A beginner’s guide to writers’ website creation using WordPress—wordpress.com or wordpress.org?

WordPress has two separate ways to create websites—one, using wordpress.com, to host the webpage; and two, utilizing wordpress.org. In case you’re going for a free version and don’t mind the .wordpress.com at the end of your domain name, wordpress.com is the default method to create your blog. However, if you want a more professional website with your own hostname for an author’s web page, consider the following carefully before deciding what works best for you. The below tips are my learnings from my last week’s fiasco.

What is the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org?

Choosing wordpress.com to build your website means that WordPress would host it for you. This is an excellent option if you’re sure you don’t have content that will be against their policies. Since they are the hosts, they have the right to remove your blog or mark it private without your knowledge without prior information. Besides, the themes are not search engine optimization (SEO) friendly, i.e., it’s challenging for your site to show up in Google search results. There is little room for customization of themes as it does not support custom HTML, JavaScript, etc. Additionally, you cannot add any plugins, which are useful for many things in your website such as SEO, analytics, etc. with their cheapest plan

However, wordpress.com is the right alternative for you if you have no technical knowledge at all and you want to get your website up and running rapidly. Some of the themes are perfect for author web pages and need only a little editing. WordPress.com websites have the feature to add the follow button that helps other WordPress bloggers follow you at a single click. There are various widgets for connecting with your readers through Amazon, Goodreads, and all social media websites. Its most significant advantage is that the most economical package costs less than a hundred dollars a year, while the cheapest wordpress.org is comparatively more expensive at approximately $150/year.

On the other hand, wordpress.org is for writers who plan to build a brand. If an author pays a web designer to create a website, they will most likely use wordpress.org. This alternative has themes that are SEO-friendly and lightweight, improving the performance of your web page ten-fold. Apart from loading fast, they have numerous options of personalization, including custom HTML and free plugins. Additionally, since wordpress.org is self-hosted, you have full ownership of your content and can back up your website so that you never lose it. Further, if you want to sell something directly from your website, wordpress.org has built-in plugins to make online purchases simple.

However, people accustomed to wordpress.com will miss the one-click follow button widget and other out of the box features that need technical knowledge to implement in wordpress.org. Additionally, since the platform is self-hosted, you should not edit root files, affecting the entire website within seconds. If not confident, it’s best to hire an expert and let them set up your webpage for an additional cost.

What’s my verdict—wordpress.com or wordpress.org?

Though wordpress.com has its benefits with the one-click features, I would go with wordpress.org for its other advantages. The SEO-friendly and lightweight themes are a big reason I choose the latter because the performance difference is vast compared to wordpress.com’s built-in templates. Besides, the themes are more aesthetic and customization friendly that helps writers design a more professional looking website. The free plugins are another motive to go with wordpress.org. I love the handy WP forms plugin that allows us to create web forms easily. Lastly, the custom HTML helps us create custom buttons, design elements, etc., which add a personal touch to the web page.

If you like the idea of experimenting with design, plugins, and some technical stuff and don’t mind the work, it requires creating a website that will define your brand in the future, go for wordpress.org. It’s worth the effort.

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