging Software
WordPress advertises that you can get your blog “up and running” in less than five minutes using its blogging software, it’s free, and you can establish a web presence without any webmaster skills. And it’s all true.
The only downside is that the blogging software from WordPress.org takes a little more time to set up than the “all-in-one” WordPress.com blogging service. But after reading this article, you’ll be able to decide if the extra time is worth it.
Once you download the blogging software, your next step is to find a “home” for your blog on the Internet …
Finding a Web Host Provider
If you already have a website, you can upload your blogging files to your current web host provider. If not, you’ll need to find one in order to get your blog online.
These days, many web host providers already have a feature that allows you to install your WordPress blog within seconds.
But don’t worry if your web host company doesn’t provide this feature. It’s still relatively easy to do, and if you have any questions, your web provider’s technical support people will be able to help you out.
Either way, you’ll be up and running in just a few minutes, and then it’s time to customize your blog to meet your own style and intentions …
Jazzing Up Your Blog
If plain and simple isn’t your thing, you can give your blog your own personal flare before posting it.
WordPress.org offers plenty of designs (or “themes” as WordPress calls them) to choose from. They’re generally pretty easy to install, and you don’t have to know HTML or really have any web experience to change your blog’s theme.
Installing a new theme is very easy and takes only a couple of minutes. Once you select a blog theme you like, it’s time to add some more functionality to your blog.
Enhancing Your Blog’s Functionality
After selecting the right theme for your blog, you’re ready to begin posting your thoughts and other information for the rest of the Internet to see. You may choose to stop right there, but a whole world of potential enhancements are also available to you.
WordPress calls these enhancements “Plug-Ins.” There are over 4,200 “plug-ins” available on the WordPress website, and most of them are free of charge.
Here is just a small sample of how you can use plug-ins to increase the functionality of your blog:
- Eliminate spam from your blog.
Yes, spam isn’t just for email anymore! Blogs can get spammed too. But with a WordPress plug-in called “Akisment,” you’ll be able to easily eliminate it with two clicks of your mouse.
- Keep track of who is visiting your blog.
In addition to showing you how many people visited your blog, the “WordPress Stats” plug-in gives you useful information, such as how people found your blog, which posts are most popular, what topics readers are most interested in, etc.
- Show excerpts from recent comments.
A great way to get a new visitor engaged is to show him what’s currently going on inside your blog, by including comments from other readers in the sidebar of your blog. The “Get Recent Comments” plug-in automatically puts recent comments by your readers in the sidebar of your blog for all to see.
- Include YouTube videos in your blog posts.
Videos are a great way to enhance your blog’s appeal, with little effort on your part. Let’s say you write a blog post on the tulips in bloom at your local park. Using the “WP YouTube” plug-in, you could then include a YouTube video on how to plant tulip bulbs, thereby making your post that much more useful to people interested in tulips.
- Manage Google Adsense.
If you’re looking to monetize your blog, Google Adsense will allow you to display pay-per-click ads and pay you when your visitors click them. The “Adsense Manager” plug-in helps you position the ads on your blog.
- Perform e-commerce transactions.
Just like spam is not exclusive to email, e-commerce is no longer exclusive to websites. Thanks to an e-commerce plug-in, you can even sell things through your blog now.
Once you’ve added the enhancements you prefer, you’re ready to start blogging!
However, if so far this article has you feeling a little overwhelmed, or you’re looking more for a casual, personal blog to keep in touch with potential clients and friends, don’t worry, you have another option …
WordPress.com – Complete Blogging Service
If you want the least technical route, and you don’t want to find or pay for a host provider, all is not lost. WordPress also makes their blogging software available on WordPress.com. It’s still completely free; plus, they’ll host your blog for you.
Here are five things to consider before deciding to start your blog on WordPress.com:
- You can’t incorporate your blog into your current website.
Your domain name will have “wordpress.com” as a part of it. For instance, if you wanted to incorporate the term “Big Idea Copywriting” into your domain name, it would look like this: www.bigideacopywriting.wordpress.com.
- Your blog will not look very unique, and its functionality will be limited.
You’ll only have about 60 blog themes to choose from, and you won’t be able to add any plug-ins to your blog, beyond a simple few that they provide automatically.
- You’ll be limited on how you can monetize your blog.
Wordpress.com won’t host blogs whose primary purpose is to drive traffic to affiliate programs or blogs that read like a sales letter. That’s not to say you can’t include any affiliate links; however, they are very strict with their guidelines.
- Only the basic blog service is free.
They do have a list of premium features, such as extra storage and custom style sheets, that you can add to your account for a relatively low fee. (For example, an extra 20 GBs of storage is $20 a year.)
- You may have Google ads appear on your blog.
WordPress reserves the right to occasionally run Google text ads on your blog (although they say it’s a rare occurrence). However, for $30 a year, you can go 100% ad-free.
Whatever your blogging goal, WordPress is an excellent choice as a blogging partner, and I highly recommend it. And whether you choose to use WordPress.com or WordPress.org really depends on your personal needs.
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