From WordPress.org to WordPress.com

wordpress-logo-stacked-rgbI recently moved my personal blog from a WordPress.org site to a WordPress.com site and thought I’d share the experience in case anyone else was considering a similar move.

WordPress is a blogging software that comes in two flavors. WordPress.org offers free software that you download and install on a server (most people rent server space from a hosting company). WordPress.com offers a hosted version of the software, a basic wordpress.com site is also free, but there are premium options that provide personalization (like using your own domain name) and customization (number of columns, header size, colors etc). A wordpress.org site is a good idea for someone who wants complete control of every aspect of their website or blog. A wordpress.com provides allows more of a point and click interface. The trade off is that you have limited options on wordpress.com, still for most end users wordpress.com will meet their needs.

A few careers ago, I was a website designer. This was in the early days of the Internet when if you wanted a website, you wrote the code by hand, in blood, up hill both ways. *Ahem* Sorry, I digress. I’ve always been fascinated by programming and HTML (the basic language behind web sites) came easy to me. When it came time to set up my personal blog, I had grand plans. I bought a domain (livefearlesslee.com), I researched hosting companies (finally choosing Surpass.com), downloaded the WordPress software and bought a license for Thesis design and template manager. I rubbed my hands together and though ‘this is gonna be fun.” It was, but it was also time consuming since my skills were a tad rusty. I got the blog up and formatted so it looked more or less how I wanted it to. I added a bell and a whistle or two but, by then, I’d had enough coding. I was anxious to get writing.  I went great guns for a while but the blog design stayed stagnant. All my design plans got lost in the shuffle of work and life and the desire to write more than I wanted to program.

I KNEW I needed to update the layout. It wouldn’t be hard really all I had to do was find Thesis skin (design template) I liked and implement it. Sigh, there just weren’t enough hours in the day. It got to the point where I’d cringe every time I’d think about writing a post. I never have a shortage of things to say but ugh it looked so bad if I was going to spend time on the blog, I really should work ON the blog itself. It became yet another reason NOT to write and trust me, I don’t need anymore of those.

A few months ago I got a love note from Google basically saying “your website sucks”. Ok, they weren’t that harsh, but they pointed out that the design wasn’t mobile friendly and these days a large percentage of Internet viewing was done on phones and tablets. They also pointed out that in their next update, sites that weren’t responsive (meaning the site is easily viewed on either a desktop/laptop computer or a phone or tablet) would be ranked lower in the search results. This blog is mostly my experiences, but who knows maybe someone really needs a recipe for baked pork chops.  I’d hate to deny them! The bigger issue was I wasn’t writing. So, I made the decision to move from wordpress.org to wordpress.com.

For now, this is a cost saver. The site itself is free and I chose a free theme. The only premium service I chose is using my own domain name that’s only $13 per year. I was paying $72 a year to host the site with Surpass. In the future, I can see myself adding more premium services, but for now, this is a good fit.

The move from wordpress.org to wordpress.com had a little bump, but I was able to trouble shoot my own problem by searching the wordpress.com support forum. Going forward, changing the theme is nothing more complicated than the click of a mouse. Yes, I limited to WordPress’s themes, but that’s like saying you can’t find anything to buy at Target. There are hundreds of free themes and paid themes are plentiful and they range in price. It’s hard to go from having full control to limited options, but the ease of use is worth it to me and there is excellent tech support! I hope this helps anyone else considering the change.

Do you self host your website/blog or do you use one of the free services?


A brief digression on Surpass, if you do find yourself in need of a web host, I have nothing but great things to say about Surpass, their up-time is awesome and their tech support is great. They even offer blanket service updates via Twitter. This is not a paid message, I’m just a happy customer. 

 

Lee Laughlin is a writer, wife, and mom, frequently all of those things at once. You can find her on Twitter @Fearless. She blogs atLivefearlesslee.com and she is a regular contributor to the Concord Monitor. Her words have also appeared in a broad range of publications from community newspapers to the Boston Globe. She is currently working on her first novel, a work of contemporary, romantic fiction.

19 thoughts on “From WordPress.org to WordPress.com

  1. I use WordPress.com – largely because my blog isn’t my main website and I want to keep costs contained. I might yet go for some of the premium upgrades, but I probably won’t shift it to WordPress.org – apart from anything else, it means WordPress themselves handle all the security patches, upgrades etc.

  2. I’m posting part time in a WordPress.org weblog whose economic cost is just terrific compared with the four other sites I manage in WP.com. 3 of these are my personal blogs and one is a community blog. In the .org, security patches and plugin upgrades are annoying me every time I open the site to post. Often, there are issues with passwords, not-working social links and so on. Usually, experts are needed to get rid of troubles.
    I told the weblog owners to think seriously about the change, to no avail so far. About the money comparison: 10 times (yes, 10) more expensive the one in the .org than the four other ones, despite several pro-upgrades and themes. The only advantage is… that I’M NOT the owner of the terrible weblog-site.

  3. Pingback: Do I REALLY need to pay for that? (Maybe not.) | jennspoint

  4. Right now I find wordpress.com fills all my blogging needs at a reasonable price. It’s nice because I can just pick a theme, some features I want to turn on and focus on writing. I’ve thought about doing a different kind of website for other projects, but really don’t have the time and what I am currently doing is fun.

  5. I use wordpress.com right now. I too have spent time coding web pages back in the dark ages of web and I have no desire to spend time doing it now. I currently don’t employ any upgrades but I am just getting started, moving slowly to build momentum and functionality. I’ll buy what I need when I need it. As you pointed out “Target” has everything and very convenient hours too. LOL

  6. Good job. Excellent info. I struggle with wordpress.com but am happy enough to stay with it. I keep it simple and it works for me. As for strategies for writing more consistently: tell me about it!!! It’s a common problem, isn’t it? I need goals and deadlines. I remember once at a lit festival Joyce Carol Oates said: no one cares if I write my next novel or not. As in, it comes from within. But really JCO? no one cares? If that’s true, where would it leave the rest of us>same place. It has to come from within, That’s the challenge.

  7. I’m on wordpress.com and was considering moving to .org so I could use plugins like Mailchimp, but I have ZERO coding and/or website design experience. Other than the lack of plugin options, I’m very happy w/ .com!

  8. Speaking of plugins… I’m on SquareSpace, (although I’m still working on the site, so it’s “live,” yet not “live,” meaning I have inputted my personal domain name yet. Sorry for the digression.) I chose SquareSpace over WordPress because I could do more—WordPress.com has no plugins, and I need plugins, such as a newsletter box, etc. I love SquareSpace. All of its designs are “responsive,” and pretty handsome.

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  10. Pingback: Friday Fun – WP.com vs. WP.org | Live to Write – Write to Live

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