Have a question for Ask The Geek? Send it to me.
Dear Ask the Geek,
I see you are moving your blogs over to wp.com: does it work like an hosting service? I mean, if I move everything there I can stop using [hosting service]? What are the pros & cons of using WordPress.com?
Video response! I try to share some thoughts on hosting on WordPress.com vs. self-hosted WordPress (available at WordPress.org). tl;dr: WordPress.com may not be the perfect solution for everyone, but it’s a great solution for a lot of websites and blogs.
Disclosure: I work for Automattic (WordPress.com) but I also host several WordPress sites on other hosting providers. This video represents my personal thoughts.
Some points I cover in the video:
- You can customize WordPress.com themes with custom fonts, colors, and definitely by changing the CSS using Custom Design. The new live preview for themes is pretty awesome and helps when switching between themes.
- WordPress.com is not just trunk/core WordPress; it’s a lot more! Many features which are built in would require finding & installing a plugin on self-hosted solutions. Our features page highlights a few of the many features.
- Try not to get swayed by “You need X plugin to have a great WordPress site” arguments. Make sure you identify the essential features or functionality your site needs, and then you can identify which solution is best for you. You should check out the first part of my presentation Tools for Entrepreneurs: Create. Collaborate. Communicate. where I delve into understanding your site’s purpose and functionality.
- Spend some time on Theme.WordPress.com to see which themes are available – there are more than 200 themes, both free and premium, and more are being released all the time.
- WordPress out of the box does 80-90% of the SEO you need. I haven’t seen any real proof additional SEO plugins and specifications really do anything for the majority of sites. You need good content first and foremost.
- You can map a custom domain on top of your WordPress.com URL, so I quickly mapped http://whenihavetime.com on top of my free URL, whenihavetime.wordpress.com.
- You can use the free version, or add upgrades like space, VideoPress, or other features from the WordPress.com Store. We have bundles which package some of these things, and WordPress.com Enterprise offers even more plugins our high-powered VIP clients use.
- One of the best parts about WordPress.com is being able to concentrate on what you do best: write great content. Leave the security, backups, and code updates to the WordPress.com team.
Things I forgot to mention:
- You get some great Support documentation through WordPress.com.
- We’re expanding our advertising options on WordPress.com. You can turn ads off completely with the No-Ads upgrade, or you can be a part of the WordAds program and get paid for advertising on your site with select partners (this site is a part of WordAds). More on advertising.