How to Blog Part 4: Choosing a Publishing Platform
There are many choices today for a publishing platform. I will make it easy for you to choose.
You have only two choices.
WordPress.com is the free, hosted version of WordPress. I recommend you start there if you are new to this. Once you become a little more stable on your feet, you may never want to leave WordPress.com, but if you do, you can quickly and easily (less than 5 minutes) switch to a self-hosted WordPress site.
WordPress is the Content Management System (CMS) for over 60% of all major websites in the world. Corporations, small businesses, and individuals already did the research and made their decision. Listen to them.
The hosted version of WordPress.com is free. As long as you stay within the WordPress.com Terms of Service, you may use the service with joy and content freedom at no charge.
The self-hosted version of WordPress is also free, but the hosting is not. You will have to research web hosts (check WordPress Requirements for specifics required from your web host), pay for web hosting, buy a domain name, and either use the web host’s one click install or manually install WordPress yourself. It’s not as intimating as it sounds, but it does take some extra work and time.
WordPress is easy and complicated at the same time, with the flexibility to be as easy and complicated as you wish it to be. It will grow with you as you grow with self-publishing.
WordPress.com is a simple and easy way to get started, learn the ropes, make mistakes, and experiment with this blogging thing. Made a mess of it, you can delete posts, Pages, categories, or whatever. You an even delete the blog if you wish. It’s up to you.
If you really wish to experiment, sign up with a throw-away name like myname1234.wordpress.com or mn9876.wordpress.com (use your initials like MN for My Name). Play and see how all the bits work, and when you are ready for the real thing, create a new WordPress.com site or get started with a self-hosted version of WordPress.
WordPress is designed right out-of-the-box to be the most search-engine friendly publishing platform in the world. You don’t need to add anything but well-written content. Search engines love WordPress.
There are thousands of WordPress Themes to choose from, the majority of them free with some paid (called Premium). Premium WordPress Theme designs are typically not better or worse than free Themes. You are usually paying for support and assistance.
There are thousands of WordPress Plugins to choose from, just like WordPress Themes. These help you extend the capabilities of WordPress in a thousand different ways.
I spent several years searching for a perfect web-publishing platform. In 2003, I discovered WordPress. I haven’t looked back or switched. I have dozens of WordPress sites. If I chose WordPress, and others chose WordPress, that should help you make your decision.