Blogging for Business is a great way to show your expertise and build up your Expert profile. It will also help your SEO by providing fresh content regularly. Find out in this blog post why you should use WordPress, what plugins you need and how to choose the best hosting provider.
I love WordPress. I tried blogger.com and blog.com before but they didn’t offer me the same flexibility as WordPress and my blogs didn’t look professional either. With WordPress, I am able to change the themes whenever I want to and install the plugins I need easily, without too much hassle.
Five Reasons Why You Should Use WordPress For Your Blog
If you are wondering why you should get a WordPress site instead of using one of the many website builders out there or another content management system then you’re in the right place!
First, though, let’s clear up one point that confuses many people when they are new to WordPress, which is that there are two different types of WordPress.
WordPress.com is hosted by WordPress which means that you can have your site up, running and looking beautiful in minutes. But you should check the WordPress.com terms of service carefully as you may not be allowed to do all you want with your new site.
The other option is WordPress.org, where you’ll need to find your own hosting and set up your own site. This is more work than using WordPress.com, but it means you own your site and can do whatever you want with it.
In this post, I’m going to focus on WordPress.org.
Now let’s look at five reasons for getting a WordPress site:
With the huge range of themes and plugins available you can do whatever you want with your WordPress website, from changing the fonts and colours and moving your pages around to installing contact forms, security features or even a shopping cart.
WordPress is open source, which means you can download it for free. You will need to pay for your hosting, and some of the themes and plugins have a price tag too, but setting up a WordPress site isn’t going to cost you much at all.
Even if you pay someone to set up your site for you, updating your site will be cheap because you’ll be able to do most of it, if not all of it, yourself.
WordPress makes maintenance easy, too. There are backup plugins to make regular copies of your site should the worst happen and security plugins to keep intruders out of your site. The WordPress dashboard even tells you when an update is due.
Good for search engines
Unlike some ‘template’ website builders, WordPress is great for search engine optimisation (SEO). It is written using a high-quality code and you can also add SEO plugins to optimise your site’s structure and content.
Lots of support
There’s a huge community that’s happy to answer your questions at wordpress.org/support and if you do need a WordPress expert to work on your site they are plentiful.
So as you can see, WordPress really is a great choice for your website.
The best thing about WordPress is that you can add many features without you needing to touch, or even know, any code. This means that you can usually manage your website yourself, even if you don’t have web design skills.
To add features to your site you will need to get familiar with WordPress plugins. Plugins are small pieces of code that you can add to your site to perform a wide range of functions, from adding features like social media sharing buttons and contact forms, to more technical stuff like security or search engine optimisation. You name it, there is a plugin for it!
Some plugins are free and others you will need to pay for. You can browse through a list of plugins in the WordPress plugin directory, wordpress.org/plugins. As WordPress has an open source license, anyone can develop and sell a plugin and you will find many available to buy to meet almost any need.
Before you download or buy a plugin, check the reviews it has and the date of its most recent update. Old and poor quality plugins can create problems with your site, so these are best avoided. You can read reviews in the WordPress plugin directory or just search online using the keywords ‘[plugin name] review’.
So which plugins are you likely to need on your new WordPress site?
Here are some suggestions:
Managing your site
Jetpack is a very popular plugin for traffic information, contact forms, social media buttons and more.
Akismet is the best-known plugin for managing spam comments, which are very common on blogs.
Backup and security
The worst can sometimes happen, so it is best to be prepared. Plugins such as BackupBuddy will back up your website automatically on a schedule defined by you. Securi is a plugin which will protect your site from hackers and more.
Search Engine Optimisation
Want to optimise your content for search engines before you publish? Then check out All In One SEO Pack or Yoast SEO. I personally use Yoast SEO, which includes on-page content analysis, XML sitemaps and much more. With this plugin, it is very easy to add an SEO title, Meta Descriptions and Keywords, which Google and other search engines like.
Forms and landing pages
You can get a basic contact form from Jetpack, as mentioned above, but you may also need more sophisticated forms such as Gravity Forms that encourage visitors to opt-in to your mailing list.
Landing Page plugin will help you create responsive Landing Pages or Coming Soon Pages easily in minutes. If you don’t know what is this, a landing page is a webpage that can be used to offer visitors a free gift in return for their email address or act as the entry point to your website. Thrive Leads is another example of a landing page plugin.
If you do Email Marketing using Aweber or GetResponse, you can install their plugins to automatically collect subscribers’ emails using optin forms.
Social Media Buttons
Your website must be social media friendly and for this, you have to add buttons to facilitate sharing. I use AddToAny Share Buttons on each post and page and Sumo on the left side of the screen. I have also installed Pinterest Image Pinner From Collective Bias to add Pin this to all post images.
There is an amazing choice of plugins available for WordPress, so decide what you need your website to do and you are sure to find a plugin that fits.
How to choose the best WordPress hosting provider
Once you’ve decided to get a self-hosted WordPress website, you’ll need to find yourself a web hosting provider. Fortunately, there are many to choose from and good-quality hosting is very affordable.
There are three main types of hosting to choose from:
- shared hosting – is where your site shares a server with lots of other sites. For a blogger or a small business just starting with a new WordPress site, shared hosting is likely to be the best option and will be the least expensive, too.
- virtual private server (VPS) – is a type of shared hosting, but it gives you more options to use specialist applications than shared hosting and there are usually fewer sites on the server.
- dedicated server hosting – is where you rent an entire server from your hosting company, which you’ll not need until you have a significant amount of traffic.
Free hosting is also available but check carefully before signing up as it may come with strings attached. It’s unlikely to be as reliable as paid hosting and customer service could be an issue, too. As shared hosting is only going to cost you a few pounds a month, it’s rarely worth the risk of choosing free hosting.
Some hosting providers offer to host optimised specifically for WordPress like SiteGround which I am using. This can help your site run faster than it would otherwise and may include additional security features, too.
So now you understand the different types of hosting, what should you look for in a host?
Supports the latest version of WordPress
As WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world, any large hosting company should be able to support it. But it’s worth checking your prospective hosting company to be sure.
Pricing and packages
Most hosting companies have a range of packages for shared hosting, so you can pick one that meets your needs in terms of your likely traffic and the storage space as well as your budget. Don’t forget to allow some room to grow, though!
You definitely don’t want your site to suffer from long or frequent periods of downtime, so always check the hosting company’s statistics. You can also search online for customer reviews of hosting companies.
If you’re just starting out with a new WordPress site you may have some questions, so check what support is offered by your hosting company before you buy. Look at the support hours, especially if they are not available 24 hours a day and are in a different time zone to you. Also, check they offer a range of ways to get support, for example by email, by phone or live chat like SiteGround.
Now that you know the web hosting basics, it should be easy to pick the right WordPress hosting company for you.
WordPress for Beginners – Online Video Tutorials
Do you find WordPress hard to use? Buy this Online Video Course “WordPress for Beginners” to learn everything you need to know to develop a useful website or blog with WordPress