Decisions, decisions…

It’s getting easier to design fab looking websites these days and I have tried just about every platform. Except for wordpress.org

Well, that’s not totally true, I’ve managed .org sites: small revisions here and there, new pages. It actually wasn’t that scary after a few minutes of familiarizing myself with the tools. In fact, it’s very much like wordpress.com where I currently happily manage a couple of websites/blogs. For roughly $100/year I have access to over a hundred themes and 24-hour customer support. Super friendly and helpful customer support, I might add. When you take a bit of time to learn Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) you can basically customize anything, from fonts to white space. Being able to do this is extremely important to me. 

For whatever reason I have shied away from wordpress.org, the supposed be all and end all of website design platforms. In the early days, like 10 years ago, the word “installation” threw me right off. At that time I wasn’t trying to design a blog. I had Blogger for that! I wanted a website for K-media. Then, I guess the universe heard me calling out for an easy (but not Weebly) way to put together the website of my dreams. With Abobe Muse you can/use to be able to make a website do anything but if you’re not a designer you might end up with a pretty embarrassing looking site. I’ll just say, although WordPress sites are customizable, there are boundaries in which you play. Beautiful boundaries. Now K-media lives at wordpress.com along with karenlloyd.ca. As of yesterday, I began to think about using wordpress.org for my next website/blog. 

Word on the street is wordpress.org is better for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) but after so many years of research and learning that there is no magic pill for SEO but rather a concoction of pills, I’ve decided not to worry about that. I’ve also heard you need to write 1,500-word blogs in order to be taken seriously by Google. But the writing I do for work, the articles and blogs I write specifically for Google, are only 300-500 words. In addition to populating content with keywords, there are other SEO tactics involved. So I can say quite confidently that when it comes to SEO, it doesn’t really matter what platform you use.  

Here is what I’ve deduced to be the main differences between wordpress.org and wordpress.com (premium) which is $100/year.

WordPress.org

  • Practically unlimited theme options 
  • Numerous plugins to maximize CMS
  • Sell as many ads as you want from any ad service 
  • Access to all SEO features, including third-party SEO tools 
  • Google Analytics 
  • Create an e-commerce store and membership site 
  • You are responsible for keeping your site maintained and optimized

Worpress.com

  • Select from dozens of themes which can be customized 
  • Many built-in plugin like features. 
  • Access to WordAds 
  • WordPress takes care of 80-90% of the mechanics of SEO.
  • Built-in analytics
  • Create and embed credit and debit card payment buttons
  • Users have to signup and login to access the members-only content
  • Updates are automated

Although I’m tempted to stick with wordpress.com and not complicate life, my professional wisdom is telling me to dive into wordpress.org in order to better serve my clients. Maybe there are obvious benefits to using wordpress.org. Over the years of designing websites for clients, I’ve learned that everyone wants something different and I’m talking more than palettes and fonts. Some clients want online shops and booking services, while others are happy to have a simple no-fuss presence that matches their IRL brand, maybe a one-pager with a couple of photos. 

As much as I should be doing other things around the apartment this Sunday, I’m also increasingly determined to be able to offer a full spectrum of website design services through K-media so here goes WordPress.org. 

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