WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org

By on February 8, 2014

by Jim Spencer on February 8, 2014

WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org — Which One is Right for You?

 

The difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is subtle, but extremely important. At times it can even be confusing, as many people who aren’t familiar with the platform aren’t even aware that there are two different options when it comes to “WordPress.” They just know it by that name.

 

So if you’re interested in a WordPress site, but you’re not sure what the difference is between the two options (much less which one is right for you), we’ll point out the major differences.

 

We’ll also talk a  bit about the ideal WordPress.com and WordPress.org candidate.

 

A few things you can think through out ahead of time:

 

  1.     Do you want to invest money in your WordPress site?
  2.     Are you interested in a professional, business-type blog or a casual and recreational project?

 

The answers to these two questions will have a pretty profound effect on which route you choose to take, so try and get your goals nailed down before digging into the difference between your two options.

 

We’ll start with WordPress.com since that’s the simpler explanation of the two.

 

female-blogger-laptop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WordPress.com

 

In short, it’s the simpler of the two options, both in terms of what you have to pay and what you need to do from a technical standpoint — essentially, nothing.

 

WordPress.com provides you with a freely hosted WordPress site which you can use and post on free of charge, without any need to pay a third-party hosting service or buy a domain name. Instead, you’ll be a given a URL in the form of yourblogsname.wordpress.com.

 

You will however be somewhat limited in terms of the themes, plugins and customization options available to you, with zero creative input when it comes to ad space.

 

Now it’s true that you can buy your own domain name and redirect the WordPress URL, but there’s no denying that you’re severely limited here when it comes to creative control and the ability (or lack thereof) to customize your site.

 

You can quickly start to see that the .com version of WordPress is better suited for the casual blogger or someone who just wants a simple and possibly private site.

 

 

entreprenuer-laptop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WordPress.org

 

On the flipside, WordPress.org is downloadable software that’s also free and gives you a tremendous amount of flexibility and near complete control over your WordPress site.

 

You can edit codes, the customize templates have access to27000+ WordPress plugins, and you can exercise your creative authority over every aspect of your site.

 

The downside here is that you have to pay for a third party hosting service (which usually runs anywhere from $20 to $65 per month) and you must buy a domain name; there is no yourname.wordpress.com option to to start with.

 

So you get a lot of customization options, but you’ve got to put up some money up front.

 

You will also need a reasonable amount of technical prowess. However, the WordPress.org site is well documented and provides easy instructions for setting up your site, and even hosting companies will usually have WordPress-specific instructions. So, there is plenty of assistance available.

 

After all that, the tradeoff is pretty straightforward — you get all the control in the world, but you have to be comfortable doing the grunt work yourself and paying up front.

 

Ideal Candidates for .com and .org

 

Just by seeing some of the pros and cons of each site, you’re probably getting a general idea of what type of person each one is geared towards and hopefully which one is better for you and your goals.

 

.com:

 

If you’re just looking for a simple, easy to setup and cheap solution for a casual blog or website, WordPress.com is going to be a better option for you. If you decide you want to migrate to the more professional WordPress.org system, it’s always doable and there’s plenty of documentation to help you get it done.

 

.org:

 

On the other hand, if you’re looking to develop a professional or business focused website and you’ve got the financial or technical capabilities to make that happen, you absolutely want to go with the downloadable platform and use WordPress.org.

 

There is nothing quite like being in complete control and the customization will benefit you in the long run which is well worth the cost.

What considerations helped you make your selection? Let us know in the comments.

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Moving Your HubSpot Blog from a Sub-Domain

By on January 18, 2014

by Jim Spencer on January 18, 2014

Are you halving your inbound link credit without realizing it?

Believe it or not these are two different URLs. But on this site you will find that the second BlogWranglers URL redirects to the first one.

  1. http://BlogWranglers.com
  2. http://www.BlogWranglers.com

Cannonicalization is the process used by search engines to select one URL usually for a page when you don’t do it for them.

In fact, the second URL listed above has a sub-domain (www). Rather than letting the search engines decide which is the best URL, it is far smarter to redirect one to the other yourself.

An added benefit is that when another web site links to your site the links all point to one URL ultimately, no matter whether they link using the www or not.

Now, many of our HubSpot migration clients have a blog on HubSpot while their main web site is not on HubSpot.

Because the blog and web site are not hosted on the same server the simplest domain structure is to place the blog in a sub-domain, rather than the preferred sub folder.

HubSpot blogs may use “info” or “blog” for this sub-domain, as in http://info.website.com or http://blog.website.com.

This all means there are even more URLs to keep track of and redirect properly.

For example with a sub-domain in use there are now four possible URLs instead two;

  1. http://BlogWranglers.com
  2. http://www.BlogWranglers.com
  3. http://info.BlogWranglers.com
  4. http://www.info.BlogWranglers.com

And, if there is a secure site in use, this can multiple the number of possible URLs (https://BlogWranglers.com)

Typically, the authoritative DNS is controlled at the domain name registration account or at the primary hosting account.

It is at these accounts that the A-Records or CNAME records need to be setup in order for the redirects to work properly. The account where the blog is hosted is typically not authoritative and so even if redirects are setup at the blog host  they will not work until they are also set up at the authoratative domain server.

Here is what needs to happen;

First make sure that your primary domain URL has the proper redirects setup.

I like to use the shorter URL and redirect the WWW to the non-WWW.

Once this is setup, then setup the redirects for the sub-domains, both WWW and for the sub-domain. This will involve configurations at both hosting accounts.

A simple way to test how the URLs are resolving is to open a command prompt and use the Ping command. If you get a “not found” error  or you get a reply from both WWW and non-WWW then you have some redirects to setup.

From a command line or terminal session use the command “dig www.BlogWranglers.com” to see the cannonical name or CNAME

Completing these redirects will offer a better user experience and certainly is a smart move from a search optimization point of view.

Whether moving from HubSpot or not have you seen sites with missing redirects? What tools do you use to find and solve this issue? Let us all know in the comments.

 

 

 

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5 Reasons to Operate Your Business Website on WordPress

By on November 19, 2013

by Jim Spencer on November 19, 2013

Among the handful of blogging and content management platforms, WordPress has consistently reigned as the best option for businesses.

Not only does it have an easy-to-use, intuitive design, but it’s high level of customizability and professional packages make it an ideal platform for your business website, even if your focus isn’t necessarily blogging. While few business websites are without blogs these days, WordPress’ reputation as a blogging platform doesn’t exclude it from being ideally designed to operate a functional homepage and a robust business website at the same time.

The themes and plugins available to WordPress site administrators are extensive enough that you can setup just about any kind of website with a variety of different components.

WordPress templated themes are easy to use.

WordPress templated themes are easy to use.

 

For a long time customization is where WordPress made a name for itself and beat out competitors like Google’s Blogger and other platforms like Hubspot, Tumblr, Drupal and Typepad. Today, those blogging platforms have found different niches and further developed their customization options, but WordPress remains the most functional and widely used choice for many reasons. Here are the five most compelling:

 

1. Easy Customization

Despite the facts that other platforms are catching up (Blogger just recently updated its customization interface), WordPress is still king when it comes to the amount of power and creative input it gives to site administrators.

You can change a lot about your page without even having to worry about HTML, CSS or any technical programming. If coding and web development is your thing, you can certainly edit the templates if you want to, but generally speaking, there are enough themes and customization options that you won’t have to do much (if any) of that kind of work.

For a business owner with little time to spare, that’s a major selling point.

 

2. Plugins

Part of what makes WordPress such a highly functional platform is the vast amount of plugins that are available to website owners.

These plugins serve a variety of purposes, but most notably they can be used to improve search engine optimization (SEO), make social sharing and interaction easier and more frequent, and even cache your website for faster load speeds and a more streamlined experience for those using your site. WordPress provides detailed information about each plugin, including a rating system and the number of times each plugin has been downloaded.

Plugins are fairly unique to WordPress, especially considering there are over 28,000 of them, and counting.

 

3. SEO Optimization Capabilities

While WordPress in and of itself may provide better SEO than some platforms, the plugins and tools available to you make it easier for you as the website administrator to improve SEO and score higher in search rankings for your content.  We recommend WordPress SEO by Yoast.

 

Responsive WordPress websites look great on tablets.

Responsive WordPress websites look great on tablets.

 

4. Reputation

In terms of monetized websites and business blogging, WordPress is and has been the most popular name in the business. If you’re looking to setup a business website, it’s smart to use a platform that has facilitated the success of so many who have gone before you.

Generally speaking, WordPress is thought of as the more professional choice and a better option for those who are interested in more than just casual or recreational blogging. Consider that WordPress boasts one of the largest development communities among Open Source content management systems.

 

5. Security

WordPress is constantly being updated with rollouts that are improving security and protecting the data that you work so hard to create and share. Of course, those updates are free and happen behind the scenes without you having to worry. There are also many useful plugins to enhance security. Currently, WordFence is a popular security plugin for WordPress.

 

For Professional Use

WordPress was designed for professional use and a business-oriented focus. With the amount of tools and plugins available to you, it’s going to be your best option, especially when you’re talking about using it for a business website. That’s not to say that other platforms can’t work well too, but the business “niche” is definitely owned and operated primarily by WordPress.

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Is a 301 or 302 Redirect Best During a Migration?

By on September 25, 2013

by Jim Spencer on September 25, 2013

When deciding to move web pages on a site or blog posts on a blog, knowing the difference between a 301 redirect and a 302 redirect is critical, as each conveys different information to  search engines like Google. Simply put, the search engine needs to know whether to continue ranking the old page or to replace it entirely in the rankings with the new one. By using the proper redirect this is made perfectly clear and you can avoid any confusion and the corresponding drop in the search rankings while migrating pages to new locations. Let’s explain in which situations a 301 redirect is appropriate (most often) and when is a 302 redirect is better (rarely)?

301 vs. 302

Each redirect has a distinct function and usage for relocated pages; the 301 redirect is used when redirecting a web page permanently, while the 302 redirect is solely used for temporary redirections. Although visitors will not see any visual difference between these redirects in their browsers, search engines will automatically read the information and act accordingly.

If it’s a 301 redirect, they know to rank the new page as it will be permanently replacing the old one. A 302 redirect may indicate that there’s some temporary restructuring but the search engine spiders should not rank this new URL as it will not become the permanent URL.

Here is the technical definition. Scroll down to 10.3.2 301 Moved Permanently  http://www.w3.org/Protocols/rfc2616/rfc2616-sec10.html 

Using the Wrong Redirect

Unfortunately, any mixed signals could result in a decline in search rankings as a result of the search engine misunderstanding the server-side directions that these redirects provide. For instance, if a webmaster uses a 301 redirect for a temporary page, the search engine may put more emphasis on the temporary page and adversely affect rankings in the future when the temporary redirect is removed and traffic is again directed back to the original page, which has now regretably lost its search rank to the temporary page.

Similarly, a 302 redirect used on a permanently redirected page could greatly delay the ranking of the new page. In general search engines such as Google provide much more leniency in these instances; since 302 redirects are far more commonly used, search engines may scan the page further to determine whether the redirect should be permanent or temporary.

Time and time again I’ve seen websites that previously had fantastic organic traffic lose a large number of their visitors due to inadequate transitions or usage of redirects. This can represent a massive decline in sales and affect a company’s bottom line.

redirecting a river.

It’s not as bad as redirecting a river. Promise. Photo by Jim Spencer

When is it Appropriate to use a 301 or a 302?

If you are moving your site from one root domain to another, it’s important that you do your best to keep the existing URL structure. Changing all of your URL’s sends the search engine spiders the signal that there is a massive change. In some cases, this may cause the site to lose authority or trusted status and thus result in a decline in the rankings. And definitely the appropriate redirect to use is a 301 redirect as this minimizes any loss in rankings.

Many people also use a 301 redirect to send the www version of the site to the non-www version of the site. This is a good idea which prevents the link juice from being split between two domains, and tells Google to see your domain as one and the same. You can also set this (called the canonical URL) in Google WebMaster Tools.

Finally, if you are switching your CMS or implementing a new shopping cart system, it may be inevitable that URL schema will be different. In that case, you’ll want to set up page to page 301 redirects in your htacess file, telling the search engines that page A moved to URL A, page B moved to URL B, etc. Using page to page 301 redirects will help you keep your site’s search rankings and traffic. We have seen projects with over 200,000 redirects work without an issue with the search engines.

What about 302 redirects, when should those be used? Let’s say, for example, you are running a holiday promotion. You can create a landing page, and do a 302 redirect from your category page to the promo page. Then, after the promotion ends, you can revert all traffic back to the original page. There will be no search engine “juice” passed to the temporary page, and when the redirect is removed, everything will go back to normal. This is one of the ONLY times that 302 redirects should be used.

Concluding Redirection Suggestions

Be careful with your redirects! Before you make any changes to your site, consult a professional. Using the wrong redirects can have dreadful, unnecessary consequences. It is one of the most avoidable causes for loss of traffic and rankings. Not only do you need to be sure which to use, you also need to make sure the redirects are implemented correctly. Do your research first!  If you are also concerned about losing page rank even when implementing the right redirect, read this article http://blogwranglers.com/im-migrating-to-wordpress-will-301-redirects-diminish-my-pagerank/ to ease your concerns. If you are moving a site or blog, after it goes live, be sure to check your logs for 404 Error pages and then redirect them appropriately.

What experiences or concerns do you have with redirects? Share in the comments below.

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Can Social Media Convert? Part 1

September 18, 2013

The question of social media conversions came up in conversations among friends at this year’s HubSpot Inbound Conference so I decided to create a multi-part blog post with the answers. This is the first part. Here is the question; In your experience has social media* been more effective in meeting you or your client’s needs for top [...]

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How to Protect Your WordPress Blog Against Brute Force Attacks

April 13, 2013

  Yesterday security experts warned of a large distributed botnet attack against WordPress sites.  From ArsTechnica: The unknown people behind the highly distributed attack are using more than 90,000 IP addresses to brute-force crack administrative credentials of vulnerable WordPress systems, researchers from at least three Web hosting services reported. This doesn’t mean that WordPress is [...]

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I’m Migrating to WordPress, Will 301 Redirects Lose my PageRank?

March 3, 2013

We ask each prospective client why they want to move from HubSpot (or any other platform) to WordPress and what concerns they have. The number one “why” is the cost.  The number one “concern” is losing PageRank. Each web site  or blog owner has a different way of sharing their concerns. I looked through some [...]

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Social Media is Sun-Setting. Or Is It? part 4

October 12, 2012

Social Media has seen it’s sunrise, mid-day glory and is now sun-setting, or is it?  See what three thoughtful professionals have to say. As I wandered the HubSpot Inbound 2012 Sponsorship Pavilion I started chatting with Peter Kim and Ann Handley at the Wiley Publisher table. We reminisced about the early days of Social Media [...]

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Social Media is Sunsetting. Or Is It? part 3

October 3, 2012

Social Media has seen it’s sunrise, mid-day glory and is now sun-setting. Or is it?  Find out what the question means and our experts think. As I wandered the HubSpot Inbound 2012 Sponsorship Pavilion I started chatting with Peter Kim and Ann Handley at the Wiley Publisher table. We reminisced about the early days of [...]

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Social Media is Sunsetting. Or Is It? part 2

September 25, 2012

Social Media has seen its sunrise, mid-day glory and is now sun-setting. Or is it?  Find out what that question means and what these experts think. As I wandered the HubSpot Inbound 2012 Sponsorship Pavilion I started chatting with Peter Kim and Ann Handley at the Wiley Publisher table. We reminisced about the early days [...]

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