Which WordPress blogging platform should I choose?

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

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.

wordpress.org

With WordPress.org:

  • 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.

wordpress.com

With wordpress.com:

  • 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:

Wordpress.comVsWordpress.org

Image credit: WordPress.com

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!

3 Little Buttons
Cuddle Fairy
One Messy Mama
The Diary of an 'Ordinary' Mum

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27 Comments on "Which WordPress blogging platform should I choose?"

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Grumpy Mum (@the_grumpy_mum)
Guest

Really informative post, I wish I’d seen it before I started blogging as I wouldn’t have been half as confused as I was! #DreamTeam

coombe mill Fiona
Guest

A great summary of the differences. I’ve only recently moved to wordpress from blog engine and I’m loving all that comes with Jetpack. Happy New Year #BloggerClubUK

Rhyming with Wine
Guest
Such great advice – I wish I had understood the differences better when I first started out. I launched my blog with a .wordpress.com url and then went self hosted around 8 months later. I stayed with wordpress.org and so a lot of it was familiar to me, but it still felt a bit like starting all over again as I had to build my DA and PA from scratch etc, I’m useless at the techie stuff to be honest but luckily I’m married to an IT geek (I mean that in the nicest possible way haha) and he bails… Read more »
Mess & Merlot
Guest

Thanks Rhian, so well timed as I’ve been with wordpress.com for a year and am toying with the idea of going self hosted but am too much of a massive scardy cat!! I own my .com domain so at least I’ve got that bit sorted but as for the rest I think it might give me a nervous breakdown 🙂 #ablogginggoodtime

Lucy\'s Locket
Guest

Ohh so does this mean that I need to change to .org if I want to go self hosted one day? I doubt that will happen. I still don’t even understand what that means, I just know it is recommended!
#StayClassyMama

This Mum\'s Life
Guest

This is a very informative post! I didn’t actually give it too much thought when I started blogging, I just followed a youtube tutorial on how to set up a blog, having done no research at all!! Luckily, it got me set up on a wordpress.org site, and although, like you say, it can be a lot of hard work (I was technically inept!) through further youtube tutorials, I’m actually pleased with what I can do with the blog myself, without ever having asked for help!
#bigpinklink

Jeannette
Guest

I have been blogging on WordPress for about 3 years now and learnt so much. Every now and again I still get stuck, but then I phone a friend who knows more and she helps. #globalblogging

Kirsty - Winnettes
Guest

This is very helpful. I know lots of people go self hosted very quickly but I am only just doing it. The bonus for me is that I have had a lot time to get familiar with WordPress and the available plugins so now this process doesn’t seem anywhere near as daunting as it did a few months ago. Initially WordPress does seem a little complicated but once I got my head around it all it was actually really simple and easy to use.
#BigPinkLink

Katie Davis
Guest

A very simple and yet very helpful post for any new bloggers!
Thanks for linking to #ablogginggoodtime

The Mum Project
Guest

Really interesting read, I really like the new direction you are going in! I think a lot of bloggers will rest appreciate this. I really like using WordPress and found it fairly easy to navigate and has been really good for my SEO : ). Thanks for sharing with #StayClassyMama!

One Messy Mama
Guest

A very informative read! I must admit that I am incredibly happy with wordpress! Thank you for sharing !! I’m sure this post is going to help many a person looking into blogging! #globalblogging

The Frenchie Mummy
Guest

Very informative post for new or future bloggers! I must admit that I just followed the common way and created my blog on WordPress out of the blue one day. Having said that, I wish I started self-hosted instead of having to change it later on. Thanks for joining #globalblogging. I hope you will join again next week!

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