Many small business owners have heard the term WordPress but not realised there are two different ways to use it. So let’s give a quick, simple explanation so you can understand what the difference actually is.

Let’s start with WordPress in general. WordPress has been described as “probably the easiest and most powerful blogging and website content management system (or CMS) in existance today”. This also makes it one of the most popular among small business owners.

So why are there 2 versions? WordPress.com is a free to use, open source, site where you can build your blog/website with no need to think about hosting. Well, isn’t that the perfect solution? Hold on, if you have read our previous CMS blog post you will already know my answer. As with all ‘free’ CMS solutions there are limitations. You can’t add in any of the fabulous free plugins (unless you pay to upgrade) to increase what your website can do (functionality). You have a limited choice of themes and a very limited ability to customise any of these themes. If you choose to ‘upgrade’ your free website it is much more expensive that had you started with WordPress.org in the first place – and of course ceases to be free.

So what is WordPress.org then, isn’t that free too? Well sort of. WordPress.org offers an open source CMS for free but it needs to live somewhere. So you need to buy hosting. It’s only around £40 per year* to host so it won’t break the bank. That’s less than £5 per month – I bet you spend more than that on coffees.

So what are the benefits to going down the self hosted route with WordPress.org? Flexibility. You can choose from many more free themes as well as a wide selection of inexpensive paid themes. You can add free plugins to expand what your website can do; forms, calendars, galleries, slideshows, shopping carts, extra security…the list goes on. Oh and don’t forget that Google will love you. Even though WordPress is free you can customise the .org version as much as you like!

If you pay a web designer to set a WordPress (.org) site up for you then you lose the headache of finding and managing hosting, configuration and design but retain the ability to maintain your site quickly and easily – after all that was the point of choosing a CMS in the first place.

If you are looking at choosing the best way to build your website and want to chat with an independent then give me a call and arrange a coffee!

*prices correct at time of publication.