The most popular blogging tool on the Internet today is WordPress. You can find millions of blog using this system online and it is easy to use and you can easily have a WordPress blog running in 5-10 minutes from now if you have a dream of having your own blog. A question still valid is whether I should let WordPress host my blog (WordPress.com) or if I should download the WordPress files and install them on a web-hotel somewhere and thus get my 100% own web address?
I have worked with lots of WordPress websites through many years, and now it is time for some pros and cons for the two different ways of doing it.
WordPress.com pros and cons If you decide to go for the easiest version you just head over to WordPress.com, register and you will have your blog up and running in five minutes. Your address will be something like «yoursite.wordpress.com» and you will get an easy to use webmaster tool in which you can write posts, edit posts, create pages and get what’s on your mind out on the Internet. The entire service is free, but if you later want some addons and special plugins, themes or services available at your site, you will often have to pay more.
If you run your blog on WordPress.com you will not be able to find and add plugins like you can as you host WordPress on your own server. But, there are quite some plugins already added to the installation, and some of these are really great. At the moment you have a rating system where visitors can give stars to your post, you can add widgets to your page showing most popular articles, most liked articles and several very useful addons. As you use WordPress.com both plugins and the WordPress installation itself is always update, decreasing security risks and making everything stable. They also do automatic backups at WordPress.com and if one server is down your site is still up running as they keep all information on several servers on the web.
I also like the way WordPress.com helps you share your content in Social Media and they also suggest keywords to your articles as you have written them. But, if you want to edit the .php of your WordPress theme that can no longer be done using the WordPress.com hosting. You will therefore not be able to remove footer texts, credits, edit the way posts, pages and front page should look or anything else. Your theme might allow some editing, but that is nothing compared to the freedom you are given hosting WordPress on your own server. If you run a WordPress blog in another language you will often need to modify the theme within shortly to remove English words and add your language instead. On WordPress.com this is yet another problem very hard to fix!
WordPress on other server If you decide to run WordPress on a webhost somewhere else there are some clear advantages to this. As you order your webhotel you will also order a webaddress and thus you can get an address such as «www.mysupernewblog.com» instead of «mysupernewblog.wordpress.com». Many webhosts today offer one-click installations, meaning you will not even have to upload the WordPress installation files to the server yourself, but through the admin tool of your webhost you can tell them to install WordPress and within a minute or two you can see your new blog on the given address and you simply login to the admin tool and start editing and writing. If you are new to blogging and WordPress, but want your own webaddress, then you should look for a webhost who offer such one-click installation of WordPress. One example on such a provider is Unoeuro.
As you run WordPress on «your own server» you will have the freedom to install tons of plugins, giving you thousands of opportunities to make image galleries, slideshows, countdown timers, SEO plugins and much, much more. You can also enter the source code of the plugins and make smaller and larger changes if you need to, so the freedom is enourmous. But, with the freedom comes the danger of misuse, and therefore you should always make sure that the plugins you use are up to date, that your WordPress installation is up to date and that the theme you use is up to date. Plugins and themes not in use should be deleted.
As you run WordPress on your own server you can ad commercials on your site such as Google AdSense. You can of course enter affiliate networks and refer to sites and products and thus making money on your blog, but still the freedom to add GoogleAds and other ads to your page increases your chance of making big money on your blog a lot.
What would I do? The question is very much what I would like to do and how much experience I have got. If I was a mum who has little time, no computer experience and just had a desire to share my thoughts about parenthood and lactation on the net, I would go for WordPress.com. It is easy, it is free and it requires very little to get started. If you after a while enjoy it and want your own webaddress and want the freedom to modify your plugins, themes and style sheets you can easily export your written articles from WordPress.com and add them to your WordPress installation on another server.
If you have some experience and know what you want, then WordPress.com will annoy you. It will almost give you a prison feeling because you see opportunities, but you are unable to accomplish them because of limitations in the WordPress themes, lack of plugins and because you can not form your blog as you want it.