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Ever since I first saw WordPress in action back in 2003 or so I knew it would be a great platform for blogging. Easy to use, simple to understand, and a blog that the blog owner would actually own. Over the years my appreciation for WordPress has stayed strong, especially as it became more than a blogging platform and is now a full-blown content management system that can support websites for any type of business.
In this post, I’m going to cover the reasons why I think it’s a great platform to start your blog or business website. I’ll cover the best place to host your WordPress blog or website, WordPress Page Builders, and why you should use premium themes and not free themes.
When you’re ready to set up your first blog, it’s definitely exciting but it can be a bit scary, too. You’re going to make your presence known to the world by sharing your thoughts, your opinions, and your experiences on a public blog. Let’s make sure you start off on the right foot.
Let’s start…at the beginning.
I think it’s important that I clarify that WordPress.org and WordPress.com are not the same.
WordPress.com is a blog hosting service which gives you very limited options. Most people I know who start their blog there eventually decide to go the self-hosted route, which is WordPress.org.
WordPress.org is an open source program (this means many developers around the world work on it all the time to make sure it is a solid, functioning platform). It is available for free and you download it/install it on your own web hosting account. That may sound intimidating, but really it’s not. Most web hosting services offer 1-click installation for WordPress, making it very easy for you to just “click on the logo” and have your blog up and ready to use in just a few minutes.
Having your blog on the self-hosted version of WordPress means you have full control over your site. You own it, you can design it any way you want, you can publish any kind of content you want, and you can add functionalities that range from making it a magazine/news site to a full-blown e-commerce store, and a lot more.
The core WordPress software is powerful on its own. When you download it on your hosting account it comes with a few themes and plugins ready for you to use. Themes are what give your site the look and layout you want. You can use what comes with WordPress or you can choose from thousands of free and premium themes from various vendors.
Plugins are what will give you the functions you want in the site. Whether that is a shopping cart or a landing page, an email capture form or social sharing options for readers, and many, many more.
Whether you want just a blog, for now, or are ready to have a full website with multiple features and functions and pages, you can do it with a self-hosted WordPress site. Honestly, other platforms simply don’t offer nearly the number of themes and plugins available on WordPress. This is why it’s such a popular choice for bloggers and website owners alike.
WordPress needs two things to work well. The first is a domain name and the second is web hosting. I’ve often used this analogy to describe a website; if your website as your house, then the domain name is your street address, and the web hosting is the land your house sits on. And, just like the house you live in is built on a good piece of land, you want your website to be built on a quality space too. This is why choosing a good web hosting company is vital if you want your WordPress blog or website to be successful.
There are literally thousands of companies that offer web hosting, and pretty much all of them support WordPress installation on their servers. However, there are a few that I recommend for new bloggers and experienced website owners. These are:
All 4 offer the 1-click WordPress installation, so you can have a WordPress blog or site set up quickly without any hassle or a headache. All 4 offer 24/7 support so if you have questions about web hosting, need help setting up your site, or once your site is set up you have technical issues, you can contact them anytime through various communication channels.
Each web hosting company offers packages, bundling different levels of service with their hosting plans. For instance, Bluehost offers free domain names with their plans, but SiteGround and Momwebs doesn’t.
When it comes to pricing, Bluehost offers the lowest price. If you lock yourself in a 3-year contract, then you’d only need to pay $2.95/mo for the basic plan. Momwebs runs $5/month but no contract and you only have to pay 3 months at a time, and SiteGround is the most expensive at $11.95/month.
Can you try before you buy? Sure. Though I don’t recommend it. Bluehost and Siteground offer a 30-day money back guarantee, which implies that if you’re not happy with the service you can simply cancel it within their money back period and you’ll get a refund. Sounds simple, but if you’ve set up your site, have content loaded and are sharing it with others, this means you’ll need to download the entire site and prep it to move to another hosting account. If you’re new to blogging and WordPress and website ownership then this isn’t something you want to fool around with. That being said, Momwebs has a free move-in service and will handle the transfer for you.
Now you’re wondering which hosting company you should select to avoid being unhappy.
First, all four companies listed are quality hosting companies.
Second, I personally use and recommend Momwebs because of the price, incredible customer service and technical support, and additional no-cost add-ons they offer in their packages. For instance, SSL certificates. Momwebs gives you an SSL certificate for free with your hosting account, saving you a minimum of $60/year. This means you don’t have to worry about someone being told that your site isn’t secure or safe to view.
So, if you’re looking for hosting, I recommend Momwebs. If you already have a hosting account you’re happy with, that’s great! Either way, you’re ready to use WordPress for your blog or website.
Earlier I mentioned that WordPress.org comes with themes and plugins that make it easy to set up a blog or website quickly. One of the major benefits of using WordPress is that you can choose from thousands of free and premium themes to give your site the look and layout you want it to have.
Why do you even want to consider a premium theme?
There are plenty of free WordPress themes that look great and work well, but premium themes will be what can help your site look different from everyone else’s. And, premium themes come with better coding, better support, and more.
Here are a few reasons why you should consider using a premium theme:
Better quality themes
So, to this point, I’ve covered the basics of what WordPress is, where to get hosting, and whether or not you should use a free theme or a premium theme.
Now it’s time for a quick look at the editing feature in WordPress. WordPress has a default editor referred to as the Classic Editor. And, it works great if you plan to just use text and an image or two for your articles and blog posts. However, think this through a bit. I just talked about why you want to use a premium theme to make your site look like you want it to, but also to be able to create different types of pages. So, when you’re building sales pages, landing pages, download pages, your website’s home page, and more, the default editor doesn’t really give you a lot of options to make your site look the way you want.
WordPress page builders are drag and drop builders that allow you to, yes, you guessed it, drag and drop your content anywhere on a page. You don’t have to imagine what your page is going to look like because these builders are set up to use WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editors. This means you can see what your live page will look like as you work on it.
Most page builders include dozens of layouts and templates, making it easy for you to design your pages. You can edit, swap out templates, copy/paste content, upload your own images, and in a few minutes have a great looking web page with no coding and no sweat required.
Just like with themes, there are free page builders and premium page builders. They are plugins that you download to your hard drive and then upload to WordPress. I recommend that you if you haven’t used a page builder before you try a free one to see how they work. You can check out Elementor and Beaver Builder Lite. Premium page builders that I recommend are Thrive Architect, associated with ThriveThemes and is truly an excellent theme and page builder bundle. Thrive Architect works on Thrive Themes and honestly, it’s the best choice because your site will look similar on all pages and that’s important for branding purposes.
Read the reviews for the different page builders! Read through what each page builder offers. One thing I can say with certainty is that once you get used to building beautiful web pages using a page builder, it’s going to be hard to go back to the plain WordPress editor.
Just to give you a peek into what page builder I use… it's Thrive Architect. It can be purchased separately from ThriveThemes but the best deal is where you pay yearly for access to their membership where you have access to everything they make. It includes a lot of themes and plugins but the ones I currently use are:
I hope this post gave you a lot to think about if you're considering setting up a website. If you have any questions, just post a comment below and I'll do my best to answer or refer you to the answer. I love hearing from my readers and welcome comments. Or you can join my Facebook page at https://fb.me/OnlineToThrive. I'd love you to hop over and give me a LIKE so you can stay updated with what goes on here on my site!
Thanks for reading!
All my best,
I’m a fifty-something, self-taught, online business geek from Texas and owner of Online To Thrive. A lot goes into creating an online business and it can be a really scary endeavor. I’m here to help make getting started easy and affordable with step-by-step courses that are clear, straightforward, and uncomplicated.
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