Are you one of the 20 million+ site owners who have to keep updating your WordPress (Joomla, Drupal, etc) versions as well as your themes and plugins? What a pain! And you HAVE TO DO IT to keep your site secure. My task list for building a full-blown WordPress site is LONG, largely because of security concerns.
Let’s clarify the difference between a full-blow WordPress site, and a WordPress.com site. Let’s say you are working with a host like Bluehost or Godaddy. They offer installations of WordPress on their servers. Taking advantage of this will give you a full-blown WordPress site using the software downloaded from WordPress.org. Your new site will allow you lots of design freedom but requires regular updates for security purposes. Alternatively, when you sign up with WordPress.com, you are taking advantage of their hosting service which takes care of ALL UPDATES. You can point your domain from Godaddy or Bluehost, or any “registrar” like that and have a professional, nicely designed site without any of the security headaches.
My new clients and I are in heaven with these low maintenance WordPress.com sites. Until 2017, most of my client sites have been full-blown WordPress sites, and before that Joomla sites, with lots of plugins and many design options, which has been wonderful. They usually cost a few thousand dollars or more to make. I love saving time and my clients LOVE saving money when I set them up with WordPress.com, ending up with a site that often comes in at about $1k. Full-blown WordPress sites, while offering the benefit of extreme freedom in design, require maintenance to keep them safe and secure. This means logging into the back end and checking for updates regularly. It’s not hard to update a WordPress site but many people don’t have the time or interest in doing so. And, horribly, the plugin updates sometimes conflict with the updated WordPress version, and you find that you are breaking the site by conscientiously updating your plugins! Then you have to restore the site to an earlier version and troubleshoot the plugin issue. Your server’s PHP versions can also cause problems. None of these hiccups happen with WordPress.com. I say it is totally worth the sacrifice in design options. For $99/year you do get to customize the CSS which helps compensate for this. I find the CSS a little weird sometimes, but the chat function with Worpress.com lets you get CSS suggestions from their technicians and they usually work brilliantly.
More examples of my WordPress.com work are:
- Weather Menders, a Cli-Fi novel by Debra Denker
- Santa Fe Home Builder, Mike Jorgensen
- Keep it Simple Golf, by Jerry Brown
- Santa Fe Hobbit House Vacation Rental
In the interest of blowing my own horn… this WordPress.com site is for my own musical endeavors as an improvisational flutist in Santa Fe, NM. It cost me nothing but time. I’m using this web experience to promote my music, and also to explore WordPress.com’s free version, for clients who want to pay absolutely nothing for hosting or domain registration. One of the down sides of this is that you must include wordpress.com in your domain, like mine: https://hopekiah.worpress.com. Generally, I like to use a custom domain, but I wanted to test the limits of a completely free site and I am impressed with what wordpress.com offers in that vein. The design limitations are notable, but it’s fun to experiment with free stuff. It was cool to discover, for example, that my Santa Fe Flute Gig Google Calendar could be embedded in the site. Pretty amazing! Whenever I add a gig to my Google calendar, it automatically feeds to my free site.