I’ve been using a WordPress platform to blog since about 2006. In that time I’ve used both WordPress.com and have installed self-hosted implementations of WordPress.org software. Last week, I moved this blog back to WP.com. Even though I’m a seasoned user and sysadmin of WP.org, and I am comfortable working in LAMP installations (the tech working in the background to operate software), I’ve decided WP.com is the ideal platform for blogging. Here’s a list of reasons why:
- WordPress.com rarely crashes. Since my first registration in 2006, I’ve only seen WP.com go down *once*. There have been glitches along the way, but the snafu that happened last winter is the only one of note. The same can’t be said for Blogger, and the same can’t be said of WP.org installations since you’re at the whim of your host and your own knowledge. (e.g., Despite backing up DB’s regularly, I lost content twice this summer with my self-hosted WP.org. This is an anomaly, but it’s caused headaches for me and for my readers since new RSS notices and trackbacks were sent out on old posts that I’ve recovered and returned to the database. My sincere apologies for this, dear readers.)
- WordPress.com has a robust suite of themes. There are over 100 to choose from, and some are better than others. But almost all can be customized right down to the font you want to use. WP.com only uses themes that are glitch-free, and they all have strong SEO (see below). If you think you can’t find the “perfect” theme with WP.com and would rather go with a WP.org install, then I think you may fall victim to spending more time uploading themes than you will publishing what you have to say. (I speak from experience on this one.)
- WordPress.com has strong internal stats. I’m not going to beat around the bush on this one. Look here, newbies, you frankly don’t need what Google Analytics can offer unless your site is receiving thousands of hits a day. And if you are lucky enough to have that many hits, then maybe it actually is time to switch to self-hosted installation for that feature. But like the point above, WP.com gives us more than we need, for free, which means that writers can concentrate on writing strong content more than anything else. Stop worrying about every page view and instead focus on what it is you’ve got to tell the world.
- WordPress.com builds communities. This is by far the best thing about this site. When you blog with WP.com, you get to use common tags and categories, and WP.com will link your posts to other users’ pertinent posts. This means that it’s easier for people to find your content. Community-building is inherent to blogging, and WP.com’s built-in community is a feature than can’t be found on a self-hosted blog, where’s you’re just an island in the sea. This community will do wonders for your stats, by the way: in the week that I exported my content back to WordPress.com, hits to my site have increased nearly 5-fold on account of the Global Tags and Related Posts. This community is optimized for search engines, so it will do wonders for people trying to find content like your own.
I don’t really know what else to say on this one except that if you want to write content on the web and not have to worry about the back-end, and if you want to write content on the web and improve the chances that people will read it, then I think you should go with WordPress.com. Even if you have what the skills to run a self-hosted implementation of WordPress.org. WordPress.com makes writing and publishing your main concern – which is what should be when you blog – by taking care of site management for you. Writing any other way is like putting the cart before the horse.
A final note: Check out One Cool Site Blogging Tips for straight-talk advice on how to make the most out of your WordPress.com blog. That’s not a paid endorsement – just a pointer to get you on your way.