WordPress.com Vs. WordPress.org (Prehosted (template) VS You host Yourself)

Hey Everyone,

So yesterday or maybe it was the previous day I did a post on moving.  I did move and the site was up for about 18 hours and then I changed my mind.  So it’s down.  Probably down for good.  Why?  Well, for all of you interested in creating your own website and/or hosting your own site you may want to read this… for anyone who could care less and you’re only ever going to use a free service you can skip this post.

I am not an expert.  In fact, I’m very much a beginner and here’s my experience so far with the whole ordeal – all 20 hours of experience (that’s how much time put into making the website).

I’ll start off with the simplified explanations.  “Pre-hosted” VS “Self-hosted.”  The difference between the two is this: pre-hosted are sites like WordPress.com and Blogger.  All you do is sign up and pick templates to create your website.  You don’t have to worry about someone hosting your website to be on the internet, because these pre-hosted site/blogs are already are hosted by the companies that offer these services.  A self-hosted site is a site where the blogger or website owner pays a hosting service such as godaddy.com, Blue Host, iPage, HostGator, and etc to store their website data on these hosting services’ servers.  With Self-hosted there is the freedom to do a lot of fancy things.  You can create your website any way you want and your only restrictions is your lack of coding knowledge.

Now the difference between Blogger and WordPress.com.  Blogger allows its free users to use Java script.  You see all those countdown widgets of book releases (the images with the counting down numbers to a release date)… that employs JavaScript to function.  WordPress.com does not aloow JavaScripts.  Though in my opinion, WordPress.com is more intuitive and user-friendly.  Those are the main visual difference between the two.  So a Blogger site can be more “fun” for visitors.  Why use a Wordpress.com site?  Well, as I stated, it’s more user-friendly and the layout construction page (what WordPress.com calls the dashboard) is laid out in a table of content manner and very easy to navigate.  They have a slew of free templates to choose from and most of them automatically makes your blog/website look dramatically cleaner and more professional.  Those were the reasons for me, sold me on WordPress… Add in the fact that you can easily transfer the data on your WordPress.com site to a WordPress.org easily makes it more appealing.

The difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?  WordPress.com is free (pre-hosted) and WordPress.org is self-host (you have to find a hosting service to keep your website data for you).  With WordPress.org, depending on your service provider, once you have that provider you can select WordPress.org as a site/blog builder “program.”  Once you install WordPress.org your options fly through the roof.  There are thousands of widgets (think applications aka apps like in the phone sense, a little program to add onto your phone… so in this case a little program to add onto you website/blog).  Unlike Wordpress.com, WordPress.org can use java.

So this brings me back to my website.   With a self hosted site you get a dot com name…. so mine was www.ravenousbiblioworm.com … compared to my current youngadultbookguide.wordpress.com … see one has WordPress inserted into the address and the other does not.  Seeing wordpress inserted into the address denotes it being a free blog/site.  Anyway, I was able to easily transfer my website layout from WordPress.com to WordPress.org in under 3 minutes.  Very simple and easy.  I input  java scripts and the site looked all pretty with columns and rows of book covers and I had several countdown counters for books that I want.  It looked really nice.  Here’s the downfall for WordPress.org for a beginner like me.  I couldn’t figure out how to properly incorporate an email subscription of some sort into the site.  I couldn’t figure out how to input share buttons (like for Facebook shares, twitter shares, etc)… It was easily able to use blog connect tools…. you know those little blog follow charts showing the profile pictures of everyone who is following the blog), that was easy, but any other type of  subscribe tools was difficult for a beginner like me to understand how to install correctly.

So my final decision was this:  I ‘ll be sticking with my wordpress.com site.  Yes, I would love to have java access, but the trials and tribulations of having to figure out how to properly install the widgets was too much for me.  If I had the time to investigate and the time to spend to build the site and figure things out it wouldn’t be an issue, but I am a very busy person.  So my time constraints and low knowledge made the option of a self hosted site not viable.  I like wordpress.com; I just really would like the usage of JavaScript…. I would be willing to pay subscription for that option, but alas, it’s not an option.  But it’s okay, because the focus of my blog is to review books.  I currently have 73 reviews on my blog with 90 percent of them being from this year alone…. so I’m think it’s a good vision for me and that I’m following it closely.  Maybe someday in the far future where I have more time I’ll try the self hosting again because was a good experience, it just wasn’t the worth the time put in (and the time I knew I was going to have to put in) for a book review blog.  Now if I was a business of some sort or if I was a popular blog I would definitely go with the self host… but I’m not a serious “reviewer,” meaning I’m not working for some magazine or newspaper, just a guy wanting to share his thoughts on books on the internet, without the massive numbers of followers.

With that all said, ignore my previous post which you all probably got an email about.  I’ll be staying here.  Reminds me of one more thing.  Moving sites, from pre-host to self-host, you lose all your subscribers in some cases and start from the ground up (unless you use an outside service like GFC or Linky)…  I have a good 70 plus followers (email, RSS feed, Linky combined), which I am very thankful for and would hate to ask everyone to subscribe again.  I’m here on wordpress.com to stay.  So, I guess I’ll work on my header banner and blog button.  And I’ll figure out another way to promote books I like or want.

So here’s the lesson, if you have time and know what you’re doing to some degree, and have the money, a self hosted site is a very good way to go.

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