When ever we think of starting a blog, we are bombarded with many options. Some of the options like Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr are very popular and few of them like Ghost is work under process. Selecting which blog platform to use depends upon your requirement. If you are blogging for fun, and more like a personal journal you can use BlogSpot, WordPress.com or Tumblr as they are free, and quite easy to manage. When you are blogging to promote your business or to make money, a good idea is to use more professional platform like WordPress.org (Self hosted). In this guide, I will be telling you all about what is WordPress, and difference between two variants of WordPress. This will help you to understand which WordPress platform you should stick to.
What is WordPress platform?
WordPress was started as a blogging tool which evolved as a CMS (Content management system). First version of WordPress was released in 2003, and it is an Open source project licenced under GPLV2. In the last 10 years, WordPress evolved as one of the most popular platform for creating blogs and Websites.
WordPress is based on PHP and MySQL, and founded by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. WordPress project s backed up by parent company Automattic, which also offers various WordPress related services and products like WordPress.com, VaultPress, JetPack, VideoPress, WordPress VIP, Gravatar and many more.
For beginners, here are two important thing to know about WordPress:
Unlike standard Website we know of, WordPress is backed up by a huge community of freelance designers, and WordPress development companies which offers free and premium WordPress theme. One of the biggest challenge for a website today is to have a great design, and WordPress theme is answer to that. Anyone can download WordPress themes for free from official WordPress repo, 3rd party Websites or by paying a little for premium market place. With few clicks of button, you can change the design and look of your theme. As I mentioned above, WordPress can be use to create a blog or a Website, and theme part makes it really easy for anyone to start a Website with almost no coding knowledge.
WordPress plugins extend the core features of WordPress software. It helps in adding new features to your WordPress powered Websites, and there is a WordPress plugin for almost everything. All you need to do is, find a plugin (features) that you need for your WordPress powered site, and with the plugins; you can easily add it. Due to huge number of WordPress plugins, one easily get confused which plugin to use, for that a good idea is to follow guides like essential WordPress plugins for every blog. You can download WordPress plugins from official plugin directory or from many individual plugin developer or companies.
WordPress.com Vs. WordPress.Org : What’s the difference?
WordPress offers two variation of it’ software; WordPress.com and WordPress.org. WordPress.org which is also popularly known as self hosted WordPress blog, which I will explain below.
WordPress.com is a free blogging platform offered by Automattic, which will let anyone to create a blog for free. When you create a blog on WordPress.com, you will get a web address like domainname.WordPress.com. Your blog will be hosted on WordPress server, and this platform is perfect for those people, who wants to have a blog for personal writing. There are many paid addons are also available; you can buy custom domain name, you can use paid themes and so on. On WordPress.com, you have many limitations in terms of managing your blog. For ex: You can’t install 3rd party plugins, you have limited choice for Themes and so on. Though, from a personal blog perspective, this is not a bad option, as WordPress team takes care of managing your blog architect, and backup.
WordPress.com is useful for:
- Individual who wants to start a personal journal blog.
- Company who needs to have a web-space for announcement, and factors like design and space is not an issue.
It’s not for:
- People who are planning to make money from a blog.
- Companies who are using content marketing blog as their marketing channel.
- Individuals who needs total control over their website (FTP, custom code, Custom plugins)
- You can’t use ad networks like AdSense, Infolinks or create a blog for Affiliate purpose.
Here is an official TOS page for using WordPress.com blogs, which will give you all the information regarding fair usage and TOS of WordPress.
WordPress.org : Self hosted Platform
WordPress.org is a complete solution for people who are looking to start a blog for making money, for promoting their small business or for any other usage like creating an E-commerce site. To use WordPress.org, we download a copy of WordPress from official download page and install it our own hosting server. Since, WordPress.org is one of the World’s most popular platform, many hosting companies offers custom solution or scripts like fantastico to let you install WordPress with one click.
I will talk about the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org later, first lets have a look at some of the features of WordPress.org blogs.
WordPress.com and WordPress.org have similar interface (WordPress dashboard), but WordPress.org removes all the limitations of WordPress.com, and offers you complete control over your blog. You can create your custom theme, or install 3rd party themes or plugins on your self hosted blog. You can monetize it anyways you like (AdSense, Affiliate, In-text ads, Paid reviews) and so on.
Recommended read: How much it cost to start a self hosted WordPress blog?
Here is a basic chart showing common difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org:
I hope this article helped you to understand about what is WordPress, and helped you to decide which blog platform you should use. Here are some of the interesting facts about WordPress:
- Some of the most popular website in the world (Techcrunch, CNN, Forbes) are powered by WordPress VIP.
- 19% of the websites in the world is powered by WordPress.
- WordPress app is available for all popular mobile platform (iOS, Android, Blackberry)
- You can do a search engine friendly migration of your existing blog from Blogger.com, WordPress.com to self hosted WordPress blog.
- WordPress platform created a complete market place for individuals and companies to make money. You can find or post jobs on many freelance marketplace like Freelancer.com. You can additionally get free support from amazing community of WordPress via support forum.
- WordPress is used to create many other type of websites like; Directory websites, affiliate system, portfolio website, Ticketing system and so on. There is a plugin for almost everything for WordPress.
- You can install WordPress locally to learn, test or develop anything on WordPress. (Windows and Mac)
- ShoutMeLoud is powered by WordPress.org platform. :)
I have also compiled a huge list of WordPress video resource and a WordPress guide, to help you understand WordPress better. If you have any queries or doubts regarding WordPress, feel free to ask me via comments. If you find this guide useful and informative, do share it on Facebook and Google plus.