WordPress has evolved from a simple blogging platform to a full-fledged Content Management System (CMS) in recent years. It is estimated that WordPress is installed on more than 3 million sites. However, for most small business owners who are just getting started, there is some confusion over the difference of WordPress.com versus WordPress.org. Recently, I was hired to migrate 2 sites from WordPress.com over to WordPress.org. The reason? They wanted better search optimization, custom design options, and wanted access to the thousands of plugins available in the WordPress community.
WordPress.com is a hosted solution and does not allow you to have access to the server, stylesheet, plugins or change the titles, descriptions, and page names. Without this access, you can’t do very much in terms of SEO or customization. WordPress.com is great for a small business owner who just wants a basic web presence and is just getting started. It is free hosting with WordPress.com and easy to set up.
Alternatively, WordPress.org is installed on a hosting account, so you need to purchase hosting, which averages $10/month.
On the first project, we thought we would simply export the existing WordPress information and then import it into WordPress.org. This proved a bit more difficult than originally planned. Some of the content did not migrate nor did many of the photos. So, even though we were switching from a general WordPress theme, this proved to take hours instead of minutes.
The second project set up new hosting (through MTECH) and we started from scratch. We just needed to import a few posts, so that was fairly simple. Here is a screenshot of the original site:
Although it was a nice, clean site, the client wanted it to feel more like a website than a blog. He also wanted more control over the content and look/feel. By installing WordPress.org, we were able to access great form plugins, rotating text plugins and others to give his site more functionality.
We also were able to name pages and put in better search engine optimization with unique title, description and keywords on every page.
Here is a screenshot of the new site:
So, what should an owner do? It depends on your goals. If you want a simple blog or website and aren’t concerned with “getting found” on search engines or maintaining your brand, then start with WordPress.com. However, if you want more flexibility, search engine optimization and access to the thousands of plugins available, then you should start with WordPress.org. For a cost of little more than $100/year (plus custom design fees if you want that feature), it is worth it.
If you need further assistance or are interested in having MTECH develop a quote for a custom WordPress CMS site, please contact us at 970-731-6325.