Are we talking about WordPress.org or WordPress.com?
In this article I focus on hosting your own WordPress site using the software from WordPress.org. There is also a hosted service, WordPress.com, owned by Automattic. WordPress.org is also affiliated with Automattic, and Matt Mullenweg founded/co-founded both.
Think of WordPress.com as a managed host for WordPress where you don’t have to install anything. It has some plugin limitations because it is a managed service, but it’s a quick way to get started. You can always export your content to a standalone instance on any web host if you hit a limitation.
What’s at risk?
Let’s say you have some information you want to share with the world. It could be a how-to, product information, news, etc. With so many content distribution options available, deciding where to invest your time and energy takes time and effort. A good, fundamental principle to help guide your decision is: “own your content.”
When you publish a podcast, video, or blog article on someone else’s platform, there is a risk that one day, they will pull the rug out from under you. For example, let’s say you spend your time and energy posting to Twitter and successfully build an audience there. One day, a crazy billionaire buys the company and drives it into the ground. All your tweets are gone, and you have no link to the audience you created with all your hard work.
Owning your content
You maintain complete control over your content by purchasing your domain name and hosting your content on a WordPress instance. You can still tweet in addition to running your website, but now if Twitter should collapse, you can still reach your audience.
As long as you have a backup of your WordPress site, even if your web host suddenly shut down, you could simply move to another web host and restore your entire site. You can still post content on other sites such as YouTube, Instagram, and social media to surface your content but keep the crown jewels on your property.
There are other ways to host your website, such as subscription-based website builders. If you need a simple brochure site to get your business started, WordPress.com, Wix, Squarespace, and Webflow are great options. If your idea takes off, switch to WordPress before you are too locked in.
To summarize, post some content on social media, YouTube, or elsewhere but with the intent to bring the audience to your site and monetize on your terms.
Here are a few more reasons to choose WordPress for your website
- It’s an open-source platform that is free to use.
- You have complete control of your content. You don’t need to worry about what is displayed next to your content.
- It’s portable. If your web host suddenly goes out of business or becomes too expensive, you can restore your entire site from a backup on another host.
- It enables non-developers to update website content easily. You need some technical knowledge for the initial setup but once it is up and running, writing posts is as easy as using a word processor.
- The ecosystem is vast! There are thousands of themes and plugins for WordPress.
- It has a massive community of online forums, local meetup groups, and tutorials.
- It has longevity. The first version was released in 2003!
- You are in good company. According to W3 Techs, WordPress is used by 40% of all sites on the web!