by Debi Walter – The Romantic Vineyard
Tom and I began our blogging journey almost 4 years ago. We set up a WordPress.com blog after using Blogger for a few months. The reason? We loved the Stats Page and the ability it gave us to measure the effectiveness of our posts, something Blogger didn’t provide at the time. I say at the time because I’ve never looked back. Blogger may offer this ability now, but I wouldn’t know.
I had the privilege of attending a WordPress WordCamp in San Diego, CA a couple of years ago. It was way out of my comfort zone because I didn’t know anyone, but I wanted to learn more about WordPress in an effort to blog smarter. What I discovered was the people behind the WordPress name really love what they’re doing.
The one speaker who helped me the most was Sheri Bigelow of the Automattic Team. She spoke on the topic of all things WordPress.com I was glued to her every word. When her session was over I went up and introduced myself to her. She was patient, and took time to answer all of my questions as if we were good friends. When we finished our discussion she gave me her card and told me to call her if I ever needed help.
Little did I know how much that “chance” encounter would help me. Many of you may remember when we had a serious problem with our RSS feed. For the entire month of January 2012 our blog feed was broken. Our numbers dropped considerably and neither Tom nor myself knew enough about WordPress.com to even have a clue about what to do. I happened to remember Sheri’s offer (albeit after 3 weeks of sweating the small stuff), and sent her a Tweet. Within minutes she invited me to e-mail her about the problem we were facing. And by the end of that day our RSS feed was back on track. She was friendly, helpful and willing to help me.
Anyway, I want to talk first of all about what I love most about WordPress.com:
- It’s user friendly. You don’t have to know code to customize your blog.
- There are currently 211 available Themes from which to choose, and the number grows daily.
- It’s FREE. Of course, you can customize for a fee, but only if you want to. We have upgraded our font and our storage space, but only after a couple of years of blogging.
- The forums provided can help you with almost any issue or question.
- The staff at Automattic offer fast and friendly support whenever you encounter a problem you don’t know how to fix. Automattic is the company that runs WordPress.com. Their help is included with your blog.
- WordCamps around the country give you opportunities to learn even more and to network with those who are more advanced than you.
- They provide all your updates.
There are also some things I don’t like about WordPress.com, but they haven’t been enough to cause us to leave yet. However, you need to know about them before you make a decision to switch.
- You can’t offer advertising on your blog. The only advertising they allow is through WordAds, and they choose what products are advertised based on your content. This would work well in business, but not in marriage ministry. The topic of Sex in Marriage – which is important – links up to unacceptable advertisements, as you can imagine.
- Many widgets, such as i-frames and such won’t work on .com.
- Many of the fun widgets available won’t work on WordPress.com
- You are limited to use only the features they select.
As you can see for us the positives outweigh the negatives. We hope our experience with WordPress.com will help you decide whether or not .com is the best choice for you.