Starrlight Media – built/managed sites are primarily done on WordPress.com. This post will explain why I like wordpress.com, and the main differences between wordpress.org and wordpress.com sites.
Sites done with wordpress.org:
You provide hosting, and download wordpress program to that host. You are responsible for keeping themes and plugins updated, arranging backups, and managing site security (which is becoming, IMO, a major headache given constant hacking efforts). The upside is that you have nearly unlimited flexibility with the themes, plugins and widgets you use to build and design your site. There is no charge for the wordpress.org program itself, you pay for your hosting, domain, and any fees for premium plugins or other features.
Sites done on wordpress.com:
They provide hosting and backups. They keep all themes and plugins updated and deal with the ongoing security issues. The downside is that you are not nearly as flexible with design. Your chosen themes will come with a specific set of widgets, and Jetpack plugins, which cover a vast majority of needs including social media, statistics, design, SEO, and many others. You can further customize your site using CSS coding on the premium and business plans, and additional plugin options on the business plan. It’s just not nearly as flexible as wordpress.org. There are four plans on wordpress.com, including a free plan. For each upgrade in plan, you get more choices in themes and options. (See a bit more detail on pricing on the Starrlight Media home page.)
** Be aware, wordpress.com accounts do not automatically include email. So if you use email accounts with your domain name in them, and/or if you have emails hosted along with webhosting services and plan to give that up, you’ll need to host the emails with a custom service that WordPress.com provides or elsewhere, such as at Gsuite (Gmail).
For more information on the differences, see this WordPress site. https://en.support.wordpress.com/com-vs-org/
In the past, WordPress was viewed as being used primarily for blog sites. But WordPress can be used for any website, with or without an actual “blog”. And it has many other benefits…
- Flexibility in design and functionality: All WordPress sites are comprised basically of a theme, widgets, and plugins, which make each site extremely “modular” and therefore flexible. Briefly explained, the theme is the overall “base design”, or look and layout, that is used for the site. There are hundreds of available themes either free or for purchase on wordpress.com (thousands for .org). Widgets are modules of code that work directly within the theme; many of them are related to blogging features and very similar between themes. Examples are menus, categories and archives for posts, navigation, etc. Regarding plugins – a package of Jetpack plugins is included with wordpress.com sites, you are more limited with the amount of plugin options you have compared to a .org site, but the Jetpack collection can satisfy most needs (and if not, there are more plugin options with the business plan).
- Ability to make updates and edits by the client: There are a number of different levels of user permissions that can be assigned to you as the owner of the site, from making blog/update posts to having full editing potential for posts, pages and the site, whatever you are comfortable with. At a minimum, even if you have no experience with editing or updating a website, you can make updates via blog posts with a simple user interface (no html or ftp knowledge needed). And since it is web-based, you can log in and make edits from anywhere, anytime you have internet access. There is even an option to “post by email”, meaning you can create a new post on your site just by sending an email with attached photos, no need to log in to the site.
- Security: WordPress software, themes, and plugins have to kept updated regularly to keep sites secure. We all know that hackers are at work 24/7 to find new ways to break into servers and sites, and I feel as comfortable as is possible that sites created with WordPress.com are as secure as they can be without my client or me having to worry about making an update on a moment’s notice for a new security risk. (This honestly is one of the primary reasons I’ve switched to wordpress.com sites.)
- Display options: Most WordPress themes are now “responsive”, which means that they will automatically adjust all of the components of the site (images, navigation menus, text) to fit whatever device is being used, from a large computer monitor to a cell phone screen. To see an example of this, if you are on a computer monitor, resize your browser window from full width to a very narrow width, and you’ll see how the site adjusts.
These are among the many reasons I recommend wordpress.com.
Any questions, please feel free to contact me. You can also find multitudes of informational sites by doing a google search on wordpress, and “wordpress.com vs wordpress.org”.