custom wordpress  | Kinetic KnowledgeBecause so many people seem confused about the subject and it certainly can be confusing, we felt it might helpful to differentiate WordPress.com from WordPress.org for business websites.

To be clear, the use of either version of WordPress can be free, but this post is meant to help differentiate the two and to offer support for folks unlikely to be familiar with how to design & to manage a sophisticated business website themselves.

Most Websites Use WordPress

There’s a reason WordPress is the most widely used website software on the planet and it’s ONLY PART because it can be free. Mostly it’s because the software’s ‘open source’ status has attracted the collective talents of the largest development community on earth to maintain & advance it. And because of that collective talent, a business can build virtually any enhancement into its’ WordPress website – affordably! It’s because just a few years ago those same enhancements would have been built from scratch, prohibitively expensive and quite possibly less reliable. And it’s also because, rather than ‘a potentially soon to be obsolete website’, WordPress advances at an unparalleled pace.

WordPress.com

With WordPress.com, if you don’t concern yourself with your own domain name or too much customization you might be just fine. With WordPress.com you will have to accept a free subdomain [i.e. mybusiness.wordpress.com], basic shared hosting and some potentially unwelcome embedded advertising, but you won’t have to install or set anything up. While there is always going to be a learning curve, it offers ‘forum support’ (not human) for any questions and there’s also a series of free themes with limited customization capability. Keep in mind that nothing is truly free online. There are conveniences here, but the catch is some embedded advertising and cost when you want upgrades or any freedom to customize. If that doesn’t sit well, or you know you’ll want a site much more specific to your business needs, than you’ll likely need WordPress.org.

WordPress.org

If you want a completely custom website on your own domain, unlimited features, maybe some 3rd party software integration, NO more forced advertising, managed hosting, lots of storage and the flexibility to do whatever you want whenever you want to do it … than you are going to need WordPress.org. Regardless of whether or not you want live support, one way or another the upgrades & constant maintenance will have to be managed. Important: basic shared hosting plans will NOT do this! And it’s only with WordPress.org that one will be able to leverage support into more features, more design and the customization that meets particular needs.

WordPress For Business

Ultimately what this all means is, you can get a free site and / or blog at WordPress.com. It is going to be a subdomain URL of WordPress [i.e. business.wordpress.com ] and it’s going to be limited to what those that manage WP.com platform decide it offers. It’s there business model, not yours! Or you can download software for free from WordPress.org, with no limitations. Note that unless you’re capable with upgrades, 3rd party software integration, security, maintenance, hosting, customization, design and all that comes with modern marketing online– it is going to cost a little money. It’s the case regardless of the software platform and it happens to be what Kinetic Knowledge focuses on.

Unless you are a capable do-it-yourselfer, let us know what you have in mind. We can do all the heavy lifting AND you can focus on your core business.

RELATED POSTS:

Understanding WordPress

Adding PDF Files 

Several people have asked about how to add PDF files to a page recently, so we’ve created a quick & painless instructional video here to help ‘Tutorial: Adding PDFs In WordPress

 

 

More Kinetic Knowledge Video Education & Instruction

 

Lots of people ask us about the use of images in their pages & posts. While we did look some at Optimizing Images for Search awhile back, we felt doing some more image related video instruction on standard related features of your site’s dashboard might be helpful. 

So, in this instructional video let’s do a quick overview of your site’s Media Library for both Image Storage & Repeat Image Use. The Media Library allows you to add, re- use, edit, view, and/ or delete [one or multiple] media previously uploaded to your site. 

Apologize if it’s slightly monotone [Mondays], but I do promise quick and painless!

Related:

Search Engine Optimizing Images In WordPress, by Kinetic Knowledge

Recently I saw a relatively high profile social networking consultant recommend his audience use a super cheap host service, with unlimited bandwidth and a free one click WordPress install.

He spoke nothing of the potential pitfalls, probably had no idea himself… BUT I felt we should write something on the subject here for those considering that kind of a service.

Forgive me, this may concern you!

Define Shared Hosting

For the layperson, shared hosting is where the host serves multiple sites from a single Web server. Although shared hosting is a less expensive way for a business to create a web presence, it’s typically priced based upon the bet you won’t use much in the way of server resources. If you’ve chosen cut throat pricing to host your business site, it’s  likely you’ve chosen shared hosting!

If Hosting Sounds Too Good To Be True, It Is!

What shared hosting also means, is you are on a server full of other random sites AND you are potentially at the mercy of all the other sites activity. Shared hosting is usually not sufficient for any one site with potentially high traffic spikes.

You’ve spent time and energy to build products services and a brand, but when you [or anyone else on your server, for that matter] get a popular moment are you prepared? For example, say Digg.com points to your site one day and there’s a traffic surge. With shared hosting, there’s a good chance you’ll go down before you ever benefit from that surge. And if so, what of the reward for all your hard work?

If your site grows in popularity, are there even options to optimize your server for additional traffic? If so, you either pay up or you probably need to move… having learned a hard lesson! Here’s the next one: what is the cost to transfer your site and content seamlessly? Have you thought any about the retention of your data, images and video files? How about your back links? Your subscribers? Search indexing? How much will it cost to get someone experienced enough to successfully transfer all you have accumulated and want to protect?

Hosting with a FREE WordPress Install?

What does a one click install mean anyway? Does it even address WordPress updates, or that the software quickly becomes problematic if you’re not updating it? If a major security release ever came along, will they tell you? Are they responsible? And if so, are you waiting until the installer decides to update… rather than right away?

Do you have any custom design? Any custom configuration? Certainly you have custom Search Engine Optimization? How about plugins? Are you using or embedding any 3rd party software? Analytics maybe? Cool widgets, maybe the weather? And what if all those fun features begin to hog resources; will your shared host simply shut you down with no explanation. Got a question about modifying something or adding a new feature? Either plan on lots of research in the WP support forums, assuming someone there has even dealt with your problem before. And folks, our CTO used to manage those forums! He’ll be the first to tell you  the volume is such, dozens of questions go unanswered. What would you expect when the forums are volunteer?

What Serious Business People Do?

So, what’s an incident really going to cost you? $150 $250? How about the next? Experienced and trusted WP developers aren’t cheap. Just because WP is open source, free to download and install, doesn’t mean it isn’t a complicated piece of software that requires various web technology disciplines to fix, customize or optimize.

And as for unlimited bandwidth, has that been defined? Know that if your server can’t handle peak traffic then having it is probably useless. Need immediate service? Good luck!

Folks, ultimately with shared hosting you may need to be realistic about potential down time, limitations on service, the possibility of things breaking and additional costs.

What do serious business people do? They get a dedicated Web server, either in- house or out with a managed service… maybe like ours. With us, there’s not only realtime customer service platform with human interaction, but complete WordPress care & updating. Throw in server optimization, technology advancement, storage, security, online marketing education,… and you’ve got our standard comprehensive services package!