What’s the Difference Between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?

As a web developer and trainer people ask me this question all the time. Here’s a quick explanation that will hopefully save you time, money and stress as you plan and create your site.

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WordPress.com (pictured above) is a site where you can create a blog or website about whatever subject you want using an easy and intuitive interface. All you have to do is sign up for an account and follow some basic steps. It’s not designed to allow you to run a bunch of supplemental programs, advertising, or other big drains on its bandwidth. Your options in terms of themes, plugins,widgets and level of storage space that you can use are limited to the ones approved by WordPress.com. You can sign up for a free blog or pay for extra features and varying levels of support by selecting one of their other packages. If you’re using the free site, your domain name will end with .wordpress.com (e.g. myblog.wordpress.com) unless you pay extra, you won’t have any control over advertising that shows on your site, be able to use GoogleAdsense to reach potential customers, track your site’s performance with Google Analytics, or access and manage your site using FTP. WordPress.com will, however, backup your site and upgrade the WordPress version whenever a new one is available.

 

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WordPress.org is an information site about self-hosted WordPress sites. Self-hosted means that its files reside on a server that you pay for.

If you pay a fee to a company like Bluehost, HostGator, or Network Solutions for web hosting,  have registered a domain name and have a WordPress program installed on your server, you have a self- hosted WordPress site and that you have control over what themes, plugins, advertising, and other programs you use. With a self hosted site, you can change settings on your WordPress setup to improve performance, use whatever themes and plugins you want, access and manage your site using FTP, and pretty much customize it however you see fit.

The tradeoff is that you are also responsible for your own maintenance. You’ll need to backup your site periodically, upgrade the WordPress version and any plugins that you’re using in order to keep your site safe from security flaws, etc.

In conclusion, which one you go with will depend on how much control you want over your site, how much you’re willing to pay to get it, and how comfortable you are with taking care of it.

How to Upload Media to Your Site

Uploading media to a website is a basic skill that anyone in charge of maintaining it will use often. Clients ask me how to do this all the time,  so I thought I would write a post with simple instructions. These instructions can apply to uploading audio and video files as well. You may want to think about hosting your videos on a YouTube account and then embedding them on your site instead of uploading them, but that’s a post for another time.

From the Dashboard/Posts screen place your cursor where you want to insert the media item, then click the “Add Media” button, which is outlined in red in the picture below. (Click on any picture in this blog post to enlarge them it).

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Another screen will open. Click the  “Upload files” link on the top left hand side (highlighted in red below). Click the big “Upload Files” button in the middle of the page and select the file you want to upload from a file selection box, or locate it (on your desktop perhaps?) and just drag it somewhere onto the screen .

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When it’s finished uploading, click the blue “Insert into post” button at the bottom of the screen.

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Once  the graphic is inserted into the post, you might want to edit it. You can do this by clicking on the picture that you want to edit and selecting the little picture in the upper left corner of the selection,  or by going to the media gallery and selecting the picture there.

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Once a picture has been selected, you can edit the size, alignment, enter a title and/or caption and change link URL settings or click the “Advanced Settings” tab for even more options.

 

 

How to Write a WordPress Blog Post

One of the essential skills of managing your WordPress site is knowing how to upload your content. The procedure is pretty much the same whether you’re adding a blog post or a new page.

Go to the Dashboard, locate the “Add New” button under the “Posts” controls section (outlined in red) on the upper left side and enter a title for your post. Select either the Visual or HTML tab on the grey bar just above the content box. The Visual view operates like any word processor, and you will see a row of buttons on the grey bar that control the formatting of your work. Hover your mouse over each button to get a brief description of what it does. The HTML view shows the coding that affects the look of your post. This is the view you would use if you want to embed a video on your site, change the size of text and headings, or other things not covered by the standard formatting buttons. Now go ahead and start writing your post.

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You may also want to categorize your post and add some tags so that your readers will be able to search your site for articles that interest them. An article about the difference between categories and tags is coming soon!

When you’re done, save a draft by clicking on the Save Draft button in the upper right corner and then take a look at your work by clicking on either of the Preview buttons outlined in red in the picture below.

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When you’re finished, you can save the draft for later by clicking the Save Draft button, or if you’re ready to post it, click the blue Publish button. This will upload your post for all to see.