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Category Archives: Web Development

FAQ: WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

November 6, 2015

When the majority of my clients hear “I work with WordPress” they immediately come back with: 

  1. I don’t need a blog 
  2. I don’t want my URL to be  [insertcompanyname].wordpress.com 

Both of these touch on common misconceptions about WordPress, so today I’m going to answer some frequently asked questions, including what is WordPress and why do you use it? Let’s get started… 

So what is WordPress?

WordPress is a Content Management System (often referred to as a “CMS”), which means that it is a platform that offers its users the ability to manage/edit/update the content on their website without knowing any code. Pretty simple, right?

Think of WordPress as the engine of your car, you can build the structure around it, add some paint, make it pretty and fill it with your friends, but the engine is what keeps it running. 

I went to wordpress.com and it looks like I have to pick a theme and my website is going to look like a blog, what’s the deal? 

If WordPress is the engine of your car, WordPress.com is like a base model, no bells and whistles, Honda Civic. It will look like a lot of cars on the road and you won’t be able to upgrade it in any way, but if you’re just looking to get from point A to point B, then it will do the job.

WordPress.com is a very straightforward, free platform that was created for people who want to build a website/blog with a few clicks of a mouse, not knowing any code, and get it online for free. There are few customization options with this service, so your website will look exactly like the template you select, with very little wiggle room. This is where the misconceptions start because with this version, your URL will include “.wordpress.com” and every one of these websites looks very much like a blog. I do not build websites with this version.

So then what do you build? 

If WordPress.com is like a base model Honda Civic, WordPress.org is like a totally custom built car. Every one of these cars will look slightly different, you may want your car to look like a Honda Civic, and that can be done, or you may want your car to look like a spaceship, and that can be done too. The main point of this analogy is to say that WordPress is still the engine of that car, and the engine on both of these versions (WordPress.com vs WordPress.org) is exactly the same, the difference is the ability to customize how it looks and functions in order to make it unique and make it suit your needs perfectly. 

I work with WordPress.org. This version was intended for developers to build/code a website from the ground up, which does require a lot of code. Then, once the building and coding of it is done, the website uses the WordPress content management system, making it easy to edit the content on the website without needing to know any code. In other words – I build the car around the WordPress engine, and then hand you the keys to drive it. 

Why do you use WordPress? 

I use WordPress because my clients want the ability to change the content on their websites, they want to be able to add pages, remove pages, edit images, edit copy, add a blog post and more without having to call me up every day to make the changes for them. The WordPress engine is a very user-friendly platform that gives my clients a lot of control over their website without having to see a single line of code. I use WordPress because it’s powerful, well-supported and has a lot of tools that make the building process more smooth and secure for my clients. 

I hope that answers some of your WordPress questions. Next up, I’ll be tackling What is a WordPress theme and What is the difference between a “custom” theme and a purchased theme? Stay tuned! 

Image via Unsplash