WordPress Pros and Cons for Mom Bloggers - dummies

WordPress Pros and Cons for Mom Bloggers

By Wendy Piersall, Heather B. Armstrong

WordPress and Blogger squash the competition as platforms for setting up new blogs. Each platform has benefits and drawbacks. Mom bloggers should choose WordPress.org blogs over WordPress.com blogs. Confusingly, there are two different kinds of WordPress blogs:

  • WordPress.com blogs are 100 percent free and hosted by the team behind WordPress, Automattic. You’re not allowed to use WordPress.com blogs for anything that earns revenue like ads or sponsored content.

  • WordPress.org blogs are still free but are self-hosted, meaning you have to supply your own web hosting through a hosting company.

When your blog is set up on your own hosting account, you have 100 percent control over what you do with your blog. That means as long as you have a good developer, you could feasibly turn a simple blog into a complex content-management system.

Yes, 100 percent control also means that when something goes wrong, it’s up to you to fix it. Luckily, WordPress is hard to break, and it’s so widely used that a quick Internet search will usually turn up a solution. And some hosting companies do have tech support that can help with WordPress setup problems.

WordPress is very widely used. This is important to take into consideration; it means that if you need a WordPress programmer, designer, or any other professional help, these people are extremely easy to find.

This is not the case with blogging platforms like TypePad, Movable Type, or SquareSpace. WordPress also has a huge developer community that offers tens of thousands of mostly free plugins that will add features to your blog with just a few mouse clicks. (Plugins are mini programs that add features and functions to your WordPress blog.)

Plugins can help you manage images, add community-building functions, integrate Twitter and Facebook elements, track and analyze your blog readers, or add tons of other features that will make blogging easier and more efficient.

Most importantly, WordPress has thousands of professionally designed templates that are free to use. Premium themes are also available for a very affordable price, and these themes are built to include both beautiful designs and high-level features that make them very worth the price you pay.

Once you start blogging, you can never really know where it will take you. Sometimes great opportunities arise that you simply can’t predict. Most professional bloggers don’t start out intending to be professional bloggers — they do it for fun, and then realize they can actually make a business out of it.

So you can never know the kinds of advanced things you may want to do with your blog in the future. You may find, at some point, you want to expand to become a blog network.

You don’t want to do this on Blogger, unless you want to duplicate all your development and maintenance work and costs on multiple blogs — instead of doing all that just once, in one place, the way you can with WordPress. You can actually convert your WordPress blog into a multi-user blogging platform in literally just a few minutes.

Another thing you may want to do someday is add the capability to create a reader forum, especially if you’re great at building community among your readers. WordPress has a companion program called BuddyPress, which was built exactly for this purpose.

As you can tell, WordPress is built to grow with you as your blogging business grows. This may not seem important to you now — but you can certainly hope it will be important to you someday!