Are You Thinking of Switching to a WordPress Website?

You may have found me because you’re wondering if you should switch to WordPress. You’ve come to the right place for an answer in this article.

I’ve done two things on purpose: I’ve used the words “WordPress Website” in my headline and called what I’m writing an “article.”

Build Your Own Website

Here is something you need to know: a WordPress blog IS a website.

Many people still associate blogging with celebrities who are writing for their fans. That’s a misconception.

People with WordPress blogs use the terms “blog” and “website” interchangeably. Actually, what I’m writing now is a blog post. We could just as well call it an article, but “post” is the term used in the blogosphere.

I’ve been a blogger for over three years. In the beginning I was confused about the difference between a website and a blog, too. Now I write blog posts on a regular basis for clients and myself and I maneuver around my WordPress website like an old pro. You can too.

In this article I will first talk about how to get your WordPress website set up. Then I’ll discuss why Google will send more visitors to you if you have a WordPress blog and not a static website that you rarely change.

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a content management system just like the website you might be using right now for your business, except that WordPress provides much more flexibility. You yourself can create the content, insert and delete copy, add videos, images and podcasts that promote your company and your products and services.

You can more easily change the content and the design of a WordPress blog unlike a custom-designed website that will keep your webmaster in business. WordPress will save you time and money.

You’ll want what’s called a self-hosted WordPress.org blog. That is, you own the content, unlike WordPress.com which is hosted by WordPress and offers less functionality. (Note: there are other blogging platforms such as Blogger, Typepad and tumblr, but WordPress is considered the gold standard).

Getting Started

First, visit iThemes, which has 40 blog templates (called themes) to choose from. You’ll also need to buy a domain name – mine is Write Speak Sell. Most people use Go Daddy. You’ll also need a company to host your blog such as HostGator, which I use. (I am not an affiliate of any of these companies).

You can set up the template yourself, if you’re technically savvy. But you might want to have a professional do it, so you can spend more time on your business and less time on getting your WP website up and running.

I highly recommend these firms: The Small Business Website Guy, and Keep Up With the Web. WPBeginner offers a setup service as well as do-it-yourself tutorials to guide you through the learning curve. Or, your own IT consultant may be able to help.

After your blog is in place, you can take over. You’ll be able to go into the WP dashboard to insert content and make changes on your schedule, not someone else’s.

The WP dashboard is like the dashboard of your car. You need to learn how to use the breaks, turn on the windshield wipers, open the hood and master the other functions before you step on the gas.

Same goes for your blog. After learning the basics, you’ll be able to go into the dashboard and create pages about your company and its services. You’ll also learn how to write posts (articles) that you distribute to social media networks.

Google Will Love Your Blog

Now you can go directly to your target audience with a blog as the centerpiece of your social media strategy. Think of your blog as your hub. You’re at home plate swinging the bat with content to the social media networks. In turn, they will send runners (visitors) to your blog.

Google rewards blogs because they are dynamic with fresh content posted regularly. Static websites are out. Blogs are in.

I hope I’ve convinced you to switch to WordPress if you’re still on the fence. If you have any questions, please ask them in the comment box below.

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Comments

  1. Jeannette,

    Wonderful introduction to WordPress! I usually explain that a blog can be part of a website, or you can have a website with no blog. WordPress got its start as a blogging platform, but now you can do pretty much anything with it (build whatever sort of site you like).

    And yes, you will attract much more traffic to your site if you use WordPress and you blog regularly, because WP is set up for SEO and search engines love dynamic sites. But you can do even more for the SEO of your site when you are ready.
    Leora Wenger recently posted..What’s Your Sales Pitch?My Profile

    • Leora — Yes, your blog can be your website or linked to your website. I have a client whose standard website gets most of its traffic from its blog which is proof that a blog is much more SEO friendly.

  2. Hi Jeannette: Enjoyed the post. You and I have taken similar journeys. I, too, have been blogging for 3 years now and recently switched both my blogs over to self-hosted sites via WordPress.org under the careful counselling of Sherryl Perry of Keep Up With the Web. Sherryl’s expertise has made the transition an easy one for me. I use GoDaddy for my hosting.

    I love blogging! It has been a great way to drum up interest for “Chocolatour,” my upcoming chocolate travel book. And a great way for me to connect with other writers.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted..Sharing a Self-Publishing Success StoryMy Profile

    • Doreen — I bet you’re happy you switched to a WordPress.org blog. So much more functionality. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your chocolate blogs — what a great idea for a book. Tasting all that chocolate!

  3. Of the different platforms, I decided to set up my blog on WordPress because of it was so flexible and versatile. I could be able to design my blog just the way that I envisioned for it to look like, and still gives me more room to take it further. I can say I’ve just scratched the surface of the many benefits that using WordPress can provide.

    Thanks so much for sharing this.
    Adeline recently posted..5 Filipino Dishes that Help You Lose WeightMy Profile

    • Adeline — your point is well taken. WordPress is so flexible. That’s one of the real benefits for me.

  4. Jeannette, I agree with you and all the other ladies that have commented. A self-hosted blog on WordPress is the best option there is.

    Interesting that you, Doreen and I have all been blogging for 3 years. Am really glad I managed to get myself a self-hosted WordPress blog from the beginning. Saved me from switching:-)
    Catarina recently posted..Entrepreneurship – do genes play a part?My Profile

    • Catarina — the timing of all three of us is interesting. I started with a self-hosted WP blog — the Essence theme — but then after about a year I decided it was too limiting and switched to the Flexx them, which I’m very happy with.

  5. Hi Jeannette,
    I wish I had been as smart as those of you who started off with self-hosting. I’ve got Leora Wenger helping me with mine–and can’t wait to go self hosted. I love WordPress also and wouldn’t choose anything other than WordPress. I will be really glad when I have the added functionality of my own self-hosted site though.

    • Bethany Lee — I’ll be glad when you get your own self-hosted WP blog, too, so it will be easier to leave comments on your posts! Glad you are working with Leora who knows her stuff.

  6. Yes I’ve been using WordPress.org for about 4 years now. Amazing platform coming from the old Google platform, blogspot. What IS that called now?

    Anyway my favorite takeaway is about using the word article AND post in your — post.

    Thanks Jeannette!

    • Pat — there are still active blogs on the blogspot platform as far as I can tell. But I think that new bloggers using the Google blogging platform are directed to use Blogger. Not sure this is entirely correct, but in poking around that’s what I found. Re an article vs a post I thought it was about time to clear up the confusion. A post is simply an article, period!

  7. Hi “Geek Girl” — I hope that my post encourages more bloggers to start off with the self-hosted WP blog platform first so they don’t have to go through the bother of switching later. I actually started with WP.com but very soon discovered that it didn’t provide the functionality I needed. Because I was just starting out, it wasn’t such a big deal moving my posts over to WP.org.

  8. Jeannette, You’ve done an excellent job of enlightening people on the importance of having a self-hosted blog. I love that you clearly stated “a WordPress blog IS a website”. It’s amazing how many people are confused by that.

    One of the most wonderful things about WordPress is how powerful it is while at the same time, it can be relatively easy to maintain by most everyone. There is so much help available and such a strong community of users that no one should be intimidated by it.

    Years ago, I built websites using Joomla, which like WordPress is CMS software. Having used both programs personally, I always recommend WordPress to my clients (and anyone else who will listen).

    Thanks so much for recommending my consulting services. I truly appreciate your support.
    Sherryl Perry recently posted..How to Add Follow Buttons to WordPress without a PluginMy Profile

    • Sherryl — You’re welcome.I know how conversant you are in WP and web design. I felt it was important to emphasis that a WP blog is a website. People are still confused about that for the reasons I stated in the post. Maybe we’ll get some converts!

    • Bindhurani — It seems like several of us started blogs about three years ago (I actually started a little before that). Must have been something in the air telling us to do it! Glad the post was helpful.

  9. This is a great post with great recommendations. I already use many but not all that you have listed. How cool is that.

    I had once been with blogspot and had moved my blog to WordPress this February. It was the first time I had really gone public with my writing and developing art. I use a web developer to help me with the move and ongoing support. We decoded to move slowly with any improvements or changes to insure the product continues to reflex who I am and my new direction. All I can say is if anyone is trying to make a decision to move to WordPress then my advice is “Just Do It” you will not regret it.
    Susan Cooper recently posted..Parking Lessons at 16: by Bethany LeeMy Profile

  10. Hi Jeannette,

    The first website I had years ago was built from scratch and cost thousands of dollars. When I started blogging I am so glad I used WordPress as it is so easy to use and now most of the really good themes are designed to be used with WordPress.That is why I can’t understand how some business owners still balk at having a website.
    Susan Oakes recently posted..How To Avoid The Marketing WobblesMy Profile

    • Susan, I know — how far we’ve come. Some people are still using custom websites. I worked with a consultant who was referred to me and he had already gotten quotes for $5,000 for a custom website. I convinced him to put up a WordPress site instead. And the cost for the template and to get it up and running was in the hundreds not thousands.