Moving from Wordpress.com to Wordpress.org
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A few months ago I made the move from a wordpress.com website to a wordpress.org website. After three years of attending WordPress meet-ups, the members of the meet-up said I was probably the most prepared person ever to do this switch. While it wasn’t a seamless transition, it was relatively easy.

WordPress.com is great for beginners who are afraid of technology and doing something to “break” their website. That was me. No coding is necessary. You pick a theme and a domain name. For a slight fee you can customize your domain name, or you can get a free one. I have www.patriciamrobertson.wordpress.com for free, but opted to pay for www.patriciamrobertson.com as it is more professional. It has traveled with me to my new website.

With wordpress.com, you don’t have to worry about security or backing up your files. WordPress does this for you, a plus. WordPress.com is essentially a service, everything is provided for you. In exchange for all this service, they place ads on your website. You can pay an additional fee to have these removed. Your blog posts are shared with other WordPress bloggers as part of the wordpress community.

You aren’t able to use certain programs, such as WuCommerce on a wordpress.com site, however for a $249 upgrade, you can get a business plan which allows you to sell from your website. There are ways around this limitation. I was able to set up PayPal links to sell books on my .com site. The other down side is that you are limited on what you can do. As someone with no coding or programming experience, this was not an issue for me. For others this is a major issue. I was able to do pretty much everything I wanted to do with my wordpress.com site.

So why did I change?

I had people telling me how easy it was, insisting that I could do it, but the main reason was I wanted a more professional looking website. I didn’t want to spend countless hours working on a website that didn’t live up to my expectations. So I hired a web designer to build my website.

I now have a website that functions much like my old website. I’m able to make changes myself without relying on a web designer to do this. I also know there is more I can do if I want and have time to put into it. WordPress.org is software. As software there is a lot more you can do, if you know what you are doing.

There are more expenses connected to this website. I’m paying for a host, something I did not have to do with my .com site as wordpress was the host. My host provides security for my site and many other valuable resources. I’m also responsible for backing up my website, something I still have to work on. However I can monetize my website if I want. I just have to figure out how.

I was able to transfer all of my blog posts to my new website. The only issue I ran into was that I was not able to transfer my followers to the new website. Since I did not have a large following, this was not a major issue for me. For others that would be a bigger problem.

While starting with wordpress.com and switching to wordpress.org worked for me, I don’t recommend it because of losing followers. Better to decide which one you want from the start and stick with it.

I had no idea what I was doing when I originally set up my website. I had had a blog at blogspot, but that was limited. I decided to try WordPress because it is very user friendly and there are meetups and day long wordcamps where you can get help when you have questions. Each wordcamp has a “happiness” center where experienced users help less experienced users. I know I was very happy after being helped out at my first wordcamp. Using wordpress.com gave me a chance to experiment with a website before moving on to .org.

Either option is great. .Com provides the greatest ease and security for someone who knows little about technology. You can have a professional website using .com and if you are willing to pay for upgrades, it can be used for a business as well.

.Org provides more ability to customize your website. It also frees you of unwanted ads, but there is more you need to do to maintain it.

As to host providers, I use A2Hosting, out of Ann Arbor, Michigan. I considered going with GoDaddy or Bluehost. Their prices were comparable but I had heard their response to problems was not as quick as A2Hosting. A2 has packages for as low as $3.92 a month. I received a great two year deal with them when I signed up. I have been very happy with their quick response to my questions. An added plus is that I have met some of their employees. To check them out, follow this link. (As a disclaimer, I have signed up to be an affiliate so I do get some benefit if you sign up. It’s win/win. You get a great hosting company and I get some money.)

If you don’t have a website, or are considering making a change to your website, WordPress is the way to go.

What has been your experience with websites? Did I miss something important?

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