How can I start Blogging? What is the Difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?
How can I start a blog from the scratch? and What is the Difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?
The biggest obstacle in starting a blog is the technical stuff involved such as:
• Choosing the platform (WordPress.com vs WordPress.org)
• Building an identity for your blog (which represents you)
• The niche you're going to focus on
• Creating the roadmap for your audience
• Creating a freebie for your opt-ins (to get leads)
• Mastering Google Analytics, Search Console, Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
• First 10 epic blog posts describing your niche
Choosing the platform
Many newbie bloggers are confused between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. What's the difference between them? Consider the pros and cons.
As far as my experiences go, when you choose WordPress.com, you assume that you aren't in full control of the hosting because they take care about it. They do the site hosting, which means they run the site for you, which is a great thing.
On the other hand, WordPress.org gives you more independence when it comes to hosting because you're going to choose the hosting company to run the site. Site hosting companies like Bluehost, Namecheap, GoDaddy, etc. are among those who manages the hosting for you.
With that being said, you pay annual fees for the domain and hosting renewals for a certain price for them. If you run the site via WordPress.com then you have to pay it there.
The downside for WordPress.com is that you can't explore for more plugins or tools because they have it taken care for you, which WordPress.org allows you to do.
When you choose WordPress.org, you have to handle dealing with hosting companies to run the site and at the same time, you will do quite a lot of work because you're building the site from scratch. Literally, from one plugin to the other.
Building an identity for your blog
You have to make sure your chosen niche will match the identity for your site. If you want to start a blog about affiliate marketing, you have to make sure everything is related. From the logo, main color you use for your site and all materials, posts you do in the long run.
Niche to focus on
You don't have to be specific when it comes to choosing your niche, especially at the beginning. You have the freedom to explore what you like to blog about. If you think you do well in a lifestyle niche, fine. Do it. Explore. Don't set limits. In that way, it helps you know which area you prefer writing more.
Most newbie bloggers believe in this trap. They think they should have a specific niche at the beginning. You don't have to. Otherwise, you'll get stuck and might not want to blog again.
Creating a roadmap for your audience
What do I mean by this? You have to plan how you want your audience behave while they're on your site. As soon as they land on your page from Google search, do you want to get leads? Sure, that's the goal of trying to increase traffic, right.
To have a clear vision of the roadmap, keep this pattern in mind:
User searches on Google -> Lands on your page -> Reads your post -> Signs-up to download your freebie or access private library (whatever you want to give to them for free) -> Get leads and increase number of subscribers
This is just the basic.
The goal is to get as many sign-ups as possible. When you have more people in your email list, the higher the chances to earn more when you sell something and the higher the chances people read your latest post.
To get leads, you have to choose which email service you like to use. I use Mailchimp for that, which is free for your first 2,000 subscribers.
Creating a freebie for leads
Again, this is to get leads. You have to create free stuff for your audience. Often, you see invitations like "Do you want to increase your blog traffic in 30 days?" If yes, this is called an opt-in.
You create free but epic stuff be it a 5-day email crash course about something or a webinar. Mostly, bloggers prefer ebooks and email courses for that.
When you do, you have to make sure this makes a branding for your niche. It's going to be a lot of work, but once it's done, people see you as an authority of the subject. Especially if you have a published book to suffice.
This is also the same process how authors reach best-selling status.
When you host the site on WordPress.com, you are limited to the Google stuff. I tried before. It didn't work for me.
The only time I was able to monitor my website traffic and implement various Search Engine Optimization (SEO) stuff was when I transfered the site on WordPress.org.
Before we go through the whole process, let me classify the tools you need to learn and master if you want to succeed in blogging.
• Google Analytics – Google sends a report about the number of visits you receive every single day. That includes the behavior and engagement of your audience when they land on your page. This is also the basis for most advertisers and publishers if monetizing your site is an option.
• Google Search Console – Google allows you to index your posts to make sure your post is detected on Search Engine Result Page (SERP) (Search Engine Results Page). It's formerly called as Webmaster. What it does is to inspect all the potential errors that might affect your site. So, you have to check the report from time to time to ensure nothing is wrong with your post links and rankings.
• Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Google wants you to use the keywords your target audience use. The more you're able to target the keywords, the higher the chances your posts will be seen. They provide the suggestions based on the reports you receive from your Analytics. If not, you can also make use of third-party platforms such as SEMrush.
Writing the first 10 epic blog posts
As soon as you finish setting up the blog's identity and the necessities like the about page, contact page, writing your first 10 blog posts is the next challenge.
You have to determine which topics you like to write based on your niche. You also have to make sure they're good enough because these will become Google's basis for crawling your site.
If you plan to apply for affiliate programs later on, they will also review your 10 blog posts. Believe me. This plays an important role in your future blogging career.
If you have further questions, feel free to reply. Let me know your struggles so I can help you out. :)
Hi! Great points. I don't know what to choose, WordPress.com or WordPress.org. My blog will be just a web serial (at first, at least) and I don't really know what suits best. I'm afraid of all the cost of the hosting stuff (I can pay the WordPress plan) or all the things to learn with WordPress.org.
Sorry for the format, I'm on mobile.
I suggest you start with WordPress.com to explore your niche. After you figured out what areas you like to write more and if you already feel comfortable with the blogging itself, you can start with WordPress.org. :)
Thanks! I'll do that.
I would say go with .org from the start. The issue with .com I find is I am not allowed to have plugins unless I upgrade to business plan which I believe is CA $300. This means you can't use SEO plugins, mailbox popups, affiliate offers on the side or at all, can't use any other ad provider besides WordPress' ad network (garbage pay). I would seriously consider .org over .com because aside from the plugins I it is cheaper as well.
Ok, now I'm more confused. Then how much would I pay with .org? Do you know an useful guide
This is true. Had the same issue. Can't use Google adsense or most plugins even with premium plan. Finally had enough and transferred to bluehost. Only was able to import about 2/3 of the posts even with getting bluehost support involved. Had to create about 20 copying and pasting. Wasn't a big deal because I'm just starting out. Would have been a nightmare much later.
Just a question. WordPress.com hosts sites for $120/year. (In Canada). If I manage to get traffic, I could earn monetization to pay off the $120. I also get $100 in Google AdWords.
The thing is, if I upgrade my site without traffic in the first place, I would be losing out. And I don't want to waste $120.
What would you do?
I rather invest my $120 with building a site under WordPress.org and explore blogging better. Most bloggers earning $100k and beyond do the same thing.
Please don't waste your time with .com because you will end up losing that $120 like I did. You can get $100 without signing up with .com, there are offer with adsense all the time
If someone (like me) who already posted around 2k words, would it be worth it to switch? For me, I can't seem to make the switch happen.
Reading your initial post I believe you are in the beginning stage with very less traffic. I would say it's better to switch over now. You don't have to re-upload your articles, lose comments or followers if that was the concern. I have been reading on it myself since I am in the same boat. The process is really straightforward and there is a ton of information available for a transfer to any major hosting service.
Yeah. I have trouble switching.
It says I have to unzip a file, and add it to my (already made) website. I don't understand.
The hell with WP.com. You can't do any customization, and you are stuck to their ad platforms. I have a niche site i built on WordPress.com and regret it. Spent so much time writing articles and getting decent traffic. I even payed up for the upgrade and it is still garbage compared to .org. I regret not building on .org I'd actually be making money from my website then.
Amazing! Thanks for sharing. My biggest challenge is how to monetize the parenting blog I am creating. By monetizing, I don't mean what vehicles but how I am going to use these vehicles. Another challenge has been designing the site (I am using a free WP template). I am confident of producing genuine and solid content. I just have to make sure I have the blogging 101 basis down.
Very in-depth, thanks for sharing. Can we choose later on which 10 blog posts we want to submit to google? Or it is fixed for the first 10 posts?
For sure, you can choose. As long as your first few posts establish the brand you want or at least a hint of what you like to write. Especially if you choose to migrate blog from WordPress.com to dot org. In this way, Google detects it and have an idea what niche you're into.
Be it 10 posts or lesser.
I encountered a lot of big sites going down because they weren't able to establish that at first and publish whatever crap they have during the last Google change in algorithm.
To avoid any problems with this, it's best to provide quality posts from the beginning. This is what I learned over the years as a blogger and this I should say the best way to be on the right track if serious blogging career is what you want to achieve.
I hope this helps.
Thanks a lot, it's really helpful. Do you have any resource for me to learn this kind of stuff more? I am a beginner in WordPress org.
Hey! Thanks for your awesome post. I was wondering though why choose WordPress over something like Wix or Squarespace then? I have tried a site on WordPress and Wix and I just find the WordPress one really hard to customise..,
Hello! I choose WordPress because it's easier to add codes to apply which most affiliate programs share and route users to the offer or product I promote. For most publishers like Mediavine, they prefer sites with WordPress. In most cases, blogs running under WordPress.org earn more money from the ads than other platforms. That's for me and my knowledge in the blogosphere.
At the same time, I find the platform amazing whenever I blog and customize the appearance using StudioPress Themes, making my blog more professional-looking than ever.
I didn't choose Squarespace because it's not open for certain countries. So, WordPress.org is the most preferrable choice, especially for those bloggers living outside North America and Europe.
I hope I satisfied your query. :)
WordPress.com blogs can use any plugin if subscribed to the business plan. You find and add plug-ins much like you would if your blog was hosted elsewhere.
I started March… Err July <year>.
So from January to March I really thought a lot about starting a blog… And didn't.
Then I did start a blog… But got VERY distracted with all the things. AHHHH I want to customize my theme. AHHH I want to learn more about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Marketing on social media, x, y, and z. I literally spent 4 months overanalyzing all these things vs getting actual things done.
In July I was like OK stop being distracted by all the things. And then it was like "wait, It's taking me a long time to write posts and I need to speed this up."
Aaaaaaaand that's basically where I'm at now. I've made a lot of progress in that posts are getting produced I'd say weekly now… But I struggle to even keep that pace. I'd like to speed up my workflow still. But, I would say each article I do feel like gets a bit easier and that I am getting faster with it.
Really, I'd say just start and make sure most of what you're doing is actionable stuff like creating content. Learning is cool, but not if it takes up 100% of your time. Maybe limit that to like 40% learning 60% doing.
Thank you for this it really helped me a lot. I'm planning to start a gaming blog but I'm over thinking how to do what to do etc and this put negativity in my mind. I should start it right away and learn. Nothing is better than action because we know the actual ground reality.
I launched mine 12-31 but getting traffic to the site has been my biggest struggle, I have been checking the tech side of things to make sure there aren't issues and that seems fine. However even searching for my site using words I know are there it's hard to find. It's hard to know if it's my content, site, or tech issues that it's not getting picked up at all. I did customer research first and have been writing my posts to align with those. It just seems hard to find my site so working on that part.
I think one of the biggest things is identifying good blog content to write about in your niche. Your blogs should be consumer-focused: all about informing and entertaining the reader. You can find good topics by looking up search keywords in your niche.
Another thing: What tools are you using to track your views? Google analytics and other frontend (cookie based) tools have become somewhat unreliable with default ad blocking on firefox now, and because many users install ad and tracking blocker plugins.
The most reliable view data comes from server-side tracking. The only problem with this is that server-side analytics tools are often not as feature rich as client side ones, so filtering out the bot traffic can be problematic.
Basically, Google analytics under-reports your traffic in <year> (some claim by up to 70%, though, as icpooreman points out below, that's probably not accurate.
Google Analytics (GA) is not under-reporting your traffic by 70%. I wish that were true.
Even if Firefox did block GA (which it doesn't), Firefoxes market share is down to like 5% at this point. Chrome is 70% market share right now, and Google Chrome is not blocking Google Analytics. Really think about that sentence for a minute.
It may not be down 70%, that's why I said "some claim". It was a bit hyperbolic, but was to make a point. 70% may not be the number, but I promise you a good bit of traffic is being impacted. You might be surprised at how ubiquitous ad/tracking blockers are, even for Chrome users. Even 10% would make a huge difference.
That being said, Google analytics is still a decent metric for site traffic.
Edit: Also, I edited the post to be less hyperbolic. Hope that satisfies you.
Lol you can't just put "some claim" behind a blatantly false statement and that makes it true… Or I guess you can… And did. Ok then.
I'm confused by this post, I wasn't claiming 70% is true. I also edited it to include a more established point and address your concern. I tried to throw a bone here, but w/e.
I think I am my biggest barrier. I don't think a lot of my posts are any good and I just waffle.
I find inspiration hard to come by for posts and I just type and can't think of flair to add to it.
Outside of me, getting views and interaction is a problem for me too. I have the link on my Twitter, instagram and share it on twitter but views are still low and I have zero comments.
Still gonna carry on though.
Do you enjoy topics you're blogging about? Maybe it's not your calling? I myself love writing, but oftentimes find myself procrastinating when I ought to write essays for classes at Uni I don't particulary like. Thing is, if you're passionate about something ideas pop up out of nowhere. At least, this is how it works for me. Good luck anyway :)!
I've improved my page views by tweaking my posts in ways I should have done when I originally posted them. I've started posting images in .webp format for faster mobile loading, I've gone back to as many old posts as I could and put alt tags on the images, the title of my blog posts are now also the URLs (not sure if that matters but the keywords are there so I'm sure it helps somewhat). I've also put links to other blog posts within the content of new blog posts. I'm sure there's more I can do to tweak but this appears to be working for now. I have hundreds of blog posts though so going back over them is really time consuming but seems to be worth it.
Do you know if Google tracks how many times you edit a post. And will a post with several edits get as much traffic as one without edits?
I started my first blog way back in 2008.
For me, the struggle was getting any visitor at all to my site and getting any comments. For the first few months, I slaved over creating content, sometimes 5 posts a day (they were 2-300 words in length). It was not a popular niche and I had no idea about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), analytics etc.
Then after 6 months, I create a new blog, (the current one) with blogging tips I learned from my journey and reading other people's blogs. This instantly got lots of views and comments within a few months.
Back then, my biggest struggle was to self-host on WordPress. I was clueless about how to set it up.
I finally got to become a pro in WordPress and set everything up. Then I managed to gain a large following on my blog and got so much success.
In <year>, I realize I am struggling with doing keyword research, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and competition analysis for my blogs. This is one thing I want to improve on.
Is WordPress Really the Best Web Development Platform?
Making a Custom CMS is Better than Using a Common CMS eg WordPress. Isn’t it?
Speed up Your WordPress Website and Avoid Plugins | Add This Script to .htaccess
This Discuss About a WordPress Plugin Named Companion Auto Update
WordPress versus Duda
Is It Worth Switching From WordPress to Shopify or WooCommerce?