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WordPress 101

Wordpress logoMost beginners don’t even know this but there are actually 2 different versions of WordPress. When you first start blogging, the easiest way to get started is by simply going to WordPress.com and create a FREE account. Your URL will be something like this: whateveryouchoose.wordpress.com. Just like my URL for a free WordPress blog is https://susanwinters214.wordpress.com/  (I’m no longer logging into this account because I’ve upgraded to a paid account with my own domain name: www.susanwinters.net.

The FREE version of wordpress (the one with .wordpress.com at the end of the free domain name they give you) is perfect for those that want a freebie blog, easy to use – no html needed and a full selection of colorful templates to choose from. You can jump right in and start writing articles and get your content out on the web. WordPress.com comes with a few “widgets” that lets you embed your Facebook profile, your Tweets from Twitter, your pics from Instagram and a few other options. You can assign an avatar to your WordPress blog so people will see your face – if they are curious about what the person looks like who wrote the blog content.  But I think the longer you use WordPress, the sooner you will begin to realize how limited you are using the free version. The downside to the FREE version of WordPress is that they place ads all over your website and you have no control over what ads are placed on your site! That may be okay for a personal blog but you really shouldn’t do this with a business account.

WordPress 102

WordPress logoThe second version of WordPress is called a ‘hosted’ version. This is when you go to WordPress.ORG and download the software, customize it to your liking and then upload it to your own web server. Of course, this is too advanced for non-techical users and that’s why many people don’t ever move over to that version. But for those that do, you soon start to learn the advanced functionality available to you. I would have to say that if you are a Web Developer, this is definately the way you want to go because dealing with servers and plug-ins just comes naturally. Plug-ins are like snippets of code written by other developers that you can customize and add to your website.

I started out blogging years ago and had several start and stop projects because, well, quite frankly, I don’t have a lot of time to blog. And for the most part, I didn’t feel like I had anything to say of interest to anyone else. Then I found that I was providing the same information over and over to different people in my job, so I decided I would just start answering questions in the form of a blog article and then whenever someone asked me a technical website related question, I would just refer them to my blog. That’s kind of how this blog you are reading right now got started. I must admit, I’m not a consistant blogger, I just jump over here occassionally to ‘take notes’ or share info people have asked me about.

But a few months ago, in addition to starting a new e-commerce website about ejuice, I decided I wanted to try out the ‘hosted’ version of WordPress because many of my friends who are also Web Developers kept talking about plug-ins and I wanted to see what all the craze was about. So I kind of abondoned this blog and installed WordPress on my own server over at SusanReed.NET. I really have a lot of fun trying out different plug-ins and now I much prefer the hosted version over this free version and sometimes when jumping back and forth I’m reminded of the differences between the two of them.

So to summarize, if you just want to write content for the web, using the free version of WordPress will probably be all you need. But if you want to start customizing your blog more by adding different features then you’ll want to invest in getting your own hosted version of WordPress. Actually, you can do this pretty inexpensively now. Just go to godaddy.com and purchase a domain name and a hosting package that comes with WordPress installation capabilities. I found this to be pretty easy to install. It only took a few hours to get it all set up and the cost was less than $100/year.

Going forward my future posts will be on the self-hosted version of WordPress located at: www.SusanReed.net.

P.S. Because this is the free version of WordPress and I can’t use a plug-in for a link to my Google+ account – so here is hyperlink.

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