A Blog, A Website, WordPress — Understand The Difference (Part 2 of 3)

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All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.

A Website Is What?

Wikipedia’s definition:
A website, also written as Web site, web site, or simply site, is a collection of related web pages containing images, videos or other digital assets. A website is hosted on at least one web server, accessible via a network such as the Internet or a private local area network through an Internet address known as a Uniform Resource Locator (aka URL). All publicly accessible websites collectively constitute the World Wide Web.

Organized by function, a website may be:

  • a personal website
  • a commercial website
  • a government website
  • a nonprofit organization website.

You Want To Be Found, Be Liked, Be Trusted —Right?

  • You are a professional consultant, an entrepreneur, a decision maker who takes initiative to profit from of an opportunity and you don’t yet have a commercial website.
  • You are familiar with the online statistic: 8 out of 10 North Americans are online.
  • You want this online audience as a market reach to capitalize on.
  • You understand that in today’s world, having a presence on the internet is no longer a choice, it is a necessity — that is, if one wants credibility, visibility, respect and business.

While surfing the web today searching for the best path to create a website, you come across this post Bat An Elevator Pitch Or Bat A Blog? Top 5 Reasons To Blog.

Be found, be liked, be trusted 24/7 — hello! Now your question becomes, do I want a website or blog? Further exploration reveals a blog is simply a website with bells and whistles switched ON.

Okay, first things first. You need to resolve the question: Which path should I take to create my website?

With all that you’ve skimmed through so far, you find yourself more confused than ever and decide to take the advice of this post Sleep Might Help You Solve Your Problem. You trust your question will resolve itself through the night.

Morning sneaks in and lo and behold the light bulb switches on. Night has illuminated some clarity for your problem and you can now see the picture.

Five Forks In The Road — Which One To Take?

To create a website, you are faced with five forks in the road:
  1. Create the website from scratch —you’re a web developer; create the site yourself. Then publish the site on your server or a third-party server.
  2. Create the website from scratch — hire a web developer to create the site for you and to update and maintain the site for its lifetime. Your site is published on your server or a third-party server.
  3. Create the website from scratch — hire a web developer to create the site for you and purchase and integrate a Content Management System (aka CMS), so that you update and maintain your web content yourself. Your site is published on your server or a third-party server.
  4. Leverage an existing template website for your website — create an account with a web-based third-party Content Management System provider. You have available to you a range of beautiful templates to choose from. You are able to publish content immediately to the web. The provider manages the CMS and their application updates. Your website sits on their server.
  5. Leverage an existing template website for your website — create an account with a web-based third-party Content Management System provider with a range of beautiful templates to choose from. You choose to download this Content Management System and your website to your own server or third-party server of choice. It now becomes your responsibility to manage the CMS and it’s third-party updates.

A Content Management System (CMS) Is What?

Wikipedia’s definition:
A web content management system (WCMS) is a software system that provides website authoring, collaboration, and administration tools designed to allow users with little knowledge of web programming languages or markup languages to create and manage website content with relative ease. A robust WCMS provides the foundation for collaboration, offering users the ability to manage documents and output for multiple author editing and participation.

Martha Stewart Gets The Beauty Of WordPress — Do You?

At this stage in the game, you are 100% certain of 2 things:

  • You are not a web developer, nor do you choose to take the time to learn their craft. You are an entrepreneur with already far too much on your plate.
  • You are not interested in creating a website from scratch. You understand the time commitment required to do so and the associated costs that go along with that.

The 5 forks in the road become much less daunting — 2 forks left to choose from, and you begin to explore the most popular CMS resources on the market.

Blogger, WordPress, TypePad, Movable Type, LiveJournal, tumblr., Drupal, Textpattern, Blogsmith, Joomla…

Your head begins to spin. STOP. PLEASE STOP.


WAIT. One post catches your eye:
Wikipedia notes WordPress is used by over 14.7% of Alexa Internet’s “top 1 million” websites and as of August 2011 powers 22% of all new websites. WordPress is currently the most popular CMS in use on the Internet. It was first released on May 27, 2003, by Matt Mullenweg as a fork of b2/cafelog. As of February 2011, version 3.0 had been downloaded over 32.5 million times.

Further research reveals the following WordPress benefits. In summary, the WordPress platform:

  • is backed by a strong company.
  • is an Open Source project.
  • has a strong community and support.
  • has a large assortment of beautiful themes.
  • has a large assortment of application plugins to enhance your site’s functionality.

Relief is imminent. Another post catches your eye Martha Steward Moves To WordPress.

And yet another post The Big List Of Big Boys Using WordPress.

The decision is easy: WordPress it is.

The Flavours of WordPress — One More Choice

Clarity is increasing — you are now 100% certain of 3 things:

  • You are not a web developer, nor do you choose to take the time to learn their craft. You are an entrepreneur with far too much on your plate already.
  • You are not interested in creating a website from scratch. You understand the time commitment required and the associated costs that go along with it.
  • The WordPress Content Management System is what you need to build your website.

Further exploration reveals there exists two flavours of WordPress. One final decision remains to be made. Do I go with WordPress.com or WordPress.org?

WordPress.comThe Service Version?

Utilizing the WordPress service means utilizing a service on a platform hosted on a server that is owned by the same guys that developed WordPress.

Advantages
  • The account is free.
  • In a matter of seconds, you can be on your way to being found, being liked and trusted. It is easy to add content through a WYSIWIG editor.
  • There is no need for your own separate website hosting account.
  • Everything is taken care of for you: software setup, upgrades, spam, backups, security, etc…
  • An assortment of beautiful themes to select from.
  • An assortment of powerful blogging features to switch ON/OFF: commenting, subscription services through RSS feeds and email, social media sharing tools, home page reverse chronological posts display.
  • The ability to create content from any computer anywhere in the world.
  • Your content is pinged to alert search engines automatically. This means new content will be made available in search engine rankings immediately.
  • You have an assortment of plug-ins to choose from, including a photo gallery.
  • You are provided with a default xxx.WordPress.com domain name. You are free to use this domain name, or you can choose your own domain name, then pay a fee to map your own domain name to your WordPress.com account.
  • Tracking Summary Reports are provided.
Disadvantages
  • You don’t own your site. This means your blog can be taken away from you for a variety of reasons if you don’t comply with their terms of service. Note: you are able to export a copy of your site in the WordPress format as backup. You are also given the ability to convert your site later to a self-hosted site (see WordPress.org below).
  • There is no way for you to incorporate dynamic data from your own database.
  • You cannot create your own web applications to integrate and supplement your site.
  • You cannot make money from the site by selling ad space.
  • WordPress.com places their ads on your site discreetly. You can pay to have them removed for an annual fee.
  • You are limited to the degree of customization to your theme. You can pay to have greater customization control of your theme.
WordPress.orgThe Self-Hosted Software Version?

Utilizing WordPress software means downloading a copy of the software and installing it on your own server or a third-party web-hosting server you have an account with.

Advantages
  • The software is free.
  • You own the site and can do whatever you wish with it.
  • You can create dynamic applications to store and retreive data from your own data source.
  • You can make money from it by sellling ad space.
  • You have thousands of plugins and themes to select from.
  • An assortment of powerful blogging features to switch on/off: commenting, subscription services through RSS feeds and email, social media sharing tools, home page reverse chronological posts display.
  • You don’t have to pay an additional fee to associate your domain name with your site.
Disadvantages
  • It takes time to install and configure your site.
  • You need a web-hosting account to setup your site on.
  • You are responsible for: software setup, upgrades, spam, backups, security, etc…
  • You are responsible for configuring your site to ping the different search engines and RSS feeds to alert them you have content availble for ranking.
  • The cost of the web-developer to setup, configure and maintain your site needs to be considered
  • You are responsible for integrating Tracking Summary Report software

Now, A Blog Or A Website?

You bump into another post Blog, Ding — Get The Connection? (Part 1 of 3). Earlier in the day you uncovered a blog is simply a glorified version of a website.

In other words, your decision on whether to build a website which is a blog using WordPress, becomes simply a question of which WordPress features do you switch ON/OFF :

  • Do you want to promote community interactivity?
    Consider switching ON:

    • The commenting feature
    • Sharing across Social Media sites feature
    • The subscriptions feature — that is, subscriptions by email or RSS feeds
  • The WordPress default blog home page which lists all your posts in order of latest publish date — switch it ON?

Also important, if you already have your own website, you can simply download the WordPress software and integrate it into your existing website, switching ON the blogging features you desire.

One Final Reminder

One important point to consider before making the which flavour decision.

If you are just starting out with a website, seriously consider starting off with WordPress.com. If your website needs increased functionality that WordPress.com doesn’t offer, or you find you need dynamic applications for your business, or you become interested in making money and offering ad space — then make the leap by simply converting your WordPress.com site to your own self-hosted site.

Why deal with the added maintenance headaches, not to mention increased costs when you most likely don’t need any specialized functionality right now!?

Stay tuned for the next post in this three-part series of Blogging 101

Founder of novaTerraStudios.com

PS: Some related posts that may be of interest to you:

Blog, Ding — Get The Connection?

Top 5 Reasons To Say Brand Me!

Bat An Elevator Pitch Or Bat A Blog? Top 5 Reasons To Blog

How to Create Facebook Tabs — The Dead Easy Way

Do I Need A Facebook Page For My Business? Top 10 Reasons To Say I Do

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