The Nature of Blogs
- Reverse chronological order
- Easy, code-free photo, video and text updates
- Pages, posts and categories
- Comments and blogrolls
- Posts are tagged and categorized for easy search and archiving
Some Blogging Platforms
Why we chose WordPress
- Large community of users and developers
- Thorough documentation and support (forums and otherwise)
- Many blogs dedicated to wordpress tips, tutorials and information, from newbie to super-user
- Massive and ever-growing library of plug-ins
- Growing number of themes to choose from
WordPress Hosted (wordpress.com)
- Stable themes and widgets
- Good search bar and results page
- Great real-time stats (viewers, keyword searches…)
- Updates and backup are taken care of by wordpress
- WordPress in the URL (paid upgrade to remove it)
- Limited customization options (paid CSS upgrade)
- No back-end access
- Solid, but limited number of themes
Self-hosted WordPress (wordpress.org)
In this case, you download the wordpress files and upload them to your server
- Freedom to customize, change, add or delete anything you want
- Enormous and ever-growing number of themes to choose from (free and premium)
- Active and prolific developer community
- Freedom to create your own themes
- You’re on your own with backups, updates and theme issues
- Once you begin tweaking your back-end, you risk update incompatibility (may happen anyway)
Google “Free WordPress Themes” for a world of design and development wonders. However, I would look for themes that have active developers as sometimes a theme is created but not maintained or updated.
Gotchas to Watch Out For
Plugin/update issues (good time to have a backup). If issues arise, deactivate plug-ins and reactivate one at a time to find the culprit. Ideally the developer will have an updated version of the plug-in.
You can change your theme whenever you like, BUT beware of image sizes, sidebar widgets and information etc. The best plan is to have a plan BEFORE you choose a theme. What is your vision (today and down the road) for your blog?
Do you want 1,2 or 3 columns? How wide do you want your main column? What’s in the sidebars? Do you want a customizable header?
The more changes you’ve made, the greater the risk of something breaking on a theme switch.
WordPress.com does not allow ads (some exceptions are: in-house ads, some affiliate programs etc. Their aim is to keep wordpress free of spam, junk ads and pyramid schemes). If you or your client has plans for advertising, the self-hosted option is the best way to go.