My first post on this WordPress-hosted blog is from 12 March 2012. It begins with the immortal words “This isn’t the first time I’ve done a first post on some blogging platform or another, but I’m hoping this one will stick.” It then goes on to talk about posting “every week” and, with around eighty posts to date in the nearly eight years I’ve hosted this website, you can see how well that went.
Productivity aside, I have stuck with WordPress for this length of time, mostly out of idleness – I’m still with O2, despite all reasonable advice saying there are better phone contracts out there. but also because it has handily succeeded as Good Enough for my purposes, and has changed over the years in response to the digital environment.
The reason you get a WordPress.com site (which is different a WordPress.org installation) is generally because you wish to
- Write blogs
- Have a website
- Avoid coding
- Avoid the hassle of setting up host servers and buying domains
- Have some flexibility around how you present yourself online.
Now, I haven’t shopped around for a new host in years, and speaking literally to today I’m not immediately looking to switch. This is because I can look at the list above and say yes, this service is currently meeting my needs.
- It’s always been pretty easy to write blogs using WordPress. The magnificent con of writing on a computer is that it looks professional and publishable even when you don’t know what you’re saying. WordPress enhances this with its WYSIWYG editors. It used to be that you’d type into a text box, which would reflect your font and formatting settings, and you’d preview it and it’d be pretty much what you’d expect. Right now, I’m using the new online block editor. I’m typing in discrete formatting blocks, against a background that matches the one in my theme, and I know exactly how it’s going to pan out when it’s up.
- You start out on a subdomain, mywebsite.wordpress.com, and you can buy a full domain, mywebsite.com, and WordPress will host your site there instead. With some tweaking, you can set up a homepage, a selection of static pages, and a blog archive, and get it all looking relatively professional.
- It’s not difficult to pick up a bit of HTML, but you rarely have to use it here. There are plenty of plug-ins on professional plans so you can do advanced stuff without coding it yourself. Mostly, it’s set it and forget it.
- Everything is provided by WordPress.
- All presentation is handled by themes, either free or premium, and there aren’t too many options to deal with when setting them up. It’s straightforward to change them round, and you’re likely to be happy enough with the results.
Of course, not everything about using WordPress is wine and roses.
This is an occasional series.