If you’re starting to think about becoming a blogger, the first major decisions you might make are what you’re going to write about, and what you’re going to call it.
Correction: the first thing you need to decide is which platform you’re go to use.
A name and theme is all well and good but without actually having a site to publish at, you’re a bit stuck.
So in actual fact, the first decision should always be where you’re going to blog at.
Which blogging platform is right for you?
For those of you completely new to blogging, and let’s face it, we were all new to it once, ‘platform’ is just a fancy way of describing the software on which your blog site will be built. It’s just the foundations of the site.
The blogging platform that you choose will dictate how much customisable content you can add i.e. how much control you will have over how the site looks and behaves.
It will determine whether you can add a self-hosted domain such as fromtumtomum.com and whether there may be additional costs from the provider. The platform will also reflect if you can add extra functionality and integrations through plugins.
Don’t let the decision overwhelm you, but it is quite important so it’s worth doing some research.
Most of the main blogging sites provide both free and paid-for services, which can be useful when your small blog takes more of a serious path. The main platforms bloggers commonly choose are WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger or Wix but for the purpose of this post, I am going to concentrate on the differences between the two WordPress options.
I thought it would be handy to give you an intro to each to help you work out which is right for you.
WordPress is a popular platform for bloggers. It is cheap, reliable, and can be as customised or basic as you’d like. My site is built on WordPress, as are a few other sites I’ve set up over the years.
There are 2 types of WordPress site though, so make sure you pick the right one for you. The two platforms are .org and .com. The biggest difference is that .org allows you to host your own site whereas .com is always hosted by WordPress.
WordPress.org: The .org version of WordPress allows you to get your hands dirty with your website, customising design and hosting the website yourself.
- You can buy your own domain name from your choice of domain seller, so you can shop around if you spot a bargain or use a previously purchased one
- You will have to find your own web host, perform routine backups and maintain the blog on your own
- You can install your own custom plugins to integrate additional functionality such as data capture forms or social media galleries
- You add themes to make your blog look exactly how you want e.g. modern, feminine, arty etc.
- You can add ecommerce facilities so that you can set up a shop and take payments through your site.
WordPress.com: this option requires a lot less work on your part. You can customise it to an extent and WordPress just takes care of the rest.
- You get a free URL but it will be something like myblogname.wordpress.com
- You don’t need a host or any particular technical knowledge – you can use WordPress for that
- You can still choose a custom domain although you pay a fee to WordPress for this by choosing a premium plan
- Customise it to one of the themes available although the choice is certainly more limited than .org
And if you are still confused, this image was lifted directly from WordPress to show the differences:
What I love about WordPress
It’s really flexible, can look good and can be adapted later down the line if you choose to add extra functionality. The 2 approaches work well for both ends of the spectrum allowing an out-of-the-box solution for non-techies, and a more customisable option for us geeks.
What I don’t love about Wordpress
It can be a bit complicated if you’re completely new to the concept of a content management system. It can also be time consuming to configure a site to look the way it does in the demo if you’re choosing a premium theme and are a beginner.
So really, it comes down to how hands-on you want to be with your site, what your technical abilities are to configure it, and also what your ambitions are for the site.
I hope that helps!